Andrew Martin“It’s not a race; it’s a destination,” Andrew Martin, Medical Case Manager at ASA, explains. This is just Andrew’s second year participating in the Hill Country Ride (HCR), but fundraising through biking comes naturally to him. “I raised $3,000 last year and rode 26 miles, so now I’m hooked!”  

First founded in 1999, the Hill Country Ride celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. The annual cycling event not only raises funds for local AIDS service organizations but provides fellowship and camaraderie to cyclists of all ages and levels. Andrew did his first Ride for AIDS in 1995 when he lived in Portland, Maine. “My partner Gil was just diagnosed [with HIV], so I started to get involved with the community.”

Andrew 2When Andrew decided to join the Ride last year, he set out on his first practice run with a “clunky hybrid bicycle that I’ve had for over a decade.” He quickly realized he would not be able to travel 26 miles, so he treated himself to a new road bike. “As an only child who wasn’t involved in team sports, biking was my outlet as an adolescent. You can cover so much more ground than running; you can go in so many different directions and see the world and scenery. You can be in control, go in any direction that you want.”

Throughout the spring, the Hill Country Ride offers weekend training joyrides, each one with a ride leader who knows the route and can help people when they break down or offer support. This year, Andrew volunteered to be a ride leader. At the beginning of each joyride, one of the ten beneficiary agencies is invited to explain how they serve the community. 

“It’s a great opportunity to be with other people who are going to be at the Ride. It’s good for team-building and being social, and the events are fun and well-supported. So this season, regardless of the weather, I’ve been going to each one.”

Andrew has already raised over $5,000, and has been the number one fundraiser on the HCR site for several weeks now. “This year, I decided to challenge myself, because I was turning 60. So my goal is to do 60 miles. It’s tricky because the route only has two close options, 53 or 70, so I’m still trying to decide how to do it.” Andrew has already leveraged his birthday (which was earlier this month) to encourage people through facebook to donate $60. “I got a lot of donations, and I also got several $120 donations from people who wanted to recognize my 60 years plus the 60 miles.”

Andrew 1To get in shape to tackle 60 miles, Andrew has been training at Veloway, a three-mile loop by the Ladybird Wildflower Center. “I enjoy pushing myself, and the HCR challenges me physically compared to the AIDS Walk. I also find biking very relaxing; it clears my mind.”

As an HIV specialist, Andrew is very interested in how HIV affects people as they age. He will be speaking at the HIV/AIDS and Aging Symposium on May 2 later this year. Having watched his partner live with HIV for so long and ultimately pass away, he says, “I’ve been aging with AIDS too, even though I’m HIV negative.”

“I ride to honor my partner Gil, who died in 1996, to create awareness, and for everyone whose lives have been affected by HIV and AIDS.”

Support Andrew and the ASA Wheeler Dealers at the Hill Country Ride on April 26!
Join our team or donate here.