One hundred-four cyclists pedaled off this morning for a 330-mile, 3-1/2 day trek around northern California to raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS. This is the ninth year of the ride and the second year my sister, Janet, is riding. Not to brag (well, maybe a little), but she was the top fundraiser for Team CARES. Many of YOU generously donated to this worthy cause which is the only fundraiser for HIV/AIDS services in northern California.
Janet is a nurse at UC Davis Medical Center and has had many patients with HIV and AIDS over the years. However, when her nephew (my son) tested positive for HIV, she decided to take a more personal investment in the cause and ride with Team CARES as part of the NorCal AIDS Cycle.
My sister has always been athletic and competed in triathlons, century rides, and just about every sport. She recently turned 55 (She’ll probably give me the evil eye as she reminds everyone that I’m the older sister), but she can still be intimidating! It wasn’t until I started meeting the other riders, that I realized anyone can do this ride. There are riders in every shape and size, age group, and skill level. In fact, there are a lot of first-time riders and many have HIV themselves.
Every rider is riding for someone. Many have lost family members and friends to AIDS. Those with HIV ride to show others that life doesn’t end with a diagnosis. The riders are also ambassadors encouraging everyone to be informed and get tested.
The riders may receive the glory, but the support team behind the scenes are what make the event so successful. Think of all the logistics of transporting food and gear for 104 riders, making sure the route is clearly marked, the rest stops are adequately equipped and the venues at the end of each day, ready as the riders roll in. Doctors and nurses are also on had to handle any medical need. It’s impressive to see these volunteers, who have dedicated as much time as the riders, step up to make the ride such a great experience for everyone.
As I wrap this post up, my sister texted 75 miles down, 25 to go. The map gives a broad perspective of the route each day. Maybe you can say a private prayer or offer a thoughtful intention for all those involved in this year’s NorCal AIDS Cycle.