It’s OK, Red Rider. You Can Take a Break Now.
Saturday, June 2 was a beautiful day in Minnesota. In fact, it was absolutely breathtaking, which made it so much easier to get up early, load up the cycling accoutrements and head off to Minnehaha Falls Park to ride, party and kick diabetes’ ass.
Last year, I rode with a team I didn’t know very well. I met up with teammates at one rest stop and at the end. I raised $500 dollars. I was really impressed with the ride, the organization and the people involved. I loved how, every time I passed or was passed by someone wearing a red jersey that said “I Ride With Diabetes” we all called out “Go, Red Rider!” I knew I wanted to ride the Tour again but also knew after trying the 64 mile route I needed to either train more or ride less distance for full happiness.
This year, I had my own team of seven people (including two Red Riders.) I rode with one of my teammates and used my phone and texts to stay in touch with everyone else. Three of my teammates were brand new to the event. I only had one teammate who got sick and was unable to ride, but all of us raised at least the minimum and we surpassed our fundraising goal. I rode 45 miles and instead of making conversation with total strangers as I did last year, (which was cool in its own way) I got to reconnect with the friend who rode with me. We had an excellent ride and were pleased with our route choice, which was long enough to be a challenge (since once again I hardly trained at all) but not so long as to give me a screaming migraine, which unfortunately sometimes happens. We hit all last year’s great landmarks: Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun, the Target Center and the Stone Arch Bridge, the Greenway, Grand and Summit Avenues, the Cathedral of St.Paul, Kellogg Ave, Harriet Island, Fort Snelling and back to Minnehaha Falls. We took advantage of the rest stops when we felt like it. At one stop, we took the opportunity to get our photo taken with the Winter Carnival royalty who were very colorful and friendly. And, right to the finish line, we called out “Go, Red Rider!” as the occasion arose, which really helps a person stay focused on the cause.
Once we were done, we got together with as many of our teammates as we could gather; one needed to leave early and one we had difficulty connecting with due to phone issues. We got our free lunch (I had a turkey burger and chips and a Zevia, which is a zero calorie fruit-flavored carbonated beverage naturally sweetened with stevia) and there was free beer (thank you Schell!) for drinkers 21 years and older.
A word about beer. I don’t LOVE beer, but there are situations that call for it: baseball games, German food, and post ride. Especially that last one; beer is like a post-cycling miracle beverage.
We got a picture of the four of us that convened at the beer garden. I am so proud of everyone on my team, for saying yes to the event and and supporting the American Diabetes Association, and am so honored they chose to sign up with my team! I only wish I had a shot of all of us together plus all our fabulous friends and family who donated to support our efforts, but their faces are all engraved on my heart.
Even BEFORE drinking the beer, we agreed we all would be riding the Tour de Cure again and–even better–one might start his own team, and recruit friends to start more teams! The only downside of the day would have to be the fact that I was forced to face the fact that I am definitely not as strong as I once was. The ride itself was great, but I was a limp rag the entire rest of the day, when in the past, I think I would have been fine. Maybe a little tired. I think the “repetitive nap attack” might be blamed a little bit on the midday beer, but the truth is that I really need to get back to the workouts.
Thanks for hanging in there with me through this report of Tour de Cure 2012. Eat right, exercise, and send your pancreas positive thoughts so diabetes doesn’t darken your door, and if it does (or already has,) know that there are thousands of people out there pedaling for you and for a cure!