Surviving the Tour de Cure

Because diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults, Lions have long supported the American Diabetes Association.  So on Saturday, June 9, I got up way too early, loaded my bike on the car and drove to Knoxville to ride in the ADA’s Tour de Cure.

In 2011, more than 55,000 cyclists in 80 events raised more than $18 million to support the mission of the American Diabetes Association: to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.  In this year’s Knoxville edition, approximately 300 cyclists took part in rides ranging from 10 miles to 100 miles long.  A number of these were “Red Riders”, cyclists with diabetes who have found that bicyling is a great way to control their condition.  I took part in the 43-mile ride, which took us east out of Knoxville through beautiful countryside into Sevier County and back.  It was a hilly course, with about 1300 feet of climbing, but none of the climbs were “rated”.  Nonetheless, the legs were aching the last 5 or 6 miles, and I was glad to reach the finish at World’s Fair Park in downtown Knoxville.

The ADA did a great job organizing the event.  The roads were quiet and well marked; the rest stops were strategically located, serviced by wonderful voluteers and generously stocked with food and drink; motorcycles and SAG wagons patrolled the routes; and police in Knoxville controlled traffic.  After the ride we had a great lunch (really!) catered by Carrabba’s.  AND the weather cooperated – not too hot, with just a bit of overcast to keep the sun from broiling us.  It was about as fine a day as I’ve ever spent on the bike.   Click here to see pictures of the event.

At the start of the ride, over $88,000 had been collected, with more to be counted.  (Update – as of late June, over $136,000 has been collected!)  The Johnson City Lions Club very generously supported my ride with a $150 donation, and to date I have raised $485.  My sincere thanks to friends, family and fellow Lions who contributed to the effort.  Nonetheless, ridership and donations are down this year, so there is still an opportunity for you to contribute.   Click here to visit my personal Tour de Cure page if you would like to make a donation.


Lion Ken Gough


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