Smaller Adventures Travel Writing

AIDS Ride 2013: Who’s The Champ?

Dear Saoirse, Larry, Jeff, Sara, Jim, Sarah, John, Barbara, Ellen, Peter, Tom, and Stephanie:

Thanks for supporting my ride around Cayuga Lake last Saturday (Sept. 7). Here is a photo log of our experiences at the 2013 AIDS Ride for Life.  Click on the images to make them bigger.  -Brad

IMG_07366:40 am:  It’s about 48 degrees and clear. Tania is feeling strong, thanks to her regular trips to the gym. Who’s the champ?




IMG_07376:55 am:  It’s a short ride from our house to Stewart Park, the starting point for the ride.  The tip sheet asks riders to show up at 6am, but I have done this six times and Tania has done it five, so we show up only a few minutes before the start.  Heading north on Route 34, the dawn light on Cayuga Lake is stunning.

IMG_07398am:  It’s overcast and cool, perfect weather for a ride.  We stay together until the top of the Ludlowville Creek hill, and then I pull ahead because I’m planning to do 100 miles while Tania takes the cut at Routes 5 & 20 (86 miles).  The 100-mile ride includes a tour of the Montezuma marsh that is my favorite part. We plan to re-connect at the lunch break and do the last 40 miles together.

The Ridge is a bar near the Tompkins County line that always reminds me of The Power House, which was a great place to get beat up before it closed a few years ago.

IMG_07439am Long Point, NY on Route 90.  About to head down Pumpkin Hill into Aurora.



IMG_074610am North of Union Springs, in the territory claimed by the Cayuga Indian Nation.  “Upstate Citizens For Equality” has had these signs around the north end of the lake for decades, as the stalled land claims lawsuit refuses to die.  The US Constitution can be extremely inconvenient.

IMG_074711:30 am Crossing the Seneca River, at 46 miles, which the Indians called “a paradise of musquitos” (see historic marker).  Tania’s cell phone fell out of her bike bag somewhere between Aurora and Union Springs (and so far has not been recovered).  She calls me from a borrowed phone to say that she is feeling good enough, for the first time, to do the 100 mile course.  She has done a “century ride” only once before, 18 years ago!

IMG_074812:45 pm.  I get to the Seneca Falls Community Center around noon and while away the time until Tania arrives.  This is surprisingly easy when you’re stoned out of your mind on endorphins.  There’s a good free lunch, and then a nice woman from Rasa Spa gives me a free massage.  They really treat you great on this ride.  Tania pulls in, looking good, and off we go.  She IS the champ.

IMG_07492:30 pm  Somewhere around Varick.  Ignoring common sense, I point the camera backwards and click away until something interesting emerges.  Jim Kersting used to do stuff like this when we rode across the U.S. in 2008.  It drove me crazy then, but I guess boredom makes you even crazier.  It has been lightly raining for the last hour, but it isn’t heavy enough to really get us wet, and thankfully it soon tapers off.  I’m feeling OK, thanks to lots of ibuprofen.

IMG_07514:00 pm, north of Taughannock. We are turning into veggies, but there are only about 10 miles to go.



IMG_07564:45 pm: It has been a near-perfect day, a breakthrough for Tania, and the Southern TIer AIDS Program raised more than $230,000 for treatment and prevention.  But right now all I can think about is taking a shower and lying down.

By bradedmondson

Writing about social change and how it happens.

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