Bears on Bikes: Day 4 – Sore legs, cinnamon buns, and inspiration

On Wednesday — Day 4 of the AIDS LifeCycle — more than 1,900 bicyclists rode from Paso Robles to Santa Maria. Cal team member Eric Trautman, who just completed his sophomore year at UC Berkeley, reports on the ride. A chemical biology major, Eric hopes to work for a cure to HIV/AIDS in his career.

Santa Maria — Waking up to the sound of zippers unzipping, I, too, unzipped my tent and stepped out onto the hard, cold ground of the Paso Robles Midstate Fairgrounds. Groggily dragging myself over to the food, I met up with Cal teammates. We got in the saddle a few hours later, after packing up and dressing, and started our 97-mile journey for the day.

Sometimes I find it hard to get back on the bike and pedaling. With sore legs, a sore butt, and mental exhaustion, I need a bit of motivation. So I think of the significance of this event to everyone involved. On Saturday’s orientation, I first learned of the Positive Pedalers, a group of HIV-positive individuals who participate in the ride. They are the only motivation I need to keep on pedaling: when I see a cyclist wearing a PosPeds jersey, or an orange flag trailing a cyclist, I’m reminded how many people HIV affects, and admire those who rise above and fight against this disease. With all that in mind, I lowered my sore butt into my saddle and began pedaling.

Cal Team members Steve Maranzana, Josh Schoenfeld, Eric Trautman, and Jonathan Goodrich on top a rock, halfway to L.A.

Our first test of the day was the Evil Twins, situated about 10 miles out of camp. We immediately began our ascent. As we approached the top of the second mountain, we neared the halfway point of the ride. With a stunning view of the California coast, I reflected on how far I had come. The terrain covered — over hills and mountains, across fields and past farms — was only part of it. During the ride, I’ve seen how much this ride helps so many people, and how much encouragement we receive along the route.

We continued out to the coast and to Morro Bay and Pismo Beach. The highlight of the afternoon was stopping to buy renowned cinnamon buns in Pismo Beach. We finished up with tailwinds pushing us into camp in Santa Maria.

With Day 4 at my back (and over half way to LA!), I’m excited tomorrow’s “Red Dress Day.” There will surely be some stunning outfits and lots of fun while biking from Santa Maria to Lompoc.