May 2019 - BICYCLING TOUR DE CURE
Capital Region Tour de Cure
Kivort Steel Cycling Team Raises Over $1 Million to Fight Diabetes
By Mark Wahl
Every 23 seconds someone is diagnosed with diabetes in the US. It’s the seventh leading cause of death, more than AIDS and breast cancer combined. Won’t you help by joining the American Diabetes Association cause by registering to ride, run or walk? If not, could you donate for the cure to this very worthy cause? With 1,500 participants, the Capital Region Tour de Cure is a great event on Sunday, June 9 at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds in Ballston Spa.
The Capital Region Tour de Cure is for all abilities, featuring five well-marked cycling routes of 10, 30, 50, 62 and 100 miles, with safety marshals and vehicles, and fully-stocked rest stops. There is also a 5K Run and Walk with a water station. Last year, more than 200 volunteers that dedicate countless hours to make Tour a great day for everyone. The Tour de Cure would not be possible without the volunteers who dedicate countless hours to make it a great day for everyone. The total fundraising goal this year is to raise $725,000 to fight type 1 and 2 diabetes.
The Tour has corporate teams, friends and family teams, and individual participants. A team can also be a combination of riders, runners and walkers. The minimum fundraising goal for each participant is $200. There is a festival afterwards with lunch by Mazzone Hospitality, plus the New Belgium Beer Garden, and live entertainment by Body & Soul.
I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about 20 years ago and it had progressed to the point that I needed daily injections of insulin. In early 2012, I needed to add more exercise into my daily routine, and remembered that I loved cycling when I was younger. So, 38 years after my last bicycle ride, I bought a new bicycle. It was, what I called, an old man bike – it had shock absorbers in the front and on the seat post. It was very comfortable, but very heavy!
At the same time, my wife brought home a pamphlet about the Kivort Steel Cycling Team and some event called “Tour de Cure” given to her at work by Howard Katz. What I didn’t know was that this little pamphlet was about to change my life forever!
I rode my bike a little bit on my own, but I soon found out that there were organized group rides though the Mohawk Hudson Cycling Club. I thought that I could ride with a “no drop” group and get some more miles in the saddle. So, I decided to go on one of these rides in mid-April. To say I was in over my head was to overstate the issue. Here I am in a bicycle that weighed as much as a small car, wearing shorts, T-shirt and sneakers with toe cages, trying to ride with riders in spandex, clipless pedal systems/shoes, and bicycles that appeared to weigh less than my sneakers. I was assured it would fine and that someone would ride with me. Well, the entire group had to wait for me at every major turn for several minutes and as soon as I arrived, they were ready to go. I felt very bad that I was holding them back from getting the ride in that they wanted that day.
I finally said that if they just pointed the way, I would head back, and they could get on with their training ride. To my surprise and relief, one of those riders volunteered to ride back with me, no matter how slow or how many times I needed to stop! His name was John Casey (Athlete Profile, January 2019) of Latham, who it turns out was a member of the Kivort Steel team. When we got back to the starting point, I had ridden over 20 miles! The compassion he showed towards me meant a lot, and when I got home, I signed up for the Tour de Cure with the Kivort Steel team. Oh, one more thing, since I was able to cover over 20 miles in that first real ride in 38 years, I decided that I could surely ride 50 miles by early June. I did finish 50 miles riding on my Sherman tank of a bicycle, but it took everything I had!
I have been truly fortunate enough to have raised over $21,000 over the past eight years for the American Diabetes Association and the fight against diabetes. These chance encounters with Howard Katz and John Casey motivated me to continue cycling, which then enabled me to stop requiring insulin to control my diabetes. This really motivated me to continue to fundraise for the ADA through the Tour de Cure, because I have met and become friends with so many people who live with type 1 Diabetes every day – many not as fortunate as me to be able to stop requiring insulin to live. My hopes and dreams are that we can arrive at a day where type 1 diabetes is a thing of the past. You can donate directly to this cause by going to my link: main.diabetes.org/goto/mfwahl.
The American Diabetes Association’s mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. Tour de Cure is a celebration of the ADA’s mission and a chance to raise critical funds to help fight diabetes. Every mile covered and every dollar raised brings us that much closer to a cure. The Capital Region Tour de Cure is ranked as one of the top 10 Tour events in the country and the Capital Region chapter strives to stay in this ranking. Register today at diabetes.org/capitalregion.
To volunteer, please visit diabetes.org/capitalregionvolunteer. To mail a donation, please send checks to American Diabetes Association, 5 Pine West Plaza, Suite 505, Albany, NY 12205.
The Kivort Steel Cycling Team was created 13 years ago when Dave Canfield loaned Rob Kivort a bicycle for his first Tour de Cure century ride. After a couple of years of trying, Rob finally convinced his friend, Howard Katz, to ride in Tour de Cure – and that changed everything! After that experience, Rob and Howard met to discuss what they do to “blow things up” and help to stop diabetes, the “corporate street team” concept was created.
In the fourth year of its existence, the Kivort Steel Cycling Team raised over $57,000 which was the number one overall corporate Tour de Cure team in New York. In 2011 a lofty goal was set, to recruit 100 riders, ride 5,000 miles, and raise $100,000 for the ADA. Goals Achieved! Every year since, the Kivort Steel team has been the number one fundraising team in New York and among the Top 10 in in the US for ADA’s Tour de Cure. Now known as “Kivort Steel Diabetes Revolution,” the team has expanded to year-round fundraising by adding Spin for Diabetes, Jakes Walk for Diabetes, Mayumi’s Zumbathon, Blue Sky Bicycles bike raffle, and Golf FORE Diabetes – an annual event, currently hosted at the Schuyler Meadows Club in Loudonville.
In 2018, Kivort Steel Diabetes Revolution raised more than $170,000 and was the number one fundraising team in the US for American Diabetes Association. In 2018, the Kivort Steel team also went over a total of $1,000,000 raised! Rob Kivort’s generosity and dedication to the ADA in the mission to stop diabetes is second to none. In addition to supplying all team members with cycling jerseys as fundraising incentives, and providing a team tent on the day of the event, Rob sponsors and Howard Katz directs, all Kivort Steel team events. They also coordinate a “High-Rollers” dinner, to honor those teammates who raised over $2,000. In 2011 there were seven high-rollers, and in 2018 that number rose to 28!
You can connect with or read more about the Kivort Steel Diabetes Revolution team by going to the team website at diabetes.org or the team’s Facebook page at facebook.com – in both cases, search “Kivort Steel Cycling Team”). Anyone can join the Kivort Steel Diabetes Revolution team, join another team, start a team, or signup as an individual – TO STOP DIABETES!
Mark Wahl (email@example.com) of Delmar has ridden in Tour de Cure since 2012 and raised over $21,000 for ADA. He’s a retired Navy senior chief and assistant professor of nursing at Maria College.