On June 3, 2001, I set out along with 2,500 other riders from Fort Mason in San Francisco in California AIDS Ride 8, bound for Los Angeles. Leading up to that day, I trained for seven months, over hills and through the rain, logging over 2,500 miles. I also raised $3,640 in donations for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Altogether, this year's California AIDS Riders raised $11.8 million dollars, the most money ever raised for AIDS by a single event at that time.
The journey was an incredible mixture of kindness, support, laughter, tears and hope. The temporary community that was created shows the best of what humans can be: giving, loving and caring to complete strangers. While riding, you are separated from daily life - what day of the week is it again? - and I felt out of touch with reality. Now I see that the simple human kindness I experienced on the ride is closer what I want reality to be. At the end of the ride, the most difficult thing is not recovering from soreness or catching up on sleep, but trying to figure out how to make the spirit of the ride extend into real life.
Here is my ride story. I hope you enjoy it.