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DC AIDSRide Report:(8 posts)

DC AIDSRide Report:bill
Jun 17, 2002 2:18 PM
It's worth doing. You can get in plenty of cycling and get all your basic needs met every 15-20 miles (they even had bag balm/udder butter at every stop). Leave early, you can go as fast as you want. If you leave late, you have to wait until the latter part of the day for the riders to string out, but it's still cool. Local police holding up traffic, waving you through at many intersections. Pacing officially forbidden, but the rule appeared to have been honored in the breach (I did most of it solo or pulling others, but that's just because of the way I worked things).
Imagine all this and lots of people around grateful that you're doing it, cheering you on. Like a race that everyone is winning. Okay, sometimes it seemed a bit like a 330 mile MUT ("on your left. on your left. on your left"), but if you don't think it's inspirational to ride alongside a guy who's HIV positive, toiling up a hill that is becoming a metaphor for the struggle he faces every day of his life, well, I just don't know what to say to that.
The volunteers crewing are incredible. They treat you like a hero, becoming heroes to you in the process.
Roads were generally good, the terrain varied. Most of it was not too challenging, with an occasional goodly hill. Everything well marked. Weather sucked much of the time, but that just became part of the deal.
(And sports bras. Lots of sports bras. Wet, sweaty girls in sports bras. I apologize to each of you that may be offended at this, but to some it's important information.)
Topeak Road Morph -- sucks. I don't know whether it was because things got good and wet, or you just have to check the velco strap more than I was checking it, but I hit a bump and it fell off. Not even that big a bump. Can't have that. Stuck it in my jersey, but it's a little big for that and I'm just going to have to get a mini-pump. Crank Bros, anyone?
Both big toes still a little numb. Shoes a couple of years old -- feet were generally comfortable; don't know what to make of that.
Giro Pave saddle -- performed excellently, despite it's reputation for being too hard.
Took 4 bibshorts -- 2 Volers, 1 Assos, 1 Performance Elite (with the new chamois). Assos clearly the best (no surprise). Performance 2nd. Volers third (surprised).
The Pegoretti performed excellently. It got very, very dirty, but the one wound was cosmetic and entirely self-inflicted. Most people singularly unimpressed by anyone's bike, particularly mine (I got a few vague, "is that Italian?") except for one 65 y/o former Cat 2 from Italy, who was appreciative but more impressed by the Trek OCLV he borrowed from the Trek technical support people (don't know why I'm including this; get over it, bill).
It was fun, and it was a good thing to do. I felt a part of something important.
And it was a pretty good bike ride.
Jun 17, 2002 2:34 PM
Always wanted to do the AIDS ride, but hate to ask people for money. $2000 is a lot to raise. Especially with cheap friends that I have.

I always see people training for it on the local bike path (WO&D). Many seem to be pretty novice riders. Don't look like they ride very much or are capable of 4 long days of riding. Is the SAG rate pretty high?

The weather always seems to suck for this ride. Usually blazing hot. I guess this year it was blazing hot with rain mixed in. Oh well, miserable vacations are always memorable. Like 4 weeks ago when I did a fly in fishing trip in northern Ontario. It snowed. I got bronchitus. Ugh.

Maybe the Italian guy would have been more impressed with the Litespeed.
Some of the novices were the most amazing. Plugging away forbill
Jun 17, 2002 3:09 PM
HOURS. But they did it. I don't know the SAG rate, but the vast majority of people did it.
As for me, I was surprised that, although every day started out a little tougher, a little longer to get warmed up, a little more pain at the contact points, I went faster every day and felt better at the end of every day. Maybe everyone else experienced the same sort of thing.
I'd say that something more than half of the people were pretty athletic, with some much smaller proportion experienced cyclists (a handful of racers; a fair number of competent weekend warriors, although I probably didn't even see some of the faster folks, because we took our time at the rest stops). A surprising number of the athletic types borrowed a bike or bought one for the trip (one woman who had bought a bike for the ride loved it so much that she told me she wanted to do LONGER rides; how cool is that?).
The most amazing were the people who bought the thirty pound hybrid for the ride and weren't athletic, either. Those were the most inspiring, really. A little annoying on the road, perhaps (calling out EVERY nook and cranny on the road tooling along at 10 mph, etc.), but inspiring nonetheless.
Nice post Bill.djg
Jun 17, 2002 2:50 PM
But I think that, in the interest of full disclosure, you ought to point out that the "leave early" advice is based on pure conjecture.

It was cool. Even before you factor in the ice cream men.
leave earlyDuane Gran
Jun 18, 2002 6:51 AM
The advice to leave early is very good advice. I did the DC AIDS Ride last year. It was a great time (yes, the women in sports bras were nice) and for me it was imperative to leave early unless I wanted to ride 12mph all day long. It all depends on what you enjoy though.

Based on my experience, the first 20-30 people of the ride are not given grief about drafting & such. They figure if you can paceline along at 20+mph for hours on end you know what you are doing. The rule serves a purpose in the general mass of riders, but if you don't leave at the crack of dawn you can expect to have people wagging their finger at you if you want to put in a hard ride.
Wasn't a problem for me.djg
Jun 18, 2002 8:31 AM
Maybe it was a function of the fact that this year's ride was quite a bit smaller than last year's, but after the first morning I generally found it pretty easy to roll past people despite leaving late. Of course there were places where the route was crowded, and you had to modify your riding accordingly, but most of the miles--the vast majority--were free enough to allow passing on the left without a hitch. And eventually the crowds thinned in any case. I was never chastised for following too close, although two riders firmly reminded me to call out "on your left" while passing (I did, honest, hundreds of times--ya know, if you're too loud you startle some folks unnecessarily, and if you're too quiet others get miffed, and you can hit both extremes without altering your volume...whatreyagonnado?).

But this is a digression. I thought it was a very cool thing.
Good post, you captured the feelings..........Len J
Jun 17, 2002 4:54 PM
I had during the Alaska AIDS ride better than I could put into words.

You also are a hero!

wow, great report. i'd do it just for the sports bras. d'oh! nmJS Haiku Shop
Jun 18, 2002 5:05 AM