Last year I participated in the hardest and most rewarding week of my life as I took a plane up to San Francisco, hopped on my bike and rode all the way back to Los Angeles. The week was filled with laughter, tears, pain, sweat, sunscreen, cycling friends, beautiful views, the most loving of people, and a community that was working together to help fight a long running disease that affects more people than you are aware of.
Last year I decided to do this ride because I wanted to incorporate fitness into my life, I wanted to give back to charity, and I wanted to immerse myself into the LGBTQIA+ community more.
This year I have decided to do it because that ended up being the best week of my entire life. I had never felt better about myself. My heart was soft and open. My fears were conquered. My doubts were challeneged. And my legs were pulverised! Riding those 545 miles allowed me time to remember who I am and how blessed we are to have the opportunity of life. To be able to move our bodies, to interact with others, to love as hard as we possibly can. I broke down emotional barriers and child hood traumas with every pedal forward. I was able to work through things in my past that had kept me down and made believe that I was incapable. And I am forever grateful to have been able to participate.
The unfortunate reality is that the reason this ride even takes place is due to a horrible epidemic that took the lives of more people than we can count and affects the lives of so many people who are around you. The stories I heard as we made our way down the state and the faces of those friends who I met and came to know are living with AIDS/HIV will never leave my soul. It was a very humbling experience to think of the conditions that those who were first affected had to fight through. The ignorance of people around them who would not lend a helping hand due to the fear they held in their hearts about people who were different than them. I have never met so many diverse people and with each friend that I made, it brought me closer to love. It brought me closer to humanity. It brought me closer to myself. And it brought me closer to God, the universe, source power, energy, whatever "thing" this is that connects us all and it made me feel that peace, love and acceptance is something we are capable of achieving together if we are willing to listen to the stories of others and allow ourselves to understand something other than what we know.
My goal this year is not only to raise $10,000 but to also gain more knowledge on the crisis that we are fighting. My goal is to be able to inform others where this money is going, how it is being used, what is happening that is helpoing us get one step closer to being able to cure this disease. My goal is to listen to others, to hear their stories and to shine a light on those who have been in the dark for quite some time. If you help me with the financial goal, I promise to do my part with the others.