Thank you for your generous support of JDRF through my rides over the past 10 years. During that time we have seen significant progress in the search for a cure.
I was originally scheduled to ride in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Sadly, my father passed away in early August and I was unable to join the team for the La Crosse ride.
With excellent support from the JDRF ride program, I was able to change locations and ride my tenth ride at the Amelia Island venue in October. Below is a quick visual summary of the ride… details follow if interested...
As with past rides, the weekend began with a flight on Thursday - this time a hop to Atlanta and then to Jacksonville followed by a 45-minute shuttle ride to the island. Although the Jacksonville, FL area was affected by hurricane Irma, only occasional piles of debris were evidence of the storm. The weather all weekend was hot and muggy with a threat of rain. The surf was high with powerful waves stirred up by storms over the Atlantic. The hotel was a lovely setting with fire pits in the pool area where the riders congregated at night to tell stories and share good cheer.
Ride day had everyone in high spirits as we made our way out of the resort and meandered through the side streets on the north part of the island. We enjoyed downtown Fernandina and a state park at the north end of the island. Incredibly, the humidity was so high in the early morning that my sunglasses were fogged over for most of the first 25 miles.
We looped the island twice with the more residential north sections shaded by trees. The south sections introduced a head wind along with the heat and humidity, increasing the difficulty significantly. On the second pass, some riders were cooling off with chilly water from a garden hose at one of the rest stops. At the southern-most turnaround, I was reminded of Death Valley - the sun was hot, the road was hot, and there was no shelter
Repeating sections of the course meant passing lots of riders going in the opposite direction. It was fun to yell encouragement to each other across the road. I completed 104 miles in just under 6 hours. Later I learned that we were among the first riders in and that Anne, one of my Indiana teammates, was the first woman to complete the 100-mile course. Way to go Anne!
Emotions tend to run high at JDRF rides and this one was no exception. The highlight was meeting other riders and hearing their stories. This year was marked by Type 1 riders, including some teens who raised the money to attend. Also a highlight was Jack, a 90-year old Type-1 rider who won the coveted polka dot Spirit Jersey. He was the same rider who was the top fundraiser in Death Valley a few years ago. Wow… What an inspiration!
Many thanks, as always, for sharing in my ride; I truly appreciate your generous support of JDRF. I may have been the one pedaling, but I carried your thoughts, prayers and support with me on each mile. I would not have made it without you.