I registered for my first AIDS Ride back in 1996 and trained and prepared for it in Salt Lake City the next 10 months or so. I was terrified. I had absolutely no one to give me direction on how much to train, what kind of gear to buy, what kind of clothes to wear, or anything else that might be helpful. I just knew I had to ride over 500 miles and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Nothing about it would be, and nobody told me otherwise. It wasn’t, and yet driven by the love and support of my sponsors, I rode every mile to show it meant something to me.
Losing several friends to this disease, and watching many others struggle with it; I’m no stranger to just how awful AIDS has been. For those who have had access to meds, so many of them then faced all the nasty side-effects the cocktails brought into their lives. I’ve watched for years as AIDS has changed. Some conditions have improved, but the constant remains that it’s not over and people still suffer from it, often because they don’t know they have the disease until it’s too late, or they don’t have access to or have too much fear wrapped around seeking help. If positive messaging is what has been needed to help remove some of that fear and stigmatization, then besides all the money the rides have raised to help, our “awareness” work on the rides has perhaps brought about some of that change, and for that I’m very proud.
On top of the scores of people my friends and I have helped, I’m also happy my participation in the rides has provided a fitness and health outlet for me for so many years. I surprise myself all the time, and with the heart rate and blood pressure I enjoy, I don’t see any down side to continuing to do what I can for this cause and event.
From June 2nd - June 8th, 2019, I'm bicycling again in AIDS/LifeCycle. As a reminder, it's a 7-day, 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles that aims to improve the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS.
I've done this ride many times now, so the miles don't really scare me in the least. I ride stronger every year because of the amount of training I commit to do so I can ride there safely in as little pain as possible. I love doing it, and I've loved dedicating my life to helping people in this way.
I've set a personal challenge to raise at least $5,000 this year to help beat AIDS. Help me support AIDS/LifeCycle by giving what you can. You can make a one-time donation, or if you’d like to donate more, you can split your donation up over as many as 10 months and really make that thermometer move! Please ask your employer if they match your gifts too and really make the angels sing.
I’m not going to say any of this is easy, it’s not going to be. But it is going to be worth it! It is my hope to keep riding until AIDS and HIV are a thing of the past. How amazing would that be?