An estimated 2,500 cyclists in the AIDS/LifeCycle Ride wrapped up an eight-day journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles on June 8. Their goal, to raise awareness and money in the fight against AIDS. Their efforts raised more than $16.7 million to benefit the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, which provide HIV testing, counseling, substance abuse treatment and other services.
Among the mass of riders was SCMM Vice President Memo Santoyo, completing the 580-mile route (accident free) in what he called a life-changing experience.
“My journey is complete. San Francisco to Los Angeles is no longer a dream but a reality,” Santoyo wrote on his Facebook page, where he posted daily updates and photos, and his supporters posted words of encouragement. “Thank you for all the kind words and continued support along this epic ride. Thank you Team Different Spokes for all the training to get me ready for the challenge of a lifetime. Most of all thank you to Minniefer Ferrer for being so understanding and supporting by giving me the green light to help in the fight to end AIDS.”
Santoyo trained regularly for over a year in preparation for the grueling ride, and what was to be the toughest leg, King City to Paso Robles, known as the Quad Buster. He completed the 68-miles to Paso Robles in just under five hours at an average speed of 13.6 mph, and a remarkable average heart rate of 93 bpm. Although this was the toughest day, it wasn’t the longest. That distinction belonged to day-two from Santa Cruz to King City, 110 miles.
The 580 miles were not without a few bumps in the road. His bicycle suffered two flat tires, and he woke up in Lompoc with a pulled hamstring that required some medical attention and ice, but with two days to go, Santoyo’s goal would not be denied.
“Today is the grand finale,” he posted. “As I cross the finish line I think about my experience during this ride and all of you. How you supported me to get to ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Sometimes I can’t believe I have made it this far. If you put your mind to something anything is possible.”
Editor’s Note: The day after Memo completed the AIDS Ride, he rode another 100 miles in the L.A. River Ride, recording nearly 700 miles on the bicycle over nine straight days. Wow!