Pedaling for Our Community

Tour de Cure and S.B. Century

Century Board: (from left) Bill Lindberg, Jon Lemmond , Ed France, Kalon Kelley, Casey Roberts, and Byron Beck
Courtesy Photo

It’s another beautiful fall in Santa Barbara. Clear sunny warm days that are even hot enough that my cycling buddies are muttering, “It’s too hot.” In most parts of the country cyclists are getting ready for their last rides of the season. Nostalgically reviewing their sweetest summers accomplishments, they are planning winter upgrades to their bikes or making promises about daily trips to the gym to stay in shape. In Santa Barbara, the endless summer is just beginning.

Fall is also the time for the Jewish New Year. There is a lovely Passover tradition where you dip slices of apple in honey and wish sweetness for the friends, family, and supporters in your life. This column is dedicated to some old and new friends who I wished sweetness to in the coming year. They are truly good people who give of themselves to enable the dreams of others. They do that by volunteering their time and energy to two annual group bicycle rides that will challenge your body and spirit.

The Santa Barbara Century is a 100-mile long ride that will challenge your body as it climbs over 9,600 feet. The ride hits all the epic and steep climbs in the area including Toro Canyon, Ladera Lane, Gibraltar Rd. Camino Cielo, and Painted Cave. The Tour de Cure is a ride to celebrate those cyclists who must conquer their own body’s challenges before they roll. It’s a ride to support everyone who lives with diabetes and is working for a cure.

Juan is proud to be a Red Rider at the Tour de Cure.
Courtesy Photo

Tour de Cure

Juan Castillo is 53 and rides to live and lives to ride. In 2003 he listened to his primary care physician tell him that he was overweight, had high cholesterol and high blood pressure and unless he changed his diet and started exercising he’d be a diabetic within three years. Juan believed him but didn’t know what to do. His wife and family loved him by feeding him the food he loved. In July of 2006 he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. He knew he had to make a change from his couch potato lifestyle, but what and how?

He remembered the Fuji bike that he’d gotten for American Express points and never ridden. Juan started riding. At first short distances, but soon he was riding longer and longer distance with the encouragement of family, friends, and fellow riders in the Santa Barbara area. Last year Juan rode the 8-mile Tour de Cure course in the pouring rain. Crossing the finish line with the cheers of hundreds of dedicated supporters in his ears was the most moving moment of his life. It still brings tears to his eyes to remember the ride of (for) his life.

Athletes with diabetes, like Juan, have a lot more to think about than just their finish time. During a long ride, cyclists with diabetes have a huge number of variables to take into account including their own body’s metabolism as well as the duration and the intensity of the ride. Figuring it out takes time—so anyone with newly diagnosed diabetes should be careful when they start out. If you throw caution to the wind, you can find yourself at the hospital emergency room instead of at the finish line. But with good medical care and training everyone can enjoy riding in Santa Barbara.

Dr. Jennifer Hone is very passionate about the Tour de Cure. Her passion started with losing her closest childhood friend to the emotional and physical complications of diabetes. Since then she has dedicated her life to making a better life possible for everyone with diabetes. With her care and support more and more diabetics are leading active, healthy, and happy lives.

Jennifer has been involved in endocrinology research, teaching, and clinical practice. She is first and foremost a physician who believes in listening to patients. That’s one of the first lessons she took to heart from her medical school mentor and ever since she has spent her professional life focused on finding innovative ways to deliver high quality care to her patients. If I were sick, Jennifer is the physician I’d want on my fighting side.

Jennifer is also a dedicated cyclist. Rain or shine she and Juan will be riding the 2013 Tour de Cure. Cyclists with diabetes, their families, friends, and supporters are all welcome!

At the 2012 Century Diana Blanchard (center), who started as a rider and is now a volunteer and board member, celebrates with Judy Pirkowitsch (left) and Diane Wondolowski.
Courtesy Photo

Santa Barbara Century

For those cyclists who want to challenge their bodies to the max the Santa Barbara Century is the ride to roll on. This will be the fourth Santa Barbara Century and riders of either the 100-mile Century or the 100-kilometer Metric Century will have the opportunity to experience the beautiful beaches and mountains of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, and Goleta. However, you better be fit or instead of experiencing the beauty you’ll be feeling the pain of the climbs. Both rides are challenging routes for experienced riders only. If you’re feeling a bit intimidated there is also a Foothill ride that is only 34 miles long with 2,200 feet of climb.

Byron Beck, a S.B. Bicycle Coalition Board member, has been a volunteer and on the board of the Century since it’s early beginnings. He has spent countless hours working with fellow boardmembers Diana Blanchard, Ed France, Casey Roberts, and hundreds of aid station volunteers. The inspiring Century founders: Kalon Kelly and Bill Lindberg are both in their 70s and avid cyclists who first started riding together as Montecito Covent Church friends. They started the Century in response to a sermon that challenged church members to not always take the easier route of giving, money from their wallets, but instead to give time, experiences, and skills to make our community a better place. Kalon’s the strategist and behind the scenes Century organizer while Bill’s a marketing guru whose persistence and salesmanship has taken the ride from zero to over 800 riders in four years.

The Century is a charity ride. Last year riders raised $48,000 for five area nonprofits: Bici Centro, Sports Outreach, Casa Esperanza, Santa Barbara Community Development Center, and COAST.

Byron is a mentor for the S.B. High School Bicycle Club one of the projects supported by the Century. Every week he sees the impact cycling can have on the lives of teens. All of these volunteers have a passion for the Century.

Both of these rides create a positive image of cycling in our community. If you’re passionate about cycling and care about Santa Barbara take the time to sign up now. If you see Juan, Jennifer, Ed, Byron, Diana, Kalon, or Bill as you’re riding—give them a high five.


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