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California AIDS
Ride Raises a Record $11.5 Million

California AIDS
Ride Raises a Record $11.5 Million

More than 2,500 cyclists from 12 countries and 42 states left from San Francisco on Monday, beginning a seven-day, 545-mile bike ride to Los Angeles in support of AIDS/LifeCycle.

More than 2,500 cyclists from 12 countries and 42 states left from San Francisco on Monday, beginning a seven-day, 545-mile bike ride to Los Angeles in support of AIDS/LifeCycle.

This year's riders and 500 volunteers raised a record $11.5 million, more than any other annual HIV/AIDS fund-raising event.

Now in its seventh year, the event benefits the HIV/AIDS-related services of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, two of the largest AIDS services providers in the country.

Since its inception, AIDS/LifeCycle has raised more than $40 million for HIV/AIDS services.

"During the time it will take us to reach L.A., more than 1,000 Americans will become newly infected with HIV.... The 3,000 riders and volunteer roadies -- and the 60,000 people who sponsor them -- are raising awareness and making a statement that we will not stand idle in the face of the monumental challenge before us," said Lorri L. Jean, chief executive officer of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, in a statement released by AIDS/LifeCycle.

The record number of participants in this year's event represents a full range of cycling experience and expertise, from novices to experts, and even includes a contingent of cyclists living with HIV known as the Positive Pedalers.

This year, the oldest rider is 81, and the youngest is 18. Riders train for months in advance of the ride and commit themselves to raising at least $2,500 each.

It is estimated that 160,000 Californians are living with HIV/AIDS, many of whom are unaware of their infection. In California, HIV/AIDS has had a particularly severe effect on the gay community, with more than 73% of all cases occurring among gay and bisexual men of all races and ethnicities, compared with 59% of AIDS cases nationally.

The route of the ride and the overnight campsites are as follows:

Sunday, June 1 -- Opening Ceremony: The Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave., Daly City. 79.3 miles to Santa Cruz. Camp 1: Harvey West Park, 326 Evergreen St., Santa Cruz.

Monday, June 2 -- 105.4 miles to King City. Camp 2: San Lorenzo County Park, 1160 Broadway, King City.

Tuesday June 3 -- 66.7 miles to Paso Robles. Camp 3: Mid State Fairgrounds, 2198 Riverside Ave., Paso Robles.

Wednesday, June 4 -- 97.7 miles to Santa Maria. Camp 4: Preisker Park, 2301 Preisker Lane, Santa Maria.

Thursday, June 5 -- 42.5 miles to Lompoc. Camp 5: River Park, Sweeney Road at Highway 246, Lompoc.

Friday, June 6 -- 85.5 miles to Ventura. Camp 6: San Buenaventura State Beach, 901 San Pedro St., Ventura.

Saturday, June 7 -- 61.5 miles to Los Angeles. Closing Ceremonies: Veterans Administration Center, 11301 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information or to view a complete training schedule, visit www.AIDSLifeCycle.org or call 866-BIKE4AIDS.

Additional information about the history of the event, details regarding the sponsoring organizations, and profiles of individuals participating in the event can be found on the AIDS/LifeCycle website press room at www.aidslifecycle.org/press. (The Advocate)

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