Ride Feature – Mile 23 Origin

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The JDRF Ride is extra special this year for those who ride in memory of someone they love. Michelle Bauer from Madison and part of Team Wisconsin shares her T1D story, her experience with the Ride and why we honor Mile 23:

March 3, 2000. A day I thought was the worst day of my life.  The day my 3 year old son, Jesse, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  I dropped everything I was doing in my career that year and gave everything to make his life better and to ultimately work toward a cure.  JDRF walks, galas, Children’s Congress and eventually when Jesse said “Mom, I’m too old to be doing this walk thing”… I found the ride program.  First stop?  2004 Death Valley, California, my first 100 mile ride of my life.  No cell service anywhere, I waited in a line of riders at the pay phone that sat in the middle of the parking lot to call 7 year old Jesse to proudly tell him I hit my goal for him.

February 3, 2010.  The worst day of my life.  On that day “⅔” I lost Jesse to type 1 diabetes at the age of 13.  I don’t need to go into what that felt like – feels like.  But in the months that followed I thought to myself that all that I had worked toward not only for Jesse, but for all the people I had ridden with would now be gone.  After all, who wanted to be around the mom who lost her child to the very disease they live with? That their children live with?

Jesse himself is the one who “spoke” to me, to stay here and to keep riding.  A 2-page handwritten essay on anything he wanted to write about came in the mail entitled, “My mom is courageous”.  And to him, my biggest accomplishment? Riding my bike 100 miles through the desert.

Death Valley is a special place to me.  I’ve dragged numerous people there who always stand at Jubilee Pass (half way) and with tears thank me for getting them to take this journey with me.  It’s no surprise it’s where my husband proposed to me in 2018.

If you haven’t heard of Mile 23, it was created in 2010 by the ride crew as a mile of silence in memory of Jesse.  At Mile 23 we ask riders to ride in silence for that mile not only in memory of Jesse, but all those lost to type 1 diabetes.

This year Mile 23 is getting some extra love.  I’ve recruited over 50 people to join me in the desert and if they can’t ride there, some will ride other venues.  Together we will ride 1 mile in memory of my Jesse, and we’ll ride 99 miles to celebrate you and/or your children.

It’s going to be special.  But, you know what would make it more special? Having you join me. This will be my 9th time in Death Valley and at least my 20th ride. Will this be your first?

Learn more and join Team Wisconsin by registering today!

JDRF Ride is for all cyclists — beginner or experienced — who share a commitment to JDRF’s mission. Your registration is your doorway into a ride experience unlike any other. With our stunning destination rides across the country, you’ll have the chance to join fellow riders for an unforgettable weekend experience. And, no matter how far you go, you’ll be surrounded by the T1D community—fellow riders, coaches, friends and family, cheering you on at every milestone.

This year the Ride will take us to 5 destination events:

For more information, please contact Erin Vella at evella@jdrf.org or 414.861.2646.