Monday, December 25, 2006

Getting Closer To Go-Time

Hi there, its been a while. I am back on the trike again. During the past few weeks I have not been riding. I have been resting the knee and trying to strengthen my IT Band. I have been attending a Yoga class which has been pretty intense. It is HOT Yoga; they keep the room at 105 degrees and it is a 90 minute workout. It’s a total cleansing while twisting into crazy positions and strengthening core muscles. I think it has helped with the flexibility and strength in my knees.

Last week I paid a visit to the UCDavis Sports Performance Lab. At the lab, we set up my trike on my new stationary trainer. They had me ride and we made some adjustments to the trike and to my cycling cleats. I rode some more and we made some more adjustments. Dr. Cosca made some observations and some helpful suggestions. He said that we want to try to fix the knee pain mechanically if possible, meaning by adjusting the trike and the way I pedal. However if the adjustments do not do the trick we can always do a shot of cortisone to get me to Memphis. The visit with Dr. Cosca has put me at ease because he assured me that we will take care of this knee thing. This appointment was set up by Kent Mulkey of Team Donate Life. I really appreciate the opportunity to talk with experienced Doctors and Engineers. Thank you to Kent, Dr. Cosca, and Judd.

So now it is Christmas break and I have plenty of time to make sure I can make it to Memphis with my stock set of legs and knees. This morning, Dad and I went on a nice and easy ride near my new home in East Sacramento. The ride was about 12 miles and it took us over an hour but there was no pain and we came back in one piece…victory! We survived to ride another day.

I was very concerned about my knee for a while but let me assure you that I am 100% committed to completing this ride!

Another exciting development is that my promotional DVD is almost finished. We filmed this piece about a month ago and it is finally coming together, should be completed this week (Ihave been saying that for the past two weeks but I really mean it this time). Hopefully the video will be available for viewing on my website, I’ll let you know.

One last thing…WE ARE APROACHING OUR FUNDRAISING GOAL! The goal is $30,000 and we are at about $25,000 thanks to generous donations by many people, many of whom I have never met before, very encouraging! One huge donation was made by Sierra Self Insurance Services. Their donation of $5,000 will keep the momentum going and will help us get over the hump. A huge THANK YOU to Mike Krill, Gail Blagg and Mike Bryant (Dad) of Sierra Self Insurance Services. We are very close, keep the donations coming!

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Rode to work with Andy this was 31 degrees. Is, thats just below freezing. It was cold! I had two layers on the bottom, 4 layers on the top, 2 pairs of gloves,a beanie for my ears, and booties over my cycling shoes, I looked pretty ridiculous...sorry, no pictures.

I have a feeling it will be much more cold and wet during the ride so I figure I need better gloves and some wind breaker/rain pants. Good thing I am finding this out now, soon it will be too late!

We did not ride home (took regional transit) because my knee was acting up again. However, I think I am making some progress because my knee is taking me a lot farther than it did a few weeks ago. Just gotta take it slow and easy as I train the knee for long rides again...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Back in the saddle again

For weeks I was plagued by a knee pain that may be the beginning stages of tendinitis, I was very aprehensive about getting back on the bike and aggravating the knee again. However, I took some steps to fix the problem (physical therapy, new pedals and shoes, a few adjustments to the trike, and lots of stretching).

This weekend I got in the saddle for the first time in about a month and it went very well. I rode about 5 miles on thursday and about 12 on Saturday. I took it slow and I think I am a little hyper sensitive about knee pain right now but better safe than sorry, right?

So, now that I am back, I am going to start ramping up the training again. I am also going to try to pay more attention to nutrition and hydration from now on. I am giving up beer (and alcohol) until I get to Memphis, it dehydrates like none other. Party in Memphis March 22, 2007. See ya there!

Sunday, November 19, 2006


The All California Ataxia Research Meeting was killer! We heard about cutting edge Ataxia research from some of the top minds in the world including the always wonderful Susan Perlman. Dr. Perlman is great, she sees hundreds of patients and still takes the time to come over and ask me how my knee is doing.

We heard from a Scientist who works with Joel Gottesfeld at Scripps. These guys may be on their way to figuring out a way to reverse the effects of Friedreich's Ataxia and we can help them by donating our dollars to organizations like FARA (Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance) and NAF (National Ataxia Foundation) who fund this research.

All of these scientists speak a foreign language. A language of fatty acids, messenger RNA, HDAC inhibitors, GAA repeats and polyglutamine phosphotase. They often try to make analogies; today, one of the presenters, a brilliant scientist Dr. Guy Miller was explaining the role of COQ10 and he told a story about Lance Armstrong, toasters, and tetherball...what the heck? Most of us have no idea what these guys and gals are talking about but all of us are greatful that they know what they are talking about and we are amazed at their understanding of the processes that take place in the human body.

One of the great people I met for the first time is a guy named Mike Parent who is the Executive Director of NAF. Mike is very supportive of my ride and with his help and the support of NAF, we will try to make this thing huge.

Paul, Me, and Mike

Additionally and maybe more importantly, I saw some old friends including Phillip Bennett and his family, Paul and Brianne Konantz (if thats how you spell it) and Norm Simpson (who flew in from the east coast). I also met a few people that I have been trading emails with for a while, Vikki and John Hartigan and Dori McCandless, these folks are from the Sacramento area and I hope to get together with them in the future.

The All California meeting was great and I can't wait until the National Conference in Memphis!

PS-I promise the next post will be about cycling, I plan to get on the trike this week...

Friday, November 17, 2006


Hey Folks,

I have been a slacker lately with the blog, so let me try to play catch-up.

Things have been really crazy since my article came out in the Sacramento bee. I have been receiving non-stop emails of support, thanks so much, it means a lot to me. I have been hearing from many fellow Ataxians or relatives of Ataxians in my area, it is very nice to share experiences and struggles.

I have also been a slacker on the cycling side of life...The knee injury during my ride to San Francisco slowed me down for a bit, however hopefully I have fixed the problem with a trip to a Physical Therapist at a place called Kinetctions here in town, and a visit to the Tour of Nevada City bike shop where they fitted me to my trike and changed quite a few things that could have been contributing to my knee pain. Thank you so much to the Tour of Nevada City bike shop, they are true experts who spend the time to get everything right.

Another thing that distracted me from riding was a trip to Philadelphia where I visited my good friend Dynah who I met at the NAF conference last year in Boston. We had a great time at a couple of museums and a Sixers game and a night out in Philly...

On the awareness and fundraising front, there is a lot going on as well. After the article came out in the Bee, there was about $800 contributed on my website in a single day. Also after the article I got a random call from a guy named Neil who is part of a group of cyclists called Team Donate Life. I ended up going to one of their meetings, they asked me to tell my story and they were very supportive, they offered to post my story on their website and to raise a few dollars for me as well. On top of that, I met some really great people and I will definitely be back to see what is in the future for Team Donate Life. Please visit their website here.
Another project that is brewing is a benefit concert at a local venue with a local singer...details to come.
Yet another great awareness promotion was a visit with the Rotary Club in Nevada City. Once again I told my story and received nothing but support, thank you Rotary!

As you can see there are quite a few things distracting me from riding. Tomorrow I am filming a short video for the promotion of my ride with a very talented producer from my work, Matt Pegler and his lovely assistant Diane Nascimento. After that I am heading to the bay area for the All California Ataxia Research Meeting. These meetings are great because it is an opportunity to meet lots of rad people and to hear about the latest advancements in Ataxia research!

Starting next week I am going to ramp up the training once again being careful not to aggrivate that knee or any other joints...See you on the road!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I have made two attempts at riding in the last week and a half. Both attempts were cut short by a bummed knee.

Since I have not been riding, I have been trying to do some strength training and stretching to continue training without aggrivating the knee. I have an appointment with a physical therapist on monday and I hope that he might have a magic wand or something, we'll see.

Also since the last post I have been in the process of buying a house (pretty exciting). Also I was interviewed by the Sacramento Bee and my story will be in the paper within the next couple weeks, so keep an eye out.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

To The City

This weekend we rode 85 miles From Sacramento to San Francisco (actually we rode to Vallejo and took a ferry into the City). Unfortunately we were not able to ride back...

We started at my place in Sacramento (Me, Dad and Andy) and rode downtown where we met John (a dude from my work). We left downtown at about 8am and took off through West Sac and over the causway to Davis. UCDavis was having their homecoming game that day so we heard the band-uh! warming up as we passed the football field (Go Ags!). After we passed through Davis, we took a short break to take care of "business" and have a light snack. Here we are after 20 miles, still fresh and in our spandex -- you know you like it:

From left to right: Andy, John, Me, Dad

We were feeling good at that point (except for some stiffness in my left knee) so we continued on to Winters where we took another bathroom break and loaded our bellies with Cliff Bars and GU. When leaving the town of Winters we took a wrong turn and we were going with the wind so we were hauling butt, we went about a mile before realizing we were going the wrong way, so we had to trek back against the wind (not fun) to get back on track. We were heading west at this point and the wind was blowing south. After another 5 miles or so our route turned south and we were going with the wind and slightly downhill so we kept a speed of 20-25 mph for 8 or 10 miles. At about mile 50, John stopped to check his front wheel because it was feeling like his bearings were going out. After assessing the situation, he decided that he did not want his wheel to fail and send him flying, so he opted to stop early, take the train home and give it a try anoother time. We were all pretty bummed that he had to go because we had reached a good rhythm and we were feeling pretty good.

Mile 50, Not stoked: John had to take off early

So we turned west once again and headed trought Fairfield. I was riding on the shoulder and I heard a hissing noise from my right wheel, flat! Not cool. So we had to take yet another break to replace my tube (the city of Fairfield should weed their storn gutters for puncture vines). It was a needed stop because we were out of water. We found a drinking fountain and filled up.

Andy Helping out, stop staring at his chicken legs!

After Fairfield, we hit a frontage road that paralleled highway 680, and once again we were going with the wind and making some pretty good time. There were a few hills but for the most part we were still feeling pretty good (the pain in my knee had been masked by all the other pains in my legs that come and go after 70 miles).
Finally, at mile 75 we took a turn to the northwest which meant we only had about 10 miles left. This was Lake Herman Road, and it was the toughest part of the ride. It was a bunch of rolling hills followed by one gnarly hill right before we got to Vallejo (my knee was really feeling it at this point and I had to just shift down and grind it out). This hill came just as we were passing mile 80 (why couldn't it have been at mile 20?). However, after the hill it was downhill all the way to the ferry terminal. After one wrong turn and a very short detour in Vallejo, we finally made it.

Victory in Vallejo

Dad had to take off at this point to make it to dinner with a friend so Andy and I got on the Ferry and continued our Journey to The City. When we arrived, we called our buddy Adam to get directions to his place where we would stay the night. We also called our friends Jesse and Shannon, who were having a bar-b-q at their place and invited us over.

A couple of Barneys arriving in San Francisco

After a satisfying shower, a few ibuprofen and a beer run, Andy, Adam and I headed over to Jesse and Shannons for some grub in good company:

Sausage Party...what?

After a good visit with some friends that we had not seen for a while, we had to retire early that night so we could wake up early in the morning and catch BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). Our friend Kele was out of town so we stayed in his room (thanks Kel).
When we woke up in the morning my knee was not in good shape, so I stretched to try to loosen things up:

Don't worry Kele, it's not what it looks like...

So we got back on our bikes and headed to the Embarcadero BART station. This was a good test to see if my knee would hold up on the ride home. Our plan was to take BART to Pittsburg, CA and ride about 65 miles back to Sacramento. However, my knee did not pass the test...I decided that it could only get worse if I kept riding so we called Tess at 8:15am and she offered to come pick us up, thanks Tess.

Not Stoked:Bart at 8:15am, we had to quit early

We took BART to Walnut Creek where we waited for Tess at a coffee shop. Tess arrived with Daniel and they saved us from further knee trouble.

Thanks Friends

Soooo, although we did not finish, it was a great ride. I plan to try it again in a couple of months. For now, I will rest up and maybe start some strength training so I can avoid another knee injury in the future...

In summary:

Total miles on the computer (including wrong turns) = 94
Top speed = 35 mph
Number of cliff bars, GU packs, and protein bars consumed by the group = about 30
Number of flat tires = 1
Most interesting roadkill = freshly deceased skunk
Number of times Andy forgot to clip out and bailed on a sidewalk covered in broken glass = 1
Number of BART elevators we used that smelled like urinals = 4

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Foxy's Century

Today I rode a metric century (100km) (60 mi) with the guy (Matt) that I met on the bike trail a couple of weeks ago. This is two weeks in a row that included nice long rides on the weekend. I rode with some handcyclists who really impressed me. They ride with the power of their upper body and they keep a pretty good pace. The world champion handcyclist was there, Alejandro Abore, he kicked our butts but it was great to meet him. Here I am with Matt, Rick, Patty, Alejandro, and Steve:

I rode with Steve and we made a pretty good team drafting behind each other. We had an average speed of 14 mph compared to the near 20 mph of Alejandro.

I had a great time riding with these guys and will definitely do it again soon.

Next weekend: Sacramento to San Francisco=> 85 miles on Saturday and 85 on Sunday...this will be quite a test...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Harsh Ride

Andy and I rode 60 miles today. From downtown Sac to Folsom Lake and Back. It was a great day and a great ride. However I can barely walk right now. I noticed a small pain in my hip at about mile 30, I rode through it for 30 more miles. I sat down when I got home and then I could barely get up to walk across the room. I think it is just very sore, nothing a couple of IBU profens won't fix. Gonna drive to work tomorrow just to be safe.

Some totally sweet shots at the 30 mile mark (Folsom Lake):

Extreme close-up (in a van) down by the river:

My sandwich was falling apart:

So I fed some to the squirrell and he didn't have to eat that cigarette BUTT:

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Today was my birthday...

We got up at 6 to ride to breakfast. Andy and Tess and I rode to Lyons right by our office, the food could have been better, but the company was great.

Some of my co-workers took me out to lunch to this little hole-in-the wall Mexican place. The waitresses and some other random employees came out and sang happy birthday. Right afterward, this old Mexican guy came over with two shots of tequila and shoved one in my face and took the other for himself. What could I do, I had to take it. Needless to say, it was a very unproductive afternoon at the office.

Tonight I was surprized by many friends that came over wearing stylish vests. Tess had organized a vest party because she knows that I have an unhealthy love for denim vests. We had a nice pot luck barbq and bullshat for a couple hours (my favorite). This was a good photo op (notice all the reflective safety vests):

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Road Rash

So, today I had to take my truck in for an oil change. So I dropped it off at the dealership and rode in to work.

I left work at 5 pm thinking that I would have more than enough time to take a good hard ride and get to the dealership before it closed at 7. So I took a detour on my way there. I went up a pretty good hill in Fair Oaks (its hard to find hills in Sacramento) and then I got back on the trail. I was getting close to the dealership when I passed a guy going the other way, he was riding a hand-bike and I thought I knew who he was so I flagged him down and talked with him for a while. He ended up not being the guy I thaught he was but he invited me to ride with him and a group of friends on October 15, they are going to do a metric century (approximately 62 miles) on hand-bikes (a trike but arm powered), so I am going to join them, you will hear about that afterward...

Anyway, back to the point of the story. It was about 6:38 and the dealership closed at 7 so I started hauling butt toward the Toyota dealership. I was about a half mile away on a flat stretch going about 21 mph and it was getting dark so I reached up to turn my headlight on (mistake). My hand hit the handle which turned my wheels sharp left, I tried to correct, but I lost it and flipped. I skidded about 15 feet and came to a hault. I was nice and scraped up but I had to keep truckin' so I could pick up my truck...I finally arrived at the dealership at 6:55, threw my trike in the back and took an uncomfortable ride home. I think I will rest tomorrow...but not for long because I have a metric century ride on the 15th.

Check out the sweet road rash...and my uvula...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Lots of Riding

I have been riding to work a lot lately. I have been doing about 70 miles or more per week. That is a piece of cake compared to the 60 miles a day that I will be riding during my trip, but its a start. Also I will not be working during the ride (obviously), so I think I will be able to manage 6o miles a day.

On friday, I rode with Tess and we met a few co-workers for breakfast. I ate way too much (huge omlet, potatoes, biscuits and gravy, sooooooo good) and I was very unproductive at work for the rest of the day, but it was so good.

I have been riding with my friend (since first grade) Andy quite a bit lately. Here is a picture of us by the American River with the sunrise in the background. We asked a lone runner to take this pic, she was happy to break her stride and help us out:

It is rad to see the sunrise every morning, Tess says it is good for our soul.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Ride Ataxia Events: International Ataxia Awareness Day

Today was International Ataxia Awareness Day. We had two fundraising events, at two different places. One event was held at Round Table Pizza in Grass Valley (Lake of the Pines), and one in Martinez. My cousin, Angela organized the event in Martinez.

We had a great turnout at both locations, raising about $1,500 at each location. The line for ordering Pizza was out the door for about an hour. I will total up all the donations up to this point to see where we are at, I think we should be close to half way to $30,000.

Thank you to everyone who came out to support the cause, it was a good night.

In the spirit of International Ataxia Awareness Day, check out this article on the promising new Friedreich's Ataxia Research:

Monday, September 18, 2006

Lots Going On....

It has been a while...Since the last post we have had a few meetings, A poker tournament, a trip to Alaska, a couple weddings, lots of work...and not much riding. But things are changing. I rode to work three times last week for a total of about 65 miles during the week. However I was very sluggish because I had not been on the trike for about 4 weeks. This week I am finding all sorts of excuses not to ride but hopefully I will make it at least 2 days.

A few weeks ago, my friend Lindsey came over to help us get organized. Lindsey is in grad school in rganizational Studies so she helped us get all our ideas out and on paper, then we assigned specific tasks. It was great to get all the stuff out of our heads where everybody on our team (Me, Mom and Dad) could see. By the end of the night we had covered the entire dining room in butcher paper.

The Ride Ataxia Poker tournament at Brown and Caldwell, Sacramento was a blast. We had about 20 participants and raised over $600. It was more successful than anticipated. Look at those intense Poker faces:

The day after the poker tournament, My Dad, My Brother and I left for Alaska for a week of fishing. It was a killer trip to the middle of nowhere. We did not catch as many fish as we thought we would, but we caught the biggest fish I had ever seen in person, I layed down next to it for some perspective:

International Ataxia awareness Day is coming up. We are having pizza night in two locations that night(September 25). Obviously I cannot be in both places, so yesterday I filmed a video to send to Martinez so they can pretend I am really there. Hopefully the video will turn out good, I am sure it will because we have the best in the business (Matt Pegler of Brown and Caldwell) doing the editing.

Thats all for now, I would like to update more often and I will have some details about the actual ride soon. Don't forget International Ataxia Awareness Day September 25!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Trek to Work

I rode to work the other day. It has cooled down a lot around here, I actually had to wear long sleves in the morning.

I got up at 6 and met my good friend and co-worker, Tess, at her house. We rode through town and on to the American River parkway. It is about 15 miles one way to my office aned most of it is on the trail so we don't have to deal with traffic. It takes a little over an hour but it is a great way to wake up in the morning and a nice way to work off steam at the end of a long day.

I try to ride to work once a week but I need to increase the frequency so I can get experience with back to back days.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Saturday Ride

I went on a ride yesterday from my apartment in downtown Sacramento to Nimbus Dam in Folsom (45+ miles round trip). The most current heat wave has passed and temperatures are in double digits again so it is safe to train in the afternoons.

This ride took me a little longer than it should have because I havent been training very heavily in the past couple of weeks. It has been too hot to go outside. However the heat wave is over for now and I am going to try to train hard until the next wave...

Me, halfway through my ride with Nimbus Dam and the American river in the background:

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Some of the Many Reasons

From the time we were convinced that something was wrong, it took us (my family and I) over a year to find the answers we were looking for. My Dad noticed that my skills were deteriorating in sports, specifically baseball. So he convinced my Mom and I that something was truely wrong. We went to a neurologist once a week for a while so he could run all kinds of tests, he had no idea what was going on. Many doctors, many wrong diagnoses and many months later, we found a doctor who took one look and knew right away that I have Friedreich's Ataxia...

Nobody knows about Ataxia (even doctors as I found out), that is why I am riding across the country, this disease needs some attention. It is estimated that one in every 50,000 Americans has Friedreich's Ataxia, yet nobody even knows about it.

I am also doing this beause I am one of the lucky few Ataxians who can still get around without the use of a wheelchair. The ability that I have will be gone at some point, I feel an obligation to do as much as I can while I still can.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ride Ataxia Events: Golf Tournament

Fundraiser outcome...Overwhelming
For those of you who participated in the golf tournament, thannk you. It was a huge success, raising $9,800. This money will fund my ride and then some. I will donate the "and then some" to FARA.

For those who did not attend here is a brief rundown: 24 teams of four, 28 hole sponsors, and 150 people at dinner that night. I think everyone I know was at dinner that night. Everybody stuck it out through tripple digit herat and had a great time.

Thank you to all the great people at Lake of the Pines and the surrounding community, you have built something great, keep it up!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

First Post

First post...

My fundraiser is coming together. I have been thinking about ths thing for about 9 months now. I have to wait another 6 until I leave and then another 2 until I reach Memphis. I am pretty stoked, I want to leave tomorrow.

I have been training quite a bit lately, trying to ride during the week and riding 60+ miles on the weekends. I rode my first century ride on May 7 in a fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association. It took me about 9 hours due to a flat tire and a wrong turn. I was the last one on the course, but I finished.

I am planning on averaging 60 miles a day for almost 2 months. Its going to be very challenging but its gonna be a blast...more details later.