Thursday, June 12, 2008

The joy of overcoming obstacles : )

I think part of what makes joy so tremendous is often the
overcoming of obstacles -- the human spirit in triumph. For me,
the Aids ride being complete and the joy of the experience
wouldn't be so profound if i hadn't gone through so much struggle
and adversity to get there.

my thought is that the struggle itself (often the pain) often
defines the context/character of the joy through the contrast
between them.

all that said, i wanted to thank you all for your support -- in
whatever little or big ways you might have offered it -- around
the ride. it was an incredible, challenging, difficult, intense
and rewarding experience. i rode 306 of the 539 miles after
injuring myself 32 miles into the ride on the first day. it
challenged me in every way i wanted and a billion ways i didn't
imagine possible. little and big things people have said
really impacted me... one that comes to mind was a thread
someone wrote some months ago about her experience when she was
looking for a lost item and found herself running. I found my
inner athlete on this trip and that was a beautiful Becoming for

and, because it really must be said: we raised 12+ million dollars
on this ride. while a lot of this goes to research into meds
(which isn't necessarily a place people want to see this money
going (i've gotten feedback to that extent)), it is also used for
education and prevention -- seeing as these days transmission of
HIV is pretty much avoidable. some of it is being used globally as
well through Pangea, a sub-company of the SF Aids foundation.

It was a powerful experience to ride through small towns, raising
awareness, having people see hundreds -- thousands -- of riders
making a statement about prevention and this cause. imagine 2500
riders dotting the hillside all dressed in red --- forming the
illusion of the ribbon. a powerful experience at the very least.

my favorite story of how we made a difference: we were riding
through the farm lands where strawberries are picked. a woman
drives up to one of the organizers in her old run down pinto and
asks in broken english what we're about. the organizer explains.
the woman drives off. she comes back a short time later with a
collection she had taken up from her co-workers -- these are
people who are picking strawberries and making very little money,
i'm pretty sure. she brought back $3.62. While it may seem like a
small contribution, that we were able to touch these people and
have them be moved enough to donate that is, in itself, super

That all said, you can still donate if you're so moved or simply
read about my experience if you're interested in the details -- i
have put it up on the blog: