Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride, 20-26 August 2000
What an adventure!!!

AAVR Main     Day 1    Day 2   Day 3    Day 4   Day 5   Day 6    Day 7

Aug 21st, Monday - Day One, Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride (AAVR), 99 miles

Awoke around 3:30 am, and was on the bus to the Opening Ceremonies location at 4:15 am, it was FREEZING, the temperature was in the low 30s so Washington DC's 95 degrees w/ humidity sounded pretty good.  The temperature brought home the fact that we were a mere 120 miles from the Arctic Circle!  I put water and Gatorade into my water bottles and made sure my trusty steed was ready to go.  Inside the Carlson Center we had breakfast, stretched and took time to read the 5 proclamations that we had received from various governments in Alaska congratulating us on the ride, the State of Alaska, City of Fairbanks, Municipality of Anchorage, Fairbanks North Star Borough, and the City of North Pole (no joke, North Pole, Alaska!). As Opening Ceremonies began 33 riders and 11 children walked solemnly onto the stage.  They took a microphone and said one million, two million, three million all the way to 33 million, then the 11 children started with one million, two million, three million.... The riders represented the 33 million people infected with HIV around the world and the children represented the 11 million children who have been orphaned by parents who have died from the disease. It was a very sobering moment, one that dramatically highlighted the vital necessity of finding an AIDS Vaccine as quickly as possible.

Dr. David Ho also spoke at the opening Ceremonies, he lead the team of scientists that developed the protease inhibitors which have prevented the deaths of so many infected with HIV.  He was very thankful for our efforts and very encouraging.

AAVR went to a lot of effort to incorporate Native Alaskan culture into the Ride experience.  The opening Ceremonies started featured a Native Alaskan dance of blessings for good luck, the dance was beautiful and the Chief was very eloquent with few words in blessing the riders for the journey to come.

We headed to our bikes and began the 99 mile day from Fairbanks to Big Delta, Alaska.  Our first pit-stop (called Out Posts for the Alaska Ride) was at Santa Clause House in the town of North Pole, Alaska!  The day's journey was from 380 ft. above sea level to 1,100 ft., most of the day was spent in steady climbing, we became intimate with the word "Climb" by the end of the ride.  After arriving in camp we were treated to a great question and answer session with Dr. David Ho on the progress and hopes for an AIDS Vaccine.  Later in the evening we were entertained by the comedian Sandra Bernhard.

Shortly before I headed to my tent for the evening I started to not feel very well, I could tell that my pulse rate was really high and figured my blood pressure had gone up as well.  Sure enough, I went to the camp medical crew who examined me and my blood pressure was 154/104 with a pulse rate of 98.  They sent me to bed but I was told I had to check in with Medical the next morning to see if I would be allowed to ride.

AAVR Main     Day 1    Day 2   Day 3    Day 4   Day 5   Day 6    Day 7


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