Regina Watson and her son Ivan are looking forward to their first year together as Lone Star Ride cyclists
M.M. ADJARIAN | Contributing Writer
Regina Watson rides a mountain/road hybrid; so does her son, Ivan. Where their individual tastes in bicycles are concerned, the apple clearly does not fall far from the tree.
This year, the pair are joining forces to participate in the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS as Team Mother & Son.
Regina lives in Weatherford and manages the toy section at a department store. Ivan lives in Fort Worth and works as a Wells Fargo banker.
Ivan was the first to volunteer for the LSR in 2002. He signed on to do route marking, the duty he carried out for several years after.
“I wanted to give back to the community and get involved in something worthwhile,” he says of his reason for volunteering.
Regina joined to support her son, who also happens to be HIV-positive. The first time she volunteered was in 2005. But as luck and foul weather would have it, she and Ivan both pulled out of the ride that year because of Hurricane Rita and the delays it caused.
Six years later, mother and son have come together again to participate in LSR, only this time as cyclists. It will be a year of firsts for both: Regina will finally have a chance to take part in the event from which she withdrew in 2005 and Ivan will take to his bicycle, a silver carbon copy of the gold-colored one his mother owns.
Mother and son eagerly await taking to the streets on their bikes for this year’s ride. But Ivan does have fond memories of the time he spent on the route crew and the friendships he formed with people he worked with then, largely under cover of darkness.
“We didn’t really get to participate much in the actual ride because we were out there on the job [hanging up signs, marking turns and highlighting road hazards] most of the night,” says Ivan. “But on the last day of the ride, we got to enjoy some of the event and I got to see the way riders come together. I was really impressed.”
Rider camaraderie was in fact the very reason Ivan decided to pedal — rather than spray-chalk — his way through another Lone Star Ride.
“They’re high-energy, caring and compassionate people,” he observes, “who are just fun to be around.”
And who don’t lack for any sense of humor.
“They give you stickers to pee” when you stop at pit stop, says Ivan, beginning to chuckle.
His mother is immediately infected by her son’s laughter.
“It’s a reward for peeing,” she giggles. “You’re staying hydrated, so you’re getting rewarded with stickers.”
Regina pauses to catch her breath.
“I think it’s the goal for some people to get covered in stickers from all the different pit stops,” she adds with a grin.
The Watsons are more than aware that as cyclists riding in the hot Texas sun, they will experience not only thirst, but also the muscle aches and pains that so often come with a rigorous physical workout. But both — and especially Regina — are looking forward to the massages that will be available at every pit stop and to all riders who want them.
“They sound really nice,” she says dreamily. “So do the people who give them to you.”
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.