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Dreaming Big: REI Employee Organizes Charitable Bike Ride

Think riding a century (100 miles) on your bike is tough? Try organizing a century event—from scratch.

Mark Dupray on his bikeSuch was the daunting task taken on by Mark Dupray (right), a 26-year-old bike enthusiast and a sales specialist at the REI Huntington Beach, Calif., store. His inaugural event, the Big Ring Century, took place last month on the local streets of Orange County.

The ride was originally the brainchild of Mark's dad, Mark Sr. They wanted to support a friend who does charitable work in the African nation of Malawi. Mark says, "We weren't able to go to Africa with him so we thought we'd do our part here to help him there."

The Duprays optimistically had hoped the ride might attract up to 300 cyclists, but their expectations were far exceeded by the 450 riders who showed up. As Mark told the Orange County Register in this article, "We absolutely were floored."

The $25,000 raised from the event will benefit FaithQuest Missions, their friend's Orange County-based group that works closely with humanitarian giant World Vision in the nation of Malawi.

Registration at Big Ring Century

"The work that they do is incredible," said Mark. Based on his event's success, Mark is already thinking of the 2013 edition of the ride plus possible additional rides with FaithQuest and World Vision.

How would he compare the effort it takes to organize a ride versus riding 100 miles?

Big Ring Century course sign"I have ridden a number of 100-miles rides on my own," noted Mark. "It's one day of pain compared to months of meeting benchmarks and keeping the ball rolling. Organizing a ride was a bit like herding cats. Fortunately, we had some great volunteers who made all the difference."

What did he learn from the experience? "It's a big job. I found out it's good to get started early and find good volunteers. I'm a bit of a planning dork, so I enjoyed putting it all together"

Any surprises? "Riders eat A LOT," he laughed. "And pee A LOT."

Have you ever been an event organizer? What was it like?

Photo of Mark Dupray courtesy of Bradley Dupray; other photos courtesy of Big Ring Century.

Posted on at 4:01 PM

Tagged: Big Ring century, Cycling, bicycle and charity

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Wow....great race. Surely take part in 2013.
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Very enthusiastic race, all were excited. Great


Nice job! We've organized a charity ride here in Cincinnati, The Sunflower Revolution, to support Parkinson's disease research in conjunction with The Davis Phinney Foundation. It's a ton of work and takes a great deal of patience and commitment. Congratulations on a fantastic turnout and successful ride.


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