About Lea's Foundation

In 1998, Lea Michele Economos, a young woman who died of leukemia at the age of 28, made a dying wish to her parents that others would not face the hardships she encountered by finding a cure for this disease. Her family started this charity to carry on that wish. Today, Lea’s Foundation takes an active role in finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and myeloma and to better the lives of people living with these diseases. At the UCONN Health Center, the Lea’s Foundation Center for Hematologic Disorders sponsors research in this field. A new program covers the cost of bone-marrow testing to help recruit life-saving transplants for patients. Also, annual scholarships are given to children with leukemia who are planning to attend nursery school. For more information on other projects carried out by Lea’s Foundation, please visit their website at www.LeasFoundation.org.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Day 3 - Bodega Bay, CA to Manchester, CA (69 miles)

After the discouraging winds during our previous day, and hoping to make big mileage all the way up to Manchester State Beach, we woke up at 515am and were on the road by 615am. The morning was cold and damp, but finally, there was no wind.
We cruised along, up and down the Sonoma County coastline; we simultaneously admired dairy farms and steep ocean bluffs. The nigh before we had met a southbound traveler who had warned of "the climb out of Jenner". We flew down a steep hill and into the town of Jenner (Population: 107, Elevation: 19ft).
As we climbed up a slow hill we got to admire a beautiful cove, river and beaches. Reaching the top I recorded a video (to be uploaded eventually) as Greg caught up. When Greg arrived he promptly disengaged his left cleat, and the slowly tipped and fell into a drainage ditch to his right. Next thing I knew Greg was staring up from the bottom of the ditch with his bike on top of him. A biker who had been following us up the hill was concerned, but luckily Greg was unhurt. This man was 2 to 3 times our age and assured us we'd have no issues reaching our nearly 70 mile goal as he sprinted off on his lightweight road bike.
As we descended down the next hill I saw this man already climbing a mountain covered in switchback roads. Despite how we'd felt after dinner climbing into Lagunitas, this was our first true fitness test. After a few breaks we reached the top. For the next dozen miles we climbed and descended (mostly climbing) along beautiful Pacific cliffs with southbound road shoulders hundreds of feet above ocean.

We continued on to Gualala as the winds began to build, finally reaching around 20mph by lunchtime.
(Random side note: in Sea Ranch, CA at the end of a mile climb uphill and upwind a man yelled at me in Spanish as he threw sand and gravel at my legs/bike. Not sure why he did it, but when he saw Greg he only yelled.)
At lunch we met a man who used to commute 67 miles daily. He said he did this on a bike trail and was amazed at the mileage and climbs we were accomplishing on California's Shoreline Highway. Later when we were eating he brought us a braided keychain that his daughter had made, saying it would bring us good luck and remind us of Gualala.
Having already passed the raved-above parks of Gualala and Salt Point, we were determined to make it the final 21 miles to Manchester.  Our good luck charm did not diminish the winds unfortunately and we trudged through strong winds once again. The issues with headwinds is that they don't just slow you down on flat and inclined roads. But they also suck away your speed on well earned downhill sections, or threaten to blow you off the road/into traffic once a cross wind catches our heavy panniers. Heading down the steep descent into Point Arena which lay between two hills was particularly treacherous.
Nearing camp we grabbed food (a Lunchable, apple , sliced turkey, bread and brie). Once in camp we were rewarded with a lack of showers and a presence of pit-toilets. 69 miles down.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Day 2 - Lagunitas, CA to Bodega Bay, CA (44 miles)

We got on the road by 730am, hoping to avoid some of the headwinds I had read about online. The first seven miles were through beautiful agricultural areas before we reach Tomales Bay.

We continued our touring until a hearty 1030am breakfast full of eggs, toast, potatoes and bacon. We thought this filling and balanced meal would be great for the biking that lay ahead of us. Sitting in town we met another biker who was heading north to Washington from San Diego. We parted ways and planned to see each other again at Sonoma Coast State Park later in the day.
Here, using my navigational wisdom I had to choose between California Route 1 or a road with a scenic bike path that ran closer to the water. Since the terrain was the "same" we chose the scenic option. After a mile of steady climbing into our first 20mph headwind of the trip. The remaining 5 miles of this road, before getting back to Route 1 made us doubt our abilities at every turn. With this headwind, we had to pedal hard to only make 7mph against the wind.
The last third of our ride was on Route 1 as it rolled up and down, hundreds of vertical feet at a time before dumping us into the pretty town of Bodega Bay. After a quick lunch we struggled the last few miles into Sonoma Coast State Park. This park had free hot showers! These were very welcome because Samuel P Taylor State Park's showers were closed due to drought.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Day 1 - San Francisco, CA to Lagunitas, CA (35 miles)

Unfortunately we beat our bikes to San Francisco by about 26 hours, giving us an unexpected extended visit to the city. Finally around 4pm Thursday we set off, riding along San Francisco's waterfront including AT&T Park, and beautiful views of Alcatraz.

In San Francisco there are many cable cars as one might expect. I had the misfortune of discovering that our bike tires wedge perfectly into these trolley tracks. I flew forward over my bike, only receiving small scraps on my left thumb and knee in the process. I also customized my bike by punching off the front reflector as I fell.
We continued up to the Golden Gate Bridge and rode across the western riding path. Passing each bridge tower intensified the crosswinds, bringing us close to a standstill. A navigational error led us up an extreme hill, that yielded the picture below as well as two exhausted riders.
We continued on through Sausalito  where we met a girl who told us that it didn't look like we had very much gear for a 4000 mile trip. Based on the fact that we cannot lift our own bikes, we respectfully disagree.
After grabbing sandwiches for dinner we hit our first mountain climb that lasted nearly two miles.

Luckily once we reached the top of our climb we were gifted a 5+ mile descent into Samuel P Taylor State Park around 9pm. After finding a campsite in the "full" campground, we were able to get to bed by 10pm (1am for our unadjusted East Coast minds).
(Time lapse video of us leaving San Francisco will come later when/if we find WiFi)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

And we're off!

We left Bradley International Airport this morning and will be arriving in San Francisco at 1:15pm local time. Currently we're enjoying a two hour layover in O'Hare (Chicago).

UConn Health Article

Chris DeFrancesco from UConn Health wrote a great article today about our ride.

Be sure to check it out:

(Photo credit: Tina Encarnacion/UConn Health Photo)