wheels

sparrows dip

wings and turn about

the gold fields

tent city at north

gate and sixteenth god

am i lucky

ridin wheels

over the american

river

exchangin words

at the fountain

gettin wet

thank you

spinnin hot

spokes shinin

in the sunlight

close to my

heart

cycling

cycling adventure (part II)

I remember the moment, standing over my duffle bag full of camping gear at 4am, half-awake and trying to choose between a pillow and long underwear. The pillow won. Over the next several days we woke up from camp @ 530am to a car alarm someone was setting off on purpose (and i thought i got away from the city) to sucker us out of our sleeping bags and tents and inside for coffee and breakfast before heading out for our long daily adventures up in and around Auburn, California…  my decision would come back to haunt me… zooming down steep hills at 7am in nothing but a cycling jersey and t-shirt clocking 40 miles an hour max was a fine recipe for bronchitis — and yes, it was so worth it. We had a blast, me and my team ladybugs compadres and i definitely contributed at least 250 miles (i confess i didn’t do them all this year).
 
The weather was outstanding, the crew was incredible, the food was excellent, the cyclists were friendly, and the Gold Country Fairgrounds was a very nice homebase. Nobody got injured (i heard one person maybe fainted) and everyone worked together to make it a safe and sweet trip. I particularly loved listening to tent zippers and trains chugging along, rattling through the night. I hope to stay on the every other year plan but who knows. I seem to have less and less time anymore to do anything. For now my plan is to get back and finish Book #3 of my trilogy — the Daughter of Darkness series — so you probably won’t hear from me for a while about running or cycling events.

Oh! I forgot to mention i could not wear my prescription eyeglasses so i got a little bit lost every single day of the ride. We were trying to follow arrows taped to the ground to know where to turn and thankfully we had maps and crew looking out for us, so i never went more than a mile or two off track. Also, in Auburn i greeted a unicyclist with a coffee who was riding a steep grade like a pro, and one gorgeous solitary deer the last day on the American River Trail heading home. There were plenty of horses and cattle and goats and bees in boxes, and the occasional snake which had unfortunately been run over. We also got crop dusted the first day at one of our rest stops. The planes seemed to be dusting us more than the fields! Don’t know what that was about – we don’t look like crops? – but it felt like a mean country bumpkin trick and we got out of there as soon as we could!

The final day we rode into William Land Park [via the Sacramento Riverside road and Marina and Old SacTown and a desperate turn through Loaves & Fishes and the Railyards] to a staging area for lunch, and I was the VERY LAST one to arrive because i got lost again that day, somewhere near Loaves & Fishes. I got on course and pedaled hard and made it just in the nick of time, as we had to line up and ride with a motorcycle escort to be at the Amphitheatre by noon for the celebration. A cyclist with a puppy dog in his basket fell over and some asshole almost ran him over. Everyone got scared and angry for a second. Then he was back on his bike, puppy intact, and everything was golden again because the group that was there to celebrate our homecoming was spectacular and loud! And the mayor of West Sac was there to give a nice speech as we stood up with our bikes on the stage and hero medals around our necks. I shed some tears myself, which immediately crystallized into salt on my cheeks. I was rather dehydrated.  
 
Anyways, thanks to all our friends and supporters, and to the organizers of the event! This year we have thus far raised close to a quarter million dollars! Love from me to you.
KatYa  ‘just another ladybug on wheels’

cycle

cycling adventure 2017

We are 16 hours from liftoff, the start of the ride at the Barn in West Sacramento, and i am rushing around getting some last minute things in place, doing my laundry, securing cat-sitters, packing my bags, getting the bike ready, doing therapy, and, well, i just had to sit down for a minute, take a deep breath and thank god and the supporters who helped us get here. This is my second NCAC. NorCalAidsCycle 2015/2017. A 300-mile, 4-day bicycling adventure through Woodland to Placer County then up to Lake of the Pines and back to Auburn, down to Roseville and back up again, then down through Granite Bay to Beals Point on Lake Folsom and back home to William Land Park. 
The forecast is just great, sunny weather through the weekend and in the mid seventies. Unlike two years ago I know many people in this years ride, some from the 2015 ride, others from Kaiser (including my doctor who is riding with his sister this year), and I belong this year to ‘Team Ladybugs’ which is comprised of 4 riders and 3 crew members all of whom i work with at the GHC in Sacramento where I am a volunteer counselor. Feels good to belong and I am excited to get on my trusted ride, the same one I used in 2015 and have owned since 2011, sleek black steel with carbon forks, Motobecane’s Cafe Noir. Two wheels and twenty seven gears of delightful freedom.
quentin and k. selfie @ rainbow bridge
All contributions to this cause are going directly to the healthcare providers who locally have a direct impact on the community, offering essential and immediate services at low to no cost and sliding scale, to the people who need them. Anywhere from hiv testing to counseling to advocacy to affordable medical care, respite, crisis intervention and basic needs for indigent peoples who lack them. California is remarkable for offering services that other states in this great country do not provide.
keyko and k. william pond rec
I can’t wait for the camping tech-holiday and break from work. I’ve been working 12+ hour days all this year if you include my job, my new volunteer job, and all the hours i put into writing/blogging, and I am pretty darn beat up and frazzled! Thank god i love what i do, or else i would surely be miserable. I haven’t had to train for the ride as hard this year, thanks to the marathon training i did all of last year.
Anyways, the beauty of life is in the journey, day by day. I wish you could all be riding beside me but for sure you will be in my heart. And may we all be grateful for our health and longevity, and keep the memory of those friends and family we lost to HIV/AIDS alive today.  We will be having a candlelight vigil on saturday night up at the Gold County Fairgrounds in Auburn where we are camping. I will at that time light a candle for them, too.
love and gratitude,
KatYa   ‘just another ladybug’

Outlandishlessness

The Tour  hasn’t even begun, and Lance Armstrong has already stolen the spotlight. He is the first to wear the yellow jersey this year. Stained with his doped up urine, for all to see. Still talking, long after he opened up with Oprah. Something about how no one could have won the Tour in the years he won, unless they were nice and doped up, too. I am only paraphrasing. (why waste my time or yours, hunting down the actual quote?)

Wow. I can’t believe he has more to say! This must be desperation. Anger. The need to get that stained jersey off his back. I don’t think the mailman is delivering flowers today, Lance. Maybe more lollipops from some international pharm?  I do feel for you. I am sure it is hard to live strong after your global avatar got character assassinated in broad daylight.

All I know is I am gonna watch the Tour this year, whenever the summer heat here in the West has me incapacitated. I am no couch potato. My bikes are my life! I ride almost every day. I have a Fuji Feather (fixed), a Motobecane Noir (cafe), and a beat up old Nishiki ten-speed. I do most of the repairs and maintenance myself, but I still need to learn how to true a wheel.

Come July, I will choose a favorite among the riders. But I consider them all, my heroes. The race is brutal! and these are all brilliant athletes. Doped up or not. Though I have completely lost interest in Lance…he’s probably right, what he says. Hopefully they are not doped, the riders, this year. But if they are doped, may  they all be doped! I want everyone in the race to have an equal, fair chance.

Yeah, all or none! Where everyone has an equal, fair chance at succeeding in the race. Just like the real world! Just like major league anything, and the national association of everything! No one has an advantage over anyone else! No nepotism, no doping, no ageism, no discriminatory practices! No dishonesty. No racism, sexism. Nor any other -ism. Strong and constant ethics! Great, abiding integrity! May the uneven bars become even. May the best players in the world be pulled off the field at once! for gambling, dogfighting, and homicide. And double homicide. And drive-by shootings!

We want our heroes to be rich! to be pure! Brita-filtered, if necessary! We want them charitable, and honest. To be good with the children and not beat their wives. And if not? We won’t suffer any out in the open antics. Not when our children our watching! The V-chips are set for high alert! Any outlandishness, and we will take them to court via International Sport Federation laws, if justice cannot be served elsewhere. We will promote only contractual outlandishlessness!

This is how it is in this our litigious year of our lord of our understanding, twenty thirteen! Any current or potential iconic sports hero must obey. Digital signatures notwithstanding! Hell! it’s not so bad! The expectations are clear. Ya, certain personality types will have to be weeded out, here and there. But there’s no such thing as a garden without weeds. And no hero of yours or mine will be suspected of any heinous crime, rest assured, without clear and present leads.

Katya Mills, 06/13 @ katyamills.com