Tuesday, October 9, 2012

JDRF Death Valley Ride

I've been training for a 105 mile bike ride in Death Valley as part of JDRF fight to bring more research into Type 1 Diabetes.  I leave in a ten days.  The ride will be October 20.  My last bike ride in here in Michigan was in the 40's.  Temps in Death Valley will be close to 100.  I have never done that long of bike ride in that type of heat!  I will be riding out there with my sister and her husband and a few others that work in her clinic.  My sister actually entered and won a contest from a sponsor after already committing to do the ride and fundraiser.  An interview with her is at the bottom of this post.

My training pretty much consisted of trying to sit on the bike for longer periods of time each weekend.  I managed a few 4 hour rides, but alas, boredom set in and I went and did other things.  I've also been doing the local cyclocross series here, as well. If your interested in donating, you can visit my JDRF Fundraising Page.  I will hopefully give you a successful report back in a few weeks!

Saddleback in the Fight Against Diabetes
2012 JDRF Death Valley Ride For the Cure
My niece Grace was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes at the age of seven. To help put an end to this life-threatening disease, Saddleback is sponsoring a team for this year's Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) Ride For the Cure Century Ride in Death Valley. It's a cool way to get together and show support and fundraise for a great cause. Saddleback, TrueBlue (our manufacturing facility) and CSI (our shipper, owned by Grace's mom) have come together to pledge $80,000+ to our riding team. All the money goes straight to JDRF's artificial pancreas research. 

I'm excited to Welcome Saddleback Family Member Robin Ross from Ann Arbor, Michigan onto Team Grace. She'll be riding with me and the rest of the team this October. Robin is a Vitreoretinal surgeon and diabetic clinical researcher. Sounds like she knows a thing or two about diabetes. She took a break from training and work for a chat with us.
Robin Ross  

Great to meet you, Robin! Tell us a little more about your work.
I manage diabetic retinopathy both medically and surgically. Diabetes can cause blindness, kidney failure requiring dialysis and nerve damage which leads to foot ulcers and amputation. By 2035, 439 million people worldwide will have diabetes. This potential for complications causes a huge personal cross to bear for each diabetic and a huge socioeconomic burden to our medical system and the lost work force. A cure for diabetes requires a "team" approach - researchers, physicians, and fundraising. 

Absolutely. What was your first Saddleback piece?
I bought several pieces at once preparing for a trip to Africa. I had a soft camera gear pack with three bodies and lenses no padding and I placed it inside the Saddleback Duffel and carried it on. I bought an iPad case and a MacBook Air sleeve and placed them inside a small backpack with all my camera cords. 

That's great. Any cool stories about your leather?

No Masai spear stories, but if you invent a classic leather saddle for my bike I would have one...just kidding. Coming back from Africa, I landed in Atlanta to return to my home state of Michigan. I had one hour to gather my luggage, clear customs, and get my passport stamped. I had checked only my Saddleback Duffel with my camera, tripods and accessory camera gear. It was first off the baggage carousel with a "handle with care" tag and it's own special bin. I grabbed it off the carousel thinking, "sweet"! Several people including the Delta attendant directing me said, "nice bag". I was surprised that it looked brand new still after the long journey back.

What are you most looking forward to about the ride?
The scenery. Rather than focusing on a finish, I plan to enjoy the beautiful time of year in Death Valley. It is perhaps the most beautiful time of year to see one of our most scenic national landmarks. This will be my first big century ride.

This will be Dave's first century ride too. Or any ride over 15 miles for that matter. Any cycling advice for him?
Have all your children before the race :). Change your office chair to a bike seat. Train part of the time in shorts without padding. Invent the first Saddleback classic leather bike seat - it will make a great "Dave video" and it will do a "twofer"; help with fundraising and be an additional classic Dave video that will continue fundraising after the race. Try to do at least 70 miles before d-day. Attitude and mental toughness is really half the battle.

Why do you want to ride with Team Grace?
The opportunity to ride with Team Grace, encourage awareness of diabetes and help fundraise is a real honor. I am blessed with good health. When I am on the bike and riding and my butt hurts or my legs ache, I think about our diabetic patients with neuropathy of the legs and I think, they live with this ache day in and day out. You are healthy. This is a one day ride in a beautiful spot. Saddle up and ride.

Thanks for talking with us Robin! See you in the desert!

Every time you make a donation to Team Grace, we'll send you a cool leather JDRF Gracelet. This Death Valley ride is a great way for people to come together and show my niece Grace and others like her that this is a global effort to help save and extend lives. Thanks to Robin for all her hard work in the fight against diabetes. 

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