Surprise snow falls on AIDS riders

Posted: Wednesday, August 23, 2000

PAXSON - Bicyclists taking part in a charity ride across Alaska sent out a mayday Tuesday after running into mixed rain and snow on the Richardson Highway.

Chuck Canterbury, a spokesman for the Army in Alaska, said organizers of the Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride called Fort Greely for help after several hundred cyclists got caught in a brief snowstorm around Mile 239, between Delta Junction and Paxson.

"It was cold, wet, rainy and snowy, and they were probably underdressed for those kinds of conditions," said Canterbury, who is based at Fort Richardson, near Anchorage.

He said Fort Greely provided three buses that were used to haul riders about 40 miles south to a camp in Isabel Pass. Buses were lined up from other sources as well, among them five school buses sent down from Delta Junction, he said.

AIDS ride officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday, while Los Angeles-based Pallotta TeamWorks, organizers of the fund-raising event, did not return a phone call.

As many as 1,500 cyclists, nearly all of them from Outside, set out from Fairbanks on Monday and spent that night in Delta Junction. Their final destination is Anchorage.

Riders were asked to raise at least $3,900 in order to participate. Proceeds from the ride, after Pallotta's expenses, are to benefit three researchers from the Lower 48 in their pursuit of an AIDS vaccine.

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