Tour de Cure Twin Cities 2016: Cycling, Walking & Smiling to #STOPDIABETES

Me & my boot sending off Red Riders!
Me & my boot sending off Red Riders!

Saturday, June 4th was intended to be the day that I rode my bike 100 miles alongside a few of my friends at the Tour de Cure Twin Cities. I’d trained for 16 weeks and then, when I was out walking my dog as I explained in my last blog; I fell and broke my ankle. No bike ride for me on June 4th, not with my leg in the air boot.

I had a choice. I could stay home and feel sorry for myself or distract myself and pretend that the event wasn’t taking place. Or, I could go to the event and join in with as much joy and happiness as possible. My decision was to do the second option.

I wanted to help send off the 100 milers, which meant I needed to arrive at Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, MN, the start and finish for the ride, by 5:30 AM. I was there on time! And Janeece Oatman, the Tour de Cure Development Director for the Twin Cities Tour de Cure put on by the American Diabetes Association, asked me to join her on stage to help send off the riders by briefly talking about what “GO RED RIDER!” means and to lead a practice cheer!

Little Red Rider Tour 2016
The young Red Riders always bring tears to my eyes.

Since I love yelling Go Red Rider! It was a delight to explain that Go Red Rider is the short cut way to say, “I love you cyclists with diabetes who are out here riding your bikes for good health and fitness. I love that you show up with good energy and enthusiasm in the face of the challenge of living with the horrible disease of diabetes. I believe in you! And, I admire you!” Yes, I know it takes way too long to say all that when you’re riding your bike, so yelling “GO RED RIDER!” from your heart is the very best thing to do instead!

My friends Tammy and Molly successfully did the 105-mile route! I had trained with them!!! It was wonderful to see them both cross the finish line! My friend Gunnar, who’s had type 1 for 40 years, he also did the 105-mile route!

Me and Helen laughing at Tour de Cure Twin Cities 2016!
Me and Helen laughing at Tour de Cure Twin Cities 2016!

I got to spend lots of the day with my friend Helen, who fell off her bike in April and broke her hip in three places. Helen and I were the gimps of the day!! We laughed a lot and we made the commitment to do the 100-mile (or 105-mile as the case may be!) route next year. We will be back in the saddle, once our bones are all healed up.

I also got to send off the 18-mile route, which included my brother Marty, who’s had type 1 for almost 30 years, his wife Dina and their two kids Georgia and Kiki. Kiki is ten, and she rode her own bike for the whole 18 miles!! I’m super proud of her! Georgia who is five, rode on a tag-a-long behind Marty’s bike. I love that the Tour de Cure has a ride for EVERYONE!!

Sister & Brother Red Riders!
Sister & Brother Red Riders!
Kiki and Mari at Tour!
Kiki and Mari at Tour!


After all the cyclists were off and riding, they had a walking route! I decided to join in that. I walked with Joni Pohl, who coordinates the Champion celebrations at the Tour. Well, I didn’t really walk, instead I rolled on my knee scooter! After 2 miles of that, my left knee really hurt. I was glad to finally sit down!! It was great fun to walk and chat with Joni!

I was glad I was able to do something sort of athletic to honor successfully living with type 1 diabetes for 35 years. This was my 25th year doing Tour de Cure events! And it was our 9th year of having Red Riders at the Tour.

The last and dear ones I want to say a HUGE shout out of thanks to are the 25 INCREDIBLE people who donated to my fundraising campaign to #StopDiabetes!! I successfully raised $2195.00. I made Champion status, and that means I will be able to ride in another nearby Tour de Cure in September/October, when I will again be allowed on a bike!

My amazing, generous donors are: Eric Sandholm, Marjorie Proulx, Alexis Acker-Halbur, Wanda Walker, Ara Jo Rising, Valerie Hall, Kelly Vriezen, Laurie & Phil Boyte, Jill Marks, Christin Davies, Ana Tolentino, Shane & Toni Wallin, Noel Franus, Micah Jacobson, Linda Brandt, Saralina Francisco, Amy Anderson, Lisa Butzer, Francesca Painter, Sean McClung, Marianne Mealey, Laddie Lindahl and David Gibbs!! I am very grateful for all of your love and generosity!

It takes a whole team to live with and successfully manage diabetes!

Thank you everyone for a beautiful day!

Molly, me and Tammy at the end of a very long and joyful day at Tour de Cure Twin Cities 2016!
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