Family first: remembering loved ones through the STP
Rich (left) and his brother Roy (right) prepare to ride the STP
“I think it’s one of the best organized rides that you can participate in on the West Coast.” It’s fair to say that Rich Becerra, a Los Angeles native who now lives in San Jose, Calif., is a fan of the Seattle to Portland (STP). But his relationship with the ride goes a lot deeper than just a fun time in the saddle. Rich’s dedication to the STP is an important part of how he remembers and honors his mom.
Rich has always thought of himself as a bike rider ever since his parents bought him his first set of wheels. “It was my first 10-speed Huffy,” he says of the gift. “My first and last Huffy,” he continues with a laugh. Even though his taste in bikes has evolved over the years, his love for cycling has remained strong.
In 2005 Rich’s family received devastating news when his mom Cecilia was diagnosed with cancer. Cecilia fought a hard battle, and she bounced back with the support of her family, eventually getting the all-clear. But in 2007, the cancer returned, this time spreading throughout her body. Rich’s brother Roy decided it was time to embark on a bold journey to honor their mom and give her some strength and support. So that year, the two brothers decided to ride the STP just for her as a way to honor her strength and commitment to their family’s love. They’ve continued to ride nearly every year as a way to honor Cecilia, who passed away in 2008. “It means a lot to us, the love and strength this ride provides to our family,” Rich says of his annual STP ride. “It’s very important to continue the remembrance of our loved ones.”
As for the 2019 STP, Rich plans to be there. “It’s always a challenge,” he says of the journey to Portland. “We actually belong to the ‘turtle club’ because we’re slow but we always finish.” But for Rich, the journey is more than just getting to the finish line. “It’s the highlight of the year to get in shape and complete the STP,” he says. “Doing the ride is 110 percent worth it.”
When asked what stands out the most about his STP experiences, Rich doesn't hesitate to point to the STP community: “I think it's incredible how all these different cyclists can get together and all do the same thing for two days.” As the only organized ride Rich participates in, it holds a pretty special place for him. “It's going to be a sad day when I can no longer participate in the STP,” he says, and adds, “hopefully not soon.”
We have a feeling we’ll be seeing Rich every July for a very long time.
We’re looking forward to seeing Rich and all the STP riders who ride for a cause at the 40th anniversary finish line this July.
Registration for the 2019 Kaiser Permanente STP presented by Alaska Airlines is now open.