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As Long as There's a Need, I'll Keep on Riding

At the very end of ALC 11 (thank you Stevo Rood for this awesome picture)
At the very end of ALC 11 (thank you Stevo Rood for this awesome picture)

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Goal: $7,500.00
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I'm Riding to End AIDS

From June 2-8, 2013, I'm bicycling from San Francisco to Los Angeles in AIDS/LifeCycle, covering 545 miles in seven days, to make a world of difference in the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS.

Help me support AIDS/LifeCycle by giving what you can. We'll keep riding until AIDS and HIV are a thing of the past.

ALC 12 will be ride number 14 for me...three California AIDS Rides and every AIDS/LifeCycle with the exception of #1 (I took the year off to go to the Gay Games in Sydney). I also drove a sweep vehicle in the 2001 Canada-US AIDS Vaccine Ride.

Why do I keep riding? Many reasons. I've been HIV-positive for over 30 years and have lost far too many friends and loved ones. Since I'm still around I take this to mean I have work to do and I can think of no better way to acknowledge my continued good fortune--and honor the memory of those dear to me--than to continue riding and raising money for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. December 4, 2012 marked 20 years since I lost my partner Mario Luna to AIDS. December 5 marked 32 years since the day on which I most likely contracted HIV.

Every 9 1/2 minutes, someone in the US is infected with HIV. This is a sad truth. There is of course nothing to prevent a specific individual from making a specific poor decision. But what we CAN do is help to fund programs aimed at awareness and prevention so that, perhaps, 9 1/2 minutes becomes ten minutes...or fifteen minutes...or longer. And we can help to fund programs designed to provide services to those who are already infected and who are limited means and personal resources. The San Francisco AIDS Foundation does all of this and more.

Every dollar I raise...every dollar you donate...gets us closer to our goal of world without AIDS. Please click the link to your right and give what you can.

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The Kickoff Ride
Although we've been having training rides since mid-August, the "official" start of training was actually last Sunday with the Kickoff Ride. There were three options: a Tiburon Loop, officially 37 miles; a quick jaunt to Mill Valley, officially 22 miles, and a beginner's clinic followed by a very brief ride of 8 miles. I opted to be a training ride leader on the Tiburon Loop. We were advised that there would be no parking available at Sports Basement so I got some extra miles by biking to and from home. This actually did turn out to be a good idea as there were other events going on in and around Crissy Field. In fact as I rode my bike down Bay Street and Marina Blvd, barriers were being set up to divert car traffic for a half-marathon (which fortunately did not involve partial bridge closure).
As usual it was quite chilly when we all gathered behind Sports Basement and, also as usual for this event, the majority of riders on the longer ride were veterans. That's not to say we didn't have some first-timers. We were privileged to have among our group the ride's executive director, Greg Sroda, as well as Neil Giuliano, head of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. It was a particularly sweet day for Neil; he'd injured himself last spring while working out and had not been allowed to ride much during ALC 11 (I think he managed to miss ALL of Day Two). He'd finally been cleared to ride again just a couple of weeks earlier. Neil's a nice guy; it's always fun to have him along.
Once we crossed the bridge the weather improved; I stopped just before the top of Camino Alto because there was a deer grazing by the side of the road, evidently unfazed by the cars and cyclists passing by only a few feet away from him (or her). I got some nice pictures of the deer as well as of our riders; I also got some pictures of riders that didn't turn out so well (and were therefore discarded).
Apart from the always-irksome return trip across the bridge, which always raises my blood pressure, there were no crashes or accidents on our ride. Apparently there was one on the Mill Valley ride; our sweep driver Terri was commandeered to help transport the rider who was not seriously hurt.
Following the ride there was a get-together inside Sports Basement which included food and some give-aways. As usual, my ticket was not picked. And then I pedaled home with about 9 "bonus miles" to my credit.
As I was leaving Sports Basement, Julie Brown informed me that nobody other than me had taken any pictures; she asked me if I'd post them ASAP. When I'd left home there had been no internet service. Upon my return I discovered that it was not the provider's fault, but the fault of a leaking somethinging-or-other in our building that had damaged our ISP's gear there. So I was able to get everything edited and uploaded.
Totals for the day:
Ride time: 3:43:40
Mileage: 46.61
Average speed: 12.4 mph
Maximum speed: 31.9 mph
Photos are at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157631553049476/

by Robert Katz on Fri, Sep 21, 2012 @ 4:41 PM

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