Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Last weekend the Shafers had one of our six, 7 hour visits to the convent in Nashville. We visited Sister Gloria Christi and updated her on our latest endeavor, riding 105 miles to help find a cure to diabetes. She was moved and decided to take a spin around the Motherhouse in their very own bike herself. It was quite the site, with Mardi Gras beads nonetheless!

Since we started this blog two weeks ago over 200 unique visitors have frequented this site and read the pages that have been created. Once again, we hope that this journey to June 27th and the ride will be a story of hope for a cure. We want everyone to realize the need for support of diabetes research.

Many of our friends and family have answered the call to give. Thank you! For many others, letters are going to be mailed next week. We appreciate everyone considering a way that they could give even in the smallest way. Fountain City Pedaler gave us a discount on some bike gear. A local print shop agreed to print our letters and correspondence cards. Generosity is abound and we can't say thank you enough!

One more note of exciting announcement about our team could come as soon as next week. All that I can say is mark your calendars for Monday, April 27th, exactly two months before the ride. A special event in Knoxville is being finalized.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Training Full Speed Ahead

One week down, 17 to go. We believe that our official training schedule for the ride is going to be a 12 week program, however, the catch is that this program assumes that you can already ride 20 miles on a bike "comfortably." What does 20 "comfortable" miles on a bike feel like? We do not know yet but hopefully we'll be able to figure that out over the next month as we work our way up to 20 and then move into regular "long" rides leading up to 105 on June 27th.

Last week was productive as we learned more about finding our "cadence" on the bikes and anticipating inclines and declines so that we can shift gears accordingly. Bike riding is much more scientific than I first thought it was when I learned to ride a bike without training wheels or rented one of those cheapo bikes at the beach to ride around on a warm summer day.

Away from the bike riding front, last week was also productive in another way. On Thursday I met with my endocrinologist and she was very helpful in talking through the management of my diabetes during our training and the long ride on June 27th. She also was nice enough to offer to talk with another patient of hers who is a more experienced rider. I am hoping to get connected with him so that I can have a fellow diabetic to strategize with as I learn more about managing blood sugars through strenuous exercise.

On Friday, Jessica and I quickly learned that riding bikes in sub-32 degree weather is a big mistake! After work we decided to try our hand at a quick 5 mile ride but less than a mile into the ride learned that ears and finger tips don't do well in extreme cold temps on bikes. We ended up getting a little over 4 miles in but wow, it took hours to thaw out.

One final note: we would like to send a special thanks to those individuals who have already contributed to our ride team. Although official solicitations will not be sent until next week, several folks have generously contributed and for that we are extremely thankful. As I go low after some rides or have days where my blood sugar is unexplainably high I remind myself that there is hope for a cure thanks to those who continually contribute to the funding of promising diabetes research.

This week we move to 7 mile rides for at least 3 days. We'll then have our first 10 mile ride next Sunday as we mark the 1st day of March.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

The First Ride

Jessica and I got our bikes this week and set off on the road for the first time today. We successfully completed 5.5 miles, only 99.5 more on June 27th! The steep inclines in a few spots on our route today were difficult but other than that we both felt good after the ride.

This past week we tried focusing on getting all of the equipment necessary for this journey and found a great local bike shop to help outfit us (Fountain City Pedaler). They were very generous in helping us with minute questions and even a 1 on 1 training to teach us how to change a busted tire tube.

Now that we have been able to get equipped for the training, this week we are going to start actually riding and learning more about our training schedule. We think that our coach for the ride will be Tim St. Clair who ironically lives and works in my hometown, Greenville, SC. I was told by the staff at the Ride to Cure Diabetes that I will also be assigned a "diabetes coach" to help me manage my diabetes during the training. Although I have always been active, I have never done something so physical for such a prolonged period of time. We estimate that the ride itself will take us around 8-10 hours but who knows, maybe we'll get faster during the training period. Either way, we will be on the road a long time so testing my blood sugar often will be crucial. Today before our ride my blood sugar was a little high at 256 (normal is 80-120) but that is not too abnormal for diabetics after they eat (I had just eaten lunch about an hour earlier). However, after our ride I was down to 77 and obviously needed to eat. This diabetes coach will help make the ride smoother.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Officially Registered

Well, we took the plunge and officially registered for the Ride. This blog will serve as our online hq during our training from now until June 27th. This site will also be updated during the weekend of the ride. For those that may be unfamiliar, the "Ride to Cure Diabetes" is a fundraising event to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

This year, to commemorate my ten year anniversary since diagnosis (October 23, 1998), we have decided to participate in this big event. Not only do we hope to raise a considerable amount of money for diabetes research, we hope to raise awareness in our community about the need for research funding worldwide.

We've been talking about this concept for some time but with my bike getting ready for training in a local shop and Jessica's bike on hold in the same store, we thought we should go ahead and register. JDRF does a great job with online registration and donations and they create a fundraising page for each registrant. For simplicity, we're going to collect most of the donations for this ride on the "Andrew account." You can view that account by clicking HERE.

Together, we are the Shafer Ten Year Team. A formal letter to family and friends is being finalized and should be in the mail within the next few weeks. We invite you to visit this blog often and look for us on the road, 105 miles in one day on June 27th sounds like alot when you are not bike riders by nature! Thank you in advance for your support.