LSR Journal: Creating magic for the cause

Robin King

Robin and Sylvia King help make opening and closing ceremonies something special at LSR

M.M. ADJARIAN | Contributing Writer
editor@dallasvoice.com

Creating the magic that is the Lone Star Ride is a group effort. Just ask Robin King, who, along with his wife and business partner, Sylvia, runs Ambient Stage Lighting Inc.

This quietly dynamic duo has been part of LSR from the beginning. In 2001, they served as pit crew volunteers. But from 2002 on, they signed on as official sponsors and have since overseen the staging, lighting and sound elements that go into the opening and closing ceremonies and the ever-popular Saturday night Camp Show.

Setting up the props, truss riggings, lights, speakers and microphones that are part of those events, only to take them down a few hours later, is no glamour job. It’s hard work.

“But to Sylvia and me, it’s second nature,” the ASL company president says. “It’s what we do as our profession every day.”

Since all the LSR events, including the entertainment, take place outside, King and his wife are at the mercy of the elements. And in this, they are no different from anyone else who rides or crews for the event.

But what makes this part of LSR a challenge for them is that they, unlike other participants, can’t seek shelter from inclement weather. The show must go on regardless of the havoc Mother Nature may wreak.

So when the great Saturday rainout of 2010 happened, the Kings couldn’t just sit tight and wait alongside the LSR riders and pit crew members at the American Airlines Training and Conference Center, located on Hwy. 360, just south of Hwy. 183.

“[We had] to pull the trigger and cancel anything electrical — the fun, creative stuff,” King remembers. “We [ended up] scrambling around, coming up with last-minute, makeshift alternatives that we could pull off inside.”

Despite situational constraints, the entertainment portion of the 2010 LSR was still a success, largely because of a shared sense of commitment among those directly involved with it.

Says King, “The band expected to get this nice stage and a little additional space and extra sound support. They were in the same position [as we were], but they perform[ed] regardless of the circumstances.”

The couple first became aware of LSR when a lighting technician named Tim Olson — who was among the very first group of LSR cyclists — told them about it.

The decision to participate was an easy one for both. This was especially true for Sylvia, who has seen what HIV and AIDS can do close up: Her maternal uncle lives with the disease.

Eleven years later, King and his wife can’t imagine not being part of the ride. It’s become too much a part of their lives for them to ever stop participating.

And Robin and Sylvia King help make LSR something participants look forward to every September. What they do follows a life-and-death cycle of sorts, but one that, like the riding itself, is meant to bring a permanent end to suffering and death that AIDS has caused among so many millions in the last 30 years.

“That’s really what it’s all about and the sole reason why I do it,” King says.

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS takes place Sept. 24-25. For more details or to donate to a specific rider or team, or to the event overall, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

—  John Wright

LSR Journal: Out of the saddle, but not the Ride

Brady Allen

Although health issues will keep Dr. Brady Allen from riding in LSR this year, he still plans to participate as part of the volunteer medical team

M. M. ADJARIAN | Contributing Writer
editor@dallasvoice.com

Dr. Brady Allen of the Uptown Physicians Group has tended unstintingly to medical needs of the gay community for last 30 years. And in the last two years, he’s gone from casual spin and mountain bike cyclist to Lone Star Ride participant.

The transformation began in 2009.

Allen had just moved back to Dallas after a brief period of retirement in Seattle, and friends suggested he become involved in the LSR.

He needed little urging: Road biking on behalf of a cause he believed in seemed the perfect way to re-integrate himself into the community.

“I’d been involved [in the fight against AIDS] since 1982,” says the 57-year-old internist. “So I had memories of people who had passed on, including my best friend and a couple of favorite patients of mine. I think about [them] a lot.”

Allen’s 2010 LSR debut was impressive. Not only was he the third-highest fundraiser — bringing in $6,000 for the event — he also finished second overall in the 45-mile Sunday leg of the ride after the Saturday ride was rained out.

This year, however, the good doctor has to tend to his own health. After developing a blood clot in his calf at the end of April, Allen had to withdraw from this year’s ride.

His desire to participate in the event remains undiminished, though, and participants will likely see him on the medical team, doing what he does best.

“This year, I was going to do the 100- and 75-mile [ride options], because I was in much better shape,” says Allen. “I had trained harder and I was healthier. I’d lost about 15 pounds this year.”

He had also started his fundraising efforts earlier. In 2010, he began soliciting donations in May. This year, he began fundraising in March and already had pledges totaling $1,200 before he had to get out of the saddle.

That money will still go to the LSR. But Allen, who also sits on the board at Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) and has actively supported other HIV/AIDS organizations, including AIDS Arms, for many years, will have to defer his dream of reaching the $10,000 goal he’d set for this year until 2012.

“[2010 was about] trying to ride in this Texas heat on a bike,” says Allen, who remains upbeat despite the temporary health issues he currently faces. “I [also] had to learn about how much to hydrate, how many salt tablets I had to take the day of the ride, what were the right foods to eat [and] just how to pace myself so I wouldn’t get cramps.”

He also had to learn the more technical aspects of road cycling, including how to shift gears, fix a flat and — perhaps most problematically of all — use the “pedals” of his bike.

“The bike pedals are not real pedals,” Allen explains. “You have these clips on the bottom of your shoes [that you use to] clip into the pedals, which gives you more stability on the bike. But you also have to clip out when you stop.”

Though unable to ride this year, Allen does expect to fully immerse himself in the social aspect of the 2011 ride.

“[I’m looking forward to] the camaraderie, the friendships and relationships that I’m going to develop with people I met last year and with new riders,” Allen says.

With no trace of regret for what could have been this year, he adds “It’ll be very exciting just to be in the crowd and meet new people and have common goals and passions.”

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS takes place Sept. 24-25. For more details or to donate to a specific rider or team, or to the event overall, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

—  John Wright

Facing the challenge with excitement, energy

Jerry Calumn

New event manager Jerry Calumn wants to get the Lone Star Ride even more fiscally fit than before

M. M. ADJARIAN | Contributing Writer
editor@dallasvoice.com

Change is the only constant; no one knows this better than Jerry Calumn, the former marketing consultant/standup comedian who in March replaced Dave Minehart as event manager for the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS.

Articulate and sizzlingly energetic, Calumn is a man with a plan. He has to be.

The economic downturn hit nonprofits like the LSR especially hard. While the worst of the financial crisis seems to be over, it can take up to two years after a recession has ended before nonprofit organizations are able to come out of their own “parallel recessions.”

“[Once surviving] nonprofits have the resources to get their donations back, the competition for [things like] dollars and volunteers gets hefty,” Calumn observes.

For AIDS nonprofits in particular, however, the pressures are even greater, as costs for the new medical options that will become available to HIV/AIDS patients in the next 5 to 10 years are expected to skyrocket. And those are the kind of costs that Lone Star Ride’s beneficiary organizations will have to cover.

“The new treatments will be great, but they will be expensive,” says Calumn. “In the next [decade] of this epidemic, we are going to face very serious challenges with regard to the amount of money we are going to have to raise” to help the ride’s beneficiary organizations continue to cover the costs.

If Lone Star Ride repeats its 2010 fundraising efforts and brings in $150,ooo this year, that will put the event’s total for its 11-year history over $2 million.

Calumn’s strategy to increase the fiscal fitness of the ride by working the LSR core is similar to one cyclists might use to train their bodies for the actual ride itself.

He’s also actively listening to what his riders have to say about what they want to do and how they want to go about doing it.

“We’re putting a lot more tools in the [cyclists’] hands,” he says. “We’re [also] training them better on how to fundraise. And we’re connecting them to more rider-centered events throughout the season.”

One example of the way Calumn is opening up and “toning” the LSR is through the inclusion of a “ Map Your Dream Ride” meeting. On May 24, cyclists gathered together to discuss possible routes for this year’s ride. The final map layout will be announced in July.

The recession and increased costs for HIV treatment or not the only hurdles the LSR faces as an organization. Calumn, who moved to Dallas from New York, saw 50 percent of Jewish charities there and in New Jersey (and 30 percent nationally) close in the wake of the 2008 Madoff scandal.

This in turn has given rise to drastically increased investor/donor suspicion regarding who’s handling their money and how. Sensitive to these new realities, Calumn is also working to make the LSR a more transparent nonprofit.

“[That scandal] has really ingrained in people’s heads to look more closely at organization’s finances,” he says. “We don’t ask enough tough questions on the program side of our nonprofits, especially in the gay, lesbian and HIV community.”

As a conscious agent of change and man who has lived — and thrived — with HIV for the last 17 years, Calumn has his work cut out for him. Yet he relishes what’s ahead and embraces his work with inspired fervor.

He even plans to be out on the road himself, joyfully adding his own blood, sweat and tears into the mix.

His excitement is as electric as it is palpable. Declares Calumn, “I told the board and my management team as soon as I landed [in Dallas last spring], ‘I am riding!’”

And over the starting line he goes, a winner before the race has even begun.

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS takes place Sept. 24-25. For details or to donate to a specific rider or team or to the ride in general, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

—  John Wright

DVtv: Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS

To view photos from the 10th Annual Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, go here.

—  John Wright

Because we all have our struggles

By Polly Browning Team Ride With Pride

We all have stories, our universal commonality. We have stories of experiencing joy and laughter. Some of us experience pain and hardship on a daily basis, while others of us support and care for those who struggle.

We all share one constant: We share in the making of these stories, either alone or with others.

No matter, once again, this coming Sept. 25-26, on what is the 10th anniversary of the Lone Star Ride, we all come together and know we are not alone. For two days and three nights, I get to be “just a number” again: Number 202, one rider among many.

I get to blend in and be a part of something much bigger than myself, much bigger than us all.

I have been asked to share my story. I’m humbled and hope I can do more than speak for myself, which is way too lonely. I’ve learned that our words and experiences are more alike than different.

My name is Polly Browning. I may not live in Dallas (too far from my Longhorns!), but as of September 2009, my wife and I (me being a rookie rider and Sarah being the rookie sweeper — and the cutest one, in my opinion) will now be temporarily located in Dallas once a year.

How did I get here? Laura Kerr invited me to ride a few years ago.

I remember her telling me at the time, “Polly, I need to warn you. If you say ‘yes,’ be prepared because you will be addicted to it and will be a ‘lifer,’ forever committed.”

I took on the challenge. And I immediately fell in love with this organization and its members.

As a psychotherapist, I have worked with many individuals and their families impacted by HIV and AIDS. It has been an important cause my family has supported.

But why would I choose Lone Star over staying and riding in Austin? All you have to do is come to the closing ceremonies of the Lone Star Ride, bring an open heart and watch, listen and let it all in. You will experience something indescribable and you will understand.

There simply are no words for it. For all participants, observers, whomever, you simply cannot go away with an untouched heart. Laura, I love you dearly for believing in me enough to introduce me to Lone Star.

I am a licensed clinical social worker. I am currently in the fourth year of my doctoral studies in the social work department at the University of Texas — Austin. As such, convincing me to participant in the Lone Star Ride wasn’t too difficult.

My personal path took a drastic turn in my first year in my Ph.D. program. I became someone I didn’t know at all.

I was in horrific pain. I was unable to compose my thoughts, either verbally or in writing (just a tad important to a student). I lost most of my ability to write, to move my fingers and most joints, including my feet, and my back. Any slight breeze (regardless of temperature) felt like razor blades on the skin of my arms, hands and feet.

My eyesight was affected. My ability to balance was gone. It became impossible for me to walk on my own. My wife, Sarah, got me a really cool blue walker and committed herself to making a belt to brace me in so I could be pushed around.

I was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease: RSD, or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, now called CRPS. They are still trying to figure the rest out.

The types of doctors I began seeing were foreign to me. I had every blood test, MRI, scanning this and X-raying that, and doing it again and again. The patients in the waiting area were often diagnosed with terminal illnesses, most much older than me. (It’s okay to ask — I’m 45 years young.)

No longer was I the helper, the server, the therapist. Now I was the client, the patient. The one who needed to learn how to ask for help, a skill I had not yet developed very well.

After fighting back, I began to let help in. I had to let go of my vanity, all my humility and accept the fact that I couldn’t solve it on my own.

After having a serious back surgery filled with titanium and fusions, I was restricted to lying on my back for three months, no less. I was allowed a total sitting time of 15 minutes a day. My bright blue turtle “torso” brace I wore 24/7 became my best friend. (One of my professors actually told me after that it showed off my “girlish figure!” Ha!)

That was on April 31, 2008. After I was cleared several months later, my orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Spann, told me to start to cycle for my rehab.

I was still wearing my brace 24/7. Did they even make cycling jerseys big enough to cover a brace? I’d never seen anyone in the Tour de France wearing one.

So I suggested that I learn how to play soccer for my rehab. Dr. Spann again suggested cycling, being a cyclist himself.

My wife’s best friend, Laura Kerr, knew where I was at in recovery, physically, emotionally and mentally. She knew I thrive on challenges, and she suggested — and re-suggested — that I set a goal of riding 180 miles that following September in the Lone Star Ride. Yep — five months after being cleared.

Now it’s history. I said “yes,” showed up in my bright blue turtle brace, and pretended that I knew something of what I was doing.

My 14-year-old son, Sayer, had committed himself to training with me and riding the full two days with me. My wife, Sarah, committed herself to being on the sweep crew. It was a family affair from beginning to end. I became cyclist number 202, and Sayer became rider number 203. Sayer inspired many in his willingness to ride along side his mom.
I’ve been excited and ready to ride this year, but God has a sense of humor. Several weeks ago I came back out of remission. I feel different. I feel abnormal. I feel my pain. But it’s often an invisible pain to others. Sometimes I feel embarrassed by not being able to “do.”

But in 12 days, I get to just be a number again. I will be back in my brace and will be ready to ride again in twelve days, with the grace of my God.

Something deep inside tells me that many of us want to be a part of, wanting to shed our skins that cause us to feel different while dealing with our own barriers.

Some of us participating in Lone Star ride in cars; some of us ride on bikes with two or more wheels. Some of us walk on two healthy feet. Some of us require help when we walk.
Some of us ride on motorcycles and are assigned the role of protecting the riders on the routes. Some of us are strictly cyclists. Some stand on corners smiling and shouting endless cheers of encouragement.

Some of us drive our cars, sweeping and picking up riders, ready with cold AC, peanuts and snacks, cold grape Gatorade, and most important, a nice soft seat. Some of us are more behind the scenes: the medical crew, the pit crews, the training crews, the organizers, and most importantly, the people who set up the catering.

There are family and friends who come and support all of us. They share memories and stories of previous riders who have lost their lives. They trust that their tears will be received with gentleness and love. These families bring pictures of lost loved ones on t-shirts, reminding all of us why we do it.

Without the willingness of these families to share their stories, the closing ceremonies would just not be the same.

No matter what our role, or how many wheels we ride on, we all come together. We link ourselves together on the last weekend of September, and try our best to make a difference in the lives of so many living with AIDS.

To donate to Polly Browning or another Lone Star Ride participant, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS takes place Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 25-26, beginning and ending each day at the American Airlines Training and Convention Center, located on Hwy. 360 N., at Hwy. 183, in Fort Worth. Friends and supporters of LSR participants are invited to attend closing ceremonies on Sunday, beginning at 6 p.m.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

LSR Journal: Because I learned what’s important

Eddie Munoz  Team Dallas Voice

Eddie Munoz
Eddie Munoz

This year marks the first year I’m officially involved with the Lone Star Ride.

I’ll be honest: Initially, I wanted a reason to be obliged to stay fit during the dog days of summer, not to mention getting to wear the shiny, sexy 88 percent polyester/12 percent spandex cycling gear. I mean seriously, who doesn’t look good in that?

Although my reason for participating began as a selfish ploy to achieve somewhat of an Adonis status, the reality of the event’s purpose has undoubtedly taken over — and I’m glad it has.

I first heard of Lone Star Ride while working for the Dallas Voice in Web development during my college days. As part of my duty, I would upload the weekly newspaper to the website, reading the stories as it pertained to our community’s struggle in the area, state, country and world. One of the things I remember was preparing for the Lone Star Ride articles and thought, “Oh here’s just another fundraiser.”

Back then I was a different person than I am today. As a younger person, I didn’t see the need to get involved, nor did I feel that I, as an individual, could make a difference.

It wasn’t until I graduated from college and met someone whose whole life pertained to getting involved in our community and I was inspired. He was making a difference, “saving the gays” as he sometimes would say. He definitely made a difference in me whether he knows it or not.

I’m happy to say that now I wake up next to him everyday.

In March, Robert Moore and I talked about the Lone Star Ride, and for some reason, I had a strong urge to know more about the ride and to get involved.

So a couple of months ago I picked up a bike from the Lone Star locker and began to train. Let me tell you though, it has not been easy to train for the 75 miles I hope to accomplish in September.

My very first training ride consisted of 23 miles and I said to myself, “Oh Lord! What did you get yourself into?” No amount of Gatorade could’ve quenched my thirst that day.

For someone who grew up with asthma and who, shamefully but admittedly, barely learned how to ride a bike five years ago, it has been a challenge. I’ve had a couple falls here and there, bruises, injuries, blood, sweat and tears. But with every fall I have, I commit myself to riding even more.

Cycling has become my therapy, a healthy escape from the weekly workload, the bars and the drama that it sometimes entails.

It’s also a game of mind versus body — “just one more mile … one more … one more,” I tell myself.

When I ride I focus on the people that the event benefits, and I can also focus on myself and my life. Whether I’m riding with my team, my partner or by myself, it is always an enjoyable experience for me.

I may not know the people that the event benefits, but I know that it will make a difference, that I will finally make a difference. I’ve learned to participate in life and help those in need, those who want another day in this world, who want to know they’re still appreciated and not forgotten.

AIDS may be incurable, but our apathy and inability to help has a cure. It only takes a minute, the click of a mouse, to donate online and change someone’s life.

So as I prepare to hit the pavement in September in my 88 percent polyester/12 percent spandex cycling shorts, I look forward to hearing from the organizations and the people that your contributions go towards.

And I hope to return next year and do it all over again with a bigger fundraising goal and more support.

To donate to Eddie Munoz or any other Lone Star Ride rider, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 3, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

I ride because ‘You’re only as old as you feel’

Tammye Nash – Team Dallas Voice

Tammye Nash
Tammye Nash

Last year in October, I turned 49. It wasn’t any big deal, really, and at first, I didn’t think much about it. It was another birthday; considering the alternative, I was glad to be turning 49.

And then a few days later, it hit me: Reaching my 49th birthday meant that I would be 50 in a year. A year! That’s not very long at all in this my-how-time-flies world we live in.

And I was surprised to realize that the idea bothered me. I have never been distressed by any of those so-called milestone birthdays that can send others into a tizzy of depression. But the idea of turning 50 — it was really getting under my skin.

Oh, not because of the number, the Big 5-0. That, after all, is just a number. One more than 49; one less than 51. So what? It wasn’t being “50,” that bothered me; it was the idea of being “old.”

I have always believed that old cliché about age just being a state of mind (“If you don’t mind, it don’t matter”). The problem was, I was afraid that I was going to “feel old” when I turned 50. And I don’t want to feel old. Ever.

But what to do to avoid that? I pondered for a bit and then it hit me: Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS.

See, last year in September, I volunteered as an event photographer for the ninth annual Lone Star Ride. Other folks were out there pedaling across North Texas, but my co-worker and co-volunteer photographer, Terry, and I had the hard job. We had to spend two days driving around North Texas in a convertible sports car, taking photos of the cyclists.

And I loved it — every minute of it. Even though I had covered Lone Star Rides in the past for Dallas Voice, last year was the first time I had participated. And I was amazed and awed by the spirit of the people, those who worked to organize the ride and those who rode and those who volunteered as crew.

All those people, strung out across the Metroplex on bicycles and in support vehicles, were all working together for a common goal — the goal of helping someone else. It was such a soul-shaking feeling to know that I was part of that, that I was in my own small way helping to make life better for people with HIV.

I knew without a doubt that I wanted to be a part of Lone Star Ride again in 2010, and Terry and I had already talked about volunteering again as photographers.

But a month later, as I contemplated reaching that half-century mark, I changed my mind. I decided I wasn’t going to volunteer. Instead, I was going to register as a rider.

That way, when mid-October rolled around and I turned 50, I could look back and say with confidence, “Hell no! I am not old! Look what I just did; I just rode my bike for, lo, these many miles to raise money and help someone else. Could an old person have done that?!”

There were other reasons, too, of course. I wanted to participate this year for the same reasons I volunteered last year. I want to help people living with HIV/AIDS today in memory of and in honor of the many friends I have already lost to the epidemic.

I am participating in Lone Star Ride for Dennis Vercher, who I worked with for more than 15 years, and for all the other Dallas Voice staffers we have lost through the years; I do it for people like Bill Hunt and John Thomas, who showed me by example what true activism looks like; I do it for Jessie Waggoner, my “little brother” who made me laugh with his crazy-legged “Fred Flintstone” dance. I do it for all the others, the list of names far too long to fit here in this space.

Yes, I know I could have honored my friends this year the same way I did last year, by volunteering for the crew. I know that without the crew, there would be no Lone Star Ride. And it’s possible that next year, I will set aside the bike and once again be a crew volunteer.

But this year is different. This year, I’m riding. I’m riding to prove — mainly to myself — that I can do it. I’m riding to prove I am not old, no matter what that calendar says. I’m riding to remember. I’m riding because others can’t.

Come join me if you can. And I won’t even ask how old you are.

Tammye Nash is a member of Team Dallas Voice. Donate to her or to another Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS participant at LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 6, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

LSR Journal: You tell me your story, I’ll tell you mine

Michael Mack, co-captain, Positive Pedalers

Michael Mack, co-captain, Positive Pedalers

When I was asked to write about why I participate in the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS I had to stop and think.

Don’t get me wrong, I now know why I ride. It just took 10 years to realize it.

In 1999 my best friend was diagnosed with HIV. The news was heartbreaking. The thought of losing him to HIV/AIDS was unimaginable.
And I couldn’t stand idle any longer. Shortly after his diagnosis, I heard about the Tanqueray Texas AIDS Ride 2, and I found my call to action.

A week or so later, my 10-years-old-plus bike was dusted off and I was on my first solo ride. Feeling shaky and unsure, I started asking myself the questions we all ask:

Why did I decide on this event? How in the world will I finish the ride? What makes me think I will make a difference?

They were all valid questions, and there was one simple answer for them all: Because I have to, because I can. Failure was never an option!

Skip forward seven months, 1,200 miles of training, and countless hours of fundraising to find me headed down to Houston. I knew without a doubt I was “prepared” for this. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Sure I had trained enough, fundraised enough, packed enough — but I found out quickly “enough” that doesn’t matter. I was on a four-day therapy session. I loved the chance to laugh, to cry and to hear the countless stories of others.

Now jump forward another year as I wait in the holding area for the California AIDS Ride: San Francisco to Los Angeles through south central LA — Are you kidding me?

Was I prepared for this seven-day adventure? Not in the least.

I thought my reasons for riding had changed. My friend was healthy, so it was less about him and more about the accomplishment.

I found pleasure riding for hours, speaking little, listening to the hum of the tires across the ground. Pits and camp were exciting — finding my group of friends, listening to how they were doing, eavesdropping as others talked about their day of heaven or hell (depending on your perspective). It was my heaven!

Eight days after it started, I was flying home to Dallas with the heaviest of hearts. Something was missing. But what?

Ok, I had enough of the biking, fundraising, training and all that went into preparing for an AIDS ride.

For many years I would break out the bike, get some miles behind me and drift into my memories about the AIDS Ride. I always found incredible memories to draw on: Remember when one night’s desert was a cold chocolate éclair with its divine taste? Or when you stopped with a friend who blew a tire, giving the “thumbs up” sign to dozens of riders asking, “Are you ok?”

Jump with me now to 2008 — and my introduction to Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS. I was fortunate enough to be at opening ceremonies and closing ceremonies. As the moto crew roared their bikes to life my heart jumped — I knew “that feeling.”

The next day as I waited for the riders to come home, I listened to crew members and families talk about their reasons for being there. As the riders pulled into view the tears flowed. I knew I would ride in 2009!

In 2009, I made new friends, bought a new bike and cherished (though I did my share of complaining about) the 1,400 miles I rode from May through the end of the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS.

That year my reasons were more selfish. I wanted to get into better shape, be outdoors more, do something different from the past few years. I took a chance and self-identified as HIV-positive and joined the Positive Pedalers Team.

For 2010, I joined the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS as a council member and co-captain of the Positive Pedalers Team. As I reflected on the past AIDS Rides, I found again my true reasons to ride: I know I will make a difference, and I want to hear your stories.

If you find me on the ride, or training, do me the honor of telling me your story about why you ride. Now, Saddle UP!

Michael Mack is co-captain of the Positive Pedalers team for the 2010 Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS. To donate to Mack or any LSR rider, or to register as a rider or crew, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 25, 2010.

—  Dallasvoice

LSR kicks off 10th year with party at Salum

The 10th annual Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS got off to a big start Sunday, May 16, with a kickoff party at Salum restaurant.

LSR Co-Chairs Laura Kerr and John Tripp said today that 140 people signed in at the party. A total of 67 riders and 31 crew members registered for this year’s ride — which takes place the weekend of Sept. 25-26, beginning and ending each day at the American Airlines Conference Center in Fort Worth.

They also sold 34 tickets for a chance at a gorgeous new Trek Madone bike. Tickets are $20 each for the bike raffle and the winning ticket will be chosen the weekend of the ride. Check the website at LoneStarRide.org for details.

Just to put things in perspective, at last year’s kickoff party, 120 people signed in, and 32 riders and 31 crew members registered. So it looks like this is going to be a banner year for Lone Star Ride.

For a better idea of how things went Sunday, check out this DVtv video.

—  admin

Get fashionably passionate for less

LSR10 passion 4 fashion poster.ai

Yesterday I posted this blog reminding everybody to get their tickets as soon as possible for “Passion 4 Fashion,” a fashion show being held Friday in the Rose Room at Station 4 on Friday night to raise money for Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS’ Lone Star Locker program.

Well, today, I am here to tell you that if you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, you’re in luck. But you have to act fast.

For today only, you can get VIP tickets for $56, general seating tickets for $26 and standing room tickets for $19. So go here as soon as possible, before prices go back up, and then head to the Rose Room Friday to see the latest fashions from Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Diesel, Hugo Boss, Seven For All Mankind and more.

—  admin