I joined JDRF AZ Riders last year for the Tour de Tucson where I rode 55 miles for my daughter Sarah. It was an amazing experience in which I got a chance to get to know this awesome community of cyclists focusing their energy and love for cycling on one thing: finding a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. Together, the Desert Southwest Chapter, led by the JDRF AZ Riders team raised over $57,000 towards $880K to help find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes in 2015!
In getting to know the coaches for the Southwest Chapter, PK Steffan and Scott Pahnke, we saw an opportunity to provide more ride options and locations as the JDRF Southwest chapter continues to grow. With over 60 JDRF AZ Riders across the Phoenix Metroplex and Tucson, nearly 33% are in the central/east valley, and with me living in Ahwatukee and working in Tempe, focusing on adding more ride options in central/east Phoenix made a lot of sense. Having obtained my USA Cycling Level I Coaching license, attending safety training and obtaining coaching insurance, I am thrilled to share that I am now an official JDRF cycling coach!
I am grateful for the trust that JDRF, PK and Scott have placed in me in providing the opportunity to combine my passion for cycling with raising awareness and helping to find a cure for T1D. This is a privilege that I take very seriously and I am very much looking forward to supporting and growing our community of riders as we train and get stronger for the upcoming Ride to Cure Type 1 Diabetes at the 2016 Tour de Tucson on November 20th.
I Ride for Sarah
Sarah was diagnosed with Type 1 in October 20th, 2014. One September afternoon while my wife was taking Sarah to a routine dance practice (my daughter is a competitive traditional Irish dancer for the Bracken School of Irish Dance) they were T-boned by a big white van. The car was totaled but fortunately both where OK. A doctor follow up the next day revealed abnormal weight loss since her last birthday check up in May and a family vacation gave us the proximity to notice extreme thirst and frequent bathroom visits. The accident was a blessing in disguise as it gave us initial awareness there might be something off, without which the diagnosis could have been much more tragic. As a I discuss here, the road has not been easy but Sarah is an amazing girl who has shown me a strength and resilience that has inspired me to apply my technical and community talents coupled with my passion for cycling for the most important cause I have ever been engaged with in my life.
We need YOU!
While I have over a decade of experience working within the technical/development community, this is the greatest, most important cause I have ever been involved in. As with any community, we can only be successful if we continue to grow and with ever new rider that joins our team, we are raising awareness and moving one step closer to a world without finger pricks and needles. Whether you are a seasoned veteran cyclist or are brand new and want to join an amazing community of athletes that ride, train and have fun together and most importantly have each other’s back to ensure that every rider crosses the finish line in November, then the JDRF AZ Riders team is the team for you!
We publish a training calendar on the team website (http://bit.ly/jdrfazridersweb) as well as events on our Facebook page (yes, I have finally joined Facebook specifically for this new role, so you KNOW my heart is in it!). There are several options for riding both in Phoenix and Tucson with the option to ride with the north/west or central/east valley groups. Our goal is to provide you with flexible locations that are most convenient for you and ensure that there is always a ride available every weekend as well as alternating between Saturday and Sunday rides.
On that note, I will be hosting our first official JDRF central/east valley training ride tomorrow at 6:30 AM at the 40th Street & Pecos Park & Ride. This will be a relatively flat 22 mile ride (we can do less and accommodate all levels) throughout the beautiful Ahwatukee area including the Wild Horse Pass Resort which sees very little traffic at this hour (see route map: 22.5 miles Pecos and Casino Run).
- What: JDRF AZ Riders Central/East Valley Training Ride
- When: Sunday, June 12th, 2016 , wheels down at 6:30 AM
- Where: 40th Street & Pecos Park & Ride
- Route Map: http://www.strava.com/routes/5015203
- Contact: Please let me know if you can make it or if you have any questions: rickgaribay AT hotmail DOT com (email) | http://twitter.com/rickggaribay (twitter)
If you want to come out and ride a couple of times before signing up, that’s fine too! If you are already planning on riding in the Tour de Tucson and are looking for a team and an amazing opportunity to raise funds and awareness for a great cause, please join us! Register here: http://bit.ly/jdrf2016register
If you can’t ride, but would like to support our cause, please consider sponsoring me as I ride as a JDRF Coach this year. Last year I exceeded my goal by $200 raising $2,200 and would love to hit $2,500 this year. As of this writing, I have $2,400 more to go between now and November so every donation counts! Donate here: http://bit.ly/jdrf2016donate