Tuesday, April 1, 2008

That Infamous Day 2

Ever wonder why your ESAR donation is made out to “Day 2 Inc”?
Let me take you back to 2000 and the second day of the Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride on the road from Fairbanks to Anchorage…

Waking to the sound of rain overhead, my mouth opened in expletives long before my eyes, which opened quite wide upon peering out the tent flap. Not rain but great heavy, icy flakes of snow which might be expected when camped next to a glacier. Getting as far from it as possible seemed the best plan so bundled up as Seattle cyclists know best, the Puget Sound Riders ventured out for a wet ride.

Pedaling warmed us enough to enjoy the novelty of rain/sleet turning to snow – enough to stop for a quick picture and spot a spirited team pass by singing 60s cartoon theme songs – but 25 miles in, the first rest stop looked like a refuge camp.

Shivering cyclists huddled in U-Haul trucks waiting a turn to spend a few minutes warming in one bus while another started the day-long task of shuttling riders & bikes the 50miles to camp. Drying out on that bus, watching the huddled masses grow, and knowing the best way to keep warm was to keep moving, I headed back into the cold.

Over 1000 cyclists started out on their bikes that 2nd day of 6 and only about 100 pedaled the entire 75 miles into camp. There was little logic in who made it into that elite group that day. Seasoned cyclists were humbled, strong ones were broken and weaker riders remain in awe of having been so lucky to have a spare polar fleece & a drying tailwind carry them the distance.

Analogies to the indiscrimination of AIDS and the suffering wrought by HIV were inevitable. No one who was there that day 2 would ever forget it, including Marty Rosen & the man who would become her husband, part of that happy crew of cartoon crooners who would go on to found the Empire State AIDS Ride.

Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride 2000

P.S. The following year, many AAVR veterans would cross the Continental Divide in a driving sleet storm on Day 2 of the Montana AIDS Vaccine Ride. The Day 2 spell was broken the next year when my Breakthrough Ride Day 2 dawned in fog that faded into nothing but sunshine from Centralia, Washington to Portland, Oregon.

-bike saddle photo by teammate Paul Morse

1 comment:

Steve said...

That's such a great story. I am so proud of you, for your efforts and your commitment. I could never do what you're doing. Your family is in awe of you. You are making a difference. For what it's worth, you will always have my support.