Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How to Look at Hills

"...the hill isn't in the way, it is the way."

What a wonderful way of looking at climbing. Read more at The author says:

My sister-in-law Christy taming Iron Point! 
Thinking about the mountain’s relentless grade that wants to pull you back down with every pedal stroke towards the top can be discouraging for most but after some time is put into the saddle something changes. Suddenly you find yourself adding that extra few miles to hit a climb or turning back downhill just to hit a section of the climb that you particularly enjoy. 
That moment shift in mentality marks the beginning. The beginning of a time when you actively want to go out and ride these taxing rides that most people wouldn’t dream of. Once you realize that the hill isn’t in the way of your destination but the way you want to go, then you might progress from an average rider to one that will make your cycling buddies groan because you’re taking them up ANOTHER climb.

The way I put this sentiment was: just pedal. Whatever the road brings you, just pedal and you will prevail. Just pedal, because that's why you're out there.

Your Bear

Monday, June 17, 2013

My Name is Bear and I'm Here to Recruit You

As I look through all the wonderful pictures and comments about AIDS/LifeCycle 2013, I find myself getting excited about AIDS/LifeCycle 2014 already. My fundraising goal is $12,000. I also want to recruit at least one virgin to the ride. And what are the best tools we can use to create donors and future riders and roadies? I think it is probably each other and our stories.

Me and Jim Akers. Photo from Chris Eisenberg.
The hands-down most wonderful part about the ride is the love-bubble. We meet new friends united by a common cause. Each friend has stories and opinions which compliment and enhance our own. One such new friend for me is Jim Akers, a fellow rider and blogger from Las Vegas. In the ramp up for 2013, he blogged about how your donor's dollars are saving one particular life:
Four days without treatment means there's a chance I developed resistance to one or more of the drugs in the pill I take (there are three medications total in that pill). If I develop resistance, I may have to go on what they call a "salvage regimen." Less effective medications. More difficult to manage undetectable viral loads. More side-effects. And greater chance of developing resistance.
*   *   *   *
They deal with nasty side effects and a low, but still detectable, viral load. Until one day, that virus which can still replicate because it's not fully suppressed finds a way around those salvage meds and the patient develops resistance. 
Another salvage plan is chosen. 
Then another. 
And maybe another. 
Until no options are left. 
Then... well, the virus does exactly what it did back in the early days before we had any medications. It runs its course. 
*   *   *   *
You're donations also go to help cover the gap - those who fall through the cracks of the system. Many of which, like me, fall in the middle class. My medication costs about $2,000 a month. Even for those who donate $50 and think it's too little to make a difference, it can cover one pill for one day - and like I mentioned above, I only missed four days. 
That is how you're saving lives. 
And I can't thank you enough for that.
So when you're deciding where to set your fundraising goal, whether to recruit a new rider, or struggling with training, remember: you are saving lives. Thanks, Jim!

Your Bear

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Become a Public Example

From June 2 to June 8, 2013, I repeated an amazing experience for the second year in a row. I rode my bicycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles, California. I was a fortunate participant in the AIDS/LifeCycle 2013, rider number 1483. Join me.

I traveled 545 miles on my bicycle and I cycled every mile. Together with my donors, I raised $6,482 — my portion of the total $14,200,000 raised to support California AIDS charities.

I did this with 3000 friends — riders and roadies, men and women, gay, straight, transgendered, all ages and races, from nearly every state and many foreign countries. I slept in a tent. I got up at 4:00 a.m. every day and went to bed at 9:00. Most nights, I couldn't sleep. I was, occasionally, irritable. Take a look at what this was like through the eyes of thousands of participants:

That's what happened, but it hardly scratches the surface of the depth of the experience. To accomplish this seemingly straightforward feat involved months and miles of training. Hours spent transmogrifying friends and acquaintances into donors. Hundreds of my own dollars in preparation, transportation, and gear. And so many tears: tears of sadness remembering those we've lost to the scourge — tears of joy in comprehension that these efforts are directly impacting our communities and those we love.

All this combined to make me a better person. Not living solely for my own benefit, but for the benefit of my community. Increasing my cardiovascular health and helping me to make better choices for myself and my loved ones. Becoming a public example of the best the LGBT community has to offer for youth, latent allies, and even entrenched homophobes. Getting one more car off the road.

In 2014, I'll repeat this experience. I'll be riding my bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles in the AIDS/LifeCycle 2014. My rider number for the event is 1399.

Change your life. Change the world. You belong here, so join me on the ride.

Your Bear

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Just Pedal

It's foggy, cold, grey. You're tired, moody, sore. There are hills, headwinds, traffic. But it doesn't matter. You just keep pedaling.

I'm sad. Today's the last day of the AIDS/LifeCycle. 3000 friends riding together for a good cause to do some thing they love. Everyone should experience this.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Day Six

I've not slept well in days. My body is exhausted. There's no privacy. The food is hot and plentiful, if bland. But I have never been happier in my entire life.

I get to get up at 4:00 am to ride my bike 87 miles along the California coast toward Santa Barbara and Ventura. I get to support my brothers and sisters living with HIV and AIDS who would otherwise be forgotten.

It's 4:00 am. What are you doing?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bad Blogger

Take it as a good sign that I'm not blogging much. The ride's been amazing beyond all expectations. Today is red dress day. Expect photos.

By the way, spelling errors occur. Please forgive.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

20 Million Miles Ridden

ALC riders have done 20 million miles down the California coast supporting people with HIV and AIDS. A real achievement!

Day Three Lunch

If you're not riding the AIDS/LifeCycle, you're missing the charming school children and townsfolk from Bradley, California. The sell burgers to hungry cyclists to support us and to raise money for the local school district. There's not much here, but lots of love.

Some pics from today.

Day Two Rest Stop Two

Cell service sucked. I'll post yesterday's pics later. In the meanwhile: woof!!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Day Two Otter Pops

Who knew otter pops could be so hot!!

Day Two, Rest Stop Three

All about meeting old friends. Dear Dustin Finkle.

Day Two, Safety and Lunch

So, I totally saw some dude SKYPING on his iPhone while riding his bike. I was all like, "I know you're not using an electronic device while riding your bike on the AIDS/LifeCycle." He goes, "Girl, I have to call you back."

It's not like they haven't read us the freaking safety speech 20 times on two days!

An unrelated picture.

Day Two, Rest Stop Twp

These guys take rest stops seriously. Roadies rock. Thank you for volunteering.

Day Two Awake

It's at least 10 degrees warmer this at 4;00 am than it was last year at 4.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Day One, Portapotties

Believe it or not, you get used to Portapotties. They are very clean on the ride. If you search #alc2013 you'll find lots of friend shots in front of Portapotties.

Day One, Rest Stop One

Typical rest stop. Beautiful Sunday morning.

Day One, getting ready

Filling up tires. Ready to ride.

Day One, Good Morning

Way too excited to sleep. Probably going to be the case for 6 more days. In our way to the Cow Palace.