Monday, June 14, 2010

Tour De Cure - Ride Report of the 120K (long post!)

Yesterday was the American Diabetes Association Tour De Cure of the Silicon Valley. Initially I was going to do this by myself, but when my brother's friend and team mate, Shawn Williams, discovered that his 10-year old daughter, Nicky, was diagnosed with Type-I diabetes the entire OTC (On The Couch) team decided to give it a go.

My vision of cruising along at my comparatively fat-boy pace and shooting pictures of nature was gone, but knowing that we were now riding for a little girl... it was incredibly inspirational. OTC raised over $15,000 which put us at 1st place and awarded us our own 10' X 10' tent on the green. Given the new amenity, a beer keg was promptly ordered for the post-ride recovery drink.

I showed up at 5:45am to check in a get myself ready as the rest of the crew rolled in after 6:00am since they were all coming from Santa Cruz. I believe we left around 6:30am, and it was my goal to hang with the hammerheads - at least for a little bit. I knew, however, once we hit Pescadero Rd. I'd be taking a trip to Drop Town. So, I enjoyed rolling with the team for a short while.

Creedence had a flask of Jim Beam he carried with him on the ride. The thought of having that stuff at 6am gave me the dry heaves, but it obviously didn't slow him down.

This is a shot of the team from where I was the entire time - in the back!

Mr. Shige - 10th Degree Black Belt in the art of climbing Tunitas Creek.

More of Team OTC

I got this quick shot on Pescadero Rd. before things got steep.

...and this was the last I saw of them. I wouldn't see any of my teammates for the next 6 hours.

This was the first rest stop at the top of Kings Mountain Rd. After this it was a sweet descend via Hwy 84. Now, given that I've been riding those roads on motorcycle for the last 10 years+, I had a blast coming down. I smoked a ton of riders just because of that confidence. I just wish I could climb as well as I descend.

This was the 2nd rest stop at Pescadero, right before Stage Rd. to Tunitas Creek.

I don't have any more pics after Stage Rd. For the next 10-15 miles, it was a grueling climb up Tunitas Creek Rd. where there is absolutely no forgiving... no leveling off... no breaks. I was bordering cramping, and so I slowed way down and climbed at a steady pace. I was passed a lot, however, come the second half of that climb a lot of the folks who passed me seemed to have blown their wad and I was able to pass them.

I cruised in after 2:00pm, 6 hours in the saddle, 6,800 ft. of climbing and a hair under 80 miles. The entire team except one (Jerry, who was behind me) was there already drinking beers and relaxing. I got s Team OTC shirt and a sweet card from Nicky herself! Baking in the afternoon sun, I decided to pack up and go home.

...and now comes my soap-box speech.

I know many out there give the ol' "I'd rather enjoy my life and eat/drink whatever I want and die happy than to live a long time and be miserable...". Which makes perfect sense when you don't factor in medical advances and technology. Unfortunately for many, they do "enjoy" all the crap food and heavy drinking, but are stricken with disease of the heart, kidneys and liver in time - living a very long life as slaves to medication, doctor visits and eventually family caring for them when they are too fragile to care for themselves. This is my experience with Type II diabetes.

Working in the life insurance industry, I have seen an alarming number of my clients with Type II diabetes, especially in the Filipino and Hispanic communities. I've realized that many of the ethnic foods are very fatty and sugary. Combine these foods with an inactive lifestyle, high stress and the social/reward aspect of food consumption: it is a recipe for disease. This has made me aware of my own predisposition to Type II diabetes and has opened my eyes to what I should and should not be eating and how I should live my life. I have to "un-socialize" my feelings toward food and dismiss the social and cultural implications of poor food consumption. I not only have clients with Type II diabetes, but family members, as well. I've seen people lose their eyesight and their legs due to this disease - and it all could have been prevented.

I'm not a parent, but I do know that more and more children are being diagnosed with Type II diabetes and obesity. It would seem to me that any good parent would never want harm to come upon their children. But feeding them "poison" leading to such diseases will eventually kill them. Please feed your kids proper foods and emphasize a life of exercise and wellness!

Now, let's talk about Type I diabetes, which is not onset nor preventable. Unfortunately, this is what little Nicky was diagnosed with and her life is changed forever. However, I believe people with Type I diabetes can live a healthy, wonderful life. I have grown friends with Type I diabetes who exercise, have fun and enjoy life, as long as they keep their blood sugar under control with their insulin. Thankfully, organizations such as the American Diabetes Association is on the forefront to help finding a cure. And I think this is why we all support such a cause as the Tour De Cure. Knowledge is power.

Even though we all suffered climbing these hills, had pain in our legs, knees, backs, feet and butts... were dehydrated and sun burned... were humbled by stronger, faster riders and had bicycle mechanical issues... I don't think any of us can compare our temporary discomfort to those suffering from such a disease as diabetes.

Friends, please help prevent it... and for those who have been diagnosed, please remember that you have a lot of support out there. I have a feeling OTC is in this ride for a long time - and maybe eventually, I'll be able to hang with them.

Here are more pics I just got from Shawn.

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