Gearing Up

Sometimes we dream of doing something and it feels so big that the dream begins to feel like a nightmare because it's just so big. That is how I feel about the Aids LifeCycle. I have always dreamed of traveling 545 miles on my bike in 7 days.

That's actually a lie. I've dreamed of the excitement of beginning and finishing the race, but the actual 545 miles on my bike seat over 7 days sounds hot, uncomfortable and like a heat rash in the making. When I begin to think of that many miles on my bike I feel like that it's insane, impulsive, and a lot of training. But it's been on my mind for most of this year, and so I have made the agreement with myself that IF I can find a comfortable fitting used race bike for $600-1000 (before replacing maybe the stem and the seat), that I'll do the 2018 journey.

Today is the first day of the 2017 journey, and I started training about 8 weeks ago, and in about 6 weeks I should be riding my bike the 18 miles round trip, everyday, to work. I have my bag with my work clothes figured out, and it includes sunblock, makeup, refreshing wipes, first aide kit (given to me by the lovely Sandy at work), and my work key card.

What I don't have figured out yet is how I will fundraise $3,000 (my stretch goal is $5,000), or how will I manage to put on those short padded spandex biking shorts (currently I wear them under some yoga pants because I'm not very brave).

When I start to panic about the heat rash and the amount of money I have to raise I go to the top fundraisers page and I start looking at their profiles and read their stories. The one I would like to share with you is Nick Domitrovich's story. He is the second top fundraiser for the event, and he is a man living with HIV in San Francisco. On December 21, 2015 he found out he was HIV+. In his blog post he talks about his first year of living with the virus, and what he learned. Because of his blog I've learned more about AIDS then I ever knew, and that some of the information I learned in school is now outdated. Things like that mothers now have less then a 1% chance of passing HIV onto their babies if precautions are taken. Another thing I learned is how Truvada costs at least $1,539.90 for 30 tablets, and it's one of the most popular drugs for suppressing HIV. That's a lot of money to save someone's life.

People are now living with HIV with similar, if not the same quality of life as the rest of us. It's amazing the medical knowledge we now have that we did not have even 20 years ago. I remember family friends with AIDS dying. We think of it as something that is in the past, but it's not. I'm not that old and I have living memory of people that were not able to live because of the virus.

This is why I'm determined to ride next year.


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