Last tuesday the Tour of California came through Sacramento. Their day ended at the capitol building downtown (the site of the send-off for Ride Ataxia II). So I took a few hours off work to check it out. I had never been to a cycling race of this caliber before (I was somewhere in Texas at this time last year). I secured a spot about 200 meters from the finish line.
The peleton took three laps around capitol park before they sprinted to the finish so I got to see them four times. I waited for two hours before they first arrived and it was well worth the wait. These guys were crazy. They were going over 20 mph and there was not more than a couple of inches between cyclists in the pack. When they passed me for the fourth time, it was an all out sprint. The peleton quickly changed shape as each cyclist jockeyed for position, cutting each other off, I'm sure there was some language in the group that my mother would not approve of. Finally, Tom Boonen crossed the line first and was awarede first place for stage two.

On Friday I gave a presentation at my elementary alma mater, Pleasant Ridge School. I spoke in front of 250 rad kids and I saw some teachers whose classes I was in a long time ago (like 17 years), I had a lot of fun. At the end, the student council gave me a donation for research, a Pleasant Ridge Roadrunners t-shirt, and a cookbook that was put together by parents. Thanks Roadrunners, its great to have support from my roots!

First, let me introduce you to a friend of mine. This introduction is long overdue. This guy has been a huge part of Ride Ataxia II. This is Sean Baumstark:

(Sean is on the right)

Sean has been a huge part of the vision and execution of Ride Ataxia II. Sean always seems to know what we need and how to get it. He is on my speed dial, anytime I need to make a decision I talk to Sean and things get done.
Sean was Diagnosed with FA about 8 months ago and is driven to find a cure. Here is how I first met Sean:
"I just stumbled onto your story, and your website. I'm 25 and was diagnosed with FA last week. I'm also a resident of Sacramento. In fact, if you work in Rancho Cordova, our foot or drive patterns have probably crossed. Uncertain that this email will find you, I won't waste a lot of key strokes. If possible, I'd like the opportunity to meet you, and possibly work on any future fundraising visions you may have, or may come up with in the future."
We had lunch a few days later and we have been working together ever since. Sean jumped right in with huge support from his Family, Friends and Coworkers.

Sean and I along with 11 other teammates geared up and met for a training ride on Saturday. Our goal was to put in a bunch of miles to test ourselves and our equipment to see how much it will take to be ready on March 15. We started the ride with 13 team members and finished with four. I will spare some details but I want to give you some high lights.
It was pretty darn cold and it was threatening to rain the entire time. So we all met at Discovery Park and geared up with our gloves and ear warmers, little booties that fit over our cycling shoes and plenty of lycra.

Sean, Travis, Doug, Glenn, Mike M., Collin, John, "That Guy", Roberto, Neal, Libby, Mike B., Diane, Me (in front)

Doug and Mike B. turned around after about 10 miles which means they ended up with 20 miles. Neal and Libby turned around at 15 miles and reached 30 miles on the day. The rest of us continued on to Nimbus Dam which is at mile 23. We all wanted to grab at least 50 miles so we continued around Lake Natoma, which added about 12 miles. When we got back to Nimbus Dam, we were on the home stretch. We were at mile 34 with 23 miles remaining. Sean had a flat so we accompanied him while he installed a new tube. A couple of us (including myself) were feeling the effects of the long miles so we left before everyone else figuring that they would catch us pretty easily. About 15 miles later, Sean, Mike M. and Travis still hadn't caught up so we pulled over to give them a call.

It turned out that Sean's tire went flat again. He replaced the tube once again and stuffed the old tube into the front pocket of his jacket. As he continued down the trail, the tube fell out of his pocket and got caught in his chain. The tube hit his derailer, gummed it all up and the force of his pedal stroke snapped the derailer clean off. Crazy, who knew that was even possible? You couldn't try to do that. So Travis accompanied Sean to a location where they could be picked up and Mike M. cycled on. Mike M. met up with us with about 15 miles left. I was really feeling it and it would have taken me a long time and a considerable amount of agony to make it to the end so I split off and rode to my house with 50 miles under my belt for the day. Collin, Mike M., John and Roberto finished the 57 miles before the heavy rain started.

Overall it was a very successful day. We learned how much more training it will take before we are ready and we learned not to carry a spent tube in an unzipped front pocket.