Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Our original promo video for the CCC

I never put this video on the blog, but here's the video we created to raise money for the CCC...

It has clips from Christiana's last year of life :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The long-awaited videos

So I did a lot of video on the tour... and I compiled them into little videos (which basically needed to be separated by day because uploading would take very long and watching a 50-minute video in one sitting could get boring).

Here they are...

Day 0

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3 (Part 1)

Day 3 (Part 2)

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Well, it's over. And we did it!!!

Again, hello.

It's been about 2 weeks since our ride of a lifetime adventure concluded. Since I've been back, many people have been asking me, "So, how was it?" And it has been hard for me to truthfully or completely answer this question without a terse, curt 1-sentence answer, or without spending the next 2 to 3 hours responding. I think I'm still in a bit of culture shock of the ride being over, and me being back...did it really happen? What did I just do to myself?

The ride was definitely all those things I have said to people in the past two weeks: It was great! It was fabulous and beautiful! We had great weather! It was fun! IT WAS HARD!! I did it! I was really tired! My legs really do hurt a lot! It was an amazing experience! Mel did great! Dwight and Evelyn rocked! Our team is the best!!

Mel and I were really busy the last week heading into the ride...we basically had one last training ride with Jerry and crew to Point Reyes on September 23. After that, there was no more time for biking. I basically bought a new bike thing every day to get ready. We were wrapping stuff up at work, trying to tie loose ends before we left. It was exhausting! Mel and I stayed late in the office on Thursday night and then had to pull an all-nighter on Thursday night/ Friday morning to pack our gear. On Thursday, Peter took our bikes up with him to the city. On Friday afternoon, we gave Peter our first duffel bags for him to take to the city. Then, Mel and I with our second duffel bags (we each had two) took VTA, CalTrains, and Bart (in that order) from Mountain View to SF and walked the rest of the way to the hotel for registration and check-in. Peter and Casey were nice enough to transport the rest of our stuff from their house to the hotel. Then, once we checked in and put on our new biking outfits...we ceased to be our normal, regular selves, and became cyclists!!

We became this sea of green, unidentifiable people...all wearing the same uniform of helmet, sunglasses, Arthritis Foundation biking jerseys and shorts...all with the same goal of riding down the coast of California from San Francisco to Los Angeles on our bikes on behalf of a single cause. We could not be recognizable from our individual selves and became a mass, a herd, a colony. Our bikes became inseparable from us. Life was different. I was different. Simple things mattered. Water never tasted so good. A sandwich was never more nourishing. A little breeze was sent from heaven on long, hot climbs. Small words of encouragement, a smile, a downhill were never so welcome. Life's daily rhythms changed...get up, eat, ride, eat, ride, eat, ride, eat, shower, sleep. Our lives' rhythm started to match the flow of the ocean waves and breezes alongside us, the big blue Pacific being our constant companion for eight days. It became the tempo of the bike's wheels turning in a smooth constant cadence...whoosh whoosh whoosh. Ocean waves, pedaling, sea breeze, heart rate, breathing...all became our internal beat.

Every morning we would wake up (unfortunately in a cold, wet tent), and go into a flurry of action: dress as quickly as possible, pack up tent and gear, eat breakfast (I had eggs and potatoes every day- decadant!) and ride. It would take a few miles to get the morning stiffness out, to warm up and settle into the day on our bikes. Practically every mid morning we would stop in some cafe on some coastal town for coffee and pastries. Riding became our only job...looking on the Daily Route Guides for directions, rest stops, check-ins (many of which I missed or was practically the last rider in), frequent pauses to enjoy scenery and take pictures. I was never one to spontaneously speak to strangers, but I'm glad other people do talk to strangers, because there were so many people who just stopped and asked us questions: "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!" I guess being an anonymous Greenie wearing tight fitting clothes, smeared with sunscreen, and stuffing down energy bars makes us more approachable than usual. Plus, we were one of many idling down the coast with nothing better to do, either by car or by bike. Everyone was in a good mood...enjoying the perfect weather, gorgeous scenery, nature in absolute perfection. We met many locals and tourists who were just so friendly and happy. "We're riding for the Arthritis Foundation," we'd say, "We're going from SF to LA and have raised 1.4 million dollars! Come join us next year!!"

I definitely could not have this adventure of a lifetime without the help of so many:
1) All the people who donated to me and our team- basically they paid for my experience, so THANK YOU!! Basically these include my wonderful family, friends, co-workers, and patients and their families. These are donations not just of money, but of time, and of support and good wishes. Thank you's just aren't enough for all that you have given me.
2) Of course, my office mates, co-workers and boss, who put up with hours of our bike talk/bike gripes, who had to step over or trip over our greasy bikes in the office, and who "let" us or at least understood when we left work early to go on a bike ride. Don't worry everyone, it's over!
3) Jerry Kruse- my biking hero and savior!! I will always remember his support, pedalling close by, helping me up the hill by simply being there and believing in me. You're the best! One story: we were all resting at the top of a tough climb when we noticed there was still one person left who hadn't made it up yet. Jerry went back downhill, and then did that climb AGAIN to bike with that other person. He voluntarily did a killer climb TWICE!
4) Peter Chira!! I luuuuv yooouuuu!! You pack-muled all of our stuff to your house, ate rubbery chicken with us during dinner, let us stay at your gorgeous place, woke up at 5 in the morning in the freezing cold the next day to take us to the start line
and put up with our frantics when we were about to leave and were panicked!! You called in to check on us, followed our progress and believed in us! You are a superstar!
5) Mel Balboni: thank you for introducing me to a great new sport, and I will definitely keep on biking! It's hard for me now to bike with anyone else, so reliant I've become on you and Pinkie in front of me, setting the pace, guiding me through traffic, signalling, pointing out road hazards...hope your back heals so we can ride again soon!
6) The Powerys: I'm in such Powery withdrawal right now. I've become accustomed to seeing Dwight and Evelyn every day.
7) New biking friends and Jerry's bike crew...we had so much fun together!!

Here are some selected photos if anyone is interested. I'll upload more to a photo sharing site soon too. There are also photos on the CA Coast Classic website itself (including a picture of me in a bathing suit....aack! you've been warned.)

Here's Jerry leading Team Stanford Pedi Rheum Zoom Zoom!

Yes, it's true. We're actually on the freeway. I know, I couldn't believe it either.

(It was really windy, in case you're wondering what we are doing here.)

See, Mel really did listen to her doctor's orders and did her physical therapy exercises!

Can you believe it? Mel had FOUR flat tires!! Here she is at her first one...note she is wearing surgical gloves for this operation.

This is us at the kick-off dinner.

That's it for now. I need to get to bed soon because I'm on service again. This has been a long week, being on service, and I've been upset. Angry and tired and frustrated at the ravages and the chronicity of lupus and arthritis on young lives. We need better medicines and more understanding. More research. Someone put me out of business so I can go ride my bike again.

To finish's Day 8: The End

Hello everyone again!

We have re-emerged after resting up from the bike tour. I wanted to put in Evelyn and Dwight's running comments from when we were on the tour to finish up our day-to day summaries. Each night, Evelyn and Dwight would call Maria, and she would update the two blogs: The Ride of a Lifetime and Stanford Pedi Rheum Zoom Zoom for all 8 days. The last day was put in by Evelyn and can also be seen at I just put in Evelyn's text into this blog; there are also photos of each day that can be seen on her other blog. Without further ado, here goes:

The Ride of a Lifetime
Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Day 8: The End
Hello everyone... (this is Evelyn) sorry we left you hanging for a couple days after we finished the race. It's been crazy busy with moving me in back to school, catching up with school and getting everything finalized for Hoops for Hope.


Day 8: I fell a couple times today... just didn't clip out off the bike in time. I think I was a little too anxious to get there. Plus I wanted to have some wounds when I got to the finish line. We were on Highway 1 and passed through Malibu for half the ride (it was exciting to see that Los Angeles was less than 50 miles away!!).

Day 8 was very flat. I loved it. Just some rolling hills only 200 ft high (nothing like the 1500 ft climb we'd mastered on some other days). As we approached our destination, we stopped off at a seafood restaurant that was tradition (I actually forget the name at the moment) and just ordered drinks and a few appetizers. We wanted to make it quick because we were 8 miles away and I had some school friends waiting for me at the finish line.

When we continued, we rode along the Santa Monica pier (the path was literally paved on the beach with sand on both sides) and we followed Jerry to a different path than the guide so we could skip the final hill. Little did we know skipping this hill would also skip the lovely fans waiting for us at the finish line. We came to the finish line from the opposite direction and started looking earnestly for the friends who were supposed to be there. Suddenly they came running out of nowhere saying they had been lined up the other side of the street where "everyone else had come." Oops.

I was blessed to have about 12 friends from UCLA come and see me at the finish line, and we enjoyed food and the closing ceremony and got medals! Now that I'm at school, I'm putting my bike back in the garage. I think I've biked enough to last me the rest of the year.

Posted by Evelyn at 11:15 PM

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Day Seven - The Well Deserved Massage!

Today we rode from Solvang to Ventura. It was a total of 82 miles and 2800 ft. of climbing. It was one of the longer days but an easy ride. The view of the countryside was amazing. We rode on Hwy 101 for about 20 miles. They actually had a bike lane. We rode by Santa Barbara and the choppy ocean as the sun was starting to go down. It was beautiful. It got a little windy when we were putting up our tent. In fact, our tent almost blew away. A biking team from Jamaica noticed our team and decided that they wanted to interview us and hear Christiana’s story. It can be viewed soon at They have a recording of our interview. When we arrived into Ventura, we ended our day with a wonderful massage

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Day Six - Can you say, "Farms"?

We rode 66 miles today averaging 16 miles/hour. While Evelyn was “drafting” today, she fell and got a little bruised. Not too bad though. She did get back up and ride again. Today’s ride was more agricultural, not too coastal. We went through strawberry, cabbage, broccoli, cilantro, rosemary and parsley farms. It smelled real good. The pace was a little slower . We went through a town called Guadalupe (population 200) and stopped in a coffee shop for Chocolate Chai. Doesn’t that sound good? For lunch we went to a countryside store in the middle of nowhere and got some grilled corn (Mmmmm)! They wouldn’t let us use the bathroom at the store though so we had to bike a mile to use one of the porta potties some workers were using. We had to tackle a hill called “the wall”. It shoots straight up and was a mile long. Evelyn beat Dwight on the first hill and Dwight beat Evelyn on the second one. Dr. Balboni rode the whole way today despite her back problems. Dr. Hsu was “drafting” Dwight without even know it. When we finally approached Solvang, we were able to do our laundry. Yes!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Day Five - Hot Springs!

Total mileage today was 63 miles today at an average of 14.1 miles/hr. It was a pretty easy ride. We stopped at a bakery called Lili’s Coffee and they had the best cherry pie ever! We went to downtown San Luis Obispo and visited bubble gum alley. Gum goes all along the wall and down the alley. One of our riders went to Cal Poly in the 80’s and it existed then. We even saw a whale by Cayucos. At mile 55 miles we went swimming at a regular pool then jumped into the hot springs. It was 104 degrees of natural heat. Now we are at Pismo Beach.