Thirteen years and counting.....join us as we share our journey toward a cure for type 1 diabetes!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wow ... this is tough!

I've begun riding my bike.  It's really been fun ... except when a car passes me so close I feel like I could reach out and touch them!! EEK!

I've been taking spinning classes religiously for 5 years.  I sort of feel like a spinning champ :)  However, riding a bike into the wind is NOTHING compared to sitting in an air controlled room!!  Holy cow!!

The speedometer my husband put on the bike is really helpful.  It at least lets me know how far I've gone (and makes me feel like a loser when I think I've gone super far and it's only 6.5 miles! HAHA)

My helmet is also giving me helmet hair.  My husband laughed when I told him this.  He said he never dreamed I would use the phrase "helmet hair" about myself; although, as you all get to know me you'll realize having a bad hair day is a very bad day for me :) hee hee

Monday, April 19, 2010

And so I climb

“All right, today I’m going to make it further up that hill than I did last time,” I announced as we rode toward my challenge for the day.

“Oh, you’ll get all the way up today. I know it,” Michael responded.

So that was the way it was going to be. A no excuses kind of day. I really had no choice but to do it. As I rode the next fourteen miles, I set my mind to doing something I’d mentally given myself another month or two to achieve. And when we reached Observatory Hill I took a deep breath and climbed. Pushed the pedals one stroke after another, my eyes fixed just ahead of me. Cleared my head of everything but determination. Called on strength I knew I’d been building through hours at the gym and on the bike. Heard Michael’s encouraging words coming from behind me, and knew there was nowhere to go but up. I pushed through burning legs, gasped for breath, and did not stop until I reached the top.

But really this story doesn’t end with me conquering a huge hill, and it doesn’t begin there either. Let’s start a few years ago. I was not a cyclist then. Not an athlete at all. I was a mom, barely keeping afloat while taking care of three young children. I’d spent the last four years learning how to cope with the demands of caring for a child with type one diabetes. My six year old was already a pro at blood sugar checks and carbohydrate counting and insulin delivery. She remembered nothing else, having been diagnosed at two and a half. Between diabetes, a baby, a toddler, and a kindergartner, I was just plain tired.

Still, there were always things that made the burden of diabetes easier to bear. Things that brought hope. Volunteering for JDRF was one of those things. It seemed there was always something useful we could do, and any time we could it allowed us to feel a bit more in control of an impossible situation. My daughter Nora had served as a youth ambassador for the walk, and loved feeling like she was making a difference. Then came the seed that would eventually sprout and change my life. The local JDRF office was looking for youth ambassadors who would be willing to pair up with riders who wanted to ride their bicycles 100 or so miles in search of a cure. The youth ambassadors would give a personal connection to cyclists who may not otherwise be riding for someone specific. Nora thought that sounded like fun. So began our relationship with JDRF’s Ride to Cure Diabetes program.

For the next couple of years, Nora cheered on all the riders and followed their progress, writing letters and drawing pictures for Dawn, the courageous and cheerful biker with whom she was matched. Along the way, we got to know some of the other riders as well. We learned that they all came for different reasons, but each had a unique and wonderful presence on Team Indiana. We admired Coach Alex and appreciated all she did to plan. We were awe-struck by Bob’s ability to raise funds year after year ($14,000 this year alone). We were inspired by Michael’s ability to battle diabetes himself and still attack the Death Valley ride with focus and determination. We grinned and laughed at Danny’s sense of humor when he was kind enough to ‘adopt’ Nora at an event when Dawn wasn’t present. Danny helped her build a bicycle out of random silly craft materials, and made her giggle. We cried when Dawn broke her collarbone in an accident, but rejoiced with her when she decided to attend her ride anyway as a volunteer instead of a rider.

Somewhere along the way I decided that if these people could do such an amazing thing for my daughter, perhaps I should be doing it too. It was a big idea. There were only a few obstacles. I hadn’t owned a bike in twenty years. I was exhausted, and overweight, and out of shape. Oh, and I didn’t know the first thing about cycling. And yet, I knew it was something I had to do. I gave myself a year and a half, thinking I’d spend the first season losing weight, getting fit, learning what I needed to know about the bike, and preparing myself. In February 2009 I bought a bike, joined the gym, and began working hard to improve myself. I announced my intentions to register for the 2010 ride and asked if I could join the team unofficially the year before, so that I could learn along the way. Between weight training, spin classes, cycling, and all the other miscellaneous things I’ve done, I’ve lost 59 pounds so far and am still counting.

It's been a slow process. Yet no one laughed at me when I showed up with tires that weren’t fully inflated or took numerous spills because I couldn’t figure out how to clip my shoes into my new pedals, and no one yelled at me when I caused Kate to crash---ouch! I made all kinds of embarrassing rookie mistakes, but each and every time there was some kind person to guide me along the way and teach me whatever I needed to know. I was slow and awkward, but there was always someone at every ride to make sure I didn’t get left behind. Little by little, I learned. Day by day, the pounds came off, and my strength and speed increased, and I found myself realizing it was really okay for me to be away from the family who needed me. I even found out that it was good for them to learn to do more things on their own, to share the responsibilities. It was certainly good for me to learn how better to share the burden of diabetes with them.

Most amazingly, I discovered my passion. Who knew that cycling would fill me with joy in its own right? That I wouldn’t just be riding because I wanted to find a cure, but because I could not possibly stand to be separated from my bike any longer than I had to? Who knew that it would feel like an extension of me, that I would find myself whole with the bike? That it would make my heart sing? It is an incredible thing to be 39 and suddenly find out things about yourself that you didn’t know before.

That’s what brought me to Observatory Hill a few weeks ago. I’m not just riding for a cure anymore. I’m riding for myself, too. I’ve found I can’t resist making myself the best cyclist I can possibly be. I seek out ways to become stronger and faster and smarter, because when I reach Death Valley in October to ride for the cure, I do not just want to complete the ride. I want to have my picture taken at Jubilee Pass knowing I’ve given it my all. I seek out challenges along the way that will prepare me for that day in the desert. And every time I do something that I couldn’t do the week before, I smile.

October is months away, but I will be ready. Death Valley is calling me. When I get there, I know I will be overwhelmed with emotion at the thought of hundreds of cyclists all working toward the same goal that my family dreams of—a day when we will beat diabetes. Nora is nine now. When she asks me how long it will be until there is a cure, my heart beaks at having to tell her I don’t know. I also tell her that we are doing everything we possibly can to reach that day sooner, and she sees my hard work and knows it's true. Until that day comes, I’ve got a few more hills to climb.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fun and Friends!

Today I met my youth ambassador!! I'm so excited.  She's a great little girl!!  Intelligent and articulate -- and only 7 years old!!  Absolutely amazing.

I hope she and I can become fast friends.  We had such a good time at Ben & Ari's today playing games.  She's so funny and just like me ... she liked the games where she could win the most tickets :) Too funny!!

She's so brave and that's going to help motivate me during this training.  I've never ridden long distances on a bicycle before ... I LOVE my spinning classes ... but I have a feeling this is going to be a whole different animal!

I get my bike out of layaway Monday ... and I'll be hitting the road :)

This is gonna be great!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

First ride is on Saturday!

This Saturday (April 17th) we will officially kick-off the 2010 JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes with our annual Youth Ambassador Kick-off event at Ben & Ari's (13875 Trade Center Dr.), take SR37 north to 141st St and turn left. The event will start at 1pm.

Immediately before the Kick-off we will have our first ride of the season. The ride will be 10 miles and will start at 11:30 from the parking lot of Ben & Ari's. See below some instructions for this ride & future rides. The bike ride will not be very intense, the idea is just to get everyone back on the bike and for me to see where everyone is relative to riding.
1.If you haven't been on your bike yet this year make sure you get out to the garage BEFORE Saturday morning and check that everything is okay, including that your tires will hold air and that your chain is well lubed.

2.Some key equipment that you will need for every ride: helmet, extra tubes, bike pump or C02 cartridges, water bottles & water bottle cages (you will need 2, but if you only have 1 that will be okay for Saturday's ride), snacks or money to buy snacks and appropriate clothes for the temperature.

3.The start time of the ride is when we will be on our bikes and on the road, so make sure you arrive in plenty of time to do what you need to do to get ready to ride (get your bike out of the car & assembled, pump up your tires, get dressed, stretch, etc.). I would suggest aiming to arrive 15 minutes before the start time.

4.Dress for the weather, in the next month or two the weather can be a bit hit or miss, I recommend bringing more clothes than you think you need, you can always leave some in your car. Also try to dress in layers so you can take some things off as it warms up.

5.For some of the early rides we probably won't ride in the rain, but later on we might unless there is lightening. I will be working on getting everyone's cell phone numbers and will plan to send text messages to those who can receive them to communicate day of about ride schedules.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Our final spinning class of the pre-season is this Sunday, April 11th, at 1pm at the Atheneum YMCA (downtown).  You do NOT need to be a Y member to attend.

Please come join us for a great workout.

Friday, April 2, 2010

WHy not Join Lisa and I tomorrow for a nice ride

If you want a good ride tomorrow we (some of us, so far Lisa, her friend Jeff and myself) are meeting at Southwestway park for a goal ride of about 56 miles and a couple of attacks on Observatory Hill. It will be a two loop ride with a SAG at the park between, so if you wanted to join us for half that distance it would be easy to do. Start time is 8 am

There is a 60% chance it won't rain and start temp should be the high 50's, with wind holding steady out of the south (should be at our backs on both returns), be sure to bring a rain jacket:)Meeting at the parking lot at the entrance to Southwestway Park. Bring food for SAG if you're planning to ride both loops.

Indiana Cure Chasers 2010

Indiana Cure Chasers 2010
Death Valley October 2010

For more information about JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes...

Contact the Indianapolis office at 317-469-9604

Go to Indiana Cure Chasers website OR JDRF website.