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35 (Awesome!) Miles for a Cure

This past Saturday, I hopped on my bike (or, more accurately, my friend’s bike) and pedaled 35 miles with my father-in-law as part of the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure. And what an awesome experience it was!

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A little victory scream with 5 miles to go.

First, a little background. The Tour de Cure is the ADA‘s fundraiser for a diabetes cure. Cyclists sign up, raise as much money as they can, and then pick how far they want to ride. It’s all quite simple really, provided you enjoy the pedaling part.

SIGN ME UP!!

A few months ago, while we were still on the road, my very good friend Pedro Gomes signed up for the Tour de Cure in Washington, DC. I told him I was in when we got back, so long as we did the longest ride offered at that location, which is 50 miles. In reading a bit about the DC ride, I realized there was a ride right near my parents’ house in NJ the week before DC. So I signed up for that one too! They didn’t have a 50-mile option, so I chose the 35-mile ride.

I needed company. I am not a long distance cyclist, so toughing out 35 miles on my own, though very doable, didn’t sound all that pleasant. I have friends joining me for the DC ride this coming Saturday, so I called on someone else. My father-in-law Karl. Cassie’s dad is an avid cyclist who signed up for the NJ ride right after I did.

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A pre-ride photo, right after I donned my Red Rider jersey!

RIDING FOR A CURE

The morning of the ride, we rode from my parents’ house (who were in Israel celebrating a wedding) to the starting point in Asbury Park. We snacked on a bit of fruit, walked along the boardwalk to kill a bit of time before the ride, and relaxed. The event is incredibly well organized, so there was very little to worry about.

I got my Red Rider jersey – given to those who ride with diabetes – and we made our way to the start line. At 10 in the morning, our 35 miles began. And it was awesome.

We kept up a pretty good pace, averaging about 15 mph, including red lights and stop signs. When we were able, we rode next to each other, talking most of the way. It made the ride easier and more enjoyable. Every time we passed another Red Rider, I made sure to yell out “Go Red Rider!” as instructed by the Tour de Cure. Every time someone yelled that in my direction, it energized me, so I can only hope I did the same for others.

At the midway point, organizers put out a pretty good spread of food and drinks! I snacked on a peanut butter and banana sandwich, then drank a bottle of water. A guy in the field across the road was flying remote-controlled airplanes. I told my pops-in-law that we either had to get back on our bikes and finish the ride or go fly RC airplanes. We got back on the bikes.

The end of the ride was fantastic, with an even better lunch spread and a bit of a festival atmosphere to the finish line. Cassie and my mom-in-law met us at the end, and we all relaxed together by the boardwalk, even visiting the Stone Pony to pay homage to Bruce! It was an awesome day and a great ride. I’m definitely doing the Tour de Cure again (especially since the DC ride is this coming weekend!)!!

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I’m totally suffering from helmet hair.

RIDING WITH DIABETES

If you have diabetes and are not sure whether you’ll be ok to ride, trust me, you’ll be fine. The Tour de Cure does a great job with support vehicles staged throughout the ride, so help is always nearby. Sign up and come join us! Can’t ride but want to donate? Check out our team page!

I didn’t have too much trouble managing blood sugar on the ride. I intentionally started the ride with my blood sugar a bit high. I’m not sure of the exact number, but I suspect it was around 150 or maybe even a bit higher. I snacked on a few grapes right before the ride. At the halfway point, I had a PB and banana sandwich, a few more grapes, and water. My blood sugar after the ride was 102, which is perfect (at least for me!).

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE!

A huge thank you to the friends, family, and strangers who donated to this ride! With your help, I was able to raise more than $600 for the Tour de Cure. Pretty spectacular! I’ll be raising more just as soon as I can!

Another huge thank you to my pops-in-law for riding with me. You made the ride easy and fun. In exchange, you get a lifelong cycling buddy.

We’ll be taking more pictures at the DC ride (and even doing a video!), so stay tuned for next week’s installment of “Oren sits in a cycling saddle for way too long.”

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AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT…

Happy New Year to everyone celebrating Rosh Hashanah this week! I’ll be with my family for a few days before heading down to DC for the Tour de Cure. Both the holiday and the ride will be fun! Our team name is Duck Phiabetes.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING ELSE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT…

Back when we were in Shanghai, we met Mark and Camille and had a great time grabbing dinner and wandering around the city with them. We kept in touch, and now they’re in Kenya. The cool part is that they’re staying with my older sister, who is hosting them and showing them around Nairobi. That’s what travel is all about. Meeting people, making memories, and experiencing everything the world has to offer.

My sister never met Mark and Camille, but she graciously opened up her house to fellow travelers. She gets two thank yous in this post: one for donating to my ride and one for hosting our friends. As they say in Kenya, muchas gracias!! Or was it asante sana?!?

-O.L.

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