Dear family and friends – all those who have supported me in the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes this year and in the past:
It’s hard to believe that another Death Valley ride has come and gone. Twelve of us from central Indiana ventured west for an awesome weekend in the desert, riding our bikes to raise money for a great cause — to find a cure for diabetes and turn Type 1 into Type None.
Leaving Indy in the early morning hours of last Thursday, we were fortunate to get an early and direct flight to Vegas which put us into Death Valley at about noon.
With most of the day to ourselves, a small group of us decided find our bikes and attempt a 25 mile, 5500+ foot climb to the grandest vista in Death Valley — Dante’s View.
We felt pretty strong at the start…
The climb was steady and gradual for the first 20 miles and then got very steep, with the toughest section in the last 1/4 mile. We rented a van in Vegas and two of our team drove it as our SAG vehicle (Support and Gear) — carrying water, gatorade and various spare parts — for the ride to the summit.
I needed all the support I could get — it was the hardest climb I’ve ever done...
At the top, looking a little more tired than at the start after 3 - 4 hours of climbing, we were able to enjoy one of the best views in Death Valley
The ride down was an awesome 25 miles of bliss, coasting very fast nearly all the way back to the start.
Friday started with an early breakfast and then the usual safety talks. The park has a new permitting process and we were the first group to have an event under the new rules. While hydration was still important, with temps “only” in the 80s and 90s, the focus of the talk was on riding single file, staying out of the way of the other park guests, and making sure we were off the road at the rest stops.
After the safety talk, we donned our riding gear and headed out for a short tune-up ride. This was the first chance for the team to ride together…
...and we even spotted Santa on his bike!
After the ride, we grabbed some lunch and then spent the rest of the day driving the 100-mile course we would ride on Saturday. It also gave us a chance to enjoy the scenery and wildlife in the park…
These two were several miles apart, so the roadrunner lived to see another day.
The official ride on Saturday was awesome as always… and though the road seemed to stretch on forever, I managed to make the seven-mile climb, turnaround at the summit, and complete the full 100 miles.
Thank you for sharing in my ride again this year; I truly appreciate your generous support of JDRF. I may have been the one pedaling over the miles, but I carried your thoughts, prayers and support with me on each mile, and I would not have made it without you. Thank you!