Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tour De Cure 2011 - Pittsburgh, PA

This post comes almost a month late but hey, never too late for a story.  This year I participated in the annual Tour De Cure charity bike ride in Harmony, PA.  The Tour is put on by the American Diabetes Association and is a fund raiser for diabetes research, prevention, and education.  As I have people in my own family and know of people with diabetes, I decided not only to participate in the ride but also make my best effort to raise $500 towards the cause (the ride required only a donation of $150).  Thanks to my family and friends I was able to exceed my goal and raised $535!!!!!

Originally I planned to participate in the 50 mile route; however, due to a later release from wrist therapy and time (I def was out of shape) I decided I would do either the 20 or 30 mile route.  The morning of I was feeling a little groggy and sore from exercising during the week and felt that 20 miles was going to be enough.  The drive to the race start was about 1 hour and I arrived a little early to check in, check out my bike, and stretch.  I rode under the Pittsburgh Major Taylor Cycling team but the other members had already started the 50 miler so I ended up tagging along with a team I met a the race start.

Race start line
The 20/30 mile ride started at around 9:30 am.  We started out led by all of the "Red Riders", riders with diabetes.  They all had red cycling jerseys and the rule was that every time we pass a red rider during the ride we chant "Go Red Rider".  It was nice to see though pretty sobering given there were Red Riders of varying age, size, sex, color, and background.  Diabetes really can affect anyone.

The first 10 miles of the course was BRUTAL!!!! I don't know if it was because of the time, the fact that I hadn't really did many long rides, the steadily rolling terrain, or the Burger King Crossaintwich I had that morning but I was STRUGGLING.  By the time we reached the first rest stop, I didn't know if I'd even be able to finish the 20 mile ride!  Thankfully there were snacks at the rest stop to provide a "pick me up" if you may.  I will say this.  I have found that when cycling distances and in hilly terrain, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and orange slices are like magic.  I pull up to the rest stop, tired and winded.  All it took was a PB&J, 3 orange slices, and a shot of Gatorade (yes they had shots of Gatorade) and it was like my energy was restored.  I knew for sure I could push out another 10 miles definitely.

The second 10 miles was very nice.  There were a few nice downhills and the scenery was very calming and beautiful.  Thankfully, it wasn't a terribly hot day and the cloud coverage made it the perfect weather for a distance ride.  Also, since people were arriving and leaving the rest stop at varying times, I sometimes found myself as 1 of a few bikers in an area with no cars, no noise, just the sounds of nature and the occasional gear change. I must say, it was a very pleasant 10 miles.

As we approach the 2nd rest stop (at 20 miles completed) I am pretty confident that if I eat another PB&J that I can finish 30 miles and be proud.  And behold, nice delicious PB&J's waiting for me prepared by the sweetest little volunteers.  I told one of the PB&J makers (a little girl about 6 or 7 yrs old) thank you for helping out and making us sandwiches.  When I was walking away I heard her tell her mom "Mom, she said thank you to me for helping".  Awh sha baby.  LOL.

The last 10 miles was great and at the end we were welcomed back across the finish line to people clapping and congratulating us for finishing the ride.  Also, there was good food and ice cream waiting for us.  The ride was great and I would recommend it to anyone.  I know people who battle diabetes on a daily basis and if I can endure a 30 mile ride through the back hills of Pennsylvania and raise some money to help find was to make their lives better, it's the LEAST I can do.

Snapped this pic in leg 2 of the ride

I would like to take the time to thank all of my donors who supported me on my ride.  Your contribution, whether big or small, was greatly appreciated and for a good cause:
Paige Taylor                                                                Xavier Hariston-Khan
James Tolbert                                                              Rickey Thomas
Tyelisa Shields                                                            Lorant Szasz-Toth
Harlan and Jeanine Hardy                                           Harry Clarke
John Porche                                                                 Kevin Washington
Shavia Jones                                                                Sarah Harris
Satish Singh                                                                 Brian Becker
Frank Richards                                                            Brandy Guillory
Daphne Isom                                                               Prince Chavis

Me sporting my Champions of Diabetes medal for raising over $500. Thanks to my supporters!

Me and the other PMTCC members who participated

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