My name is Clark Harding and I’ll be blogging live from the road
Tribes (And Instagram Whores For Good)
Monday June 3, 2013 11:47 a.m. Day Two
The bustle woke me. It was a half hour before my alarm was due to go off, but Tent City was awake. “Do not trust the Porta-Potty mirror,” Kimiko Martinez posted on Instagram. But, oh, did I trust it: my hair was doing its best Margaret Thatcher impersonation and I was as puffy as Mike Jeffries. “Be yourself,” assured Lisa Anne Porter, 48 who lost her father to AIDS back in 1988, “because when you participate in AIDS/LifeCycle, you find your tribe.” I pondered that thought as I looked out over a sea of cyclists in the breakfast line. Fellow riders with their puffy faces and sleeping-bag hair, having risen early to attack the 108 mile day ahead of them… and I remembered I had found my tribe.
Day 2 today of AIDS/Life Cycle 2013: Work hard and play hard. As the cyclists descended on their 108 mile day of riding from Santa Cruz to King City their rest stops ran the gamut along the way. Fried artichokes, skinny dipping in the river, “Otter Pops,” and gymnastics (but not really) at Rest Stop 4.
“There was skinny dipping and I missed it?!” Exclaimed Levi Foster, a 26 year-old, burly Alaskan. Talk about tribes: I totally stumbled across Levi’s adorable troupe of five boys who go by Team Wolf Pack. Oh…perhaps you’ve heard of them already? “I have like ten thousand followers on Instagram,” boasts Marcus Paglialonga, 29, a clothing designer in Los Angeles (gypsyjunkies.com). And I mean that with affection, because if I looked like him I would boast too. Not only are the members of Wolf Pack ridiculously cute and sharp, but they are so friendly! Talk about tarts with hearts (or in more contemporary terms “Instagram Whores for Good?”) They used their generational tech-prowess to raise over $24,000 for AIDS/LifeCycle 2013. “We posted on Instagram that anyone who donated $40 would get a personal shout-out,” Levi says proudly. He’s the team leader who encouraged all of his friends to train for the ride. “Those guys raised the equivalent of six months of individual medical therapy for 27 people with HIV!” exclaims Jim Key, The LA Gay and Lesbian Center’s Chief Public Affairs Officer. “I’m doing this because I think that a lot of people my age are really reckless,” says Levi, “If they become infected they are like ‘Oh well, I’ll just take a pill’ without even really knowing what that means.” It’s this kind of self awareness and energy that ALC is trying to tap. Just because the younger generation isn’t seeing people die, doesn’t mean the threat is gone.