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Putting Mettle to the Pedal

More than 800 Californians join other cyclists on a rugged, bone-chilling trip in Alaska to raise funds for AIDS research.

September 10, 2000|PAUL MORSE

Averaging 80 miles a day, some 1,500 cyclists tackled intense terrain and route conditions along the 510-mile Pallotta TeamWorks Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride. On Aug. 27, riders from around the globe journeyed from Fairbanks to Anchorage, cycling through Alaska's mountain passes, up and down windy roads and through grueling snowstorms, chilling winds and torrential rain. The six-day journey took riders to elevations of up to 3,300 feet.

Riders raised $4.1 million to benefit the work of three of the world's most respected AIDS research scientists, who are searching for a vaccine: Dr. Irvin Chen of the UCLA AIDS Institute, Dr. David Ho of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in New York and Dr. Rafi Ahmed of the Emory Vaccine Center in Atlanta.

With the 2,100 men and women involved with the ride (riders, crew members, volunteers and staff), the Mobile Tent City instantly became Alaska's sixth-largest city. Each cyclist began training for the ride about six months ago, beginning with 25-mile rides and working up to 70- and 80-mile trips. Of the 1,500 riders, 874 were from California, the biggest contingent on the ride.

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