Yesterday, June 20, 2010, I completed my Tour de Cure ride. A big thanks to all of the people who chipped in on my fundraising goal, the people commenting on blog posts offering support and the Twitterbetics out there cheering for me and the other Red Riders that came out.
First things first, the most underrated part of a bicycle is the seat. We weren’t always riding on a smooth path and when I tell you that I could feel every bump, gentlemen…you know what I’m talking about.
The ride itself was rather relaxing. Physically there were only a few sneaky hills that caught up on our group and forced us to take some quick breaks to recover from the steep climb. But while the ride wasn’t too painful, the weather was quite gross the whole day – clear skies and ridiculous heat. This meant frequent water breaks and a gnarly tan line left by my Red Rider jersey. (Sunblock is also severely underrated.)
After doing something like this, a ride not a race, I have an even greater appreciation for what athletes like Lance Armstrong are able to do. Wow. But my 20 miles are in the bag and I’m looking forward to the next time I hop on my bike. There’s a sizable bike path right behind my condo so I really don’t have any excuse.
But all of this is secondary to the people. I arrived at Reston Town Center about a half hour before riders participating in the 20 mile ride were allowed to start so I had time to find other “Spokes People” and of course acquire my Red Rider Jersey. There’s also the matter of the Red Rider tattoo (note to Dad: this is not an endorsement of you getting your own real tattoo) which was equally awesome. The beginning of the ride sent me through a balloon created archway with volunteers and supporters cheering as my feet got going. That kind of enthusiasm from people I’ve never met and may never get the chance to individually thank meant so much to me. I’m sure other participants felt the same way.
During the ride, Ride Marshalls were frequently spotted making sure everyone was staying hydrated and not injured or needing medical attention. I wonder if there was a cycling test similar to what a lifeguard has to go through to get certified for their job. There’s much more pedaling involved as a Marshall than a ordinary participant. Those people are legit.
Our Tour de Cure certified rest stop was at the half way point. Gatorade, oranges, granola-y snacks, lots of cold water (also underrated) and staff from the Reston Hospital Center were cheering us as we arrived and providing support as we rested. #bgthen was 96 but Hal Jordan was pointing south-east so I got a little extra Gatorade and was eventually on my way. It was very comforting seeing other Red Riders check their pumps or test their blood glucose there too. I know this whole event is about and for Diabetes but there’s a special camaraderie that we PWD share and being at Tour de Cure made it so much more special.
Mom and Dad were at the finish, with their sweet sign and plenty of smiles. Seeing and hearing all of the people as I rode in to the finish was pretty extraordinary. Sure, Diabetes sucks, but all of these participants and volunteers prove that we are so much stronger together than alone. I’m resisting the urge to use words like “magical” but seriously people, if you have the opportunity to participate or volunteer, you wont regret it. And if you are a PWD, become a Red Rider. I felt particularly awesome when I first put on that jersey.
My mission is now 2-parts. 1. Prepare for next year’s Tour and hopefully a longer ride. And B) Get my family on board for Step Out.