Training for the AIDS LifeCycle ride has done more for Kerwin Alexander, a senior surgical technician at UCSF Medical Center, than losing 10 pounds.
"This event has proven to me that I can do anything I set my mind to do," he said. But more important, Alexander added, "This ride has changed my belief that people don't care much about other people's problems, especially if they themselves don't have the same problem or know someone with a particular problem or affliction."
Through training and fundraising for the ride, Alexander has met some wonderful people, and has also discovered that raising funds wouldn't be as hard as he thought it would be. "I am lucky because I work in the health care industry, and a lot of the people I work with felt that this was a way for them to participate without having to do the actual ride," he said. "People gave because I am willing to put myself out there for this worthwhile cause."
Alexander got a taste of the ride by participating in a two-day ride, the Jonathan Pon Memorial Ride, sponsored by the Positive Pedalers. Riders cycled through Marin and Sonoma counties and camped out overnight, just as they will be doing on the weeklong ride to Los Angeles. He was proud that he completed the ride without having to be "sagged," or driven in. A friend of his ran out of energy after lunch on the second day, and so she loaded her bike onto a truck and was driven the rest of the way.
Like most first-time AIDS LifeCycle riders, Alexander, along with his enthusiasm, is apprehensive about the ride. "I'm excited to be doing it, and fantasizing about all the new people I'm going to see and meet," he said. And because there will be 2,000 riders on the course, he said he is "apprehensive about the safety of all the participants. I hope no one gets hurt and everyone has a great time." But he is confident that he and the friends he has made through training will do well. "We have trained long and hard," he said. "We are ready."
Alexander decided to participate in the bicycling benefit for a number of reasons. "First," he said, "to help raise awareness that HIV/AIDS is still affecting people and there is no cure for it yet; second, to know the money raised will help those afflicted and to help further research; third, a challenge for myself to get into shape; and lastly to participate in this experience of a lifetime."
Kerwin Alexander hits the road training for the AIDS LifeCycle trek in June.
Alexander is keeping a training blog on his AIDS LifeCycle website
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