AIDSLifeCycle 2007 – The Highlights

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2, 800 participants traveled 545 miles in a bike ride event that raised more money than any other event for AIDS Services – AIDSLifecycle 2007.


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The cyclists biked through eight counties, talking with local residents and media along the way to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and promote HIV prevention while raising more than $11 million for HIV services and prevention.

Here are some of the highlights of my 545 mile, 7 day, journey:

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Are you Bruce? Are you Ramon? Are your Tony?

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During the AIDSLifecycle event many individuals have mistaken Bruce for Ramon, Ramon for Tony, and Tony for Bruce. And because of this confusion of identity, the three of us have become close friends. And through our interactions, we have pledged to continue to return and represent the Afro American Community in the fight against the AIDS Pandemic.

“AIDS now accounts for one in three deaths among African-American men aged 25 to 44. It kills twice as many black men as homicide. And more children with AIDS are African-American than all other race and ethnic groups combined. Every day in the U.S. about 100 people of color become infected with HIV [the virus that causes AIDS]. “

Bruce, Ramon, and Tony, call on black leaders in academia, business, government, religion, athletics, and entertainment to unite in an effort to raise national awareness and speed a response to this devastating epidemic.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Click here for AIDS LifeCycle Photos

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When I describe the outfits of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, most individual laugh. Yet the Sisters are no laughing matter. You try cycling 545 miles in a full face of makeup (smile) .

“The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a leading edge Order of queer nuns. Since their first appearance in San Francisco on Easter Sunday, 1979, the sisters have devoted themselves to community service, ministry and outreach to those on the edges, and to promote human rights, respect for diversity, and spiritual enlightenment. The sisters believe all people have a right to express their unique joy and beauty and use humor and irrelevent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.”

The two sisters (above) participated in AIDSLifecycle – 2007.

Pit Stops – Cheerleaders & Then some ..

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During the 7 days out on the road, a cyclist may contemplate if one is hallucinating, dehydrated, or if what one is experiencing is real. .. .

Yet, as 2nd Yr AIDS LifeCycle Cyclist – Bart says, “Just for the record, every day there are 4 rest stops. Teams of volunteers supply all of us with food, sports drinks, ice cold water and a lot of (medical) care. Every rest stop has its own theme.”

Well, like the Chicken Lady, The Viagra Man, and Ginger Brulee, the man above wasn’t a mirage or a hallucination – he was there for me and many others handing out Otter Pops in the hot beaming sun.

Oprah Winfrey & Harpo Studios

Click here for An Invitation to Oprah Winfrey & Harpo Productions

10 times, I have cycled 7 days, 575 miles, from San Francisco to Los Angeles in a cycling charity event called AIDSLifeCycle. In route to Los Angeles, I (and 2,000 of my best friends) cycle thru Montecito. ( Montecito is the home to Oprah Winfrey).

Each Year, the locals of Montecito – Santa Barbara gather and create their own “Paradise Pit Stop” for the approx. 2,000 AIDSLifeCycle Cyclist & 400 Volunteer Crew members.. There you can find: chocolate bars, strawberries, homemade ice cream, corndogs, Twinkies, coco cola, massages, and then some.. … ALL YOU CAN EAT …GRATIS!

Years ago (as I ate my strawberries and homemade ice cream), I asked several Montecito residents: “Where is Oprah?”

Responses:
1. She is not here.
2. That’s a funny question. . . . .
3. Can I be in the picture ?
4. Great Idea!
5. Who’s Oprah?
6. Oprah can be found shopping in the local Montecito Vons.

As I left Montecito, I thought: “Imagine … How wonderful and empowering it would be .. . .. ”

  • 2. To have Oprah ride with and/or sponsor “a cycling team of diverse backgrounds” in the fight against the AIDS Pandemic -Team “O”.
  • 3. To see 1,500 cyclists cycling down the Montecito / Santa Barbara Coast line wearing jerseys that say . . ” Harpo Studios ” . . . .
  • 4. To have Oprah Winfrey speak about AIDS in America at the AIDSLifeCycle Closing Day Ceremonies in Los Angeles.
  • 5. To invite Oprah Winfrey to participate in any way that she can . . ..

Well, after 10 treks to Los Angeles, on Day 6 as I approached the Paradise Pit Stop, tears began to fall from my eyes. I realized that there was no sign of Oprah Winfrey. Yet, I will continue with my journey. And hopefully, next year, we’ll have the support and/or presence of Oprah Winfrey and Harpo Studios.

Related Link: An Invitation to Oprah Winfrey

A 94110 Mission District Burrito

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When a local San Francisco Mission District Resident leaves 94110 for more than 72 hours – one begins to crave a “carne asada burrito.”

Well – on Day 5, traveling at the speed of light, approximately 10 miles from the finish line (the city of Santa Maria), I noticed something familiar.

Siete Luminarias – “Mexican Food”
868 Guadalupe Street
Guadalupe, California 93434
Tel: (805) 343-7080
Tel: (805) 929-8152

And being that I love to support local business’ , I slammed on the brakes. I dismounted my bike. I walked in an ordered “a carne asada burrito to go .. .” Placed the burrito in my cycling jersey pocket and continued with my journey.

Upon arrival to the finish line, I sucked down the burrito and remembered the days of the San Francisco Mission District.

So if you’re ever in Guadalupe, California – don’t miss your chance to eat something good.

2, 800 Bags of Luggage

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For seven consecutive days, rising at 3:00am, volunteer AIDS Lifecycle Crew Members loaded 2,800 bags of luggage into 14 Ryder Trucks. And upon completion of each days route, the volunteer crew members unloaded the very same gear.

Here’s a glimpse of what AIDSLifeCycle Roadie- Erin had to say:

“I had my hesitations about how physical the Gear and Tent tasks were gonna be, and I was right. It’s tough, that’s no joke. People pack TOO MUCH. I think people were SUPPOSED to be limited to bringing 60 pounds of gear, but it’s been on average more like 100 pounds! I felt like I was lifting a dead body with some of these duffel bags that were suspiciously heavy and very long.

I also learned to ask people if they forgot anything before they hand over their packs. This is a key question because one cyclist today had one truck team unload half the truck because he forgot his cycling shoes.”

Related Link:

Tony’s AIDSLifeCycle Packing List

My #1 Fan –

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On Day 7, as I approach the last miles of my journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles, I contemplate the taste of a vegetarian burrito & a 6 pack of Fat Tire Beer. And as a approach the finish line, I listen for the sound of a cow bell.

Each year, my number one fan:

1. Sponsors a one night stay at the Marriot Hotel.
2. Places a 6 pack of Fat Tire Beer & a vegetarian burrito in my hotel room.
3. Comes to the finish line.

At the age of 44, it’s a beautiful thing to have one person who has (for 44 years) stood beside my endeavors. It’s a beautiful thing to know that one person understands the term “unconditional love.” And it’s a beautiful thing to finally understand the term “mama.”

And another wonderful ride it was .. ..

So remember, it doesn’t matter what you’ve been through .. . .
It doesn’t matter what your sexual orientation, financial status, age, weight, or location is ..
It only matters what you do .. .

If you want to create change (perhaps a better world) – you must begin with yourself . .

More highlights to come – stay tuned.
Wishing the best of all possible worlds,

Click here for my Official Website


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