Tour de Cure 2014

Kent gives the course safety talk

Kent gives the course safety talk

Wow.  It’s two days since Tour, and I’m finally able to reflect on the day and the year.  To call this year’s Tour a year of change is understating things.  I knew that there would be change, just from accepting the Chairman’s role and handing off the Ride Director duty to my friend Todd Rosenthal.  It was going to be odd not to be actively managing “my ride”.  But the learning curve behind leading “my event”?  Wow.  I haven’t been this mentally drained since graduate school.  Add the physical drain of a week of preparation.  I need a vacation from my vacation.

Kent’s “sisters” - Mary and Trish Ryder borrowed our tandem bike to allow Trish (diabetic and vision impaired) to experience her Tour de Cure.

Kent’s “sisters” – Mary and Trish Ryder borrowed our tandem bike to allow Trish (diabetic and vision impaired) to experience her Tour de Cure.

But the results speak for themselves.  “My ride” – the same course, but a much more lively atmosphere at the rest stops.  A new rider support structure.  One veteran (HAM radio), a new motorcycle leader, a new truck support leader, a new rider call-in system, a new Incident Commander (me!), and a Commander in training – and the initial feedback is excellent.  Nobody left behind.   No major issues.  Only some valuable lessons on timing that will make things even better next year.

2014 Tour de Cure Kent’s groupies - Angie and Kevin Beers, after completing the 43mi (Angie) and 65mi (Kevin), returning Kent’s PDX bike for the photo.

2014 Tour de Cure
Kent’s groupies – Angie and Kevin Beers, after completing the 43mi (Angie) and 65mi (Kevin), returning Kent’s PDX bike for the photo.

And it’s really still no longer “My ride”.  All the leads in the Command Center had a plan, executed their plan, worked together, and really left me and my #2 on the sidelines – which is exactly what you want to have happen.  The truth is, it’s THEIR ride.  They run the show now.

The 2014 TeamNakagawa Group

The 2014 TeamNakagawa Group

So how about “the event”?  A new approach to the start/breakfast and the finish/lunch venues surprised veteran participants, but the initial comment is that it was a a much improved setup.  It is interesting.  While the comments I received from riders was “top notch”, the comments I received from my team were “I wish these tents weren’t so far from the rest” and “the water station should have been here” and “wish we had a band for the 6:30am start”.  The team is already thinking toward next year, coming up with more ideas on how to improve things.  The new skeleton is in place, and now they’re taking it from there.

The fundraising book closes at the end of August, but it looks like we’re going to be close to $400,000 in donations from over 900 riders.  We had a local TV crew record a news segment at our event (first time).  TeamNakagawa’s crew of 12 raised over $7500 (a record), and yielded four champion donors.

I took a few pictures and videos of the event to share with everyone.  And now I’m looking forward to the year I can hand off the Chair baton to a stable committee, get on my bike, and ride my own Century course for the first time!

Setup week pictures on Smugmug

Event day pictures on Smugmug

Tour de Cure 2014 – Prep Week

The plan is in place.  The key people on the volunteer planning committee are in charge.  There’s really not much that I can do now but stay out of the way.  The one thing I can say about the people I work with is that they care.  They won’t do things halfway.  That’s the best complement I can give to a volunteer team that overachieves year after year.

Same goes for my donors, who not only allowed me to achieve Champion status again this year ($1000 in donations), but they also pushed Margo over the top as well.  Helping me make a difference, year after year.

New shirt for 2014's event

New shirt for 2014’s event

Trying the Chairman shirt for size.

Trying the Chairman shirt for size.

This year's honor roll of donors.  Helping me make a difference, year after year.

This year’s honor roll of donors. Helping me make a difference, year after year.p

On to the event!