Early in the morning on March 25 at the Lake Nona Town Center, an amazing event was about to begin. There was a buzz of excitement as teams of cyclists, runners and walkers came together to participate in the 2018 Tour de Cure at Lake Nona, a very successful fundraising event for the American Diabetes Association.
All of the training, preparation and fundraising to cycle 10-, 25-, 50-, 63- and 101-mile routes or the 5K Run & Walk was about to pay off. There were 40 cycling teams, 20 Friends and Family teams, including Nona Cycle, and 20 Corporate teams participating. There were first-time riders new to cycling feeling the excitement as they were about to embark on an adventure. Riders with some or more experience under their belt were stretching and riding farther than they had ever done, many riding 50, 63 and 101 miles for the first time. Veteran riders cycling the distances that they enjoyed the most were helping other riders with advice and answering questions. There was a constant stream of posts in the Nona Cycle Facebook group helping to organize weekly beginner rides or rides for more experienced cyclists to help train. A roll call asking for what distances everyone was riding helped to inspire Nona Cycle riders to ride even further. There was the ever-so-nice sense of camaraderie in Nona Cycle that helped to prepare riders for the Tour de Cure.
The sun began to rise as riders were streaming into the Lake Nona Town Center. The event organizer and sponsors had parking organized around the town center, tents set up, as well as friendly volunteers helping riders, runners and walkers with packet pickups and questions. Announcements were being made over the speakers, and snacks and drinks were available. There were smiling faces as teams arrived early to get their team photos with their new cycling jerseys. Riders helped each other pin their bib numbers on their jerseys. Last-minute bike checks included tires being pumped, wheels spinning and testing brakes. Like the riders, there was a wide variety of bikes from the more affordable to the exotic. It was a very festive atmosphere, great weather and a real sense of friendliness as riders said hello to each other and greeted long-time friends and made new friends.
Police officers helped all along the way, managing traffic stops and turns throughout the courses, helping riders cross the roads. Friendly volunteers staffed the SAG (support and gear) stops, helping riders with Gatorade, water, pickle juice, peanut butter sandwiches, trail mix, and more. Riders started together with their teams and friends. It was not uncommon to finish with a different group of riders as they bonded together to help support each other. There were large groups riding very fast, and smaller groups that were pacing themselves. At the end, everyone finished with a sense of accomplishment. Food and beverages were provided by the sponsors, and many riders hung out at the town center enjoying having finished the ride and sharing their stories in person and on Facebook.
The 40 cycling teams helped to raise over $900,000 for the American Diabetes Association, going well past the fundraising goal that was set earlier in the year. Nona Cycle, with over 50 participants, raised $43,665, a new fundraising record for the team. There were 12 Nona Cycle members who raised $1,000 or more for the cause and were recognized as Champions. There was a flurry of activity as Nona Cycle sponsored a fun and successful fourth annual Cornhole Tournament fundraiser with 32, two-member teams participating with a very exciting finish.
Do you like to cycle or want to learn how? Join the Nona Cycle group for weekly rides: http://nonahood.to/nonacycle.