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AIDS/LifeCycle 11: Unexpected storm dampens Day 2

KING CITY, Calif. – The second day of AIDS/LifeCycle 11 turned out to be a challenging day for the more than 2,700 participants who had to temporarily halt their journey and take shelter at a local church and college as unexpected rains poured down.

Riders faced a light drizzle as they started the approximately 85-mile leg of the ride from Santa Cruz to King City, Calif., on Monday morning. The downpour became heavier and heavier throughout the day, causing minor injuries and hypothermia, some riders report.

About 500 riders in Salinas were moved from a park to neighboring Hartnell College to wait for the storm to pass and for buses to arrive to take them on to San Lorenzo Park in King City, reports The Oakland Tribune.

Many local organizations and churches opened their arms to provide support to the riders, including the Monterey County chapter of the Red Cross which provided coffee and snacks.

Midday, a photo was posted on AIDS/LifeCycle’s Facebook page to generate support for the stranded riders:

It's just a bit tad cold and drizzly at the Day 2 lunch stop in Salinas. "Like" this post to show our riders some Facebook love and support as they complete a century today on their way to King City.

As of Tuesday morning, 590 people "liked" the post.

Sean Suydam, a training ride leader for AIDS/LifeCycle Team San Diego, is providing San Diego Gay & Lesbian News with updates from the road as he continues on his sixth AIDS/LifeCycle experience.

While Suydam said the day was particularly challenging with the rains, cold weather and pain in his hamstring, he carried on.

“It’s easy to be cold and sore when you know there are people living with HIV who get up each and every day to go about their lives even though they may not feel well or suffer from physical challenges greater than most of us can imagine,” Suydam said. “Once we ride into Los Angeles on Saturday, our journey is over and the pain goes away, so I will continue to ride for all of the people who need us.”

AIDS/LifeCycle is an annual event presented by the LA Gay & Lesbian Center, which raises money for numerous HIV/AIDS charities in California. The 545-mile bicycle ride began Sunday morning and will end Saturday in Los Angeles during that city’s LGBT pride celebrations. This year’s ride attracted 2,225 riders and 500 support volunteers and staff, many from San Diego.

The ride will continue today, Day 3, from King City to Paso Robles, Calif. on a 65-mile hilly stretch known by many veteran riders as the most physically challenging portion of the ride.

For more information, click HERE or follow @AIDSLifeCycle on Twitter.

Top left photo: Riders being transported by bus to shelter during yesterday's rainstorm. Credit: AIDS/LifeCycle.
Bottom left photo: Approximately 700 riders were stranded at a rest stop during lunchtime waiting on buses to transport them. Credit: Sean Suydam.