Editor's Note: Day 2 saw such pounding rain along the coast that John e-mailed that the internet was not transmitting feeds for them, and even that e-mail was cryptic. He promises to try again tonight (Election night---VOTE)
This marks Day 1's on-the-road installment from cyclist John Pierson, who works in the ports complex and lives farther East in Long Beach. He will be reporting from the road as he and thousands of others take part in a 545-mile cycling benefit. "All money raised in this endeavor goes directly to prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS."
I'm back again to recap you on the days events. For those of you who missed my posting Sunday morning, I'm participating in this year's AIDS Lifecycle. It's a 7 day bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, that requires riders to raise a minimum of $3,000 to help fight the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Sunday was a pretty spectacular day to be riding. We couldn't have asked for better weather, or more beautiful coastline to ride along! The Pacific Ocean treated us to some spectacular views at lunch time, just south of Half Moon Bay, and again at Ano Nuevo State Park!
In between we passed through coastal farmlands with pick-your-own strawberry and olallieberry patches, and a beautiful lighthouse. Sadly, the roadside was a bit too crowded for me to stop and get a picture. One of the other cyclists will have to send me a copy.
But the most meaningful portion of the day, for me, didn't even happen during the ride. Before leaving this morning, one of the presenters at opening ceremonies told us a story about her mother, who had contracted HIV, and it developed into full-blown AIDS. At the time of her diagnosis with AIDS, there were no lifesaving treatments. The diagnosis was akin to a death sentence. But shortly after starting to sort out her affairs, a treatment was approved that allowed her to live a full life.
Stories like that one are common on the ride. You can meet any number of people who owe their lives to the treatments that are clinically tested in centers like the LA Gay and Lesbian Center, and eventually approved by the government for use. These treatments and tests wouldn't be possible, and neither would any of the other services that are provided to residents of Los Angeles County, without the funds raised by this ride.
First Post on the eve of the race:
You likely don't know me, and I've never contributed to Patch.com before, but I've just taken off on an adventure that will affect someone you know.
As I write this, it's 9:30 Saturday night, and I've just finished an intense day of last-minute preparation for this year's AIDS Lifecycle. Along with nearly 2,300 other people, I'm riding a bicycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles to help raise money to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS.
We all gathered Saturday morning at the Cow Palace in Daly City, CA, to hear our fellow riders' inspiring stories about overcoming diagnoses of HIV and AIDS, and surviving loss of family members to AIDS. We also went through safety training that's vital to get us all down the road safely.
As you're reading this, I've likely already left Daly City and am pedaling my way to Santa Cruz. Over the next seven days, as we ride from city to city, battle the elements, eat tons of food to replace the thousands of calories we burn, and learn more about ourselves and the things we're capable of, I'll work to bring you stories from the road. Sometimes it'll be from a person who's HIV positive, sometimes it'll be a person who lost a loved one, or even just a person who was inspired to undertake a new challenge.
Either way, I'm excited for the opportunity to bring you along on the ride, and hope you'll enjoy the experience with us!
AIDS/Lifecycle Rider #3574
(No pressure but those who are interested can make a tax-deductible donation; I'm more than half-way to my fundraising goal).