Day 0: Orientation Day. For most events, this is a day to dread: endless lines, volunteers who don’t seem to know what they’re doing, unnecessary delays… But not on the #aidslifecycle. On this day, as through the ride, everyone is smiling every time you see them. Everyone knows why they are there and what they are doing. Everyone is happy to answer questions or lend a hand. And everyone knows everyone!
Well almost everyone: 4000 cyclists and roadies converge on the Cow Palace to start the journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles. We don wrist bands and necklaces with tent chips. We hear the safety speech we’ve all nearly memorized — and it is the start of the tears.
Tears of remembrance for our dear loved ones lost to AIDS and related diseases. Tears of joy that so many people are acting so selflessly to raise money for the community of those who might not have a chance without it. Tears of gratitude for the services that were provided by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center all those years ago, and are now being repaid in spades. And just plain tears of joy to be with our best and closest friends, however distant.
You are a hero. Thank you for riding. Thank you for roadie-ing. Thank you for donating. And thank you for listening and being part of this amazing story.
Oh, and my #bearoftheday posts will all come from riders and roadies this week, so stay tuned.