Above are all statistics I encountered during my JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) bicycle ride in La Crosse, WI on August 14, 2010. First of all, I want to thank all of my coworkers, friends, and family for their support. I could not have had a successful ride without you! A special thanks goes out to Joel R. and Jeff M. for participating on the ETG team! Nice job, fellas!

100 miles is how far I rode at the La Crosse JDRF ride. For all you newbies, the correct term is ‘century ride’. And, yes, I did ride all 100 miles. I can’t say it was easy; but I will say it was one of the most memorable experiences I have encountered. See below to fully understand…

9.25 hours is how long it took me to complete the 100 miles. Actually riding took a little less than 8 hours, but we had break stations about every 10-15 miles. You traveled 50 miles one way, circled back, and returned back to where you started. My mantra was ‘slow and steady’ and I feel my 9.25 hours proves it to be true.

7 break stations. Physically, there were just 4 break stations. You ‘hit’ 4 stations on the way up to mile marker fifty, turned around and ‘hit’ the same 3 stations on the way back for a total of 7 break stations. JDRF does a nice job allowing the riders to stop for a quick break to use the restroom, fuel up (bananas, energy bars, PB&J sandwich, etc.) and drink up (water and Gatorade). I typically stopped for about 10 minutes to ‘recharge’ myself.

3: number of states we rode through: Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. It was beautiful country and very scenic route since a large portion of the ride was along the Mississippi river. We crossed Wisconsin into Minnesota, and then eventually into Iowa returning back to Wisconsin for the finish.

12.7 miles per hour was my average speed during the ride. I was hoping for 14 mph but the hill at mile marker fifty was my downfall. It was a brutal hill for me. I would call it a mountain but it was not. And for those who don’t know, hills and ‘fat boys’ are a deadly combination.

95 degrees was the temperature my bike’s computer displayed late that afternoon. You talk about hot. The morning started off cool and cloudy but it started to heat up. Enough said…

36.1 miles per hour was how fast I zoomed down the hill after climbing it on mile marker fifty. I have never ridden on a bike. The amazing part was I really did not care. I was tired and wanted to coast for as long as possible. 36.1 mph may not seem fast, but with the wind directly in your face, pot holes, gravel, etc…the ride down can be exciting!

4: number of walls I ‘hit’ during the race. If you have ever cycled, ran, swam, etc. at any endurance event, you know what I am talking about. One is typically in physically pain, but the wall is predominately a mental one. You just want to stop…No ifs, ands, or buts…You keep asking yourself, why I am doing this? I have hit walls at other endurance events but usually it is only one wall, not four. And I can tell you exactly what mile markers they hit me: 64, 75, 84, and 96. The key for me was to concentrate on the road directly ahead. It sounds easy but your mind starts to wander and it starts telling your body to complain. But you just have to ignore the negative vibes and concentrate on many short goals. For example, concentrate on the next five miles or in some cases it was only one mile. For me, the next two statistics are the reason why I overcame my walls…

13 is the age one of the volunteer’s son passed away due to diabetes. Michelle’s son Jesse passed away last year due to complications brought on by diabetes. He was home sick at the time. I did not know this but when a child or adult is physically sick (flu, etc.), it makes it even more difficult to handle diabetes. Jesse’s blood sugars went extremely high and he went into a diabetic coma. Unfortunately, Jesse never awoke from this coma. Being a parent of two children, I cannot imagine this tragedy. You overcome these ‘walls’ to help other kids like Jesse and to gain a cure so these misfortunes do not happen in the future.

0 is the number of cures currently for diabetes. Notice I did say currently. A cure will be found. I have no doubt. A cure is coming and we all need to help fight this terrible disease. Thinking about the cure and trying to help out where I can is another reason I ‘broke through’ my own mental walls.

I want to encourage you to be passionate for your community and remove those ‘walls’ in your life. Get involved and make a difference. Volunteer and donate your time and resources. Both can make a huge difference for any charity or organization such as the JDRF.

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