May 18, 2005


A cold, wet, miserable day. Certainly not what May is supposed to be like in the Sacramento Valley. You’d have to be crazy to do anything outside today, let alone begin a 360-mile bike ride.

Yet, that is exactly what 20 or so riders are doing today, as part of the first annual NorCalAIDSChallenge, a four-day bike ride to raise money to fight AIDS. This morning, my church was “Rest Stop #2,” and a half dozen church members came out to support and cheer on the riders, and provide them with food, hot beverages, and lots of encouragement.

Those riders deserve all that, and more. Despite the rain, they were all smiles, even Joaquin, who crashed his bike at a treacherous railroad crossing with less than a half mile to go to the rest stop. He showed us his road rash, but the smile never faded. After a short break, he got back on his bike and kept going, along with the others. Their motivation: over $70,000 pledged to fight AIDS. In my book, those riders are heroes. That 20 riders, along with their crew members, could raise that much money, is truly inspiring, especially since the total annual budget of my country church isn‘t a whole lot more than that.

In addition to the riders, I also want to celebrate the volunteers from my congregation who came out to support them. One of them, a lady who lives about 15 or 20 miles south, didn’t know until this morning that the bike route went by her house, and that Rest Stop #1 was at a mom & pop store very close to where she lived. After hearing from the riders that the first rest stop was only mediocre, she volunteered her house to be next year’s Rest Stop #1. And next year, there promises to be more riders. And better weather.


jo(e) said...

How inspiring. It's always great to hear about people who genuinely want to make a difference in the world. I have lots of students who do this kind of thing -- and I admire them.

PPB said...

this is one of my favorite charitable causes....yeah for you and your church and the riders.

Joaquin Feliciano said...

Hello from Joaquin - the NorCal AIDS Challenge rider who crashed on those train tracks! I can't tell you how nice it was to be able to recover from my accident in your warm and dry church. Thank you so much for all of your support!
I also wanted to let you know that I am healing fine. It looks like I got away pretty easy - just a mild shoulder separation and some misplaced rib cartilage. The pain is slowly going away and now it only hurts when I sneeze or cough. And the road rash has subsided into just some really colorful bruising.
Luckily, the rain stopped that night so we were able to enjoy 3 days of clearing skies and favorable winds.
See you all next year! Any chance you'd be interested in riding with us?

Anonymous said...

Thank you once again for your support, Danny! As a first-time volunteer, I had no idea what to expect, but your church team showed me how a rest stop should be done! The addition of the hot beverages and indoor location made all the difference to the riders and crew on a most challenging day!

See you next year!
Take care, Kathryn

Danny said...

Joaquin & Kathryn, I do look forward to seeing you next year. However, I don't know about joining you on the ride. The longest bike ride I've been on in the past ten years was less than 15 miles! But I'll be very happy to cheer you guys on.

Anonymous said...

I would estimate that your statement: "the longest bike ride I've been on in the past 10 years is less than 15 miles," was true for 4-6 of this year's NCAC riders before they started training for the event! And I would guess that over half of the riders don't use bicycling as their primary form of exercise. And I'm sure you noticed when we came through that NCAC riders come in all shapes and sizes.
There are about 50 weeks between now and next year's NCAC2, which is more than enough time to prepare if you're at all interested in riding with us next May. Drop me a line if you want to talk more about how to get started.
- Joaquin (