2006 WAS MY LAST YEAR
This was going to be my last year of the tour. But my heart was bleeding, bleeding for my babies. "I can't let this happen to my babies."I did not have much to offer the tour this year- so I thought. I was not getting much interest from others and my last year's sponsors and team mates have shown no desire to do this again, and it seems other organizations sapped the money from donors so pickings were slim. I was discouraged, and felt, "Why bother?" Then I saw the recruitment video and public service announcement, and asked myself, "How can you walk away from this? How can you put the fact that your daughter was born in 2000 and she has a 33% chance of being diagnosed with diabetes? That is not fair. I looked at my wife and told her, I have to keep doing this, even if I never raise the dollars I wish I could, I have to keep doing this for them. If all I ever did was get other's attention toward diabetes, then I am doing what I can do. I ride with my tour de cure jerseys and jacket everyday. No one can deny seeing me, they know now. I paint my car windows with advertisement for the tour, I have a website dedicated to the tour, I love my bike and there is no better sound in world than the buzzing of my tires and the wind rushing through my helmet. If I am going to ride anyway, why not do it for something I have despised for all my life. I hate the day if my daughter has to test her blood sugar, so I ride now to prevent that day from ever coming. I hate the day that my son may have to look an insulin pump in the face and program it for himself, so I ride now to prevent that day from ever coming. I hate the day that my children would have to bear the pain from the mean words from other children teasing them about their diabetes- so now I ride so that day does not come. Why do I ride? One reason. My wife Teri. God has given me a gift, and I want to be with this gift for as long as possible. I want to take care of my Stradivarius violin, not have her taking care of me due to complications from diabetes. Why do I ride? Two reasons, my daughter Kaylee and my son Ronnie. I have been given a gift from God in them; no I need to take care of those gifts. Why do I ride? Millions of reasons. All those people around our world who are affected by diabetes. They should not have to be affected by diabetes. Why do I ride? Because last year I met a woman who struggled to finish the Peninsula Tour. She was one of the last ones finished, the festivities had packed up and just a few stragglers remained. I approached her and asked, "Why did you ride? Did you do this as a training ride for another event (a common practice for riders from other unrelated cycling events)?" She replied, "No, I want to ride for diabetes, I feel it is a good cause." With a tear in my eye, I thanked her. Why? Because she is one of many who ride for ME. I thank every cyclist, every walker, and every volunteer across America, I thank you for riding for me.
So, why do I ride? Because if this woman can ride for me, then I will ride for everyone else. Are there other things to ride for? Yes. Do I want to take money from them? No. But if someone has no cause to give to, I want them to learn about diabetes and give because they believe in what we are doing. I ride, it's in my blood and I cannot imagine a life without my bike. I will ride for the ADA until I can't spin anymore, then I will do whatever I can.