When NoMoreDownLow’s co-host, Janora McDuffie decided to participate in this year’s AIDS LifeCycle Ride 10, from San Francisco to Los Angeles, she really didn’t know what she was getting herself into. I mean, really, unless you’ve participated in the ride before, who really knows what it’s like to bike 545 miles in 7-days? So, what’s her motivation, you might ask? According to McDuffie, it was the NoMoreDownLow.TV, segments about black women and HIV that really struck a nerve.
For lack of sounding like a broken record, AIDS is the third leading cause of death among black men and women ages 35 – 44. And although black Americans now make up about 14 percent of the U.S. population, they represent half of those living with and dying from HIV/AIDS. Those facts alone should be enough to move all of us to do something. But as a blog posted on today’s Black American Website asks, “Are Blacks Taking AIDS Seriously?”
Make no mistake about it, our girl Janora is dead serious. And on Day 2 of her ride to raise awareness about Black women and HIV, she’s endured two nasty spills, ugly bruises, sore muscles and joints as proof that she’s not playing. After all, it’s not everyday that anyone of us choses to rides a bike 64-miles in one day as she did on Monday.
Today, she equaled her first outing, but though she put in the time, for technical reasons, with the ride organizers and the Santa Cruz public officials, the riders start times were staggered causing even more participants to be “sagged”.In case you didn’t read yesterday’s blog, “sagged” is a term used by the riders when participants who don’t hit certain marks by a specific times are required to be bused to the next location or back to the next base camp. Once again, Janora was part of that group and needless to say, she was extremely disappointed. But organizers and veteran riders alike say this is not uncommon for first time riders. Their goal is to keep the newbies from injury and pace them for the long 7-day journey.
Janora says she is determined to complete day three. And that’s going to be a challenge because this leg of the ride includes a stretch called “the quad buster,” a hill so steep that veteran rides have to take a break and walk their bikes. McDuffie plans to get an earlier start, which means getting up at 4 a.m., get to breakfast, pack clothes, fold her tent and sleeping bag, securing her bike and join the starting line at 6:30 a.m., PDT. If all goes as planned, Janora believes she will have a much better day. Stay tuned!
Watch our NoMoreDownLow.TV segments that focus on HIV/AIDS issues, how it has impact us, what we’re doing about it and why we can’t give up.