By McKenna MIDDLETON
Crescenta Valley Town Council member Desiree Rabinov accomplished no small feat last month when she completed the AIDS/Lifecycle bike ride.
Participants rode from San Francisco to Los Angeles – 545 miles – in seven days. The event aimed to raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS. This year marked the AIDS/Lifecycle 15th anniversary and held personal significance for Rabinov.
“The reason why I decided to do it this year was because it marked 25 years since my brother passed away from AIDS,” Rabinov said. “For me it was a way to recognize the people who we lost back in the early days of AIDS. [It was] for my brother [who had] to go through such a horrific period of hate and not getting the needed services. I missed him so much and it was something I wanted to contribute to. There’s more work that needs to be done and we can’t forget how far we’ve come and more we need to do in the future to find a permanent cure.”
Rabinov spent six months training for AIDS/Lifecycle, riding with her husband on the weekends, taking cycling classes and attending training clinics. On June 5, Rabinov and about 2,500 other riders began the ride from San Francisco. Cyclists rode between 80 and 100 miles per day, mostly along Pacific Coast Highway with rest stops every 20 miles and overnight stays at campgrounds or hotels.
“You just don’t see it that way in a car,” Rabinov said of the scenic route.
Rabinov explained that camaraderie and encouragement define AIDS/Lifecycle, with a uniting goal to raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS. Rabinov raised almost $6,000 with the help of friends and family.
“You get to a place psychologically where you are really pushing your body and you wonder if you can keep going,” Rabinov said. “Everyone was encouraging and helping each other. It wasn’t a race; everyone was there to support each other. It’s like a party every time you got to a rest stop.”
Rabinov concluded the ride in Los Angeles on June 11, taking with her 545 miles of memories, athletic achievement and new friendships.