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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Ride for AIDS Chicago seeks record numbers
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2013-01-22

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Ride For AIDS Chicago (RFAC) celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2013—with lofty goals for participating riders, crew members and fundraising.

Richard Cordova, director of athletic events at the Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN), which produces the annual 200-mile bicycle ride, said organizers are hoping to raise $751,000, with 316 riders and 102 crew members.

The 2012 event, held in July, generated $638,000 with 275 riders and 72 crew.

"We are excited to continue expanding both our fundraising and training programs," Cordova said. "We will be adding new content for fundraising, going digital with YouTube videos on how to fundraise, and adding fundraising incentives. Our training program is expanding with the addition of longer indoor training sessions, a training ride leader training program, and we have a certified U.S. Cycling coach on our executive committee helping to coordinate our training program."

To date, the RFAC has raised about $1.5 million to support HIV services in Chicago.

"We've raised over half of that amount in the past three years," Cordova said. "I think this event is just starting to hit its stride. We'll see this event hit $1 million [raised] in one year very soon."

Cordova, 34, who lives in Andersonville, has been aligned with the Ride for six years. He also has run marathons in the past for local charities.

For the second year in a row, James Sumers was the top RFAC fund-raiser. He raised more than $25,000, and another $25,000 for the annual AIDS LifeCycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

"The biggest surprise was the sense of community that really developed in 2012," Cordova said. "It started in 2011, but really cemented itself [in 2012]. We became one large extended, quirky, crazy, and loving family. Just like a true family—sometimes you love 'em, sometimes you hate 'em, but in the end, you couldn't bear to live without them."

Registration for the 2013 RFAC started last September, and the group's marketing push kicks into full gear in January.

"This year, we are excited to add a fundraising incentive program," Cordova said. "Most of our participants do RFAC for the cause and the challenge. They certainly don't expect incentives, but we think it will be a nice way to show our thanks for all of their efforts."

The kickoff party for the 2013 Ride is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 27, 4-7 p.m. at Diversey River Bowl, 2211 W. Diversey Ave.

For more information on the Ride For AIDS Chicago, go to www.rideforaids.org .


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