Thursday, November 6, 2014

Countdown to El Tour de Tucson

It's been three months since I was appointed captain of the Rotary staff Miles to End Polio bike team and it's been a great ride! Over the past 12 weeks, we've ridden hundreds of miles together, including weekly group rides of between 40 and 100 miles. More importantly, we've raised thousands of dollars for PolioPlus: as of this week, we met and passed the team goal of $15,000 and are well on our way to $20k.

Our longest training rides have coincidentally fallen on the coldest and windiest weekend days. In September, several of us rode the North Shore Century with temperatures in the 40s and winds gusting over 20 mph. Two weeks later, we headed to northern Wisconsin for a team retreat and hill training. We woke up to an inch of snow on the ground! Fortunately, it melted a few hours later and we took off for 60 steep miles with cold temperatures but spectacular fall color. Finally, last weekend, a few of us headed for the Wisconsin border - just over 80 miles round-trip. Temperatures were in the low 30s when we began but had risen to the mid-40s by the end of our ride. The 15 mph winds that challenged us on the ride north, gave a welcome push for the return ride to Evanston.

Before joining the Miles to End Polio team, I never would have considered riding under these cold and windy conditions. I prefer temperatures comfortably over 60 degrees, with the sun shining and the wind at my back. But this project isn't about comfort: it's about challenging ourselves and pushing the limits, suffering just a little bit and raising money so that we can End Polio Now and make sure future generations no longer suffer the consequences of this devastating disease.

Two weeks from today, we fly to Tucson to join Rotarians from D5500 in El Tour de Tucson who report having raised over $4.3 million for PolioPlus, counting the Gates Foundation match. I understand that last year, the ride took place during a "once in a century November downpour". I'm looking forward to a warm, sunny ride, but know our team is prepared to meet the challenge even if there's a "twice in a century" weather anomaly.