I did my first Tour de Cure in San Diego in 2005. I did my second Tour de Cure as an official Red Rider in August 2008, 2 months after I moved to Colorado. I only knew a little bit about the route, had not been on my bike in a while and didn't know anything about the Red Rider experience. Wow. What an experience!
I lived in Hygiene, Colorado as a kid, but only until the age of 6 before moving to San Diego, CA. It was so amazing to travel back out to my earliest childhood home and see the intersection where I used to attend Sunday School at the Hygiene Methodist Church and go to Clarks market before going to the public pool in Longmont in the summers. I remember Clarks well because we used to get candy there as a kid, "Fun Dips" and sugar-filled plastic fruits that we would empty into our mouths and then play with at the pool. I was diagnosed with Type 1 at the age of 9 a few years after we left Colorado. Now I was a Red Rider. I have now had type 1 diabetes for 25 years.
I had no idea that day how meaningful the Tour would be to me or how special that Red jersey really was until I was on the route. Next, we headed north and the photographer captured a great moment for me as I rounded the bend. Off to the west, right at that photo op, is a landmark known as Rabbit Mountain. This too had deep roots of meaning to me. My great-grandfather homesteaded there and my grandfather grew up on this land. As a child, my siblings and I learned to ride horses there. There are still concrete steps of the old house and cellar out there and a large rock where my great-grandfather carved his initials. My family still calls it "the farm", but now the land is Boulder County Open Space. My family's roots are here, right on the course of Tour de Cure. I couldn't imagine not doing the ride every year, as a tribute to my roots and our cause.
I had just reunited with my extended family in Longmont after moving to Colorado 2 months before. They all came out and saw me at different points along the way, even from Terry Lake, my cousins waved from their boat! I could go on and on about my day, but needless to say...the spirit of the Tour was in me.
The next year, I came out and did the ride on my own, my family was not there, but it was still an amazing day of personal spirit and reflection. So in 2010, Mike Carter asked me to be a member of Team Red. I was SO excited! Until being on Team Red, I had never been on a team. When I was growing up with diabetes, unlike kids today, I was more discouraged than encouraged to do sports. My parents had a lot of fear and not a lot of support and education and I understand that now. I like to say that I am a child-onset diabetic, but I'm an adult-onset athlete. The challenge of training in a variety of activities is just a part of my lifestyle now and I enjoy setting the next goal. This year, my goal is to go the next distance of 100 kilometers (62 miles) for Tour de Cure.
I am honored to be a part of Team Red as Co-Captain this year. I look forward to growing with the team and learning from more-experienced cyclists. Go Team Red!!!! GO RED RIDERS!!!!!!