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October 21, 2016
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Tour de Recap

Thursday evening was the awards dinner for two of the three New Jersey Tours de Cure (the third will take place in two weeks). Since The Other Half couldn't get off work, I had to go solo. I'm not completely uncomfortable going out without an escort, but I am rather shy about reaching out to meet other people. I need a hook -- a segue -- something to break the ice. I knew that there would be some folk I'd met before -- Taran (the Skylands Tour's coordinator) and a couple of the committee folk and riders. I also expected them to not have a lot of free/mingling time, or to be with other folk. The sit-down-dinner nature of this event in a way forced me to meet new people.


The dinner was at Maggiano's Little Italy -- a chain restaurant I'd not yet had the chance to sample -- and the food was tasty, if heavily weighted towards refined wheat flour. As I heard the word "celiac" across the table, I paused to wonder why any group that might expect to entertain a large number of people with Type 1 diabetes would not choose to serve, a priori, everything gluten-free. (Perhaps it's my upbringing, or my experiences with my university living group -- it seems common courtesy to accommodate expected dietary restrictions without guests having to ask.) Obviously the child two seats away from me did not have that issue; he was devouring rolls-and-butter and getting somewhat bored, surrounded by adults.


In between courses -- which were served family-style -- were the speeches and awards. Together the two Tours raised over half-million dollars for the American Diabetes Association, and in 2012 -- it's 21st year -- the Tours de Cure are on track to become the ADA's largest fundraising program. Recognition was given to national and local sponsors, top fundraisers, and top fundraising teams. For our Skylands Tour, Team Red was the top team with 42 riders pulling in over $63,000 in donations. Princeton's Team Red, in its first year, made Honorable Mention with 20 riders raising over $13,000. In addition to the other perks, "Champions" who raised over $1000 were given a free-ride to September's Jersey Shore Tour de Cure as well as free registration for the following year's Princeton or Skylands Tour de Cure -- one more reason for me to aim for that $1000 level for 2012.


Meanwhile, at my table was a volunteer couple with their six-year-old child, Princeton's Team Red captain, the father of the Princeton Tour de Cure's coordinator (who rode his first Tour de Cure this year, 30 miles on a $70 mountain bike from Target), the team captain of one of the top "Friends and Family" teams, and a volunteer couple who live in the next town over from me, near the emergency room I'd visited on Sunday. As the courses of dinner progressed, I was surprised to learn how many common interests and experiences most of us had, beyond the parents discussing their children's next pump options and the cyclists discussing training rides. It turned out to be the sort of evening where the exchange of business cards was not just because it's the polite thing to do, but because I met people who have done things I'd like to be able to do, and who I'd genuinely like to spend time with.


Thank you to the committees of the New Jersey Tours de Cure for an enjoyable evening. I'm already signed up for next year.

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