Local cyclist heads to Tour de Cure
She’s one of a growing legion of local bike enthusiasts you pass on the roads, logging multiple miles each day. With other pedaling diehards like Phil O’Beirne, Nancy Millen, John Riedl and Pete Palen, you can expect to see Jo Bernhardt touring Delaware County roads completing her daily workout. All that roadwork is preparing Bernhardt for her ultimate riding experience, The Tour de Cure, a grueling 100-mile ride to raise money for diabetes research held on June 3 in Saratoga.
A major weapon of the American Diabetes Association’s battle to prevent and cure diabetes, the Tour de Cure involved over 55,000 cyclists in 44 states last year. The mammoth cycling event involves matching funding from corporate sponsors and raised over $18 million to fund the diabetes battle last year. To ride, each Tour de Cure cyclist must raise a minimum of $200 to assist the fund-raising efforts.
Bernhardt completed her first Tour de Cure event last spring in Saratoga. It was inspiring.
“You ride with people you don’t know, all seasoned riders. I’m a turtle in this crowd. Folks will slow down, carry on a conversation for a minute or two before showing me nothing but rear tire,” laughed Bernhardt.
The Tour de Cure is a ride, not a race. No times or finishing places are kept. Even so, many cyclists participate for the stimulating competition, camaraderie and the physical cycling challenge knowing that with every mile they ride and every dollar they raise, they are waging war on one of America’s most pressing health concerns.
Like last year, Bernhardt’s goal is to finish all 100 miles of the ride. That is no easy feat.
“For me it’s mind over body, especially those last 10 miles of the ride. The final leg of the tour was murder last year.”
Bernhardt, and many of the cyclists, wouldn’t stand a chance without the services of fully equipped refueling stations located every 20 to 25 miles along the route.
“They have fruits, muffins, sandwiches, and lots of drinks to keep you hydrated,” the Margaretville rider explained. “Everyone is pulling for you and really helpful.”
Cyclists are treated to a free meal provided by a local restaurant after completing the ride.
Bernhardt hopes people will make note of her effort and donate. To donate go on line at www.tour.diabetes.org. Once on the Tour de Cure site click donate, one of four links running down the right hand side of the page. A Sponsor a Rider page will appear. Type in Jo Bernhardt and the amount you pledge supporting her ride and make your contribution to the fight against diabetes. Bernhardt will also accept checks made out to the American Diabetes Association at 174 Arena Heights, Margaretville, NY12455.