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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Surviving the Tour

I was looking forward to and dreading today for about two months.When I'd signed up for the Tour de Cure, Spokane, sponsored by the American Diabetes Association, I'd promised myself that I'd hit the bike hard, racking up the miles and fitness. Didn't happen. The rainy spring and process of building a house prevented me from hitting my 500-mile target. So, I started the tour with fewer than 200 miles in my legs. If I'd been smarter, I'd have looked at the route map and ramped up the mileage no matter what. But, I was smart enough to dial back my intention to ride the 50-mile route in favor of the 25-mile route.

25 miles? No sweat. Normally. But the folk who laid out the Tour de Cure routes built in some brutal climbs that slowed me down to 4 mph and some sweet descents that, at 41 mph, nearly made up for the climbs.

Nearly 200 riders took part in today's Tour de Cure. Those of us with diabetes are known as "Red Riders" and were given special jerseys to wear during the ride. Every time I was passed (which was pretty often), the overtaking rider called out "Go Red Rider," and at the finish, the small crowd of greeters welcomed me with "Good ride, Red Rider"!

A few thoughts:

  • The event was really well organized
  • The route was well planned and signed
  • The route marshals were attentive
  • The Red Rider jerseys by Primal Wear fit well and looked good
  • The after-ride chow was tasty and thoughtful
  • The band at the after-ride party rocked
  • Everyone was really nice
  • I was inspired by the 7-year-old diabetes patient who started the race in the front row on his unicycle
  • I was able to encourage the mother of an 8-year-old daughter with diabetes that cycling will make her stronger (her dad was in the ride, and next year they're going to do the short family ride together).
  • I'm looking forward to next year's Tour de Cure
  • Thanks to everyone who sponsored my ride, to Dr. Ed Detar who saved my life by removing my pancreas, to the staff at Kootenai Medical Center during my stays, to Krista and the gang at the Kootenai Diabetes and Endocrinology Center in Coeur d'Alene, and to my wonderful wife, Karen, who kept me alive and motivated during my recoveries. Love you. 

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