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Taking on the Race Across America: Meet Team4HIVHope 2011

December 15, 2011

Race Across American Team4HIVHope

Want to learn more about the members and crew of Team4HIVHope -- the first-ever team made up mostly of openly HIV-positive riders and crew to complete the grueling Race Across America (RAAM)? Read what they have to say here. You can also check out the team's blog to meet the new 2012 teammates, and peek in on a conversation with the 2011 racers and crew.

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Steven Berveling

Steven Berveling, Sydney, Australia; Diagnosed May 6, 1992

"I've basically been cycling all my life, but competitively since I was at university in the 1970s. I knew about this race, but became involved in it in earnest once the visa restrictions to the United States were eased in 2010, and I could actually enter the United States lawfully."

Steven works as a barrister (lawyer) specializing in environmental law. He lives in Sydney with his partner of 22 years, Brian, and their 11 dogs (!). ABC Australian National Television profiled Steven regarding his participation in the Race Across America both before the race began and after he'd successfully completed it.

Jim Williams

Jim Williams, New York City, N.Y.; Diagnosed in 2006

"I've been cycling for about five years. I actually started cycling to train for an AIDS ride, and felt like a hypocrite, not knowing my HIV status doing an AIDS ride, so I got tested and found out I was positive about 30 days before I did the ride. ... I've always wanted to do RAAM since I first heard of it about five years ago, when I started riding. I'm a member of the group called the Positive Pedalers, which is a group of cyclists that are living with HIV/AIDS and use cycling as a way to try to eliminate the stigma that's attached to HIV/AIDS today. Steven contacted them about whether anybody would be interested in doing RAAM with him, and they put us two in touch. Literally, within minutes, we were talking with each other and starting the arrangements for RAAM."

Jim is an attorney with VF Sportswear, Inc., in NYC. In addition to the demanding daily training schedule of a cyclist, Jim also rides horses, bakes and takes regular advantage of NY's museums.

Don Smith

Don Smith, Vancouver, B.C.; Diagnosed in July 1986

"I'm not really a cyclist. I'm a triathlete, so I've been involved with triathlons for about 10 years now -- mostly long-course triathlons. This was actually my first cycling race. I'm also a member of the Positive Pedalers group."

Francisco Liuzzi

Francisco Liuzzi, New York City, N.Y.

"I'm a Category 2 racer. I've been racing in the New York City area for about five years. I was a competitive swimmer and as I got older I wanted to try something new. I bought myself a track bike, and I started racing people in Central Park. Through that I met different racers. I was Jim Williams' coach when he first started racing as a Category 5 racer. He asked me to help out on the RAAM team. I immediately went online and found out that this is like as epic a race as you can get in cycling. That was how I got involved."

Martin Berveling

Martin Berveling, Australia; Diagnosed in 1982

"I became HIV positive between 1979 and 1980, a very long-term survivor. I am not a cyclist myself; I actually suffer from emphysema, which resulted from smoking. I am the brother of Steven Berveling and when he mentioned that he was planning to do a ride across America, I immediately (tongue in cheek) told him that if he needed crew, I was interested. I had no idea of what he meant with what he called a 'ride across America.' A year later, I get a call from Steven asking if I would be interested in crewing for the Team4HIVHope. I still had no idea what I said yes to. After seeing the videos about RAAM, I realized that it was an intensive race that I was crewing for."

Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith, Santa Fe, N.M.

"RAAM is my first experience in cycling and racing. Jim and I have known each other since we were about 12 years old, and he called and asked if I would be the crew chief. I've done a lot of crewing for endurance running events, and he seemed to think I had skills that would compensate for my lack of cycle racing experience. I didn't know what I was getting into. It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done, but one of the most amazing things I've ever done."

Carol Hyman

Carol Hyman, San Rafael, Calif.

"I've been a cyclist for about five or six years. I do AIDS/LifeCycle every year. I'm not positive, but I do a lot of work with the Positive Pedalers, and cycle with them here in the Bay Area. And found out about the RAAM team through one of the Pos Peds, and thought, 'Yeah, I'd like to crew that.' So I got in touch with them. It was a few months before the race; I'm a writer, and so offered to start working on the publicity and the website, and to blog during the race."

Patrick Burns

Patrick Burns, New York City, N.Y.

"I've been racing bikes on and off my whole life, it seems. I raced BMX bikes as a kid, got into road racing in high school and a little bit into college. Then I stopped riding and only started racing again, after 20 years, just two years ago. I got involved with this team when I found out through Cisco and Jim that they were doing this race. When I found out what they were riding for, I was impressed and asked if I could film their efforts, which, surprisingly enough to me, they didn't already have someone doing. So I just tagged along and filmed them as they raced."

Other Crew Members

Other crew members were:

  • Ron Barrick
  • Mark Botello
  • Michelle Carr
  • Matt Colleran
  • Joseph Iley
  • Aaron Schneider
  • Doug Watkins
  • Lorraine Williams

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