I've been a cyclist my entire life. I did my first major bicycle touring when I was 15. I sold my first car to buy a fancy road bike before I went to college. I went to CU and did a bunch of seriously stupid cycling things during school like riding up Flagstaff mountain every morning before class and hauling camping gear, beer and ice to Rocky Mountain National Park on the weekends on our bikes.
My wife Jan and I might have had a bike touring honeymoon but we got married in January, so we skied during our honeymoon and went bike touring the next Fall. I bike-commuted to work most days through the 1990s and we dabbled in mountain biking some weekends.
Then in 2000, I started getting sick and was diagnosed on June 6, 2001 with what was then called Late Onset Type 1, now called Latent Auto-immune Diabetes of Adults (LADA.) I don't think I rode 500 miles total in the first five years after diagnosis, mostly due to peripheral neuropathy and a good helping of apathy. During those years, I used the ADA as an educational resource and made monetary contributions but not much else. In 2005, I forced the bike issue by buying a new mountain bike but still didn't ride regularly. I also attended my first ADA Expo that year and picked up a Tour brochure. In 2006, I got back into cycling, at least to work a couple of days a week.
In 2007, I picked the Tour de Cure to be my way of getting back to something that had always been a part of my life before diabetes. My original goal was "simply" to ride the century, I didn't care how much I raised, I just wanted to ride. Reality hit hard after the first month of training rides and after I adjusted my priorities, I decided that I could do more for the cure than just attempt a 100 mile ride. Jan and I formed a Tour team and raised over $6000 in about thirty days. Not that my team effort was easy. It was an emotional roller coaster. I edited, re-edited, re-re-edited my fund raising e-mail messages and then would agonize over everything. At this point, I told my wife that I would really like to stop crying every time I sent or received e-mail. The outpouring of support and contributions from our families, friends and coworkers was truly unbelievable.
Going into the day before the Tour, I really had no expectations. Because of the amounts we raised, Jan and I were invited to the VIP dinner. As late as that night, I was a bit depressed as I had backed down from the 100K to the 50K ride because I was having problems with low blood glucose levels during steep hills in the middle of longer rides. However, walking into the hotel and feeling the energy of the registration and Red Rider tables, pushed my motivation button. During the VIP dinner the Tour committee members and volunteers inspired me and the dedication of the ADA staff amazed me.
The day after the Tour, I sent a quick e-mail to the Tour director and a few of the Tour committee members I had met the previous day thanking them for the event. I didn't realize it at the time but from that moment, I became a member of the Colorado Tour de Cure family and hope to continue to be a part of it for a long time to come! I am now a part of the amazing group of folks that make up the Colorado Tour de Cure committee and am one of the captains of the Team Red. I hope to see you at the event!