About time for another post…


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This time last year I was heavily blogging my growing interest in biking, returning after many years/fears away and paralleling getting ready for my first Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Int’l (JDRF) Ride to Cure Diabetes.

Well I didn’t stop the pedaling just got caught up in distractions and didn’t keep the writing going so it hit me today that I should try to occasionally get this documenting going again.

I am in fact gearing up for my 2nd JDRF ride, returning to Tucson as it was such a powerful experience to me last year.  There are 7 national JDRF rides, actually in 2016 I believe there are going to 8, but for my time with the program there are 7, Burlington (VT), LaCrosse (WI), Lake Tahoe (CA), Death Valley (CA), Greenville (SC), Nashville (TN) and Tucson (AZ).

For those stumbling on to this article and going what’s JDRF… It’s a champion non-profit international organization raising money and investing in research that is dedicated to finding a cure for Type One diabetes and along the way keeping the light on improving the lives of those living with it.

Cycling lovers/enthusiasts like myself, drawn by a connection to the disease, some with it, some like me a parent of a child who is Type One, join the program, taking part in one or more rides in the year, training and raising money to support the research work and to keep awareness of the cause forever on the radar.

I learned of the Ride program in the spring of 2014 while looking for another channel of advocacy within the organization.  I had been away from the bike as mentioned for a long time and over the last several years had several reminders that maybe I should get back in to it and so I did.

Last year I raised just a little over $5,000 between May and the ride event time in late November through the support of friends, family and the kindness of strangers from time to time who found this blog or other social channels.  This year I’m closing in on about that same amount with $4,366 as of this post.  Visit my profile and think about donating today to support JDRF and my participation in the 2015 JDRF Tucson Ride to Cure Diabetes as part of the larger special olympics, El Tour de Tucson.

So as I said I didn’t stop this chapter of pedaling as I call it. I rode through most of my first winter.  According to my Strava log since I started I’ve logged 5,945.8 miles which blows me away but as someone often reminds me it’s a ‘pedal at a time…’  On a personal scale it’s become many things to me with those words, a discovery of ‘the world moves slower on a bike’, a chance to clear the head and work things out, good for the heart, good for the soul, a community of really special friends to be with and the discovery of new ones along the road.

So as I slugged this post, About time….  Thanks for reading!




Lines along Clinton

Yesterday morning on my daily commute in to work in Manhattan some of these lines came to mind and later the rest.

Along Clinton
Shadows and sun
Lighting the path ahead
Looking to left and right
Will the 4 wheeler stay parallel
People rushing people passing
Escalated world surrounds
Ring ring ring
Coming to the bridge entrance
Waiting on the light to change
Another biker takes the chance
Another to my left and I chat about
Light changes cars stopped
Crossing and on to the bike/pedestrian way
Pedaling forward
Ring ring ring bike on your right fuck mean left argh..
Heading up to pylons
Beautiful day
Ring ring ring
Bike on your left…

Jim Goodin

Tucson Bound is all about my journey with biking the last 2 years.  One of the main reasons I do this and came back to it was because of the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International) Ride to Cure Diabetes series of 7 national rides to raise money and awareness to improve the lives of those living with Type 1 diabetes and one day find a cure.  I’m riding in the 2015 Tucson ride, you can support me supporting JDRF by donating whatever you feel at http://www2.jdrf.org/goto/JamesGoodinJDRFRide – Thank You!

Ridin’ the Bloomin’ Metric


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IMG_25052:30 am wake – get ready.  Rain and thunder showers heavy in the forecast so rain jacket/pants/leggings/gloves packed gambling but anticipating this ride in Connecticut possible drencher.  Couple from our group already listened to their reasonable selves but hell-bent for leather me, positive coach vibes and mere take your chances even if scared says maybe it won’t rain or maybe it will be light.

Bike and back pack clad I headed down to the F train and on to the island, waiting.  It’s 3:30 now, have an hour to get to Grand Central, get ticket and bike pass and make the 5:30 am train to Greens Farms near Westport.  3:40, G train comes but that won’t do it, wait.  Another 5 minutes then the familiar subway chime, train comes round the corner from 15th street stop, yes it’s got the recognizable red circled F in the top center, we’re on!

On board with the bike now, all good.  Stops pass, look at the watch, now in Manhattan.  More stops pass.  Some post party spirits get on at 2nd Avenue still buzzing from the night, one man wants to take their picture.  Stops pass, W 4th, 14th, 23rd.  Plenty of time, little after 4am, all good.  34th then 42nd street Bryant Park.  Got off could catch the 7 train and ride right in to Grand Central and I think nah above ground just walk over.  Up on the street, walk over, Grand Central not open, yikes!  Says 5:30, train is at 5:30, not going to work.  Think okay go back get on 7 maybe come in under and be closer to ticket booth when opens or hey just get track, buy on the train.  Do they sell a bike pass on the train?

Carry bike back downstairs, through turnstiles.  Wait few minutes, 20 of 5 now, hear the rumble of the 7 approaching, there it is.  Get on, comes in to Grand Central.  Get off, up stairs, get on escalator.  Angle is amazing vertigo, in other words look straight not up.

IMG_2502Through the turnstiles, up to Grand Central concourse and open but the inner barricade gates are up!   Collection of worn over-nighters waiting for the early morn train to return home after a night of partying in the City and there I am and a couple of other bright-eyed spandex clad helmet bearing two-wheeler in tow ready to get on the train and arrive in time for gentlemen start your engines, The Bloomin’ Metric, a bicycling event now in its 38th year starting and ending at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, CT, put on by the Sound Cyclists’ Bicycle Club.

The ride offered 3 distances of 42 kilometers (25 miles), 75 kilometers (47.6 miles) or 100 kilometers (62.1 miles) along a loop of scenic roads of Fairfield County, Connecticut.  From brushing with Long Island Sound to rising climbs in the woods and rolling hills of scattered homes and schools spilling out of Westchester and Connecticut suburbia.IMG_2482

Four of us from the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) Crankees came up for the event all opting for the 100 kilometers.  I got in to the Green Farms metro north station a little after 7 and met up with coach Bob Cohen at the park grounds which was buzzing with riders assembling for the call of the day.  In addition to Bob I was in community of all our chapter coaches with Jeff Goodnow and Zach Orden arriving from Jersey a little later.

IMG_2478Bob and I started out on the 100k a few minutes before 8 along with a steady stream of others.  We rode out, down the hill from Sheridan Park entrance hanging a right on Nyala Farms Road then Greens Farm the road I had ridden in from the train on earlier and headed for water front along Beachside Avenue.  The predicted rains had not thankfully found their way to overpower the beautiful unexpected more sun than clouds morning.  The air along the water was the familiar green salty coolness that just hangs in its purity.IMG_2470

A few turns took us from the waterfront in to residential and in/out of wooded areas for the first 20 miles with some elevation of the promised @3,000 feet total for the course:-).  The beauty of the area was distinct and paradoxically reminding of Acadia National Park and it’s home of Mt. Desert in Maine, an area I’ve spent a lot of time in and almost was home once.IMG_2479

Despite our fortune of good weather so far, we passed through a residential neighborhood and the streets were freshly covered for a short distance where it seemed a rain cloud had just hung steady in that one area dropping its tears, stopping and disappearing.

Emerging out of a wooded along Pine Tree Road our first food/rest stop arrived at Joel Barrow High School offering an outstanding fare of fruits, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cookies, nuts and water/Gatorade to send us on our way.  Funny before getting back in to distance biking I was not a huge fan of PBJSW’s despite all of them made in my household over the years for my younger son Cal.  Last year during my first JDRF Ride to Cure in Tucson I recall delving in to the mainstay riding food at one of the rest stops and now look forward to at all the rest stops – this one promised no disappointment.

During the next 20 miles the 100k route broke away from the 25 then the 75k and would rejoin further down in what I thought was really neat particularly when about mile 35 we crossed over Newtown Turnpike via Route 58 and a stream of other riders came in from the 75k route joining us on the 100k and leading on to the second rest/food stop at mile 41.  To me this gave the course new life as opposed to same loop with staggered starts.

IMG_2484From the second rest stop heading out on Valley Forge Road we went through a really pretty area around a lake and again much reminder of an area of Acadia around Northeast Harbor, it was amazing how some of this transplanted to me.  The route emerged out of this area heading back in to scattered residential, one final rest stop at mile 50 that Bob and I chose to pedal on.  This reminds me as I believe she appeared a third time around this point, a woman from either a CT JDRF chapter or possibly Westchester.  She followed the course around and when we passed by rang a cowbell and gave out a ‘Go JDRF’ which was really nice – kudos to her.

The route looped on around and the end was in sight.  We were back on Green Farms Road where we had been 4 plus hours earlier, turning right and heading up Sherwood Isle road to turn in to the park and finish with a rewarding greeting of half-dozen food trucks offering tacos, pizza, meat ball heroes, burgers, to replenish the calorie depletion of the Bloomin’ Metric.  Amazing day and ride, I’ll be back!


(L to R) Jim Goodin, Bob Cohen, Zack Orden, Jeff Goodno

My return to riding after 40 years away was motivated last year when I learned of and joined the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes program.  All drawn to this program have a tether to type 1 diabetes, mine my son Cal.  On Nov 21st, I’m returning to Tucson (AZ) to participate in the 2015 JDRF Tucson Ride to Cure Diabetes as part of the national cycling event El Tour de Tucson.  I will be joining about 200 JDRF riders from chapters across the country who are raising money to help further JDRF directed research that is leading to improving the lives of those living with type 1 diabetes and one day finding a cure.  You can support JDRF and my participation in this national riding event, 1 of 7 JDRF rides, by going to my personal page and donating.  http://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR/Ride/JDRFNationalRides?px=4654534&pg=personal&fr_id=5206 .  Thank you!

Over the bridge, into the Woods…


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to Grandmother’s house we go, the horse and the sleigh know the …. whoops wrong season.

But it was three bikers three from the JDRF Crankee midst doing an extracurricular ride as we just can’t get enough pedaling turning the cogs to make type 1 type 0.theTeam

Teammate Brian Herrick pulled a west bound route from his past to Ridgewood, NJ.  I joined Brian via way of Crown Heights taking me to new bike turf through Williamsburg then Queens and over the Queens mid-town bridge where we were joined by Alecia Wesner in Central Park.

We headed north through the park to 110th street exit and then over to Riverside Drive heading on up to the George Washington Bridge.

The crossing over the Hudson though beautiful, clear skies for Memorial Day unfortunately revealed other side of the bridge a gradually going flat tire on Brian’s bike.  We stopped at the Strickly Bicycles ergo Bikeland on Hudson Terrace in Ft Lee for a parking lot repair and were soon on our way to suburban New Jersey.

Our route I had partly done last fall with Crankee coach Bob Cohen as a 9w alternate trek to Piermont, NY, though the Herrick-Wesner-Goodin destiny was further west and by days end was going to give us a total of 80 miles from Brooklyn to Ridgewood and back.

IMG_2410Where often on this side of the river when we are making a right turn on route 9w heading to the New York river towns, this time the path led across and down East Palisades Avenue to Summit Street.  Then a big downhill (return climb challenge) somewhere around Lynhurst or Woodland Street that would lead us for the next couple hours through sleepy sparsely traffic streets, interconnected towns, wooded areas around Bergen County’s Oradell Reservoir,IMG_2417 occasional busier roads near the Garden State Parkway as well as a detour for a Memorial Day parade repleat with a brass marking band tugging the heart of our ride captain Brian, then a foot race and finally arriving to boutiquish Ridgewood with it’s Petticoat Junction like railroad running right through town square.  Perfect setting for a break and lunch on the park lawn before our return.

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 1.37.54 AMThe route back looped north a bit on Sheridan Avenue to heading east on Hollywood Avenue, across Saddle River Rd and somewhere in here down a really fast descent that went right through an intersection I slowed down for but there were cars waiting on both sides so thankful they paying attention.

From there continued suburb roads, at times traffic at times nobody was at home and peaceful hanging branches.  The return on the downhills we took earlier in the day were now working up our salt in climbing which was paralleling some warmer temp but we were soon on Summit and then East Palisades heading for Hudson Terrace and a water break at Strickly Bicycles.  When we rolled in however they had taken an early close for the holiday so pedal to the GW and homeward bound.

There is a muse in cycling that I’ve come to appreciate and that is the sense of you’re potentially covering a lot of distance which looked at overall daunts but when going at 12-14 mph and taken over the course of a few hours it becomes as James Taylor wrote in song many years ago, ‘the secret of life is enjoying the passing of time’ kind of experience.  As Brian put it that day and I’ve heard echo’d other times, everything seems better on a bike.

So this blog, this muse is to also to remind you that I’m riding in the cycling event, El Tour de Tucson, on Nov 21st, 2015, as part of JDRF local chapter riders from across the country, coming together to raise support and awareness about the work of JDRF, whose research directed work is helping to make huge strides improving the lives of type 1 diabetics, all to one day lead to ‘type 1 being type 0’.  You can help support that by going to http://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR/Ride/JDRFNationalRides?px=4654534&pg=personal&fr_id=5206 and making a donation today.  Thanks for following my blog and for embracing this cause.


Good miles, good community today


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IMG_2371 2We gathered this morning for some local loops in Prospect Park.  We, the local chapter of riders affectionately dubbed the Crankees, who are all in training together for one of seven national charity bike rides helping to raise awareness and fund-raising for type one diabetes and research to improve the lives of those afflicted as well as one day finding a cure.

This is my second season doing a JDRF ride and training with this group of folks that I have really enjoyed being part of.  Returning to biking last year after a 40 year hiatus has been a wonderful rejuvenation.  Drawn initially by the desire to be part of a larger sphere of advocacy for those living with the disease which includes my son Cal.  In that sphere has come the new friendships which have come in this community as well as just getting a sense of their journey with diabetes wether it be direct or as a parent as I.

Our rides are usually more open road such as going up to Nyack NY or out on Long Island though generally for an off-weekend or early season ride we meet for loops either at Prospect or Central.  Though the loops have a certain amount of been there done that they continue to be a good building ground and the thing that I have really gotten this season particularly this morning was being with the community of this group.

We logged about 4 loops together approximately 17 miles then a few of us from the immediate area stayed on for another 3 loops, found coffee then myself and another returned for 2 more plus trails so not an open road ride we still logged some good distance for the day.

And in the end I went back this evening as it was such a nice day.  From the drummers circle which was quite active this evening.IMG_2378

You can support me supporting JDRF when I ride in November in the 2015 JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes as part of the special olympics charity cycling event El Tour de Tucson.  Consider donating to further type 1 diabetes research at http://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR/Ride/JDRFNationalRides?px=4654534&pg=personal&fr_id=5206 .  Thank you!

A return to Tucson in 2015…

Early beginnings of 2014 JDRF / El Tour de Tucson

Early beginnings of 2014 JDRF / El Tour de Tucson

It has been a preoccupied winter and spring and from all appearances my blog kind of up and died but not really.  I started TucsonBound nearly a year ago to date, as a proclamation of a return to cycling paralleling my training and fundraising journey in my first JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Int’l) Ride to Cure Diabetes of which through donations of many wonderful people like you, I raised $5,155 for JDRF and the furtherance of diabetes research.

Hosting 7 national charity rides from Vermont to California JDRF brings together cyclists from all their local chapters, all having a tie to type 1 diabetes and all through these distances ride events of 35, 50, 75, 100 miles raising a voice of awareness as well as fund-raising for JDRF’s diabetes research projects to help improve the lives of type 1 diabetics and one day find the ‘link‘ to make type 1 type 0.

Last year I registered for the Tucson, Arizona, ride which piggyback the national charity ride El Tour de Tucson.  I was among 170 JDRF riders from around the country riding El Tour last Nov 22nd, representing the voice of JDRF in their mission to make ‘type 1 type 0’.  It was an exhilarating experience filled with emotions ranging from fear to excitement to extreme pride on so many levels of my 104 mile journey.

As said the enthusiasm didn’t go away though my tenacity to the writing had a pause.11001742_10153121436148249_7217910157147695542_n
I kept riding through most of the winter, largely on Dahon folding bike, either in commutes to work or weekends, even did some snow riding which was a blast!
I don’t buy in to the edict that biking is a summer ‘sport’.  Sure within reason re being on the road or extreme cold but many days were bike doable.  But that all said I have recently reunited with the NYC JDRF Crankee riding team, a group of folks drawn together because of a connection to the disease of diabetes – specifically type 1 and in addition they all share a love for the bike and the time on it.

My fund-raising goal for this ride is once again $5,000 which I had the good fortune through so many people who embrace the cause of improving the lives of people afflicted with diabetes and the hope which given all we as a world have accomplished in so many areas the last one hundred years it seems solving this mystery of the what wigs out the anti-bodies to attack the body’s insulin producing cells is within reach.  So consider donating to JDRF by clicking on the link above and follow my training progress here on TucsonBound over the next few months.

Read on for my final miles of last year’s Tucson Ride to Cure Diabetes at El Tour de Tucson.

Mile 59 and finish in sight!


Long overdue and written back in the winter these were my document on the last hours of of 2014’s JDRF Tucson Ride to Cure Diabetes at El Tour de Tucson.

Though I had done almost as many miles before I got to El Tour when I got to the 2nd JDRF official rest stop and my odometer shown 59 miles, it was then it was kicking that ‘okay I’m gonna make’.  There was something magic in that mark which the same vibe came in the Transportation Alternatives NYC Century I had done in September, I hit around mile 60 and the confidence set in.  From also having studied the El Tour cue sheet a bit I knew that when I got in to the 80 mile stretch that I would start a 17 mile straight shot to downtown Tucson and the finish.

Something that I learned in the process of getting to this event was to take any kind of

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distance in 10 mile chunks which in the big pic is pretty insightful and particularly to me, a reminder not to look too far down any path.

From this stop I cycled through a kind of strip mall area, then residential and then back to a rural stretch backroad, kind of plains area (around Tangerine Rd/ South Rillito Village Trail) that would lead to the above mentioned last stretch to downtown and finish line. IMG_1775

This ride was different from most of the other JDRF rides in that it was a timed race/ride and with an added edict of we had to be done by a little after 5pm or not only would your time no longer be counted but additionally for safety concerns you would be stopped and escorted to a SAG vehicle to take you to the finish line.  This was a double-edged sword as the pride factor was up there but on the other side it could be viewed as you still rode what you rode and gave it a great shot.  The day before due to several factors by the officials, a lot of pressure had been put out to consider the former, the disappointment and think about doing the 75 mi route instead.  I got rather gimped up in this and my fears and ego I’d have to say until after a bit of ruminating I realized we’re only talking about another 25 miles more, if I get to 75, don’t a flat I’m going to go for this, it’s what I came cross-country for.  If I fall under the wire of time and have to be stopped then so be it but I’m going to stay committed to the whole enchilada and so I did.


The self hail Mary on the left is somewhere around the beginning of the last 20 miles that led to downtown Tucson and crossing the finish line which had been the start at 7am that day.

From here on what I remember was a sense of as I said above, gonna make it to being careful as it was clear riders were getting tired.  It was flat from here on and nearing riding a number of miles on a service road parallel to the interstate which was the area that El Tour 2013 claimed a fatality.

In the contrast I also remember the warmth of the day, the sense of riding in the desert country, being around so many cyclists from all different places and experiences along with my JDRF national team mates.  This particular stretch of the last leg felt reflective and bit euphoric as well as on the physical level the beginnings of the downtown city starting to appear.James_Goodin_El_Tour_2

The other thing that began to blow me away as we were closing on downtown was that I was ahead of anything I dreamed time wise.  As we turned west on to Congress Street and riding the last 4 miles it was right around 3:30pm.  I was kind of in a steady but not dense pack of riders and the feeling of completion and satisfaction was in the air of wow!

Heading up 6th Avenue to the finish where we had begun a little under 9 hours for me earlier that day was extreme joy, pride, warmth, the feeling of having been part of something very special, a statement for the organization of the jersey I wore and the collective spirit of those I was part of, those who made a difference for diabetes and awareness to those who were there representing the spirit of so many other charities drawn to this ride of cause and kindred wheelists.

I’m returning to Tucson on November 21 for the 2015 JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes at El Tour de Tucson.  Support me in supporting JDRF by going to my official Ride to Cure fund-raising page.

Confidence grows, getting there – Ride to Cure, El Tour part 2


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As I retell this story I’m going over the cue sheet and Google maps recalling the path.  It was really amazing, almost make-believe to me at times.  I had ridden the distance on a Century in the boroughs of NYC but this whole wide open spaces even in the civilization of Tucson was huge.  A pre-race concern was I’d fall behind, take a wrong turn and lose valuable time trying to get back on course.  As I was the only rider from the NYC chapter doing the Tucson event I had no team to rely on though initially I was supposed to ride with some with friends I made in the Austin TX team.  The irony was though I saw some of them along the way and started out with a few other friends made at the event, coaches John Dallon and Mike Cross, in the end I wound up on my own a lot occasionally passing along other El Tour or a JDRF riders.  In addition to the cue map there was outstanding police support at nearly all the intersections and turns.  Still this ride and that alone time taught me a lot about trust and confidence in myself.

In the last post I had just come through the first of two off-road sections, the Santa Cruz dry riverbed complete with celebratory Mariachi band at the end which was a hoot!  From there it was back on pavement and West Drexel Road leading to the outskirts of town to the edge of country and the Catalina Mountain foothills.Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 12.18.04 AM

From West Drexel we headed south on Nogales Highway taking the East Hughes Access Road, Los Reales Road, north on South Craycroft, parallel to I-10 on the service road then heading north on Kolb Road and then Irvington Road.  At mile 27 I came to the first official JDRF rest stop which was going to be the first of my three primary stops.  This was also a point where though early in ride it felt like it was underway, it was about 9:30 and I began to feel I’m where I should be.IMG_1767

From this point it was angling north across the Pantano Wash leading towards the upper part of the loop and in to the Catalina Mountain area. The landscape was starting to look like more of the Arizona desert country I had envisioned.

About mile 35 two things happened, one it was this long gradual descending stretch, the kind of road that is classic to western open areas I’d seen in pictures where it looks like the road goes forever.  It was here that without hardly trying I was suddenly clocking 30 mph, the road and tailwind just felt in control and you just went with it.

This was on a section of road known as the Old Spanish Trail.  After leveling out the road surface got rougher and the shoulder would come and go.  Also though traffic was lighter due to coordination of El Tour de Tucson there was some slow-moving traffic in this section.  There were two cyclists ahead of me.  Suddenly the one in the middle fell.  The other cyclist and I both stopped to see if assistance was needed.   IMG_1768

We both went to help the cyclist who had fallen who turned out to be a 79-year-old man, get to his feet.  He was cut up and stunned but got up with assistance.  He was bleeding on his knee, hand and arm but moving and spoke to us.  He claimed to be on his tenth ride of El Tour de Tucson and wanting to go on and meet others he knew.

Thankfully about this time a member of the El Tour bike patrol came upon us and stopped.  El Tour had several of these individuals roaming the breadth of the course for whatever assistance that might be needed in this case he had bandages and medical so he took over.  We stayed till it was clear the bike patrol fellow how control of the situation.  Thankfully it seemed this gentleman would heal to ride again but as I said in a social post about this, 79, El Tour 10 times, give him a yellow jersey!

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After continuing on the Old Spanish Trail (S Freeman Road), heading west for a few miles then north again we were soon nearing the 50 mile point.  About mile 47 though the road would go off pavement again.  We were on E Synder Road, turned down N Palisade Drive through a sparse residential area.  The sense of direction on the whole El Tour was often a mix of law enforcement officials at intersections and people who just turned out along the course to cheer all of us on which was both touching and novel.  I recall in this section being by myself for a bit having followed the described and turned on to N Palisade, then coming upon a couple of riders ahead of me, we were initially saying to each other is this the way, that way, then there were a couple of local folks pointing the way, which led to E Summer trail that would lead us across the Sabino Creek, like the other creek bed, dried up.  This was all leading in to a pretty resort like area, Canyon Ranch.

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All through this area was leading to a range of feelings within me, wow, I can do this, I’m half-way there, this is amazing, the cause, Cal, how cool to be out here with everyone, JDRF and bikers from all over the place…  Next post, 54 miles on and the end is in sight!


Very pleased to say that my fund-raising for JDRF and being part of the 2014 Ride to Cure Diabetes ride series raising awareness and supporting research to make ‘type 1 type none’, I’ve raised $5,155.  You may still donate to this cause by going to http://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR/Ride/JDRFNationalRides?px=4654534&pg=personal&fr_id=3432 Thanks very much and thanks to all who have donated through the last several months.

Rubber Side Down! The day has arrived…


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IMG_1752Those words rallied off one of the most exciting moments when myself and 100 plus cyclists of the 2014 JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes national team along with 2,000 cyclists from all over pushed down the first pedal stroke off the start line of the 32nd annual El Tour de Tucson which took place in Tucson, AZ, this past Saturday (Nov 22, 2014). 


nat’l JDRF coach John Dallman

This early morn start-up gathering of wheels persons added in with three other starting line-ups during the day for shorter courses made up 9,000 total participating in El Tour. We the early birds were beginning our journey on a 104 mile course that would loop around city/suburban/rural Tucson.  The enthusiastic war cry was yelled by national JDRF coach John Dallman rallying unity of those riding the event for the cause of making a statement for the quest of finding a cure and improving the lives of those living with Type 1 diabetes, the mission statement of JDRF.

The day began with a waking at 4:30am, getting ready, having a spirited breakfast at 5 and boarding a 5:45 shuttle bus to go meet our already transported bikes (by the tirelessly Mike Clark and team bike room crew) and ride from the Tucson Convention Center to the event start on South 6th Avenue at 13th street.

Trying to breadth the balance of dressing to prepare for both the early morning 40’s and later day temperature 70’s still left some shivering moments in our pre-start and later starting position.


pre-start in the chill, w/ Lindsay Grubiak JDRF Ride dev mgr, NY chapter Tucson ride team:)

Our bikes  greeted us in the chilly predawn air upon our arrival to the Convention Center which I should mention our JDRF hosts did a beautiful job of arranging transportation to/from the event as well other needs throughout the weekend.

We got off the bus, found our bikes, did final preparations and lined up in fast/faster/fasted pacing groups to depart for the El Tour official start a few blocks away.

IMG_1751The starting line energy and enthusiasm was growing excitement feeling on the edge but about to break through as soon as the countdown to the official 7am would arrive.  Precursor announcements came over the public address with the last being it was time for the National Anthem which was wonderfully heartfelt sung by a local middle  schooler, full of passion that was quite touching.IMG_1756

Then the countdown… I recall the announcer disclaimed 6:58, then 6:59, then 15 then 10 and we were shortly off!  With 2,000 riders packed together as we were I thought we would be losing time slowly moving out and finding position but in the end we were up to pedal speed, finding positions within 10 minutes.

With this my first JDRF ride I was overly anxious about the unknown consisting of things like the volume, last year’s horrific tragedy, getting lost (prone to do:)  just ask anyone in our local group on the River Road), edict to finish before dark or be pulled off the course without finishing.  There had been some encouragement from El Tour organizers to scale down to the 75 mile route if there was personal doubt about finishing by 5pm.  Though the argument was understood in the end I’d pedaled over 2,000 miles since May, ridden a Century two months before so the last thing I wanted to do was back off the goal I came for albeit the decision weighed heavy most of the day before.  In the end 104, come hell or high water!

But we were off and as we turned right off South 6th Ave. on to 22nd street heading out to a service road that would lead us to open country of surrounding Tucson country side I held on to thoughts about the 170 of us riding as a national team, welcoming JDRF jerseys scattering through the thicket of riders as the day would go on, my Cal (my child with type 1 diabetes), looking fear in the eye keeping my mantra of ‘Safe, Clear, Finish’ visible, how I had trained to get here and just how big as life it felt pedaling across a place I had never been before and trusting the road and those ahead of me for where we were going – I felt much pride and occasionally tears of happiness actually.

IMG_1759So many memories of this experience as I’m trying to relive and build a thread in this post.  One of the first early was just unusual and neat was first of two off-road crossings.  This one came early about 8 miles in to the route where we had to dismount and carry or walk our bikes through the dried out Santa Cruz river bed which last year this time I suspect had water as the event had its first rain in years.  But thankfully this year it was clear skies and dry so carried bikes through the rock and sandy riverbed and on the other side, were greeted by a Mariachi band!IMG_1761

Given the time constraint and determination to finish the 104 mile trek I knew I had to keep my rest stops to a minimum.  JDRF provided stops at 27, 59 and 81 miles with good energy food support ala pb&j sandwiches, Oreo cookies (yey!), pretzels and even pancakes I think at mile 59!  El Tour provided a stop approximately every 8 miles that ranged from water/porta-potty to fruits and one time actually the NY style slushy treats in a cup (oh home in the park in August!).  I had mentally mapped out to stop at the JDRF stops and whistle stop some of the El Tour stops if needed.   I stopped a couple of times briefly for a whistling rubbing noise emitting from my front wheel that I never quite figured out.  Kudos to national coach/JDRF bike room/road manager Mike Clark, national coaches Lorne Shiff and John Dallman for giving this a few looks along the way.IMG_1762

Then there was another story of an unplanned stop that was inspiring in the end.  This was on the Old Spanish Trail road about mile 35 and I’ll pick up there in the next post continuing the 2014 JDRF Tucson Ride to Cure Diabetes/El Tour de Tucson, stay tuned!

$5,020 raised to date in my fund raiser as part of the Ride to Cure Diabetes program for JDRF, improving the lives of those living with type 1 diabetes and seeking a cure.  If you would like to support this cause please do so by accessing http://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR/Ride/JDRFNationalRides?px=4654534&pg=personal&fr_id=3432 and donating. Thank you!



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