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Well if we've met you know I have 2 big passions besides electing more & better Democrats - AIDS Walk Austin (for which I have been the top fundraiser) and the Hill Country Ride for AIDS, which I'll be participating in for the 13th time in  - gulp - 3 weeks. I've been the top fundraiser for the Ride before & both the Ride and I have big fundraising goals this year. I want to be the top funtraiser, which means I need to raise around $7,000; and the Ride has a goal of $500,000. If you want to skip my cheesy U2 worshipping diary, here's my Hill Country Ride for AIDS page. Oh - and technically I'm not supposed to be here during the workday, so I'm going to have to sneak in. If an hour or so goes by, I'm not ignoring you, and I am grateful, I just have to please my employer by closing the internet window every so often.

Also if you know me, you might know I'm somewhat of a U2 fan. If we haven't met - hi. So I think the song I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight, and it struck me as perfectly about the Ride. And yes, I'm reprising this from past years, but it still applies. Let me explain why this song is about the Ride as I go through some of the lyrics and show you the video:

starting at the chorus:

It's not a hill, it's a mountain
As you start out the climb
They don't call this ride the Hill Country Ride for nothing. It's a new route this year -- no more "ski slope hill", but I it's still the Hill Country Ride. And yes, I know that those of you who live in mountanious areas scoff at what we call "really hilly" - but you get up at 4 am, drive 2 hours to ride your bike, and ride for a few hours, then we'll talk.
Do you believe me, or are you doubting
We're gonna make it all the way to the light
But I know I'll go crazy if I don't go crazy tonight
This year, the Ride's goal is $500,000. That amount is a leap of faith in this economy, abd in an election year, but like the man said, we're gonna make it all the way to the light. When the economy is as crappy as it is, the need for services like those provided by AIDS Services of Austin becomes much more critical. But I have faith that people will come through, and we will not only meet that goal but will surpass it.
Every generation gets a chance to change the world
Pity the nation that won't listen to your boys and girls
'Cos the sweetest melody is the one we haven't heard
Why do I do this ride every year? Why get up ungodly early on Saturdays for months, persuade myself to ride my bike to work, and do other workouts for months & months? Especially when I have yet to do a Ride without needing to ride partway in one of the support vehicles? Because like the song says the sweetest melody is the one we haven't heard - the best bike ride is the next one, and we change the world a little at a time by caring for our neighbors.

The Ride is a microcosm of the way we all want the world to be, it really, really is. You know that song from the '70's about how everyone is helpful & kind on the road to Shambala? You think I exaggerate, but I don't. I'm not the only one who says this, the Ride is one day of the world you want to live in. I kid you not, come out, either as a rider or a volunteer & if you don't feel the most amazing love you've ever felt, I'll buy you dinner someplace really nice.

So back to U2:

Is it true that perfect love drives out all fear?
The right to appear ridiculous is something I hold dear
Oh, but a change of heart comes slow
The love that this ride generates - among the riders, the crew, the volunteers & the donors - is so amazing that I have no fear they'll miss the goal. $500,000 is a lot of money to try to raise any time, but in a presidential election year, with a still sucky economy? People around here are in fear of losing their jobs, businesses are afraid people are going to stop spending money for fear of being laid off. Despite that, I really think that love & goodness generate more of themselves, and the Ride will blow past that $500,000 goal like a pro cyclist crossing the finish line after a sprint. You can help by donating at my Hill Country Ride for AIDS page

And about that "right to be ridiculous" -- we wear costumes, decorate our helmets & handlebars, and we have fun - check out these pictures:

I got a new helmet at a bike shop sale a couple of weeks ago -- it looks like a watermelon. Here's a pic:

It's not a hill, it's a mountain
As you start out the climb
Listen for me, I'll be shouting
We're gonna make it all the way to the light
But you now I'll go crazy if I don't go crazy tonight

Baby, baby, baby, I know I'm not alone
Baby, baby, baby, I know I'm not alone

So I'm going to be training for the next 3 weeks, riding up some hills, so I don't cry (too much) at the base of (most of) the steep hills. I know I'm not alone when I ride -- I take all the donors with me, and all the loved ones they donate for - all the uncles, brothers, husbands, partners and friends. I'll take all of them with me.
It's not a hill, it's a mountain
As we start out the climb
Listen for me, I'll be shouting
Shouting to the darkness, squeeze out sparks of light
About the shouting - I have to tell you about how fantastic the volunteers are. When you have been riding for hours, and you see yet another hill and start to despair, you also see a volunteer at the top of it, calling out to you that you can do it, you can make it. These people truly squeeze sparks of light out of the darkness, they are amazing & wonderful.
Oh oh
Slowly now
Oh oh
I ride really slowly, because I'm really not in good shape. But I'm there every year, and always will be. Here's a link to the video from a couple of years ago, with riders & volunteers talking about why they ride:

This is a wonderful event, for an important cause, please donate if you can. Here's my Hill Country Ride for AIDS page

Originally posted to anotherdemocrat on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 05:32 AM PDT.

Also republished by J Town, Angry Gays, TransAction, Milk Men And Women, Barriers and Bridges, and HIV AIDS Action.

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