Saturday, June 09, 2012

Tour de Cure 2012

The 4 of us, before the start of the 2012 Tour de Cure
For the eighth time this year, the Orel men rode in the annual Tour de Cure ride to help support the American Diabetes Association (ADA).  For the 4th time, we were joined by the Orel women, and for the first time, our team included someone not named Orel.

First things first:  We are still accepting donations.  The link is:  http://main.diabetes.org/goto/teamorel

In flipping through the blog, I found that I used it to put out pre-tour fundraising messages in 2006 and 2007.  The 2006 blog post revealed that my sneakers, water bottle, gloves, bicycle and biking shorts were the same this morning as 6 years ago... and this is not an advertisement for the condition of the sneakers!  Aaron used a bike that year that can best be described as a large toy (and which nearly ended up in a neighbor's scrap heap earlier this year, but there's another story there), but he managed 15 miles on it all the same.

Later, I blogged our rides in 2008 and 2009.  The 2008 ride was Aaron's first at the 25 mile distance, under riding conditions that can best be described as brutal.  The 2009 ride, in ideal conditions, was the first for the entire family.  That ride, and all the rides since, have had Aaron and I ride 25 miles, and Lori and Elianna ride 10 miles.  The blog pieces also reveal the extent to which the ride was an annual white knuckle event with the bike rack:  That the bikes had come loose in 2007, and nearly detached on the way home in 2009.  In 2011, the bikes did detach, while we were driving I-96 on the way to the ride.  Somehow, though, neither was destroyed; Aaron's has a slight wobble in the back and mine  some handlebar damage.  We retired the rack after the 2011 ride; this year I borrowed both a vehicle with a hitch, and a Thule 4-bike hitch rack, and those bikes were calm and happy.

Team Orel:  2012 Tour de Cure
For the first time this year, our team featured a fifth member.  Aaron met a young girl at a party, and she decided to join us.  Veronica had never cycled 25 miles before, but she proved up to the task.  She also held her own, raising funds to support the ADA.  The start times of the various courses were staggered a bit more, to help more teams arrive back for lunch at similar times.  This meant a somewhat later start time for the 25-mile ride this year.  What we didn't expect was a nearly 40-minute construction delay along I-96, thus making it very difficult to get to the event's starting point at Brighton High School.


The Michigan 2012 Tour de Cure route and elevation, as posted to MapMyRide.com
By the time Veronica, Aaron and I started the course, the 25-mile riders had already been out for more than half an hour.  It was also beginning to get hot.  Very hot.  Aaron led, with Veronica following.  Far from the tiny boy who just seemed to have an extra will to get through the course -- and who occasionally had to walk a bike up longer hills -- Aaron, at age 15, has become a good rider who can command the ride.  For the first time, he kept up a pace exceeding 10mph throughout the ride, and he still had plenty of energy left at the end.  I'm not sure if he's ready for the 62-mile ride yet... but he's getting close.

Elianna at the 2012 Tour de Cure rest stop
We crossed paths with Lori and Elianna about 8 miles in to our ride, and met up with them again at the rest stop.  That the 25-mile ride is now down to a single rest stop is, to me, a travesty.  I'm going to try to change that.

As the morning progressed, the temperature on my new odometer unit showed a reading in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit; I've determined that the temperature reading there is a little exaggerated, but it was hot.  I made Aaron stop at the end of hills at 18 miles and again at 22 miles, just to make sure he and Veronica was sufficiently hydrated to make it to the end.

We finished our course around 1:15pm -- slightly earlier than Aaron's first 25-mile ride in 2008, despite a starting time more than an hour later.  I also learned then that Elianna made it through her ride without having to walk her bike even once; maybe she'll be ready for 25 miles next year.

The fundraising, meanwhile, has been remarkable this year.  After a late start, we have amassed a total of 113 individual contributions, totaling $4262.  That total is enough to place our team in 6th place among all family/friend teams riding in Michigan Tour de Cure; it is also the most we have ever raised. Elianna also developed a competitive streak, trying to beat Aaron's fundraising total.  At one point, she even said, "Aaron is more than $100 ahead of me.  My spirit is crushed."  Aaron did end up beating her total (so far), but it was a lot closer than last year.

Aaron and Veronica just after finishing, as Veronica's dad snaps a photo.
Fundraising will remain open through the end of June.  If you'f like to contribute, please go to http://main.diabetes.org/goto/teamorel, choose one (or more of us), and follow the links!