Travels with Charley

Look what I found on everyone’s favorite search engine today! Google and I are clearly on the same page. Or should I say… the same webpage.

Sorry, I won’t do that again.

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And of course, the Steinbeck quote that has been imprinted on the mugs, tote bags, and minds of wanderers everywhere…
P.S. Google, I am available for employment immediately following this bike ride across America. 😉

The Bike (Meet Charley!)

Big day yesterday–I finally received my bike! And thanks to my new friend and cycling teammate Jan, it is out of the box and ready to hit the road. I don’t usually give names to my possessions, but I have a feeling that my relationship with this one is going to be quite spirited and complicated. I’ve decided to name him/her after John Steinbeck’s poodle, and transcontinental travel partner, Charley. Steinbeck described his pup as a “good friend and traveling companion”, and I hope that my Charley will be those things to me as well.



Quick update on training! I’m finally settling into a training schedule. It’s a little strange to plan my own workouts since I’ve been given sets, intervals, and exercises my entire life. Luckily, I have some old teammates to keep me in line–Thank you Noelle, Angela, and Becky! We try to push each other, encourage each other, and keep each other accountable. Also a huge thanks to Duke Diaz, who directs and manages operations at Payne Whitney Gym. After I told him about training for Bike and Build, he has given me permission to do spin workouts with a couple of classes every week.

Here’s what my weekly training schedule looks like right now:

Monday: 1-2 hrs cardio

Tuesday: Morning workout with Noelle, 90 mins with the Cycling Team (that’s right, I just joined the team!)

Wednesday: 1-2 hrs cardio, weights with Angela and Becks

Thursday: 90 mins with Cycling Team

Friday: 1 hour spin, afternoon run and yoga

Saturday: run as much as I can (meaning 1 mile), yoga (attempt headstand, usually fail, but at least I have fresh bruises to show off)

Sunday: 1 hour spin

I figured that if I could swim 5 miles every day for years and years, I should at least be able to run that distance every week. I was wrong. Running is hard. Let me know if y’all have training tips (especially in the running realm). Much appreciated!

Oh, and I’m still getting in the pool a couple of times each week to give swim lessons in exchange for Bike and Build donations! Thanks to everyone who has donated already 🙂 Please don’t hesitate to make another contribution to affordable housing. This is a systemic issue that demands our attention.

Have a great week, and happy training!

Old Hobbies

This post doesn’t really have anything to do with Bike and Build. It’s more of a reminder for me to pick up some old hobbies that I have neglected over the past months and years. But please remember to make a donation if you can. I have been in a rut for a while, and any contribution would mean a lot to me.

Ukulele: I’ve been so comfortable playing four-chord songs that it’s making me uncomfortable. I still play every once in a while, but several months have passed since I’ve learned anything new. Thanks to YouTube, new chords and strum patterns are just a click away.

Reading for Pleasure: Currently working through Walk in a Relaxed Manner: Life Lessons from the Camino by Joyce Rupp and The Pacific Crest Trail By Karen Berger and Daniel R. Smith. The Camino de Santiago and the PCT are two long hikes I would love to take someday. The first trail is on the other side of the globe. The second is just twenty miles away from home in sunny Southern California.

Yoga: The yoga mat in my room has been a rug for too long. It’s good to know I can still touch my toes.

Piano: Yep, the same instrument that gave me years of grief as a kid.

Juggling: More than a few apples and oranges have been bruised today, and that’s a bad sign. It’s time to regain those skills.

Survivor: I haven’t watched this show since Cochran played a perfect game. Now that Breaking Bad is over, and The Mindy Project is on a too-long hiatus, it’s the perfect time to catch up on Blood vs. Water. Season 28 starts next week, and I’ve already got my buff on.

Bake Sale, Pt. 1

Huge thank you to Becky De La Fuente, Chelsea Dunlap, Angela Lee, and Jacqui Levere for helping  me bake loads of delicious goods last night. We made sugar cookies and cupcakes, and raised a whopping $49. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t a fundraising breakthrough. But I’m not giving up on the belief that baked goods are the way to every person’s philanthropic heart and stomach.

Really though, it was miserably cold outside, and I am so thankful to have a friend who will stand on a freezing corner and sell baked goods with me.

Keep Your Resolutions


I have never been one to make New Years’ Resolutions. But if you did make a list this year, it’s pretty likely that you’re starting to slip. You can’t seem to find the time. Your goals have changed. January is over, and 2014 is getting old.

I don’t have a motivational quote or a success story. But I can give you a new incentive. You’ve probably already tried conditioning your own behavior through positive reinforcement. This rewards system includes the time you pigged out on a sundae for finishing a project and the time you went on a shopping spree after losing five pounds. Psychologists have shown that positive reinforcement can be an extremely effective stimulus. Rewards are a great way to acknowledge good behavior and promote the development of positive habits.

But if rewards haven’t worked for you in the past, why not try something new?

Try punishment. Pledge to lose something if you don’t keep your resolution. Since this is a blog mostly dedicated to fundraising for the affordable housing problem, pledge a donation to Bike and Build each time you stray from what you set out to do. It can be $1, $10 or $100 each time you miss a workout, skip class, or forget to blog. You are the only person who can determine the appropriate price to pay for “failure”. I don’t like the word failure, but I can’t think of a more suitable and concise alternative. Price to pay for “falling off the horse, but then brushing yourself off and getting right back on” is closer to what I actually mean. You get the idea.

You might know this already, but self-punishment requires a certain level of honesty and accountability. Be honest about the incentive you’ll need to actually stick to your goals, and be honest when you don’t stick to them.

You might even find that the initial pain of losing $1 (or $10 or $100) is replaced by pleasure from supporting a great cause.