Cyclists talk about riding for diabetes

Cyclists from around the county will converge in Cardiff-by-the-Sea April 18 for the American Diabetes Association’s San Diego Tour de Cure bike ride and fundraiser.

The event takes cyclists on one of four routes to raise money for research into finding a cure for diabetes.

Cardiff is one of 80 locations around the nation where more than 33,000 participants overall will come together for the competitive ride.

A number of participants come from our local communities. These three riders explain why participating in this fundraiser is a significant event for them:

Rob Lindbloom, 52, Carmel Valley

My name is Rob Lindbloom. I’m a Type II diabetic. I have lived with diabetes for 10 years.

When I got diagnosed I was surprised since I never thought I was overweight and thought I was in decent shape. However, I was put on a strict diet to drop 15 pounds. Shortly thereafter, I admitted to being alcoholic and now have nine years in recovery.

I totally changed my eating habits. I read nutrition labels; watch my fat and processed sugars and bad carbohydrates. I now live a pretty healthy and happy lifestyle.

Diabetes is a life changing disease and needs more awareness since it’s a silent killer. This is why ADA helps with education so people know what they are eating and what it does to their body. It also helps with research so we can someday find a cure and provides support to recently diagnosed people and the families that care for them.

The community needs to take advantage of associations like ADA that are there for us and are happy to help us improve our lives.

This is my first year doing Tour de Cure and I hope to do 100 miles.

For Red Riders it’s an extra challenge since we ride with diabetes and many have insulin pumps and need to monitor their sugar.

Dave Belcher, 57, Del Mar

I am a computer programmer and started Perceptyx, Inc. providing Internet-based services for companies, primarily employee surveys. We do work for household names like Procter & Gamble, Petco, and Hitachi and lots of other less well known, but equally wonderful companies.

I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes on my 55th birthday, February 2007. My doctor wanted to begin a regimen of metfornin, but I elected to try to control my blood glucose with diet and exercise.

I started a low carbohydrate diet and began monitoring my blood glucose several times daily. During the first year I lost 50 pounds and began walking several times each week.

Starting in December 2007, I began cycling, and discovered after the initial body “break-in” that I loved riding a bike. I commuted to work by bike through most of 2008 and logged a total of 4,500 miles during 2008.

I’m proud to wear the Red Rider jersey as another example of how exercise, especially the two-wheeled variety, is an enjoyable and effective means of controlling diabetes.

In an ironic and providential twist, diabetes has become a tremendously beneficial personal “calamity.” I lost 70 pounds, I ride about 100 miles each week (and love it), I’m in the best shape of my life (my wife of 36 years even jokes that I look good in Spandex), I have my blood glucose under control, and I feel great.

Mark Williams, 30, Solana Beach

I was diagnosed when I was in first grade and have had Type I diabetes for about 23 years.

My younger sister also has Type I diabetes, but no one else in my immediate or extended family has ever had diabetes.

I guess we are just lucky?

I try to exercise as much as possible, eat a balanced diet, and check my blood sugar frequently. I am riding 30 miles in the Tour de Cure.

I’m hoping that these funds will go toward helping to find a cure for Type I diabetes.

I am a federal prosecutor and have lived with diabetes for over 20 years. I hope other diabetics will understand that although diabetes is a serious chronic disease, it should never limit what you can do with your life.

I am an active rock climber, cyclist, and have obtained a fourth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I also prosecute criminal defendants in federal court, including multi-day trials. I do all of this while wearing an insulin pump that gives me insulin, pricking my finger to check my blood sugar 10-15 times a day, and constantly monitoring what and how much I eat.

In addition to motivating Type I diabetics to live a full life unrestrained by diabetes, I also hope to raise awareness regarding Type I diabetes for the general public. There is no cure for Type I diabetes--I will live with it forever, as will everyone else with Type I diabetes. I’m hoping that the ADA can raise enough funds to sponsor research that will change that some day.