In 7 days, I’ll be joining 416 cyclists from around the U.S. to ride the JDRF Loveland, CO event. This is not a race but is a fundraiser for Type 1 diabetes, and although most will shoot for completing the century, many will be satisfied with a metric or whatever mileage they deem accomplishable.
The revised route eliminates a 15-mile climb which wasn’t steep but would have been a challenge for many riders, so I see this as a good change. After all, the biggest challenge we’ll face isn’t the climbing but the altitude. Loveland sits at 4,982′.
Everyone arrives Thursday, so at least we’ll have a few days to get acclimatized, but from everything I’ve read, it’s not much help. Bottom line: the altitude will kick everyone’s butt!
I’ll be joining 37 other coaches from across the U.S. to ride & serve as domestiques, something I’m really looking forward to. Some of my responsibilities will be:
- Helping before the ride with things like pumping up tires, offering advice/encouragement, or just casual chit-chat.
- During the ride, assisting anyone who has stopped. This means carrying extra tools & spares to fix flats as well as a first aid kit in case of a crash. For real emergencies, we have SAG and medical team on standby.
- Most of the time I’ll be riding alongside other riders, cheering them up & over a long climb or just striking up a friendly conversation to take their mind (and mine!) off tired legs.
- I also have to be alert to the signs of altitude sickness, fatigue, or in the case of the T1 athlete, symptoms of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia (something I’m still learning!)
This is unlike any ride I’ve ever done because the focus isn’t on me or my agenda but on others. In fact, depending on what the senior coaches need, I may not even get to ride the entire course. For some, this would be reason enough not to coach for JDRF. For me, I’m open to whatever the day ends up being. I have plenty of opportunities throughout the year to “do my thing.” This is the one time I get to give back.
Aside from all of that, I hope I’m in good enough shape to help others and that the altitude doesn’t kick me too hard in the rear (as in sickness.)
In the end, if I can make (1) rider feel special, or help them through a tough stretch then it will have been a success.
Wish us luck!
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