This spring I participated in AIDS/Lifecycle, a 545 mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I arrived in Los Angeles last Saturday and I wanted to send a quick message (and video) highlighting how much I enjoyed and learned from this experience.
The event was extremely well-run and I felt taken care of and supported the whole way. With the small exception of a little inner knee pain on Day 2 and 3, my body felt good the entire time, and I was even able to get a free message about halfway through the ride!
The largest takeaway from me from the ride was just the stunning example of a community coming together to rally around a cause. I have done quite a few runs for different charities and events, but this was the best example I've ever seen of a well-organized and effective event. People maintained their passion and good spirits even while climbing up tough hills or battling rain and cold winds. The rest stops and food provided were outstanding and were probably the biggest thing that kept me from hitting the dreaded bonk.
There are a lot of problems in the world and reasons to feel cynical, but this was an authentic example of a good reason for hope. The ride was able to raise over 16 million dollars this year and that number is only likely to grow. I suspect one reason they are able to raise so much is because they treat their riders so well and they want to come back year after year, raising more each time. Although I haven't yet decided if I'll be riding again, I can definitely say that I absolutely would based on the quality of the event. AIDS/Lifecycle presents a shining example of how to build a community around a common goal and I hope that's something I'll be able to apply to future endeavors.
None of the lessons I learned, the people I met, the beauty I experienced, none of it would have happened without the support of my donors. AIDS/Lifecycle has given me tangible reasons to believe there is hope for the world and that we can change the world when we organize and come together.