The AIDS LifeCycle Experience: Day 7

This post is adapted from a series of emails I sent to the people who donated to support my participation in AIDS/LifeCycle 2014. If you’d like to support my 2015 ride (and the thousands of people living with HIV that depend on the Los Angeles LGBT Center for health care), click here. And many thanks in advance if you do.

Day 7- Ventura to Los Angeles

At last I’m writing from the comfort of my own home and am thankfully far more coherent after riding the last remaining 60 miles to Los Angeles. Today we were, for lack of a better word, giddy. It felt like the last day of summer camp. Exhausted and ready to go home, deep down inside we all secretly wished we had a few more days on the road together. So today we made the most of it, riding together and stopping to take lots of pictures of each other along the road. And many of us have serious Starbucks addictions that required attention along the long drag up and down the roling hills of PCH through Malibu. This of course resulted in our getting chased out of several rest stops by the Caboose, a bright red minivan that follows the last rider along the route. Six little piggies rode all the way home, and it was a beautiful day to do it.

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We were a little buzzed from the Starbucks coffee that Michael & Jason brought us at breakfast…

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When we went to our bikes in the morning, I found a “safety shout-out” card attached to my bike for being a good cyclist and pointing out road hazards!

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Don’t tell my brother we did this in front of his base.

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Ernesto’s parents cheered us on in Oxnard. The sign says “step on the gas pedal” in Mandarin.

Like I said, we couldn’t help it. We were bolstered by the appearance of friends and family along the route. We were still feeling the emotionally charged moments of the night before. We knew we were closing in on the finish line. We were practically singing as we cruised up San Vicente Boulevard towards the finish line at the West L.A. VA. So today ended up being pretty fun for the boys bound together by bacon, but by no means was this day truly the end.
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Every year AIDS/LifeCycle courses down the state, the cause for which we fight inches closer to developing new ways to treat and prevent the spread of HIV. But since we haven’t yet come to the end of *that* road, the ones we rode this week will call on us again. I’m proud to say my teammates and I raised $34,285 this year, but I’m even more proud of the fact that 9 Pork Pedalers have already registered for 2015. This journey on its own is mighty, but it becomes a powerful, life-altering substance when you go through it with friends by your side.
Some people bring their friends with them to the ride, but many find friends along the way. In short order, they become family. They look out for each other. They climb mountains. They push each other onward. And if for some reason they don’t make it onto the road one year, they feel a physical ache for the experience when it’s happening without them. If you’ll pardon the metaphor, this ride gets into your blood and stays there.
Thank you Jorge, for carrying all of the things I didn’t have room for.
Thank you James, for being the best pacemaker I hope I’ll ever need.
Thank you Nick, for having a smile on your face the whole damn time, even when you were stung by a bee.
Thank you Micah, for being faster than any jet in the United (sorry, CONTINENTAL) fleet, but still happy to wait for the slowpokes to catch up.
Thank you Ernesto, for having more strength and heart than your bike could handle and reminding me that there’s a yin and a yang to everything.
Thank you Paul, for coming with us and keeping my husband (and all of us) entertained when an injury kept you off your bike.
Thank you Michael & Jason, for being the best athletic supporters bacon can buy.
Thank you Chris, for always being my number one roadie. There so much I couldn’t accomplish without you.
Thanks to every single one of my donors and supporters. You are my heroes. I’m just the one who jumped on the bike.
And thank you mom, for teaching me that helping others is always the right thing to do, even if it tests my physical and mental limits. You made me who I am, and I’m so very very lucky to have known you, grown with you, and loved you as deeply as I do.
See you on the road next year.

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