Quenching the thirst of someone who is riding for a cause … does it get any better? Today my husband Chris and several friends rode the 62-mile North Shore circuit on the ADA’s Tour de Cure bike ride. We had a Bright Happy Power team
comprised of several riders, including coworkers and friends and lovers and a mother-daughter team. We also cheered for other local teams, like the Welch family riding on the Peace, Love & Insulin team (I hope I got that right, Welches).
I worked with Seaside Cycle at the South Village Green water stop in Ipswich. This location was the main stopping point for all routes. We served about 860 riders today! Lots of PBJ sandwiches, bananas, oranges, power bars and fluids.
The sun shone. The roads were clear and safe. No major accidents or medical crises. The wind blew just enough to cool down riders and volunteers. I made two runs to the store for extra supplies, because we had to replenish our inventory of water and Gatorade. We had enough … everyone was safe and hydrated.
Our water stop team included a policeman, radio operators connected to mobile route support and headquarters, the Seaside Cycle crew to hand out water and snacks and repair breakdowns. And some other volunteers, like me. We chopped fruit. Assembled sandwiches. Put bandaids on a few skinned patches of flesh. Poured water. Stirred Gatorade. Gave directions. Worked with the radio operators to report just a few riders with either low blood sugar, who needed a boost to the end of the ride.
Those riders? Wow! Adults. Seniors. Teens. Children. Families. Married couples. Red riders who live with diabetes. Road bikes. Mountain bikes. Touring bikes. Recumbent bikes. Tandem bikes.
Chris rode in his Lou DeGeorge jersey today. It’s actually a jersey from the ALS ride that he rode last year, too, but he rode today in memory of our friend and fellow Rotarian Lou, who passed away due to ALS two days ago. And he’ll ride again in the ALS ride this year, along with other Rotarians.
It was a long day, whether you were in the saddle pedaling, or on your feet managing logistics. It takes a big team to make this event safe for the intrepid people who commit to cycling all those miles.
And you know what? Some people ride because they just love to be on a bike. Some ride because they’re competitive, and today’s circuits included the option for timed distances and hills. Some ride because they want to see the North Shore.
But most people? They ride because they’re passionate about this cause. They want to research and cure this disease that affects so many people, young and old, and is a lifelong challenge for all of them.
So we hand out water and Gatorade to quench the riders’ bodily thirst. But this ride? It quenches something more … it refreshed the spirit of people who struggle with diabetes. It offers a chance for children and families and parents and friends and colleagues and buddies and spouses and siblings and grandparents and whole circles of people to defy t a disease that affects every day of life. It proves that you can live a whole, active life with diabetes.
And the riders’ hope? Their enthusiasm? Their commitment, including the very last riders on the course, who intended to pedal every mile they could? It is like cool water on a parched tongue … it restores the volunteers who support them, and the people who stop and ask what’s going on. They inspire all of us. It replenishes on a spiritual and cellular level.