Registration and Opening Ceremony
Austin Travel Blog› entry 9 of 11 › view all entries
It's finally here. I have been training since January to be ready for this weekend, and it's here. The Hill Country Ride, 2008.
This afternoon, several of my team mates and I went out to Krause Springs Park, where the Ride will start Saturday morning, to set up our camp. Krause Springs has a huge lawn area where you can set up tents and camp out the night before the Ride and the night of the Ride. We set up 7 tents in one area for our team -- we jokingly called it Wisteria Lane after the Desparate Housewives television serial. We did identify who on our team was most like Edie Britt -- but we did not come up with any other similarities. Guess that will come once we finish the Ride and start enjoying an adult beverage or four.
Some of our team chose to camp up on the hill above our tents -- one group in a pop up camper, and the other in an Airstream trailer.
Registration for the Ride began at 4pm back in Austin. I hurried home after setting up my tent, grabbed a quick shower and headed down to register. I got Rider number 260 this year, and quickly settled into social hour visiting with all the riders coming in that afternoon.
The Ride hosts a pasta dinner for us all that evening following registration. It's a good idea to do some carbo loading the night before a big ride as it helps with energy for the long haul ahead of you. Michaelangelo's, a local food company, donated enough lasagna to feed the 550 riders, plus 300 volunteer crew members.
We had 71 teams of riders this year! That's a huge number of teams. Each team was encouraged to make a banner reflecting their team, and all were hung in the banquet hall for our ceremony. Scott and Ethan made ours, and did a great job.
The opening ceremony is always very moving. We are reminded of why we are riding. We are reminded of who we are riding for -- our friends, co-workers, family and colleagues who are no longer with us -- or who are living positively with the HIV virus. We had a speaker who told her story of learning that her father was HIV positive and of his passing this year. She spoke eloquently about her experiences and about how different agencies that the Ride funds had helped her father and her family through his illness.
I made a necklace to wear during the ride with white and red beads. The red beads had numbers on them. Mine were 4 and 9. 4 for the number of years I have been doing the Ride; 9 for the friends, co-workers and colleagues that I ride for -- who are either no longer with us, or are living positively.
Due to threatened rain and hail storms for the evening hours, I elected not to camp out tonight and to stay at home one more night. I'll drive out in the morning in time for breakfast. I wanted a good night's sleep in a dry bed before the big ride.
Fund raising update: My total to date: $4,200. I exceeded my goal of $4,000! Team total to date: $46,500. We exceeded our goal of $45,000! We are safely ahead of our nearest competitor team (unless they are holding back and going to drop in a big check tomorrow!). We're looking good for the competition. Full On!