OFF TO KEY WEST for nearly 2 weeks, raising money for HIV/AIDS

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    Jan 04, 2010 4:11 PM GMT
    The 6th SMART Ride bicycle fundraiser for HIV/AIDS is Fri-Sat, Jan 8-9, 2010, going 165 miles to Key West, Florida, USA. RJ links about my participation in last year's ride, with pics, are below.

    My partner & I leave for the starting point in Miami later today, Mon, Jan 4, because we'll be setting up the ride registration and other preparations, as we did last year. He's an original Ride founder, and we've been hosting the monthly planning committee meetings all year. We arrive in Key West on Sat, then will stay until the next week, purely as a personal vacation.

    Unfortunately I won't be pedaling a bike myself this year, had no chance for practice due to his recent medical emergency that kept me tied down, which some of you read about here. He prolly shouldn't even be doing this himself, but he'd rather die than miss it. We raised $600k USD last year, no doubt less this year due to the economy, but still a sizable amount expected.

    He'll be in a "sweep" vehicle to recover bikers who have flats and other problems, or who just get tuckered out. I'm taking our own car, also designated as an official Ride vehicle, to "shadow" him and make sure he doesn't get himself into any medical troubles (or any other mischief, either, knowing him).

    We'll be taking a notebook computer with us, and my iPhone, but my typical daily RJ participation will be much curtailed. I'll have more Internet access this weekend, when we check into a Key West gay guest house. Clothing-optional, needless to say, but don't ask me to turn on my iSight web cam... LOL!!!

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/346944

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/341081

    http://thesmartride.org/3/
  • Roadcyclist

    Posts: 35

    Jan 06, 2010 9:43 PM GMT
    Congrats... Did 6 AIDS Rides and raised almost $90,000. Enjoyicon_biggrin.gif
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    Jan 11, 2010 10:30 PM GMT
    Thanks! It's now over, and my partner & I are just finishing our last full day in Key West, leaving for home tomorrow, Tue, Jan 12. One of our toughest rides, never above mid-50s temperatures the whole 165 miles, with windy rain the entire second day (Sat).

    Those in the US will have been seeing the weather reports about record low temps in Florida, that extended all the way down to Key West, our ride destination. Even today we never broke out of the 50s, although I just got back from an outdoor nude hot tub with friends, at a gay guest house along Duval Street, for those of you who know Key West.

    We raised close to a half-million USD, somewhat less than last year's $600k, but that was expected, with a lower turnout in a sour economy. Our 6-year total raised for HIV/AIDS is now $2.2 million.

    I didn't ride this year, doing pre-ride registration instead, and cheerleading and odd jobs during the ride itself. My partner and a friend of ours did "sweep" for disabled riders. He's sharing the upper half of the duplex I rented along Duval as a little vacation treat for the 3 of us.

    I'll post the official pix when I have them, as I did here for the previous Ride. My partner's so happy, since he's one of the Ride founders, and his participation was very doubtful, if not actually ill-advised, because of his recent medical crisis. But hero that he is he wouldn't be denied, and my own involvement was adjusted to keep an eye on him.

    In a year of many challenges, both personal & weather related, there were in turn many heroes on this Ride, whose stories I hope to tell here after I return home. What continues to impress me most of all is the incredible organization & competence of this group of mostly gay & lesbian unpaid volunteers.

    I could match this civilian group against any military organization with which I was associated during 25 years of US Army service. It makes me proud not only to be associated with them, but to call myself gay. More to follow...