Friday, June 15, 2012

ADA Tour de Cure, 6/10/2012

By Dennis Pedersen

What a perfect day for a big ride! I really enjoyed this year's Tour de Cure fund-raising bicycle ride, as I always do. This was my sixth year on the Hewlett-Packard team, and my fifth as the team's Captain. As such, my main goal is to grow the team and help them all raise money to fight diabetes... and did we ever! I was not disappointed, as the 2012 HP team set new records in every area!

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) now hosts a "Champion's Celebration" dinner for riders who have raised $1,000 (by May 12th). I am proud to say that five HP riders qualified. It was quite classy and held at Silver Creek Valley Country Club, San Jose. Check out the HP team’s statistics from the last few years:
  • 2007: 9 riders raised $4,268.
  • 2008: 13 riders raised $8,252.86.
  • 2009: 7 riders raised $4,633.00.
  • 2010: 27 riders raised almost $20,000, 5th place overall in corporate teams.
  • 2011: 34 riders raised $21,508.00, 7th place overall in corporate teams.
  • 2012: 71 riders raised $32,626.74, 4th place overall in corporate teams.
I am so proud of how the HP team has grown, and how much we've increased our fund-raising. The momentum is palpable, thanks mostly to the help and encouragement of other HP employees, most notably:
  • Sue Barsamian, Senior VP, Enterprise Storage, Servers and Networking: I met Sue on a ride last year, and she enthusiastically offered her support for the Tour de Cure. Thanks to her we got HP funding for team jerseys, plus a huge number of new riders.
  • Alexa Lallos, Director, Cupertino Executive Briefing Center: She coordinated with me to design and supply the free HP jerseys to the entire team. Woo-hoo!
  • Anita Reid, HP's US Wellness Program Manager: She was able to get publicity for the ride with her Wellness programs, and also helped us coordinate two "lunch-and-learns" to help publicize the Tour.
  • Lindsey Fish, Cindy Asrir and Bill Kacmarsky: Without them I don't know how I would have managed! They helped me in a bunch of ways, with the two lunch-and-learns, e-mails to employees, general brain-storming and more. Bill also covered for me in the ADA's Tour de Cure Planning Committee.
The custom HP jerseys arrived the week of the ride, so I only had a couple of days to hand them out. I relied on lunch-time handouts at HP's Cupertino and Palo Alto Fitness Centers, and also sent some via Interoffice Mail.

After all that groundwork the ride itself was simply the cherry on my sundae. I just had to get up at 4:20AM and drive through the pre-dawn darkness to the event site in Palo Alto. It was at Lockheed this year, because the usual facilities at HP were being remodeled. I then got some Hobee's coffee cake and coffee, and lined up for the start. Oh, and handed out a few last-minute jerseys and arranged size-swaps. Several of us lined up at the start line for the official 6:30AM opening of the 120k route and were sent off by ADA's Allyson Schloming, Director of Silicon Valley Tour de Cure. It's pretty special doing an early-morning ride like this, knowing it's for a good cause.

I ended up mostly cruising with Glen Elliott (Director, Compensation) and my friend Rob, who donated wine from his winery, Testarossa in Los Gatos, to the "Champion's Celebration" dinner. Rob had crashed on a mountain-bike ride earlier that week and had some huge bruises (and some cracked ribs, it turned out later). But that didn't stop him! And Glen, who I first met on HP's "Bike MS" team last year, turned out to be a super-fast rider, so I was in good company.

So many of my HP teammates worked very hard on their fitness to prepare for this ride. I think there was a record eight of us who rode the 120k route (75 miles, with over 7,000 feet of climbing). And the other routes are by no means all easy either, so people really had to challenge themselves. I like to remind those who are intimidated by the ride that the Tour de Cure isn't a race, and there are routes as short as 25k (15 miles), but that doesn't mean they can't be challenging. It's pretty cool to see people push themselves with such great results and for such a great cause.

I usually hit the first major climb, up Kings Mountain Road, as hard as I can as part of my intervals training. It took me 26:45. We regrouped at the top, at the rest station on Skyline Boulevard. Rob was in pain from his ribs, but insisted he'd do the full ride. The summit was clear and pleasant, so the drop down HWY 84 toward the coast wasn't damp or as cold as it can often be. We turned left onto Pescadero Road and climbed Haskins Hill before resuming the fast descent. We were rewarded with another rest station, in the neat village of Pescadero. I love that area.

We took it pretty easy from there and up Stage Road, drafting the KLA guys a lot. Then up HWY 1 to Tunitas Creek Road for a quick break at the Bike Hut snack shop. The Kiwanis volunteers man these stations, and they are great people. I like to attack Tunitas Creek Road too, for training, so I really worked hard all the way up to Skyline. It took me 33:51. This brought us back to the rest station at the top of Kings Mountain Road. We had some last snacks and flew down Kings Mountain. It's so long and fast that our hands got cramps from braking.

The weather in Woodside was gorgeous, albeit a tad warm, and we started to see a ton of other cyclists from the shorter routes. Definitely a different vibe... they are having lots of fun and decorate their helmets, ride cruisers, etc. We rode down Alameda de las Pulgas to Junipero Serra and... back to the finish at Lockheed. Woo-hoo! I love the cheering volunteers, as if we had just won a huge race! But this is about helping people.

Lunch was quite nice, though for some reason we didn't get an HP team awning this year. Still, a big group of us grabbed a few tables and had an nice, well-deserved lunch. We took some photos but then many of them had to leave for various reasons. Later arrivals also met up there and we took more photos, plus the official team photo by PhotoCrazy (find individual photos here). I have made a Snapfish album of all the photos I took, plus what I could collect from teammates (keep 'em coming; I can add more!). Udi Chatow shared a couple of videos too (here and here).

From left: Bill Romans, Jerry Huck, Debra Walsh, Sue Barsamian, Glen Elliott, Steve Owens, Hobey Landreth, Stefan Merz, Steve Andrews, Josh Jensen, Dennis Pedersen.

The official photo. 
And remember, people can still donate! The fund-raising will continue for another month or so.

The 2013 Tour de Cure will be on June 9th. I hope to see you there. Thanks again to the volunteers, riders and generous donors!

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