“I’ve always loved being on my bike, and it was a perfect way to mesh my passion for riding and my desire to support the HIV and AIDS community in Central Texas.”
This year, the ASA Hill Country Ride for AIDS (HCRA) team (the Wheeler Dealers) is led by our Food and Nutrition Services Manager, Julie Falchuk. For Julie and her wife KJ, the HCRA is a chance to join together with the community while supporting HIV services in Central Texas. As team captain this year, Julie has taken on an even bigger challenge: “It’s truly about motivating your teammates and cheering them on at every step of the way. Fundraising and training can be challenging, but knowing that there’s a team behind you certainly helps out.”
While her leadership this year makes her seem like a seasoned veteran, the 2014 HCRA was actually Julie’s first time participating in a ride. “My experience last year was inspiring, motivating, and certainly challenging! I was incredibly inspired by the number of people that came out to support the ride and the cause. It was overwhelming to see that so many folks were riding, volunteering, and cheering all for the same cause.” This community spirit also motivated KJ (who volunteered last year) to join Julie in the ride this year.
Julie knows the HCRA plays an important role in bringing the community together “in a way that’s unique, rewarding, challenging, and inspiring.” For instance, regular training rides before the big event help riders get into shape, but serve another purpose as well: “It is motivating to meet other folks who are in it for the same cause, who are looking to connect with people with the same passions and to build camaraderie before the actual ride.”
In addition, it doesn’t hurt that the routes take riders through the scenic hill country of Central Texas. “It’s a time to get out on the country roads, clear your mind, and focus on why we ride,” Julie explains.
Julie and KJ are looking forward to an amazing ride this year and know that first-time riders will be in for a treat. “The energy that’s built up to that day comes together to create an incredibly motivating and inspiring event. Plus, the pit stops are certainly a highlight! Each pit stop typically has a theme along with music, snacks, and good vibes. The moment you feel like quitting, a pit stop will be around the corner with folks cheering you on. I can’t wait for that same energy again this year.”
Above all, Julie comes out to support the cause. “While the climb uphill can be grueling and challenging and at times, [we might] want to give up, riders like myself are able to pause and say, ‘If someone living with HIV, living in poverty, who faces so many challenges can live a sustainable life, then I can get up this hill! I am doing it for them!’”