Volunteers “weather” challenges at 2013 Tucson Ride to Cure Diabetes


2013rideCentral Virginia Tucson 2013 Ride to Cure Diabetes team, led by Coach Matthew Majikes (bottom right).


By Cindy Proctor

Saran wrapped feet. Duct taped shoes. Shower capped helmets. These images may bring many things to mind but preparation for the JDRF Ride to Cure in the desert climate of Tucson, Arizona would probably not make the list. However seven cyclists from the Central Virginia chapter did adopt these measures to ride through a cold, wet November morning to complete their goal of raising money for type 1 diabetes research.

Led by veteran rider and coach, Matthew Majikes, the Central Virginia team began to prepare six months in advance of the ride. In addition to Coach Majikes, the team included five riders from Richmond: John and Pam Beckner, Kirby Carr, Lisa Lackovitch, and Susan Russell. Susan’s sister, Holly Clay Smith of Bethesda, MD, also joined the group. The cyclists committed to training every weekend prior to Ride Day with rides throughout Central Virginia.

The Fall 2013 Ride to Cure Diabetes turned out to be anything but ordinary for its participants. The team was originally scheduled to join the mid-October Death Valley ride. Sixteen JDRF riders signed up for that event, which was ultimately cancelled by the government shutdown. Only seven were then able to ride in the November 19 Tucson Ride to Cure and that venue presented its own challenges. The bikes had already been shipped to Death Valley in October. They were then shipped directly to Tucson so the riders were unable to train for the 7 weeks preceding the November ride.

The weather in Tucson presented the next set of obstacles since the typically dry temperate climate was displaced by cold, windy and rainy conditions. On the Friday before Ride Day, the teams normally take practice runs to become acclimated to the weather, terrain and their bikes after the shipping downtime. But heavy rain precluded the normal warm-up practice run in Tucson. So the teams resorted to riding through the hallways of their hotels just to make sure their bikes were in working order!

Due to the hazardous conditions of driving rain, 25 MPH winds, 45-degree temperature and sandy slippery roadways on Ride Day, many of the Central Virginia JDRF riders were advised to downgrade their ride goals from 60 to 40 miles. The ride itself was an adventure in perseverance, endurance and heart. All of the seven Team JDRF members completed their ride goals. But, as Coach Majikes acknowledged, all felt that their grueling challenge was nothing in comparison to what T1Ds endure on a daily basis. So they will continue to Ride to Cure until “until type one becomes type none.“

Click here to learn more about Ride to Cure Diabetes. If you would like to join or learn more about the Central Virginia Ride to Cure team, please contact Matthew Majikes at majikes@mac.com or 804/317-8201. The next ride takes place in scenic Burlington, Vermont in July.