On Sunday, June 5th, over 2,300 cyclists [fully supported by over 550 roadies] took to the streets of San Francisco and started our 7-day, 550mi ride in the 10th Annual AIDS LifeCycle ride. Destination: Los Angeles.
Our longest day was 107mi; our shortest day was 45.
On Day #1, lunch was served at mile 45, meaning we still had 500mi to go…
We were fed three square meals a day and could stop at several rest stops along the way where we could fill up on electrolytes and snacks and stretch our legs until the next rest stop.
We could eat as many helpings of food as we wanted. In fact, the mantra we all practiced was “eat before you’re hungry, drink before you’re thirsty”.
To provide a bit of perspective, they said that a 170lb cyclist would burn, on average, 3,400 calories in a single day.
The terrain was quite varied – there were rolling hills, tough climbs [one hill in particular is affectionately referred to as “Quad Buster” – I was scared, but it was actually rather doable], and steep descents [I clocked around 50mph coming down a hill past the half-way point to L.A. on Day #4 and almost peed my pants]. Sometimes we rode through residential areas, sometimes we were on the hwy. I managed to come out unscathed and had no mechanical problems whatsoever with my bike, though some of my friends had to deal with blowouts and their chains falling off.
I laughed about the hardest I’ve ever laughed in my life.
I made some amazing new friends.
I met several HIV positive riders.
It was both tremendously sad and also amazingly real for me as I have always felt very sheltered from the disease.
My heart broke when I digested the staggering statistics of the disease, as it’s still very prevalent today. In fact, in California alone there are 151,000 people living with HIV. Nationally, 70 percent of all new infections occur in communities of color and people under the age of 25 are increasingly affected.
Here’s a video that I shot for my friend’s company, MoJo Interactive, in exchange for sporting their company jersey on Day #6 of the ride.
If I haven’t said it already, thank you to those of you who showed your support and endorsed me on this ride! Because of you, we collectively raised a record $13 million dollars – the most in ALC history! So thank you. Thank you for your support, as it is because of your generous donations that the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and San Francisco AIDS Foundation are better enabled to provide critical services to people living with HIV and prevent new infections in communities at highest risk.
It was a week I will never forget.
It was the best week of my life, in fact.
I can’t wait until ALC 11, as Derek + I promptly signed up right before closing ceremonies in L.A. to do it all over again.