TPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago

TPAN Ride for Aids Chicago 2017 - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Participants in the 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago wave to the camera.

TPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

A joyous embrace at the end of a long, 200-mile journey.

In July I photographed a two-day event that I will never forget. It was hot, exhausting, and a completely worthwhile adventure.

TPAN, the Testing Positive Aware Network, reached out to me about photographing their annual fundraising event—the 14th annual Ride for Aids Chicago. The event was a 200-mile cycling journey raising money to benefit people living with and vulnerable to HIV and AIDS.

The event started at Chandler Park in Evanston on July 8th. Each rider made their way along the route to Camp Lutherdale in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Once there, they relaxed and refueled. (I did, too. Or at least I tried.) The following morning, again at daybreak, the riders made their way back to Leahy Park in Evanston.

When the riders made it back to Leahy Park, they were greeted by a marching band, a finish line made of balloons, and were surrounded by cheering friends and supportive riders who had finished before them.

The elation of this moment—of completing a 200-mile journey—was my favorite moment to capture. Going into this event I had envisioned a few ideas and images that I wanted to create, but I was unaware of how truly emotional the finish line would be.

And sitting here, four months later, I still cannot say how truly impactful this experience has been. From the images I made, to the people I met, from the stories that were shared—I am grateful to have had this opportunity to help a great organization and a worthy cause.

TPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

At various points along the route, there were refueling stations where riders could get rehydrated, eat some food, and to catch their breath.

TPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Organized Chaos—Chicago’s premier philanthropic motorcycle organization for women—volunteered their time to help secure the route and provide assistance to the riders when needed.

TPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Participants in the 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago reach the halfway point of Camp Lutherdale.

TPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

A century ride is a 100-mile journey that is completed within 12 hours. The 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago was a back-to-back century ride.

TPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Throughout various points of the route, you could find dedicated and enthusiastic supporters cheering on the riders.

TPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Each participant received a medal for their accomplishments.

TPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Chicago Fire Starter

Mark the Fire Performer in Chicago - Portrait Photography by Michael CourierMark the Fire Performer in Chicago - Portrait Photography by Michael Courier

Mark doing a jump-kick.

This is Mark. He’s recently started performing with fire and wanted to have a few photos taken of him with his art.

Fire, on a Chicago rooftop, in the summer. How could I say no? It was a lot of fun and I forgot how much I enjoy the Chicago Full Moon Jam. If you’re interested in seeing Mark, or other fire performers, head near Foster Beach at sunset this Thursday. If you’ve never been before, you’re missing out!

Skyline view of Chicago at Sunset - Landscape Photography by Michael Courier