Op-ed: When a 200-Mile Bike Ride Is Just a Warm-Up

A trek from Santa Monica to Santa Barbara known as the Double Century was just a little warm-up for the AIDS/LifeCycle.

BY David Rae

May 05 2012 10:37 PM ET

David Rae

On an early Saturday morning, more than 200 riders, including a slew of Team Popular members and alumni, rode from Santa Monica to Santa Barbara in two days known as the Double Century. It was a nice little warm-up for the AIDS/LifeCycle.

We were lucky to enjoy amazing California weather, while riding up the Pacific Coast Highway, dodging cars and enjoying the beautiful coastline. Somewhere between six and 10 hours later, riders arrived near State Street in Santa Barbara for an overnight stop, the halfway mark in this trek. Sunday was basically a reverse of the ride up to Santa Barbara — another 100 miles back to Santa Monica.

To give this training ride an authentic feel, we were treated to beach Porta-Pottis along the coast during our ride back. And on day 2 many of the riders seemed to travel at a slightly slower pace, as they grew more and more worn out from this grueling ride.

Eating properly and hydration is key, and with the warm weather we had, if you don’t chug-chug-chug your Gatorade, you won’t make it to the end.

The sense of relief and joy that rushes through you when pulling up to the finish line in Santa Monica, realizing as you get off your bike that you can soon take a shower to erase the days’ worth of grime and then collapse onto your own bed, is nothing short of amazing.  Of course, it was only a small taste of the overwhelming sense of achievement and emotions that we will experience on day 7 of the ride when we arrive in Brentwood after 545 miles on the road and seven days living in a tent.

As I write this piece 34 days ahead of the big ride, with these 200 miles and nearly 1,000 previous training miles under my belt, I’m feeling confident I will be ready for the adventure of AIDS/LifeCycle to come in the first week of June. 

Now we need your help to reach our $250,000 fund-raising goals. Help save a life today by making a tax-deductible donation at www.tofighthiv.org/goto/drae.

Check out photos from the Double Century and last year's ride on the following pages.

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