You may recognize Lauren Diaz from Eliel’s site and social media, as we love to feature her bright smile and electric energy as a model for our latest gear. Or maybe you know her from the cycling community, where she’s a strong rider, a friendly face, and a welcoming advocate for women in the sport. Or maybe you’ve met her through her work with Be Spoken, a group which seeks to empower and educate women in the cycling community, or her work with Padres Pedal the Cause, a nonprofit and annual event that raises critically-needed funds for cancer research. Lauren is a pillar in our cycling community and has a heart of gold, and today she joins us to share news about an upcoming Padres Pedal the Cause event and to ask for your support.
By: Lauren Diaz
It is a beautiful, powerful thing when a career and a passion come together...far more powerful than I could have ever dreamed when starting my professional career in 2006. The past 3.5 years working for Padres Pedal the Cause, a non-profit focused on accelerating cures by funding life-changing cancer research, have been some of the most rewarding and fulfilling years of my life. What a delight it has been; the opportunity to combine my love of cycling with my passion for helping others.
I have been lucky enough to meet some of the most inspiring individuals, from cancer survivors and parents of children fighting this awful disease to the top cancer researchers and professionals working on breakthroughs. All of them have given me a new purpose for riding and a new sense of gratitude.
2020 has been full of “firsts” for many of us and Padres Pedal was no different. The organization pivoted its fundraising model away from mass in-person events, which had been the primary driver of the $13 million raised since 2014. On June 20, 2020, Padres Pedal hosted a #Do20Give20 challenge for A World Without Cancer Day. Alongside 50 other brave cyclists, I took on the challenge of completing 20 Torrey Pines repeats. For those not local to San Diego, Torrey Pines is one of our more famous short climbs and 20 repeats equates to 8,700 ft of elevation gain in 68 miles. My arm was sharpied with “Lucho” (my late uncle who we lost to cancer) and “Kellie” (a friend currently battling breast cancer). I took on this challenge, reminding myself any pain could not be close to what anyone goes through while fighting cancer. I was elevated and elated the entire day, riding with purpose and surrounded by other passionate cyclists, each with their own “why” that carried them through the 20 repeats. It was one of the most rewarding days I’ve ever had on my bicycle.
Padres Pedal the Cause will be introducing our first signature virtual event on May 8, 2021, which has historically taken place at Petco Park, home to the San Diego Padres. This is an opportunity for our community near and far to ride, walk, or run in honor or memory of a friend or family member. We hope to be back to Petco Park in 2022, but for 2021, we have the opportunity to expand beyond the geographic limits of San Diego and form smaller community events on May 8, all while uniting under the same purpose of accelerating cures for cancer.
Please consider registering and joining me and my Eliel Factory Team members in this event. I will ride for Lucho and others who lost their battle to cancer. I will ride for Kellie and other friends who are survivors and fighters. I will ride so that one day cancer will be a more manageable disease.
Let’s pedal with passion and purpose together!