My name is Ryan and this is Why I Ride

We've been highlighting the last great bike tours to end your season, yesterday we had a live interview with Pedal the Plains folks (hear the podcast )and today we focus on Tour de Cure, a ride to support people with diabetes. With so many tours in Colorado it can be over whelming which one to pick but for some like Ryan and Deana the choice is easy.

My name is Ryan, and this is why I ride…

Last year, my boss asked me to ride in the Tour de Cure bike event for diabetes. I’d done charity rides before. They’d never meant much, but when I sent out some emails, I couldn’t believe the response—“My two-year-old was just diagnosed with diabetes…. My grandma died last year from diabetes… My five-year-old needs 4 shots of insulin a day just to live.” I was in.

I usually ride about 60 miles on the weekends so I opted for the 100 mile course from Longmont to Estes Park. The morning of the race, I met Christina. She was a Red Rider—those riders who have diabetes-- and was riding the 100 mile alone. She asked me to check on her--that is, if I could keep up with her.

The first 60 miles were a breeze, but around mile 70, that all changed. At that point, there is a 3 mile elevation climb of 2,000 feet. My heart was beating so hard and fast, I felt like it was going to come out of my chest. “Just breathe. In, out. In, out. And keep pedaling.” I felt like stopping, but then I saw a sign that said “Remember who you are riding for.” I felt like quitting, but then I realized that I’d lost sight of Christina. Was she okay?

I kept on riding and finally caught up with Christina. She’d stopped to check her blood sugar, but was doing better than I was. If she could do it, I could too. We finished together amid shouts of support for her and the other Red Riders. This year, I wouldn’t miss the Tour de Cure. I ride for Christina and all those who will not be stopped by diabetes.

My name is Deana, and I am the face of diabetes.

I took off a few minutes after 6:00 a.m. along with some 650 other riders going the 100 mile distance in the Tour de Cure. The pack soon spread out as we each found our own pace, greeted people we knew and made new friends as the sun rose over the high plains. By 7:30 I was on the climb to Carter Lake—just a warm-up for the “real hills” to the west. The scenery and the sound of the river were so spectacular that I barely noticed the 6% grade up Big Thompson Canyon. The course got steeper with the turn up Devil’s Gulch, gradually increasing to a heart-stopping 15% grade! The salvation of that stretch is knowing that the view from the top is amazing; you are above Estes Park and seemingly on top of the world. The next reward comes in the 20 mile stretch that is entirely downhill! I finished my Century Ride in seven and a half hours of “wheels-turning” or about nine hours total.

I met some incredible people on the ride. I did not come across a single person who was riding for the fun of it. Everyone knows someone who is touched by diabetes: parents of infants with juvenile diabetes; daughters of mothers whose lives were cut short from complications of diabetes; the husbands, the wives, and the riders themselves who are Type 1 or Type 2. It was a long day, but I am so glad I did it. This truly was “The Ride of My Life.”

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