LSR Journal: New friends and a new commitment

Ana-Maria Baker started out last year as a LSRFA cyclist because she saw it as another way to get fit. Then she made friends with riders who were HIV-positive, and her view of the ride changed

Ana-Maria Baker

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

The Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS may have been born in the Dallas-Fort Worth LGBT community. But as second-year cyclist Ana-Maria Baker well knows, the HIV/AIDS epidemic affects everyone — and you don’t have to be gay to care.

Baker, a revenue management professional for Hilton Hotels, came to participate in LSRFA the same way that so many other people do: through the suggestion of a friend who happened to have been affiliated with the ride.

“He [the friend] knew that I was into fitness,” Baker says. “And I thought it would be a good challenge for me, so I signed up.”

Although Baker was a runner and a regular at her local gym, she was totally new to cycling. But once in the saddle, she became happily addicted to the two-wheeled experience.

“It’s awesome!” she raves. “With working out, you can get bored because your body gets used to it. But every time [I go cycling], it’s something new.”

The fact that she was doing something she adored in service of a good cause made it that much easier for her to keep up with her newfound hobby. But it was the relationships she established along the way that made her want to commit to LSRFA long term.

“I made a particularly good set of friends last year,” recalls Baker. “On the morning before the ride, I noticed they all had the same jerseys on. And I said, ‘Hey, how come I didn’t get the message about the matching jerseys?’

“One of them made a joke and said, ‘Honey, you don’t want to wear this jersey,’” she continues. “[Then I found out] that the jersey stood for the Positive Pedaler team — my [new] friends were all HIV-positive.”

In the blink of an eye, what for Baker had just been a fitness event suddenly became much more personal.

“These were people I had gotten to know really well,” she says. “[But] I had [had] no idea that they were impacted by the disease. It stopped me in my tracks and made me realize what I was riding for.”

The event has now become a family affair. This year, Baker’s husband, a paramedic, will be serving on the LSRFA medical team.

“He’s gotten to know some of the friends I made last year, so he really wants to be part of it, too,” Baker says. “He wants to help out because he thinks the LSRFA is such a neat thing.”

As straight supporters of the ride, the Bakers know they are in the minority. But this fact doesn’t faze either one of them.

“Nobody makes you feel any different because [ultimately] you aren’t,” says the sophomore cyclist.

Her participation in LSRFA has also given Baker insights that have deepened her understanding of the friends and community on whose behalf she — and now her husband — volunteer.

“I feel that the gay community is a lot more accepting than the straight community,” Baker remarks. “And for them to be so accepting of me — well, it just makes me sad for the straight community and how we treat [LGBT people].”

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS will be held Sept. 24-25. To donate to an individual rider, to a team or to the Ride itself, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 9, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Starvoice • 03.25.11

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYAmySedaris_Born_13994096

Amy Sedaris turns 50 on Tuesday. There are so many things we love about Sedaris and it all starts with her creepily funny character Jerri Blank in Strangers With Candy. Her books are just as hilarious, whether collaborating with her brother David or on her own with 2010’s Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People.

………………………..

THIS WEEK

With Mercury turning retrograde in Aries, be careful of spontaneous speeches and actions. Mars conjunct Uranus makes it way too easy to leap before you look — metaphorically and literally. The good news is that mistakes and missteps will show up immediately. Be very ready to make corrections and apologies.

………………………..

PISCES Feb 19-Mar 19
Reconsider life’s priorities. Rude financial shocks should stimulate brilliant new ideas, although any new ideas now will need revision later. Stay patient.

ARIES Mar 20-Apr 19
You’re certain to make a fool of yourself one way or another, so lighten up and let yourself be in on the joke. While taking yourself too seriously is surely disastrous, do be serious about safety.

TAURUS Apr 20-May 20
You need to worry better. Get clear on what’s provoking your anxieties so you can resolve them once and for all. Resolution won’t come instantly, but insights now will prove helpful later.

GEMINI May 21-Jun 20
Arguments with friends are blamed on miscommunications. If you can’t patch things up now, a little time apart could be helpful. New friends could cause more confusion than they solve.

CANCER Jun 21-Jul 22
Anything you do will be observed. Consulting with your boss will help disperse any blame and make those mistakes more interesting. A good sense of humor will get you through.

LEO Jul 23-Aug 22
Only get into arguments if you want to be proven wrong. You could learn a great deal, but don’t jump on any bandwagons. Novel notions will require closer examination and corrections.

VIRGO Aug 23-Sep 22
Experimental sexual techniques will teach you more about what you don’t like than what you do. Scratch things off the list. Avoid anything risky for now. These are accident-prone times.

LIBRA Sep 23-Oct 22
Arguments and misunderstandings with your partner are expected. Every relationship has challenges. Breaking up now is a mistake. Committing to a new relationship now is a bigger one.

SCORPIO Oct 23-Nov 21
Moderation is the key to fitness. Pushing too hard will do harm. Take disruptions at work in a calm, even stride. Are you being fair to colleagues? Consider those problems now. Decide later.

SAGITTARIUS Nov 22-Dec 20
Daring gestures blow up in your face and creative efforts backfire. Stay in good humor and treat it all as a grand experiment. Learning what doesn’t work will serve you well in the future.

CAPRICORN Dec 21-Jan 19
Household accidents are likely. Write down and design any bright ideas you have, but review them next month before fiddling with wires.

AQUARIUS Jan 20-Feb 18
Your mouth is getting way ahead of your brain. Be very careful to converse only with people who aren’t easily offended. Writing is safer than talking —unless you’re worried about evidence.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 25, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Dallas Pride: Sports Pride mixer at Woody’s

Get some play with these ballers

For all the jocks who haven’t been so jock-ish lately, Woody’s is the place to be. Organizers from various LGBT sports associations will all be convening at the bar for some drinks, fun and recruitment. For the newbie to the athlete, all of the likely have divisions for you to fit in. And it’s seriously one of the best ways to make new friends.

DEETS: Woody’s, 4011 Cedar Springs Road. 7 p.m. DallasWoody’s.com.

—  Rich Lopez

LSR Journal: Because it’s fun to help others

Jacob Comer
Jacob Comer

By Jacob Comer Team Dallas Voice

My name is Jacob. I am 11 years old, and I just started sixth grade. This year, I am working on the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS pit stop crew with my mom, Sandra.

I like to ride my bike. Last year, when I was in fifth grade and the school I went to was closer to my house, I would ride my bike to school.
One day, I want to be a rider in Lone Star Ride. But that will have to wait until I am older and can ride farther.

Last year, my mom was riding her bike in Lone Star Ride. But she had a wreck and hurt her hand.

When she came home and I saw that her hand was hurt, I was upset, and I said I didn’t want her to ride any more. But then she told me why she was riding.

She told me that the reason for Lone Star Ride is to raise money for people who have a disease called AIDS. She said that AIDS makes you really feel bad and you have to take lots of medicine all the time.

She also said that the medicines cost lots of money and it is hard for people to pay for the medicines they need, especially because AIDS makes people so sick that sometimes they can’t work to make money.

So people who have AIDS sometimes can’t pay for food or for a place to live. It made me very sad to think of that.
Mom told me that Lone Star Ride raises money to help people with AIDS get their medicine and have somewhere to live and food to eat.

So when she said she was going to volunteer again this year, I told her I wanted to volunteer, too. I want to do something to help people who are already sick, and I want to help other people keep from getting AIDS.

One time this summer, Mom and I went to one of the Lone Star Ride training rides. We rode in our car to make sure that the people on their bikes were OK.

If someone started feeling bad or got too tired to ride any more, we picked them up and drove them back to the finish line.

It was so much fun. I love to work with my family and people that I know, and I love to meet new people and make new friends. Lone Star Ride is a great way to do that.

It was so much fun to go by the people on their bikes and cheer for them and wave to them.

It is fun to help people.

Why don’t you come and ride with us or volunteer for the crew so that you can have fun helping people, too?

A note from Jake’s mom: There are a lot of adults out there who either don’t see the importance of participating in Lone Star Ride or other such events, or who aren’t willing to give the time and put out the effort to be part of something that is so important.

And to know that my son, at 11 years old, is already thoughtful and kind-hearted enough to make this sort of commitment makes me very, very proud.

I know that it takes a lot of time and effort and dedication to ride a bike 150 miles over two days.

And yes, it takes time and effort and dedication to volunteer for one of the crew positions.

But that time and effort is nothing compared to the good that you can do for people living with AIDS who need your help.

Even if you can’t ride or crew, you can donate to someone who is.

So come on — join me and Jake and do your part for the Lone Star Ride and the people it serves.   

To donate to Jacob or to another LSR rider or crew member, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 27, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

LSR Journal: Riding to meet the challenge, personal and charitable

Stacy McKinney Team Dallas Voice

Stacy McKinney
Stacy McKinney

Last January I started running, and I really enjoyed it. So for my 40th birthday, I decided to challenge myself and train for a half marathon. Within a few months of training with the Dallas Running Club, I ran the Heels and Hills and Him Half Marathon.

But since I wasn’t finished challenging myself, I decided to set myself the new goal of running a marathon. In December 2009, I completed the White Rock Marathon. It was an amazing experience.

But after completing my first marathon, I was looking for a way to change up my work out and do something different. So, I bought a bike and completed a duathlon.

Even though it was difficult, I fell in love with the bike. I decided right then and there to challenge myself to do even more. A few months later, a group of friends talked me into riding the MS150.

Riding for a cause gave me so much motivation.

A few months after that, I completed my first Sprint Distance Triathlon. Recently I joined Go3Sports Triathlon Team and have four more races coming up this year.

Normally, I ride three days per week, run several times a week, and swim daily. As you can see, I am a very active person who loves to challenge herself.

What you should also know about me is that I not only love participating in these sports and races, I love coming up with costumes for my races. It is all about having fun.

For years, I have played volleyball with DIVA, the Dallas Independent Volleyball Association, and participated in DIVA’s fundraising efforts for AIDS organizations. And it was friend I play volleyball with that told me about the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS.

He told me that when he rode in 2009, he had such a great experience and met lots of new friends. When I heard this, I got really excited because I love to meet new people and make friends.

So, I was like, “Sign me up!”

I joined Team Dallas Voice and started telling everyone about the ride. I actually convinced a few friends to join me. We just started training, but I have loved every moment of it so far.

What I’ve learned over this past year is that you can push your body to the limit as long as you stay focused and positive. I have a great support system with my husband, daughter and many, many friends, and they are the ones helping me stay focused and positive.

I am very passionate about riding with Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS this year. Several of my friends are HIV-positive, and if I can raise money to help them just by riding 150 miles on my bike, then I am so happy to do it!

I am so excited to be a part of the ride this year and can’t wait to make tons of new friends and make a difference for people with HIV/AIDS.

You can make new friends and make a difference at the same time, too. Sign up to ride or crew, or make a donation to someone who is riding or crewing. It will take all of us working together to meet this challenge.

Stacy McKinney is a member of Team Dallas Voice. You can contribute to her or to any other Lone Star Ride participant online at LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 30, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas