ALC 2020 will mark my third AIDS/LifeCycle. In 2018, I did my first ALC and my life has never been the same. Every single step along the way was an opportunity for learning and growth. That first year, I learned that I am so much stronger than I ever thought I was. I learned that I could stand up as a gay man for my community and ask for support and donations. I learned that I had the stamina and endurance to ride 545 miles for 7 days from SF to LA. I learned about HIV and its impact to our community and the stigmas associated to it. I learned about the incredible services that the LA LGBT Center provides to thousands and thousands of people every year. I learned about being on a team and I learned that I was a perfectionist who was obsessed with riding every mile and doing everything perfectly. Everyone tells you about the physical challenge but I was not prepared for the mental and emotional challenge of being among 2500 people in close proximity for 7 days in a row. That part was a challenge for me.
Last year, I decided to take a different approach. First of all I joined the sober team called the Trudging Buddies. Being part of that team helped me to re-enforce my program of recovery with like minded teammates. At some point along the way, I became to focus more and more on being of service to others rather than worrying about me doing everything perfect. I showed up on the day of the ride with the motto of "Help Others, Have Fun" Within this bubble of helping others whose lives were impacted by HIV/AIDS, I also focused on helping my fellow riders. At each point, instead of looking for the attractive guys, I looked for the people who had that familiar dazed face that comes with the exhaustion of biking and the confusion of naviagating through the ride.
This year I am honored to be a captain of the Trudging Buddies - with the intention of helping new riders and those new to recovery feel welcome, feel safe and successfully train and complete the ride. So far, something is working out right as we have grown to one of the largest teams with 55 first time riders. I have amazing gratitude to witness these men and women discover their own power and strength in recovery. I am truly blessed to watch these amazing people build friendships and establish authentic connection - as we all work together to support the LA LGBT Center. Each step I see more and more that No One Does it Alone and helping others to be stronger helps myslef and our community to thrive.
Will you please join me on this amazing journey by making a contribution to my ride? I am grateful for all support no amount is too small (or, frankly too large) - Together we really truly can make a difference!