That's right. The gayest day of my life. And I mean that in the literal, non-derogatory sense. Never before have I spent an afternoon chatting with, gawking at, and bicycling next to hundreds of flamboyant, glamourous, over-the-top gay men, the vast majority decked out in red.
It was really something.
Day 5 on the ride has come to be known as "red dress day." There was no shortage of red garb - gowns, spandex, even high heels for that matter. I rode behind this gentleman for quite some time.
The day called for only 40 miles - a nice break after going nearly 100 miles the day prior. (Still, some of those hills were harder than the wimpy Evil Twins.) On our way to Lompoc we had a leisurely lunch, barefoot and basking in the sun. About midway through my rice and bean wrap, a gentleman clad in a red Speedo stuffed with dollar bills sat next to us. He introduced himself as David. Judging by his body, he looked more like a "He-Man" than a "David."
He asked us why we were riding. We gave our usual answers - to challenge ourselves, to support a good cause, etc. - things that sound generic when played back. David told us he's HIV positive, and that after he was diagnosed, his life sort of spiraled downhill. He got into drugs, gained 80 pounds, and was generally wading in mucky waters. The HIV medication he needed would've cost him thousands of dollars a month without insurance.
David looked in the mirror one day and was like, what the hell! So he turned his life around big time. He's now a cycling instructor in Healdsburg. If I have the opportunity to take one of his classes, I definitely will. He's so healthy that the HIV strain no longer shows up in his body! Crazy.
Meeting David was the highlight of my day. And not just because of those washboard abs. (Kidding.) His story was inspiring and a wonderful reminder of how many people the ALC ride reaches. Thanks for that, David.
This field of flowers was the second highlight of my day.