Nov. 11, 2018
On 17 November, Rotary General Secretary John Hewko and a team of staffers will head to Arizona for the 36th El Tour de Tuscon, where they'll bike up to 100 miles to raise funds and awareness for polio eradication. We’re hoping you will get inspired, consider donating to their fundraising page and cheer them on. This team embodies the spirit of Rotary and will take us along with them on their journey leading up to the race. We checked in with a few of the team members to see how their training is going, how they’re feeling, and what they're rocking out to. Enjoy their collaborative playlist at the end of the interview, and virtually join the race by checking out our Instagram!
What inspires you about Miles to End Polio?
David I’m inspired by the fact that I get to use my favorite hobby to help end and extremely devastating disease.
Stuart Riding 106 miles and fundraising is a challenge, but it obviously pales in comparison to the work being done by so many people every day to help eradicate the polio virus. Then there are the challenges faced by those who have been effected by the virus. They are the real inspiration. Supporting this ride seems like the least we can do, right?
Drew This event brings people from different backgrounds, perspectives, across decades of ages, and the span of genders together for one cause. We ride, some faster and some slower, to end Polio; everyone is in it together and cheers each other on. That is incredibly inspiring.
Diedre I am inspired by the community of Rotarians and riders who decide to make a difference while doing something they love.
Brad I’m inspired by the tireless work that people around the world are doing to eradicate the polio virus. Seeing people who ignore danger to help others, is truly awe-inspiring. I’m happy that I can help with that effort and join a community of like-minded supporters and cyclists.
The big ride is one week away: how are you feeling?
Brad The anticipation is huge I truly can’t wait to get there. I’m ready.
Drew I’m feeling GREAT and a little anxious. As a second time rider, I understand the logistics of the ride and what I need to do to prepare… and I’m also prepping for whatever weather the universe throws our way. Fingers crossed for low wind and sunshine!
David Ready, I’m looking forward to riding around Tucson. It’s going to be a blast.
Stuart Ongoing argument with myself: “I need to ride more miles!” “No, you need to raise more money!” “No, you really need to ride more miles!” “No seriously, you really need to be raising more money!”
Jose I am honestly very excited and I can wait for the big race. I think after all the work and time that I’ve put into my training I feel ready to ride! I am also trying to stay motivated by taking little moments here and there to reflect on my journey.
Diedre I am feeling ready. I put in the training; I know I can do it—and that is a great feeling. I’m also feeling a bit nervous as it’s my first time riding 100 miles, so I’m also trying to keep it real.
Describe your training plan?
Brad I ride a lot of miles as it is, so I haven’t made too many changes to my training schedule. I made sure to do a lot of long rides in September and October. The main difference has been forcing myself to ride on some cold and rainy days, where I might have normally stayed home and told myself that it’s the offseason.
Drew I ride 3-4 times per week, for an average of about 45-60 minutes during the week days, with longer rides on the weekends. I also attempt to do some running for cross training, but to be honest, sometimes coffee and my couch wins out in the morning.
Jose I consider myself an individual who loves outdoor activities, so I am glad that I was selected to participate in the Miles to End Polio. As a member of the Miles to End Polio team, I am currently training and raising funds to end Polio for good. t’s been 8 weeks since I started my training for the Miles to End Polio. I can honestly say that training for El Tour of Tucson has been an unbelievable experience that provided me with the opportunity to push myself for a good cause.
My training plan has focused on developing my absolute strength which is necessary to complete the 106 miles. When I completed the race in 2016, I noticed that I was lacking endurance and strength in my legs by the end of the race, so I am focusing on adjusting my training to improve some of my weaknesses. For the past month, I spent portion of my training building muscle by lifting heavier weight with low repetitions and longer rests (twice a week). On different days, I typically spend more time on high intensity and speed-based exercise to condition my body for the race.
Stuart Long rides on the weekends. Headwinds make good resistance training and rain makes it interesting trying to keep the bike upright. Weekdays are mostly on the trainer after my 3 year-old goes to bed.
Diedre I started out doing rides just on the weekend, and increased mileage by commuting to work (about an hour-long ride each way) a couple times a week. I believe variety is the spice of life, so I mixed my training with some running and swimming as well. My training plan has been just as much mental as physical—getting comfortable with being, well, uncomfortable. I would describe the experience of training in the Chicago area as “character building.” I rode through all sorts of weather: from sweltering summer weather to beautiful crisp fall afternoons to wind-whipped hail to steady cold rain in pitch darkness post-Daylight Savings.
David Ride as much as I can and just get miles in the saddle.
When you think about the ride, what goes through your mind?
Stuart “Oh man, I thought I told myself I was done doing this kind of stuff? Yeah, but you didn’t have a good reason before.”
David Food. (No really food. The first meal after a 100 mile ride is always amazing.)
Drew Energy, excitement, endless possibilities for adventure!
Diedre I envision the heat from the sun and how nice that will feel compared to the numb toes I have had recently at the end of every ride. I also remind myself how important pacing will be, and that this is not a sprint.
Brad Being on closed roads with thousands of other cyclists is one of the coolest feelings you can have. It’s beautiful. You tend to find extra motivation when riding in big groups like that. Oh, I also don’t want to crash.
What’s your favorite pre- or post-race meal?
Jose My favorite pre-race meal is pasta.
David Salad, and baked potatoes.
Drew Pre-ride: coffffffffffffffffffffffee. The rest depends on how far I’m going, and how many stops will have additional nourishment. At least a banana and some peanut butter, but sometimes I’ll get crazy and make myself an egg/cheese/ham sandwich.
Diedre I usually eat a bowl cereal before a morning ride. After the ride, though, it’s hard to beat a heaping helping of pasta. One of the best things about biking is that it makes everything taste great!
Brad Pre-meal is coffee, cereal and fruit. Post-race meal, nothing beats Thai food with lots of tofu and peanut sauce.
My goal is to finish feeling good, ideally before my previous time, but mostly I want to meet people and enjoy the ride!
Besides water, when you cross the finish line, what’s the first thing you wish someone would hand you?
Drew Easy: a local and delicious IPA. Keep ‘em comin’, in fact.
Jose Nothing- I would just want to give my wife a kiss.
Diedre Probably a clean change of clothes and some deodorant!
David A beer.
Brad A beer after a hot ride is pretty enjoyable. I’d also accept a protein shake.
If you could say something to the “you” at mile 90 of the race, what would you say?
Stuart "Tacos await you!"
Diedre Just keep pedaling. Just keep pedaling. Just keep pedaling.
Jose "Don’t look back, you are almost here, you got this.”
Drew "Girl, you got this. Push it. (And then I’ll giggle because I’ll have Salt-N-Peppa in my head)."
Brad Only 10 to go, time to drill it and finish fast.
Do you have a goal time or a goal pace and if so, what is it?
Drew My goal is to finish feeling good, ideally before my previous time, but mostly I want to meet people and enjoy the ride!
Jose I am hoping to complete the race in less than 7.5 Hours. The first time that I finished it, I did not what to expect, I was very nervous because I did not know if I was going to be able to complete the race. However, this year I feel more comfortable and ready to face race.
Diedre This is my first time doing a century, so whenever I cross the finish line will be a personal best! My goal is to have fun on the ride and to enjoy the Arizona sun. I’ll be happy with whatever time I get—and it’ll give me a time to beat the next time I ride a century.
David My goal is to finish in under five hours.
Brad My goal is 5 hours of riding time (20 MPH average), with a few short breaks, so overall time of under 6 hours would be great. I’m more interested in enjoying the ride as opposed to getting my best time.
What has the effect of your training been on those around you?
David Negligent. I ride all the time anyway, so it’s no different than normal
Jose This year, It has been a bit challenging for me to balance my training time, personal life and work. I am really looking forward to spending more time with my friends and family after the race.
Drew I’d like to say that it’s mostly inspiring, though I also know it’s earned a few eye rolls, as in… “oh boy, Drew’s out for another ride.” But eventually we all laugh and it’s great.
Diedre Most think it’s pretty wild that I’m training to ride 100 miles in the desert. Not always wild in a good way, but you know.
Brad My friends and family have been very supportive, my cyclist friends are jealous that I get to take part in such a great event.
How are you planning on relaxing after you’ve completed the race?
Drew Hopefully with one of those IPAs, spending some recovery time with our amazing team, and refueling on all the calories ever with some delicious Tucson food.
Jose I am hoping to get a massage at the finish line and enjoy a popsicle.
Stuart I’d like to hang out with a few of the Rotarians I met along the way and ‘swap war stories’. Time permitting, it’d be great to see a bit more of Tucson (out of the saddle).
Diedre To relax after the race, I have a full-body massage to look forward to as well as (I hope) a long nap.
David A nice long, warm, shower. (And a foam roller)
Brad Nothing is better after an epic ride than talking with other riders about the race. I’ve heard there is a masseuse, in which case, I might give them a visit too.