The Ride of Your Life (complete with bikes, broccoli and beauty queens!)

Yesterday I went to the National Capital Area’s Tour de Cure right outside of Washington, DC. For the last two years, I have participated in the event, peddling out 20 miles each time and raising funds to support the American Diabetes Association’s mission. Thanks to the Red Rider program, I also got a snazzy jersey that declares “I Ride With Diabetes” on the back to bring attention to people with diabetes, as they inspire about 50,000 cyclists to participate in this event each year.

This year, I got to have a different point of view. Instead of riding in the event, I got to watch the events taking place at the start/finish line and talk to the people who came out to help Stop Diabetes®. I heard some amazing stories, met some truly dedicated people, and spotted bikes, broccoli and event beauty queens who had all come out to support the event. Here’s a quick recap of what I saw and the people I talked to.

Trevor Karlan (middle, right) and his family

Trevor Karlan (left) is one of the four Youth Ambassadors for the National Capital Area’s Tour de Cure this year. Like many 11-year-olds, Trevor is a sports fanatic. “At school and on his teams, his friends know that he has diabetes and they’re interested in it. With them, he gets to show how brave he is when he has to take an injection.” But when it comes to Tour de Cure? Trevor elects not to wear a Red Rider jersey that distinguishes him as someone living with diabetes. He prefers to be discreet and dress just like everyone else, setting out to bike 12 miles with his parents and little brother.

Mike Hamberger volunteered to help with registration


Mike Hamberger (right) used his unique last name to form team “Hamberger Time” for the second year in a row, but has yet to ride in the event. “Last year it was because I had hip surgery, this year I had shoulder surgery,” he said. That didn’t stop him from coming out to support his teammates and serving as a volunteer at the registration tables. His team, he said, is “small but mighty.” All together, the eight team members raised nearly $5,000 (and still counting) this year. “I think the Red Rider jerseys are awesome,” he commented, “because it’s the one day you can be like, ‘Hey, I have diabetes, yo.’” His friend Andrew chimed in “Yeah, as someone who doesn’t have diabetes, I’m kind of jealous of those jerseys.”


Gabriel Leadley blows kisses as supporters cheer him across the finish line

This was Gabriel Leadley’s (left) first time to ride in Tour de Cure and he crossed the finish line blowing kisses to the spectators cheering him on. “We had a great time out there,” he told me later. “We made a team of friends and people from my cycling class and just had a blast. It’s great to be out there to raise money to help find a cure and Stop Diabetes®. My grandfather recently passed away due to diabetes-related complications, so I just kept thinking about him the whole time we were riding. It was really nice to be able to do that for him.”


National Capital Area Tour de Cure event



Tesch West, who was the Association’s National Youth Advocate in 2008 and is now an intern in the DC office came out to volunteer and offered her perspective of other Tour de Cure events. “Here there is a lot more focus on pre- and post-event stuff, so it’s more social. At the Tour de Cure in Utah, the participants are more hardcore cyclists, so they come, they ride (through miles and miles of farmland), and then they leave. Here at the National Capital Area event, people are hanging out and talking about diabetes. It makes me feel like part of a community.”



What’s that? Oh yes, I told you I’d spotted bikes, broccoli and beauty queens – there was all that and so much more!


There were bikes...

And more bikes...

And stationary bikes...

And moving bikes...

There were even "resting" bikes!

There were also matrial arts demonstrations...

And hungry cyclists…
There were reminders to Tweet about the event (I love that it also serves as a gentle reminder: “don’t tweet while riding”!)
And a tent just for Red Riders
I told you – Broccoli! Or, “Doctor Broc” as this sponsor’s mascot is lovingly called.
And yes, even the Miss America Co-Ed Queens came out to cheer the riders on!

Tour de Cure is an event that brings people together and celebrates the bravery it takes to live each day with diabetes. Have you participated in one of these events as a Red Riders or supporter? We’d love to know your thoughts on it, so leave a comment below!

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This entry was posted in About Us, Family, Friends, Life with Diabetes, National Youth Advocate, Red Rider, Stop Diabetes, Tour de Cure, Volunteer Stories and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Ride of Your Life (complete with bikes, broccoli and beauty queens!)

  1. Lisa Karlan says:

    Thanks for the interview! It was nice to meet you and be a part of the Tour de Cure!

  2. Loved the article and all the photos showing what happened during the day at Reston Town Center.
    We were Tour de Cure 2011 Century riders, so we were on the road all day and missed a lot of these activities.

    We will see again you next year!

  3. Ken Cole says:

    Very nice write up. Now get your legs and that bike ready. I’ll be there in a little less than a year to ride.

  4. Jack Jurek says:

    I got to ride in my second Tour de Cure in Buffalo. I have found this to be an amazing event. I am one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have Diabetes. This event has opened my eyes and I have met some truly great people from participating. I have found this to be a very rewarding way to try and make a difference. What diabetics have to go through and seeing what they do truly makes me feel lucky to have the life I have. I urge everyone out there to try and get involved in a Tour de Cure event sometime. I think you will find yourself getting hooked and wanting to help more like I have.

  5. Jeff Laib says:

    Good article I am diabetic myself and have signed up for my first Tour de Cure in Long Beach, Ca on april 29, 2012. I can’t wait for the day to show people what somene with diabetes can do.

  6. Marsha Schoeneberg says:

    I am a 68-year old Type 1 diabetic. Last year I rode the 30k in the Tucson Tour de Cure. I was so proud to be a member of Team Red and to wear the red jersey. The best part of the event for me was meeting other Type 1’s who are avid cyclists. It was great to learn their tips for managing BG during an event. I was truly inspired by their stories. Since last year I have continued to ride and do 70-80 miles a week with my 77-year old bike buddy. We will ride 50k in the 2012 Tucson Tour de Cure in March.

  7. Prakati says:

    Help, I’ve been informed and I can’t become igotnanr.

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