In 1972, my mom was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. My mom, who prided herself on not complaining, quietly endured the insidious attacks the disease made on her body. In 2003, she died of a heart attack secondary to deterioration of her cardiovascular system caused by this silent killer. I hated this disease. It had tortured my mom for 31 years and eventually killed her. I was mad.
There is an old adage that says: “Don’t get mad. Get even.” I was going to get even. Diabetes was goin’ down. A friend of mine, who has diabetes, told me about the Tour de Cure. Tour de Cure is a century ride put on every year by the American Diabetes Association to raise money to find a cure for the disease. It was a perfect avenue to get even with my adversary.
I posted a request on the Forum for teammates to join me on the ride. Loreen and Elizabeth answered the call. The next request posted on the Forum was a call for donations. The response brought tears to my eyes. I think we raised over $200 on Team Rev donations alone. Wow. What a group.
Tour de Cure started in Grafton, IL at the Raging Rivers Water Park. There were several large teams present that had been doing this event for several years. Although we were outnumbered, our exponentially strong spirit evened the playing field. We were going to have a good time not matter what. That was the goal.
We started out down the scenic Great River Road feeling like rock stars (we were to pay dearly for this later). A spot twenty minute downpour only added to the stories we could tell about conked out odometers, shorted out cell phones etc. Then the sun came out and we were blazing through glorious farmland. We even took a ride on a ferry (great opportunity to get out of the saddle for a minute).
Upon exiting the ferry we began to head south and quickly realized why we had felt like rock stars heading north on the River Rd. We were greeted by one heck of a head wind! Anyway, we survived it with a little teamwork. Each of us took short turns pulling. When we reached the rest stop at the 65 mile mark , an older gentleman asked me if I would like some icy hot for my legs. I wanted to tell him “Heck no. My legs are fine but I’d love some ice for my backside”.
We continued on through the beautiful farmland and up some hills. Elizabeth took a tumble but continued on like a real trooper. We played a little cat and mouse with some packs of guys. The day was one big unfolding adventure. One mile from the finish, Lo and I were discussing what beers we would have at the finish. Suddenly…KAPOWW! Lo flatted. Thank God it was Lo. She had it fixed in 3 minutes. A few minutes later we were across the finish line and tipping a couple brews.
I should also mention that Elizabeth’s son Luke, who has diabetes, rode in the Tour de Cure as well. He completed the ride with ease. I was excited to get to meet him. He is a terrific individual.
What a great day. Anytime you do a century ride, there are always stories. It is ALWAYS an adventure. You get to know those who you are riding with very well. You help each other out. You use some alternative muscle groups to cross the finish. The feeling of accomplishment is a rush. When you couple it with the fact that you are helping to conquer a disease that affects millions, the words to describe the feeling are hard to find.
I would like to invite anyone with a sense of adventure and a bone to pick with diabetes to join us in 2009 on the Team Revolution Tour de Cure team. The ride takes place June 6. Find us here to join the team or make a donation to support our efforts. Shorter routes are available if the century seems a little daunting. A shorter route is nothing to be ashamed of. The reason that you are riding is the only thing that matters in this event.