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

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wow...Back to Work!

It was only just over a week ago and we were in the sunny, hot I'm back at work and the day's events seem to make the memories fade just a little...but only in the details around the edges...not the feelings or the experience that is in my bones...

I thought I would add a link to the photos I put up on Shutterfly...let me know if you want any full files, I will send them via email.
Link to Shutterfly Photos

While the whole experience was just really really awesome, there are a couple of very fond memories and lessons that I thought I would share.

Coming down from Jublilee Pass was simply exhilarating.  I found myself full of emotion and then leaking it out through some tears...the tears of release, joy, gratitude, and compassion for those that do live with Type 1 everyday.  I didn't want that 7 miles descent to end it was so beautiful.  I'm don't think that I have words for the feelings and if I tried they would probably be inadequate.  BUT the big joy I had coming down the hill happened about 1/2 way down when two bikers came up from behind yelling, "ON YOUR LEFT!!"  Low and behold is was DVBob and someone else screaming down the hill, blowing by me.  I LOVED that!  While Bob conveyed just the night before that he was trying to out run old age, there was no old age anywhere near that spirit that day.  For me, it was watching a little kid with hands off the bar, screaming into the free fall, really free.  I don't know what it was like for you Bob, but it was sheer joy to watch.

The other memory was between the check point that I don't remember and Badwater where Scott, Kate and I came upon a rider stopped by the side of the road, alone.  In the process of slowing and stopping to check on her, Kate ran into Scott and I narrowly avoided Kate.  Scott, in his caring, kind voice was asking..."oh honey, are you ok?  Sweetie, are you ok?" ...are you ok?  Kate after successfully bobbing and hopping and playing hopscotch with her bike, pauses for a minute, pops up like a jack in the box, assesses herself and announces, "I'm OK!,  I think I'm ok!"  Almost as if the words convinced her that it was so.  I don't know why but it just brought me joy...maybe because I had a moment where I thought our threesome might become a twosome and a twosome was just not in my vision for the day.  I was glad that the now out of true bike wheel cooperated on the way back and that determination carried us through.

There's so much along the way...little things here and there...the people who fed us, the awesome young lady, who is a total giver, who slathered sun screen on all bikers.  She didn't care if they were hairy, smooth, sweaty or hot or clammy...she just slathered all of us.  We were all so well supported.

I think the biggest lesson for me was related to relying on others.  I can be such a loan wolf at times with my, "I can do it myself" mantra.  But it doesn't have to be that way.  I was supported all weekend and all during the ride by awesome human beings.  I said to Kate and Scott as we left Badwater for the last 18 miles home, "I need you guys."  Scott said, "we need you too."  So we rode together, me a little slower at times, but together until we crossed the finish.

I'm really grateful to be associated with such an amazing group of people.  Thank you for being part of my experience. 
Love and hugs! 

Look the poster for 2011!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Amazing Sameness of the Second Year

Another Death Valley ride to cure diabetes is over. I’ve had a week to recover (both physically and emotionally) and to reflect on another inspirational weekend in the desert.

The ride this year was much like last year. I’ll save you the retelling of that detailed story – you can read it here if you want: October 2009 blog entry.

A few things were different, though. First was the number of riders… more than 300 total compared with 160 last year. We had 19 riders from Indiana, 15 of whom were from our central Indiana team. So there were a lot more people around all weekend and on the ride itself.

There were also more riders who underestimated the challenges of riding 100 miles in the desert and needed to catch a ride in a SAG wagon or visit the medical tent at the end. No shame in that; the real goal was raising money for diabetes research.

And there was the ride itself. I didn’t ride it alone this year, which made a huge difference in how quickly the time passed even though I slowed my pace, and allowed me the opportunity to ride along and offer encouragement to other riders experiencing the desert for the first time. It also made the ride much more enjoyable – especially with Mark and Kevin singing desert and sun songs while we pedaled. And I’d like to give a special shout out to Sam for riding along with me for many, many miles.

Turns out, though, that a number of things stayed the same: similar flight schedules, routes, bus rides and stops, warm-up rides and safety talks.

What stayed the same was the 100+ mile route, with a 7-mile climb in the middle, for a very long and hot ride on Saturday.

What stayed the same were the inspirational stories of epic challenges on the road in 100+ degree heat. My bike thermometer showed 108 on the road on Saturday.

What stayed the same was the sheer joy of crossing the finish line – and watching the friends I trained with cross. Congratulations to Danny, Lisa, Tony, Michael, Bob, Mark, Kevin, Sam, Kate W., Scott, Kate E., Kelly, and Joel. And especially to coach Alex, who prepared us well and rode nearly 40 miles herself while 20 weeks pregnant.

What stayed the same were the camaraderie, nicknames, laughter, hugs, sweat and tears shared with a great group of cycling friends.

What stayed the same were the inspiring people I met, including Mary Brown, widow of legendary football coach Paul Brown, who rode 80 miles in this, her 80th year.

What stayed the same were the tragic stories… one of a rider and mother who lost her teenaged son to complications of diabetes earlier this year. It was very emotional to see the huge team of supporters she brought with her, in memory of him.

What stayed the same were the huge amounts of money raised ($1.3M from this ride alone with some individuals raising more than $25,000 themselves) and the riders recruited. One of the youngest riders won the yellow jersey for bringing 16 new riders this year. Wow!

What stayed absolutely the same were the magnificence of the desert, the spectacular views, and the unbelievable experience of being with a large group of people focused on the same set of goals: raise money, bike as far and long as your body will allow, and ultimately find a cure for diabetes.

And like last year, the tears are never far below the surface – my friends Bob and Danny tell me that is a normal part of the recovery process.

Will I go back next year? God-willing and as long as I am able. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Indiana Cure Chasers Conquer Death Valley 2010

Once again, another awesome performance from the Indiana Cure Chasers in Death Valley.  Despite the 105 degree temperatures the 19 member team completed about 1800 miles, having raised over $90,000 for diabetes research.  Everyone crossed the finish line with a smile on their face (and I have the photos to prove it).  Thanks to all of you for making my tenth year one to remember, you are all incredible people and my heros.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rain Rain Go Away

Great ride today by Bob, Dan, Kate, Kate, Gary, Tony, Kevin, Scott & Sam!
Total miles ridden = 810
Miles in the rain = 600
Miles Alex drove = 140
Photos taken = 110
Cookies eaten = 50
Times up Knightstown hill = 45
Number of hours to warm up = 3
Number of helmets Dan needs = 2
Reasons we are riding = 1 (To Find a Cure)

You guys are awesome!  I'll post the photos shortly.

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.