The Chicagoland Tour de Cure is the American Diabetes Association’s signature cycling event for riders of all age levels and abilities—with five, SAG supported routes ranging from a 10 mile family ride along the Illinois Prairie Path, to a 100 mile century through the scenic roads of Kane and DuPage County. Rest stops are fully stocked with food, fuel and fans to support riders along the way. A post-ride music festival welcomes riders as they cross the finish line for a fun-filled afternoon with delicious food options, sponsor giveaways, live entertainment, family activities and more!
This year’s Chicagoland Tour de Cure will take place on Sunday, June 11 at RiverEdge Park in Aurora, Illinois, a beautiful 30-acre concert venue, pier and river walk. Participants are required to pay a $30 registration fee and fundraise a minimum of $250 in support of the American Diabetes Association. The Association offers personalized webpages, customizable fundraising kits, and plenty of resources to help every rider reach their minimum. With a $1 million event goal, funds raised will bring together partners of all kinds—from community institutions to local leaders to researchers and health care providers—to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.
29 million adults and children in the United States have diabetes—nearly 10 percent of the population. An additional 86 million adults have prediabetes, a condition likely to lead to diabetes if not addressed. What’s more, diabetes disproportionately affects certain ethnic minorities and vulnerable populations such as the elderly and underserved. Events like Tour de Cure bring the diabetes community together to push the needle on conquering this epidemic, once and for all.
Red Riders are participants living with type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes. They showcase the courage it takes to live with this difficult disease every day, and they’re the people we celebrate the day of the ride! “GO RED RIDER!” chants and jerseys fill the air, and a sense of support and camaraderie is felt by everyone who attends.
Christine Quinn and her son, JoJo, first rode in the Tour de Cure in 2015, just over a year after JoJo’s initial diagnosis. “JoJo was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on May 24, 2014 at just 9 years old. I watched my only child mature before my eyes over the next few days, becoming an inspiration to us all and revealing the fighter inside him. When the diabetes educator introduced him to his meter and supplies and asked him who he wanted to practice on, he simply replied, “myself.” After all, he would be the one doing so, multiple times each and every day. My heart was broken for my little boy who had to grow up overnight. As a parent, I don’t think you ever stop worrying; this is compounded when you have a child with type 1 diabetes. I felt alone and sought support. A quick search led me to the American Diabetes Association’s Chicagoland Tour de Cure. I decided this event was going to serve as a stepping stone to getting involved in the diabetes community,” said Quinn.
“At times, JoJo was embarrassed to check his BG in public and he made sure he received his insulin dosage as discreetly as possible; having diabetes made him feel as though he was different. The Tour de Cure changed that for him. To become part of an event in which he was celebrated was overwhelming to watch. He blossomed with every “GO RED RIDER” shout out!”
Create or Join a Team
The Chicagoland Tour de Cure is open to everyone! Riders can register as individuals or create a team with family, friends, co-workers or fellow cyclists. Leading a team comes with its perks, too. With a new and improved Team Captain Guide, all it takes is the willingness to reach out to those you know and you can become one of the American Diabetes Association’s most valuable leaders.
If you’re looking to join an existing team instead, David Gibbs, long-time Tour de Cure rider and volunteer, invites everyone to join Team RED Chicago! “Team RED is a social team consisting of Red Riders, their friends, family, and anyone else who wants to be part of a team. Through the team’s private email forum, we help each other with fundraising ideas, discuss cycling topics, and organize group rides. As team captain, I act as a mentor, supporter, and cheerleader for team members. One thing that I enjoy doing is creating internal competitions, by posting a weekly State of the Peloton message to our mailing list; I list who's leading in fundraising using cycling terms (breakaway, chase group, etc.),” said Gibbs. Over the years, David and his co-captain, Carlos Gravis, have grown Team RED Chicago to become the #1 Team Red in the nation, and more importantly, they’ve brought together a community of riders who will surely share a lifelong bond.
Routes for Everyone
An organized ride can seem daunting, especially if it’s your first. Fortunately, the Chicagoland Tour de Cure offers routes for beginners, families, occasional riders, even experienced cyclists. Online training guides, organized group rides, and most importantly, the encouragement you feel along each route makes these 10, 20, 40, 65 and 100 mile route options an absolute breeze!
Mitur Sakoda, avid cyclist and routes guru, knows first-hand how each mile can be conquered: “My first century was in the 2014 Chicagoland Tour de Cure. I was a bit over a year into life after having a gastric bypass, no more diabetes medication, and finding out I had an endurance athlete hiding under the nearly 100lbs I lost. These days, I can comfortably ride a century pretty much any time I feel like it; my new Tour de Cure challenge is riding it with my 11 year old son. Last year we rode the 20 mile route, and I was overjoyed when we crossed the finish line together. This year, we are going for the 40 mile route (that I happened to design as part of my duties on the planning committee). It's a cool feeling to be riding MY route with my son! We'll soon start working on finding the right pace, and making sure he has the right muscles trained to handle the distance. That means riding together. What could be better?”
Corporate teams and sponsors join riders in supporting the American Diabetes Association’s mission, and truly help deepen diabetes research, accelerate advocacy efforts, improve health care standards and provide vital programming to all people affected by diabetes. In return, companies receive heightened brand exposure and the opportunity to engage clients and employees in a one-of-a-kind networking event. One of the ride’s perennial top fundraising corporate teams—and Signature Sponsor—is the law firm McGuireWoods. George Spatz, a partner at the firm, was diagnosed with diabetes in his 40’s. “McGuireWoods’ sponsorship of the Tour de Cure makes me proud to be a partner,” Spatz said. “I think it is important for organizations to recognize their role in supporting their communities. As a team captain, it’s great to see the energy and excitement that coming together to support the Association generates. It is amazing as I talk to people, how many have been touched by diabetes themselves or through someone they love or care about. It makes you feel good to know that your organization is part of the response to a disease that touches so many people, especially in the workplace.”
The Chicagoland Tour de Cure wouldn’t be possible without the hundreds of volunteers and dedicated Planning Committee, working year-round to make this ride one to remember. The committee is the backbone of this event, and they’ve helped shape an incredible community of support.
Committee member Lori Brinker shares, “Being a part of the Chicagoland Tour de Cure has been life-changing for me. Five years ago, I rode in the Tour de Cure with and to support my daughter who has type 2 diabetes, and in honor of my son and other family and friends living with this difficult disease every day. I had no idea the positive impact that day would have on my life. I joined the Planning Committee the next year and have been an active member since. I’m involved in many areas of planning and this year, as Registration Chair and Vice Co-Chair with my daughter and son-in-law, to prepare our chairing of the Planning Committee in 2018. I can’t begin to describe the amazing, talented, loving and supportive ‘family’ the Planning Committee has truly become. Each with their own unique story as to how diabetes has and is affecting their lives and the incredible talents they bring to the planning of this wonderful event. Each of those stories has bound our Planning Committee with supportive friendships making us an unstoppable team. On event day there are so many smiles and so much appreciation it makes every minute we spend planning and working as hard as we do, so very worth it!”