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December 22, 2014
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Another Tour in the Books


June 1st was my fifth Skylands (Basking Ridge, NJ) Tour de Cure — my third as Route Marshal and Committee Member. If you count our "emergency appearance" in New York last month, that makes my sixth TdC ride and my fourth ride as Route Marshal. Once again, I was back on the 30-miler, and between not having done enough climbing training the past year, having had a low-mileage winter, and the various neuropathy (and possibly arthritis) issues in my hands, that 30-miler was a lot more grueling than it should have been.


It didn't help matters that as the lineup for the ride was called, my blood glucose was at an alarmingly-low 72 mg/dl. Best I could manage for quick carbs that would last was a white-bread roll with a bit of butter and some instant oatmeal that wasn't really instant — but it did land me at the half-way rest stop at a comfortable 117. Most of the time, I don't worry about my glucose running a bit high (over 110 mg/dl) on these long rides because I know I'm burning through the calories; I didn't worry about it this time either, grabbing some snack before starting off for the remaining miles.


The thing that always fascinates me is how much of what Route Marshals do in theory differs from what we do in reality.


We're supposed to make sure riders stay to the right of the road and ride single, or at most double, file.


Most of the time, the riders ignore our exhortations to do that. Granted, it's a bit difficult when there are several dozen riders and the pace is barely enough to keep most of us upright, and when the roads are potholed and pockmarked to the point where the shoulders are almost dangerous places to ride.


We're supposed to make sure riders heed (and pass along) warnings such as "Car Back!" (i.e., "get to the right so the motorist(s) can speed past us") and "Car!" or "Car Front!" (get to the right so the car going the other way can get past us).


Again, most of the time we're ignored, for the same reasons as before.


It's the things we actually do, though, that make the effort worth it. Early on, we had a rider with front derailleur problems which made it difficult for him to climb hills. While two Route Marshals couldn't fix the problem, we were there to call for a SAG if he needed it, and to make sure he got the issue seen to at the rest stop. Later on, we had a mother and teenaged daughter. It was the daughter's second ride on her new bicycle, and she had trouble with hills and with switching gears. I rode with them through several tricky turns, alerting them ahead of time so the mother and I could make sure our young rider got through them safely.


This ride, we had help from a number of NYC's regular Route Marshals. They have a much better, more integrated (professional?) community than we have had, and there's a lot we can learn from them. Fortunately, those I got a chance to thank for making it out here expressed interest in doing this ride again, and left our Coordinator with a number of suggestions that should improve the experience for the rest of our riders.


Sometimes, it helps to have another perspective.

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Megan Holmes
Megan Holmes Megan was diagnosed in 2009 with Type I. As an RN, she was familiar with the medical side of her diagnosis; learning to be a good patient on the other hand, was and continues to be the challenge of her day to day life.   (Read More)
Michelle Kowalski
Michelle Kowalski Michelle Kowalski, a writer, editor and photography hobbiest living in Phoenix, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in February 2005. In January 2008, as part of her quest to start on an insulin pump, Michelle learned that she actually has type 1 diabetes.   (Read More)
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