Brian Franklin Team Blazing Saddles
Push, push, push! Pedal for your life!
Well, that’s definitely the way it feels at times along the two-day, 150-mile bike ride across the Metroplex that is Lone Star Ride.
Last year was my second year to time in Lone Star Ride, and I didn’t have a doubt that I would be riding again this year, the 10th anniversary of the ride.
I first heard of LSR when my friend, Patrick Burton, told me he was riding and that I should come out to support him and share in the event.
I had been cycling for about a year and I had participated in other organized rides, so I thought I would check it out. I drove out to Glen Rose, which is where the overnight camp was in 2007, and quickly realized that this was not like any other ride I had ever experienced.
I knew the next day that I wanted to get involved in this event. In 2008, team Blazing Saddles was formed and it included myself and a small group of friends.
As a regular reader of the Dallas Voice, you already know that LSR brings people from across the community together for a common purpose. LSR is about raising money for local organizations that supply life-changing support to people living with HIV/AIDS and to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS.
LSR is a two-day ride, but a team of people works year-round to make it the best ride it possibly can be for those that participate.
I have always been a rider, but many people participate as support crew. The LSR support crew is the best I have seen. These dedicated people work tirelessly behind the scenes and on the front lines to make it the best ride around.
The new ride route forms a figure eight across the Metroplex and features pit stops about every 10 miles. It is always exciting to ride into the next pit stop to see what crazy costumes the crew members are wearing. We saw everything from poly-blend pant suits at a disco-themed pit stop to a trailer park scene that seemed to be right off the set of “Sordid Lives.”
By the time we ride into the lunch pit stop, I am always looking forward to visiting the massage crew. They do a great job of getting the legs ready for the second half of the day.
The long day of riding makes for a big sense of accomplishment when we ride into camp at the end of day one. Rest and relaxation is all that’s required the rest of the day. Everyone comes together for dinner, entertainment and to share stories from the ride.
The morning of day two comes all too early, but a big cup of coffee, breakfast and some ibuprofen are just enough to get back on the bike.
The motor crews are a personal favorite of mine as they help direct us along the route, cheer for us and sweep us up if we need a break. It is the hard work of all the dedicated people that make up the various support crews that make the long ride fun and enjoyable.
Another thing that sets LSR apart from other rides I have participated in is the closeness of everyone involved. Becoming a part of LSR is becoming part of a large, extended family. Sure, there will be heat, head winds, hills, sore muscles and perhaps rain, but there is also beautiful scenery, good company and lots of great memories.
The ride concludes with all the cyclists riding in together to the closing ceremonies. The closing ceremonies are especially memorable and by the end I always realize that the fatigue and soreness is far outweighed by the sense of accomplishment that everyone who is part of LSR has achieved.
Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, but who says it can’t be fun? It is rewarding knowing I am making a difference, knowing that others are directly benefiting from something I love to do.
As captain of team Blazing Saddles, I am proud that our team has raised more than $20,000 for LSR in just two years. Blazing Saddles is still a small team and we hope to increase our numbers. You can help.
You don’t have to be a seasoned cyclist. You just need a bike, a helmet, some good padded shorts and a good sense of humor.
To donate to Brian Franklin and Team Blazing Saddles, go online to LoneStarRide.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 23, 2010.