Tamiya – Why I Ride Project

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Why I Ride Project - Brent Dundore Photography

“I ride to show that it is possible.

TAMIYA – This is my 2nd year participating in the Red Ribbon Ride.

Why do you Red Ribbon Ride? At first it was because I was asked to participate and it was a new challenge to do something I never thought I could do. While on my 1st ride last year I met men and women that have persevered through unbelievable adversities and I knew I wanted to learn more about this amazing organization. This year, while I ride again to challenge myself, I primarily ride to bring awareness that this disease is still blight on our society and that there is more to be done.

What is your favorite thing about the Red Ribbon Ride? Hands down the amazing people you will meet on the ride!

How were you introduced to Red Ribbon Ride? The amazingly beautiful hearted Doug Melroe! There are not enough words to express how much I adore him.

What do you do away from the Red Ribbon Ride?  I am a total nerd who loves anime, comics, video games and sci-fi movies. I am also currently taking lessons to learn Mandarin and do volunteer work though my employer.

What is one great memory you can share from your ride/crew experience in the past?  On the 3rd day of the ride last year I got to camp that afternoon in tears. There was a personal mileage goal I wanted to accomplish that day and I was so exhausted, I fell short of that goal. As I was walking into camp trying to clean up my face so no one would notice I was met by fellow rider Robert who saw my face and just hugged me. No initial words, just a much needed hug. My other friends on the ride came around and helped me through it, yet it was that initial hug from Robert that settled my heart. The reason that moment is so special to me is because people on the ride do not hesitate to provide not just the physical support needed, but most importantly emotional support. That is what is so special about the Red Ribbon Ride.

What would you tell someone who is on the fence about joining our ride next year?  I am neither an athlete nor a professional cyclist. There is a myth that one has to be one or the other to complete this ride and that is just not true. While, yes one does need to train for this event, they do not have to be a professional. All one has to be is themselves because remember, this is a ride not a race so come along and have some fun!

What person or group of people are you hoping to bring to the ride this next year?  Minority communities are still some of the hardest hit populations in new HIV cases. The CDC reports that while African Americans are 12% of the population in 2010 they accounted for 44% in new infections and Latinos while 16% of the population are 21% of new infections. I would love to see more people of color on this year’s ride to help bring about more attention and conversation to this situation.

What is your fundraising goal this year? What creative ways are you going to achieve that goal?  My fundraising goal is an exciting $4,000 and to help achieve this goal I attended the fundraising seminar by Red Ribbon Ride Executive Director Marni Zimlin fundraising seminar so there will be some fun things coming down the road!

Is there anything else you’d like to say to our Red Ribbon Ride community?  While on the ride last year at one point Doug told me “I think you are too worried about the things you think you did not accomplish and not recognizing all of the amazing things you did accomplish”. All riders and crew should remember those words as everyone is accomplishing amazing things during this event. Remember, this is a ride not a race.


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