Today was a very significant day because it was moving day and also century day. I set my alarm for 5 AM and jumped out of bed to finish packing and get the show on the road. I managed to get my sleeping bag and sleeping pad and my luggage where it needed to be very quickly and headed to the breakfast tent where we had another filling breakfast which today included one of my favorites, biscuits and gravy. After eating breakfast, I headed to my bike so that I could get out on a 7 AM start to put myself in the best position to finish the century ride. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to open the gates to allow us to start riding for 15 or 20 minutes but once they opened the gates, we hit the ground running. The first rest stop was super early in the ride so I skipped that one and planned to stop at the second rest stop to fill my bottles, eat a snack and apply liquid gold a.k.a. chamois butter. Unfortunately when I arrived to the second rest stop, there were no port-a-potty’s. So I continued on towards the lunch stop where I was able to take care of business, eat a nice meal, and get back out on the road as quickly as possible. I can’t fail to mention that there was a very substantial hill at about mile 33 which I thought I was ready for, but ended up getting off the bike twice to try to catch my breath and then getting back on to continue riding. We left the lunch stop which was at 37 miles just before 11am. The next 17 or so miles between lunch and the next rest stop were exciting as we knew we were heading towards the route split and were making great time so that we wouldn’t miss the cutoff. Shortly before the next rest stop at 55 miles, we rode on a road that wrapped around such a beautiful area that it seemed this rode had just been poured for our enjoyment. We winded through this beautiful road and eventually came out to a beautiful area of water and a bridge/road we rode across. I couldn’t resist stopping to take a picture. Although, the crosswinds as we rode along this bridge were horrendous. When we arrived at the route split/cut off, we made it one hour before the cut off and were super excited to make the left turn onto the century route. Around 2 miles later, crap hit the fan as a handful of riders started coming back our direction and The Hammer who was visibly frustrated, screamed at us to turn around immediately. We were totally confused as to what was going on but certainly didn’t want to make anybody angry, so we went ahead and turned around and rode the 2 or so miles back to the route split. I’m not going to lie, it kind of felt like my dad yelling at me and I went through several moments of hurt and confusion and sadness. Haha and then I said forget it and let’s get this done! Nearly 100 of us say at an intersection with no idea what we should do. Apparently some riders ran into an area that the road was flooded. We weren’t sure if there was an alternate route or anything that could allow us to still complete the century. Many riders went ahead and just gave up on the century ride and headed towards the 75 mile route but as we waited around with learned that the previous riders had missed a turn due to a stolen sign and because of this they ran into the flooded road and that’s why everybody had turned around. So we were told that everything was all clear and that we could proceed back towards the century. This made me very happy as I knew my son, my mom, and my brother wouldn’t have made it to camp in time to see me cross the finish line if I took the shorter route so I was super excited to continue towards attempting the century. Such beautiful surroundings! Each rest stop after this was more and more exciting as we knew that we were getting closer and closer to completing the century ride. The second time that we emerged from the beautiful winding rode that I felt was poured specially for us and rode along the road/bridge across the water, I felt completely over anything(rain/wind/hills) that was continuing to make the ride more challenging. Once we made it back to the final rest stop, I was overwhelmed with excitement knowing that we were only 20 miles from finishing. At this point I went ahead and changed into my Finishline costume for the day and got on the road towards the finish. The last 20 miles were so difficult, both physically, mentally and emotionally. Amazingly, I pulled into the finish line with nearly 104 miles and could have collapsed. Once again, me and several other riders stayed at the finish line to watch all of the riders cross and then finally was able to head to the shower tent. By the time I made it to dinner, there were only a few minutes left of the dinner program. 🙁 Cell service is very spotty around here and I walked probably a mile or two trying to get a signal. Camp is so wet and a mud pit in many places, so walking around is a nightmare unless you like grass and mud all through your toes and all over your feet. I couldn’t be more excited to finish tomorrow’s ride and enjoy the final night festivities. I am so lucky to have been able to enjoy this experience one last time!! 170 miles down, 57 to go! We’ve got this! 

 

Last night I had a fantastic nights sleep thanks to my tent mate not being here and doubling up on air up mats and sleeping bags!! Woot woot!!

This morning, I was shocked to hear the music pumping at 5:30am. But I reluctantly woke up and and head to the tent to have a great breakfast. Once we got started, we had a slow first 12 or so miles between traffic of other bike riders and slow riding due to the rain. 

Speaking of rain, there was an unbelievable amount of rain from the moment we started riding until the last rider crossed the finish line, ranging from light drizzle to torrential downpour.

We had a fantastic lunch including the most delectable Mac and cheese I have ever tasted, but maybe that is just because I had worked up quite an appetite by lunch. 

Amazingly, the year I managed to stay on the bike for every single mile and didn’t walk up one hill woo hoooooo!!!!

I was blessed to be able to finish strong and then stay at the finish line to watch 8 or so of my teammates cross the finish line until I finally went to shower up but quickly went back to the finish line to stay until the last rider crossed the finish line. This being my 4th tour, I have stayed at the finish line until the end EVERY SINGLE DAY and there is no place on earth that I would rather be. 

Today at the finish line,my fellow rx’ers and I shed some tears and loving conversation about what we are going to miss.

I can’t believe this is our last tour. If anyone wants to adopt me so that I can ride with them next year, just let me know!

 

Good evening and thank you for your time reading this blog post. My name is Rachel Adams and I am a pharmacist for the last eight years with DaVita Rx in Texas and this is my fourth and final Tour DaVita since DaVita Rx is being acquired by Walgreens and our Texas office is closing. 

In the months leading up to Tour DaVita 2018, I have spent countless hours in the seat riding and preparing for Tour. In that respect, I feel that I am ready for Tour. On the other hand, I REALLY WISH that in the days we experienced rain, that I had chosen to ride in that rain.

In the 24 hours prior to leaving for tour, life changed drastically for me and so many others. Several hundred people from my work were let go as we were already planning for with our scheduled acquisition and life seemed to screech to a halt with the transition of so many individuals that I cared so much about. 

All of that being said, I arrived to camp via seamless travels with no major delays or cancellations as opposed to what my fellow Rx riders went through and Ryo and I made it to Richmond easily. I sent little Ryo off with my mom and brother and headed to beautiful camp and settled in.

This year, more than any other years, I plan to ride for all of my teammates that wish more than ever for the opportunity to continue to serving our patients. I can speak for myself and possibly others when I say that kidney patients hold a very significant piece of my heart. When I think about them, I have such a different perspective than I do for any other patients and I care so differently. As I ride each mile that god blesses me with, I will concentrate on our patients and my teammates that care so much for these patients. 

I am excited to touch base tomorrow after riding day 1. I pray that I will be able to cross the finish line on my bicycle and make my family and coworkers proud. Thanks again for your time and RIDE ON!!

 

What does Tour Davita mean to me? Why do I ride? This is what we ask ourselves when the tour comes around. I try to be honest with myself!

Is it the excitement?
Is it the food? Haha!

For me I know that I love to ride my bike and I love new experiences and travel, but most of all I love Davita and everything we stand for.

I have been with the Village for 15 years and have had the chance to be a part of several departments and see the great things that we are a part of.

The Tour is an amazing experience that I wish every teammate could be a part of just once.
The teamwork, the generosity, motivation, kindness, encouragement, the fun (oh my the FUN)…..

Don’t get me wrong, the anxiety of waiting for the route to come available is always suspenseful and scary as we wait to see The Hammer’s reviews of how minimal the hills will be on this year’s ride. We all know that the hills will be difficult no matter what anyone says. By the end of the tour we are sore and tired, but the soreness only lasts for a couple days and our memories will last a lifetime.

The stories that we hear at dinner of the kindness and encouragement always bring a tear to my eye, and the joy from the Backroads Team performing their amazing We Are Here Cheer is the highlight of the night…

Most of all I would have to say if someone asks me,
I ride for all our patients, including those who can’t ride but would love to.

I had the honor to ride with a dialysis patient from my clinic and I was so very proud of him and I was so happy that I was there to encourage him and see how proud he was of his accomplishment.

This year the ride is a more personal as my Mom started dialysis so she will definitely be on my mind out on the road.

Thank you so much Davita for allowing us to be a part of an amazing experience like Tour Davita. I couldn’t imagine not being a part of this amazing ride.

Ride on!!!!!

 

2018 Tour DaVita – Let’s ride the Old Dominion, Virginia!!!

This year we ride southeasterly across Virginia, one of the original 13 colonies. Our route starts just north of Richmond, winding its way to Jamestown. Get ready for a great and beautiful ride! Riding through Virginia feels like a trip through early US History. We will ride past historic sites and beautiful landscapes. So clip in and I’ll try to give you a preview of this year’s tour!

Once again, I had the good fortune to do a scouting ride of the Tour DaVita route. My knee is much better this year, which is great because the arthritis in my hip is killing me. Again, my orthopedic surgeon made me “promise” not to overdo it this time. This annual speech from my doctor is becoming boring and repetitive…

This year the Tour starts in Doswell, just 25 miles north of Richmond. The route starts in horse country and is a loop which heads out to the east winding through Shumanville, Beverly, Newtown and Beulahville before returning to our campground in Doswell at the Meadow Events Center. Day 2 winds its way Southeast towards Jamestown, with a special route for the Century riders which loops through West Point. Day 3 is a popsicle stick route with almost half of the day’s route on a beautiful and smooth Capital Trail bike path.

Riding with me again this year were two awesome and reliable riders, Seth Winbolt, Senior Accountant with the Accountables in Federal Way, Washington, and Dan DeYoung, Seattle based Audit Partner with KPMG. We were generously supported by Covey (Margaret) Kilgore who drove SAG on this year’s adventure. The route is very pretty, riding through beautiful winding farmland, over twisting rivers, past historical plantations and original pilgrim settlements. We will ride on the historical routes traveled by General Washington in the War of independence as well as civil war armies. The topography is primarily flat with intermittent rolling hills and very few challenging hills. This is a great Tour route. It gets better every day, culminating with the Day 2 and 3 rides which bring you through beautiful countryside landscapes with a finish in Jamestown right on the James River, which is superb for an end of ride swim.

Again, this year we eagerly arrived and built out our bikes for the ride ahead. Making a scouting ride is a very different experience compared to riding the Backroads supported Tour. No smiling Backroads teammates, no rest stops set up with goodies. Generally, the route winds through quiet country roads which are far from convenience or grocery stores, making it difficult to casually stop for needed supplies, so it is important to have SAG (Support and Gear) support. This year Covey (Margaret) Kilgore, FA at Mechanicsville Dialysis, in the mighty Team Virginias Division, provided us awesome and much appreciated support. Driving the SAG wagon consists of drop-off/pickup at the start and finish of each day’s ride, organizing a daily lunch for disoriented, overheated, dehydrated, and hungry riders, and making sure we were safe and accounted for at all times. It’s amazing how much driving time and effort that entails.

The total mileage for the long version of this year’s Tour is about 225 miles and about 200 for the shorter version. The area is generally flat with intermittent rolling hills. On average, this is a relatively flat course and the hills we encountered were gentle, with an occasional challenging hill to get your heart pumping. Total elevation gains of ~8400 feet over 225 miles is considered very ridable for the average cyclist. The Tour begins in Doswell, Virginia at the Meadow Event Center (this is the site of the Virginia State Fair and is the birthplace of Secretariat, winner of the horse racing Triple Crown), We will camp here for the first two nights. The last two nights of the Tour we will camp at the Jamestown Beach Event Center, located conveniently on the James River, right across the street from the Jamestown settlement (the first permanent English settlement), just a few miles down the road from Williamsburg. The road conditions varied a lot, but well worn and thus smooth chip seal was the predominant surface. A significant portion of this year’s ride is tree lined through forest groves, but there is also a fair bit of open farmland. Some of the lanes are a bit narrow and there are railroad tracks to cross, so remember to pay attention while riding (generally a good rule of life).

The first day of the route is a 66 mile loop that brings you back to the campground. Day 2 will zigzag over 100 miles, heading generally South by Southeast, ending in Jamestown (75 miles for those cyclists choosing the Metric Century). The final day of riding is a 58 mile popsicle stick route which heads northwest with a loop back to Jamestown. Virginia is a great state and this year’s route is super nice!

The weather should be great, but late September can be unpredictable, so be prepared for moderate weather and bring a light weight rain jacket just in case. The temperature will likely rise to the high seventies during the day and drop down into the 50’s at night, so a jacket or warm pullover for the evening is advised. We found the people are very friendly and cyclist-aware. On the road, drivers gave us a wide berth and were courteous and safety conscious.

First things first, Backroads has once again designed a great ride this year. Looking at the MapMyRide maps will reinforce the view of a rolling path winding through forests and farmland, along and over rivers, and everywhere incredible views. The roads were generally in reasonably good shape, with a mix of asphalt and sections of chip seal that were worn smooth in most stretches. As in all routes that you are unfamiliar with, the roads can be unpredictable, so keeping both hands on the bars at all times is highly recommended. We did not encounter much road construction, so we should be in good stead come late September. However, always ride safely and pay attention to your surroundings.

While this year’s course is pretty flat, there are some rolling hills from time to time. A quick note about riding rolling hills. Rolling hills can be a total blast to ride! Lots of work and lots of rewards. While riding on the rollers, you will be changing gears much more frequently. Try to catch the momentum of going downhill and peddle through the bottom of the hill, using that captured momentum to help carry you up the hill. You should be increasing the power of the gears on the way downhill and reducing the gears as you go up the hill. This is an important skill to master and can make riding through the hills much less challenging and way more enjoyable.

Please also remember that on flat stretches, larger groups of riders can often form and will tend to create pace lines. Riding in a pace line can be a lot of fun and you will go faster than you would otherwise ride, but you need to keep a few “rules” in mind. Rule number one, never touch your brakes in a pace line unless you first signal clearly to those behind you that you will be braking (failure to do so will likely result in riders, including you, suddenly hitting the ground). Rule number two, when you take a turn at the front, maintain the current pace of the line, riding in a steady, predictable pace. When you find yourself getting fatigued, signal to the rider behind you to come up and replace you at the front (don’t stay up front and slow down as you will slow the whole group). Rule number three, when you pull off the front, do so by pulling over to the left and drifting to the back of the line. Do not pull off to the right as you will become a hazard and may find yourself trapped in a dangerous situation. Rule number four, remember to “latch on” at the end of the line, which takes a final burst of energy so the line doesn’t ride off into the distance without you. Finally, when you are in a pace line, it is best to be in an easier gear while spinning the pedals a little faster. This will help prevent you from surging into the rider in front of you. Remember predictability is really important to safe pace lining. Riding in a pace line also provides the benefits of drafting behind others, requiring less energy to travel the same distance.

You may encounter lots of wildlife on the ride this year. You may see deer, turkeys, otters, turtles, beavers, hawks, eagles, and vultures.

Again, just like clockwork, , we had intermittent user problems following the maps. We had dutifully printed out the maps and even downloaded them to our Garmins. We even used the MapMyRide App on our cell phones (this App is pretty darn good and can really give you a great view of where you are going). Each turn is laid out, right 1 mile, left .5 miles, rotate around the tree, go back, repeat and so on. Following the maps (or in my case, failing to pay attention) can sometimes be confusing or can take you to strange places. For instance, the map said turn left (west) and after a while we passed that darn corn field again…

All kidding aside, Backroads will have the route well marked with signs and painted arrows at most turns so no one should get lost or go off course. Riders should not be worried about getting lost or having to ride through overgrown forest trails, corn fields or tulip fields. We are on the paved roads the entire route.

Ok, a couple of other comments before I move on to describing the course. Drivers (although there were very few cars encountered) gave a wide berth and everyone we met could not have been more helpful or kind. There are farm trucks driving on some of the country roads. Drivers were patient and gave room, but please be careful as trucks and cars will win the physics battle 100% of the time. About 40 miles of the route this year rides along the Capital Trail bike path. Please use extra caution on the trail. There are other riders (in both directions) as well as walkers on the trail. Please stay to the right and try to ride in single file. The others using the path will thank you and you will have a better chance to stay safe. The weather may be unpredictable, with wind and rain possible while we are riding. Be prepared for great weather, but look out for heat, rain, winds and possible thunder storms. Staying hydrated is incredibly important. Even experienced riders can overlook this. Be smart and hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate!

Now, on to the route:

Day 1

The Day 1 Doswell – Newtown Loop, is a 66-mile route that climbs 2,500 ft. The majority of the route is a relatively flat ride through fertile valleys with some occasional rolling hills to break it up. There is one notable hills on this route, at about mile 17, climbing about 125 feet over just shy of a mile, very doable for most/all riders, the rest of the hills are rolling and they are relatively short. Be prepared for quiet country roads and beautiful scenery. Road surfaces were good to marginal at times. Much of Day 1’s route is along the Rochambeau Trail. A fictional factoid is that General Rochambeau taught General Washington and the British the Rock, Paper, Scissor game, thus avoiding several bloody battles along the way… Overall, Day 1 was very enjoyable and a fun ride.



 

Day 2

This year, like last year, Day 2 is the 100-mile “Century” ride, with a shorter, more manageable 75-mile version as an option. The route winds 100 miles from Doswell to Jamestown, with the final 3 miles on the Virginia Capital Trail, a wonderful asphalt bike path. Day 2 is reasonably flat, with occasional rolling hills. The only real testor of a hill comes at 33 miles in. It is a steep climb, but it doesn’t last too long. You can do it! The extra loop on the century route continues the winding path through lush farm land. Well worth the extra effort. The lunch stop is at New Kent Winery, a beautiful location located on Stuart’s Ride Trail. MapMyRide says 4100 feet of elevation gain for the Century ride (our Garmins’’ confirmed that elevation gain), so some up and down, especially on the extra loop for the Century riders, but frankly, it wasn’t that noticeable. Don’t sweat the elevation gain too much. It is spread out over 100 miles and there weren’t any super big hills along the way. Overall, we found the day’s ride to be very scenic and very pleasant riding.



 

Day 3

Day 3 is a great 58-mile popsicle stick loop route with a scant 1800 feet of climbing. This flat course starts from Jamestown heading out the first 11 miles on the Capital trail. Turning right, off the trail onto a serene 25 mile loop, the route winds along the Chickahominy Wildlife Area, through Charles City and Sherwood Forest. The ride concludes by connecting back onto the Capital Trail for the last 20 miles of super fun riding. The day ends with a traditional swim.



Overall, this year’s route is terrific and will provide a great experience for both the seasoned rider as well as the novice rider. Be prepared. Bring sunscreen, but also bring a light rain jacket just in case. Ride safely. Finally, hydrating is crucial to set yourself up for a spectacular experience. It is easy to be surprised and become dehydrated on long rides, so a good rule of thumb is a full water bottle an hour!

Enjoy the Tour!!!

 

Well, it’s finally here. Tour Davita 2017. I’ve been obsessing about this and training for this since October of last year. What are my impressions now that I’m here? In a word…COLD! In another word…WET! And finally…FANTASTIC!

Seattle has been cold and rainy, especially for a desert rat from Phoenix. but the experience has far outweighed the weather. The people I’ve met have been amazing and supportive. The scenery is postcard perfect.

Day 1 I was able to ride until lunch, 38 miles, and then had to catch a shuttle to dialysis. The staff opened up on a Sunday. Thanks to Davita Mill Creek in Bothell and Jamey, Denise and Daisy for coming in an off day and making the experience as good as it could be.

Day 2 started cold and foggy. Of course, why wouldn’t it? Five miles into the ride I was rethinking my decision to be here. My gloves were iced over, my face was freezing, I was wearing four layers of shirts and a stocking cap under my helmet. But I pushed on to the first rest stop. And then the sun came out and I thought, okay, go for one more rest stop. And then one more and then one more.

And suddenly I only had 12 miles left to ride to make it to 73 miles, the metric 100. Dozens of people encouraged me on the way. Special thanks to Keli the Great and Melissa, who were kind enough to ride with me throughout the day and encourage me to finish. I was slow, my body was cranky, and I had my doubts, but I made it.

I look forward to tomorrow’s ride and next years as well.

 

For as long as I can remember, I have always been a runner and running has always been my sport. Unfortunately, my body wasn’t completely on board with running. As my back issues started to increase, I began biking more and completed my first Tour DaVita in 2015. I would describe that experience as the wettest, muddiest, most difficult and most amazing experience ever. When I showed up in the rain, I wasn’t so sure about the whole thing and honestly, I thought for sure that everything was going to be canceled. However, as I saw everyone get on their bikes I, too, got on mine. I made it every bit of the 250 miles and fell completely in love with the ride. Unfortunately, shortly after returning home from that Tour, my back issues worsened and I ended up having spinal fusion surgery in 2016.

After that, I assumed my cycling career was over. However, since the surgery, I’ve been testing my limits and increasing my activity. When this year’s Tour DaVita dates were announced, I told myself that if I was meant to ride in this year’s ride, it would happen for me during registration. I was able to log on and secure a spot within the first 15 minutes of registration. It was meant to be. While I haven’t been able to get my training up to the level it was during first Tour DaVita, I am completely psyched to be heading back out there again. I am going into this year’s race with the mindset that I have three days with absolutely nothing to do, but ride a bike – so I’m just going to keep going. I might be a turtle out there, but I’ll be out there – all day, every day. I’m so excited!

 

My name is Veronica Baez and I am a first-time rider in this year’s Tour DaVita. I have been with The Everett Clinic for almost eight years, but my experience as a new DaVita Village member has been nothing short of amazing. In 2016, I read about Tour DaVita through internal emails and it caught my attention.  But at that time, joining the tour felt like only a dream to me. At the time, I had not been on a bike in over twenty years and I felt that I was not strong enough, both mentally and physically. In my opinion, I was older, beefier and worn around the edges. However, despite all of that I knew I wanted to change my ways and get back to a healthier me.

Luckily, in late March, I was able to attend DaVita Academy in Denver. Everything I hoped that DaVita Academy would be – it was. My cup was filled with positivity and I felt empowered. And the best part is that at during DaVita Academy, Yoda announced, “The Tour DaVita site was just released yesterday. This year Tour DaVita will be in the beautiful Snohomish, Washington.” Considering this is my home town, I knew this was my year to take it on!

When I registered, I was afraid that I wouldn’t land a spot. But when you do something with intense will and passion, life has a way of bringing it to you. I completed the registration and I immediately knew that I was in for the ride of a lifetime. Now all I needed to do was to learn how to ride a real bicycle. When I was eight, I kind of got the hang of how to pedal and go, but I had no idea how to ride a bike with gears. I had never learned how to start from a complete stand still and I was nervous about riding on suburban streets. I was worried I’d lose my balance, sprawl out on the pavement and I was also concerned about what I would do if a car came. I feared going uphill because I thought that I might start rolling backward and then freak out.

I had no time to take a class so I started teaching myself by watching YouTube videos, and reading all I could on proper seat levels and RPMs during my kid’s swimming and soccer practices. I quickly learned that there was more to a bike than the ‘pedal and go’ I had learned in my early days. I eventually borrowed a bicycle and helmet from my son and made it to a bicycle trail.

Another source of worry for me is that I searched high and low and realized I am the only rider this year from The Everett Clinic. However, after time I realized that I already have the best training team, my very own family. I always imagined cycling would be fun, but I have found that it is exhilarating. Riding a bike feels like I’m really traveling. When you’re driving a car, the speed is mediated by the machine you’re controlling, whereas on the bike there’s a much stronger corporeal connection. Learning to ride as an adult is almost better because it’s more of an accomplishment. The confidence I’ve gained has empowered me to be more active in my life. I have lost 20 pounds, experienced better cardiovascular health, energy and overall strength. In addition, cycling is a fun family activity! It’s liberating, exciting and every day brings a new adventure on my bike. Another thing that makes me very happy is the effect it has had on my friends and family. People see my contagious joy and want to grab that for themselves; many of them are getting on bikes for the first time in years.

The fundraising part of Tour DaVita was also incredibly impactful. Raising money for people in need made me realize how much we all want to help. What I hear most from my family and friends is, “We want to help a good cause, but we don’t know how or where.” They say that donating to my cause has made it easier for them to give back. I feel that fundraising empowers me to be the bridge between my community and Bridge of Life, DaVita’s charity organization. Through this journey, I have come to realize that helping and caring for a person in need is the key to achieving happiness.

Training for Tour DaVita has taught me to conquer fear by connecting with others. To write about it, talk about it, put it on social media and to seek encouragement. With very little biking history I am excited to see what the future holds for me in the cycling world. Now I am good at a sport and can keep up with my kids. Last, but certainly not least, I want to acknowledge that I have taken an important first step, believing in myself. I am now part of a wonderful community and I know without the support from my family, friends and this community, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Thank you for everything.

 

According to Cathy Bready, Tour DaVita is the amazing equalizer. Each and every rider – no matter how fast or how far they manage to ride – feels sore, tired and hungry at the end of each day on the trail. Although these elements provide a challenge, they also foster a sense of supportiveness and camaraderie throughout the entire group of riders.

Cathy is a bubbly teammate currently gearing up for her seventh Tour DaVita ride! Her story of solidarity is a glowing illustration of the spirit of the ride. During a ride a few years ago, she started out with a personal goal: to finish all three days of the tour. This was a feat she hadn’t completed before, and she was determined to make it happen this year. She fought for her goal despite all the soreness from sitting on a bike seat for hours on end and through hunger and exhaustion. “First-time riders might expect their legs to get sore from pedaling,” she noted, “but really it’s the sitting that gets the most painful. Bring padded shorts!”

On the last day of the ride, Cathy was the very last person to approach the finish line after successfully completing all three days of the 206-mile ride. Although her excitement to be accomplishing her goal provided some comfort, she couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed as she pedaled in on the now-dark trail. By the time she approached the finish line, she was bummed to think of all of her new friends enjoying their celebration dinner without her, comfortably showered and fed. She expected an empty finish line and a solo walk back to the camp.

To Cathy’s surprise, as she turned the bend for the final stretch, cheers and excitement from half of the DaVita Rx team greeted her! “At that point,” she said, “everything stopped hurting.” She realized that the team had waited through dinner for her and had made the team effort to stay gathered around to congratulate her. It meant the world to Cathy to see the spirit of the ride in action. “Everyone is so encouraging,” she said. “The goal is always to do the best you can.”

This experience is what truly drove DaVita values home for Cathy, but she sees camaraderie in action each year. The sense of community and adventure keep her coming back. “It’s a feel-good thing!” she said, encouraging anyone considering trying out the Tour to go for it.

 

It’s almost here! I’ve put in a lot of miles in getting ready for my first Tour DaVita. I’m not convinced that the rolling hills of Raleigh, North Carolina have prepared me for the mountains of Washington . . . but I have done all I can do. The best part of this trip of a lifetime is that I’m not going alone. There are four Wake Forest Warriors participating! One of my patients, Carl, will be going on his first tour. He regularly rides his bike and happens to be a talented photographer. The dietitian, Adrienne, is rolling along as well. She has borrowed a bike and purchased shoes so she can have a more authentic training experience.  A technician, Kristie, who is our ring leader, is preparing for her second tour. She also has upgraded her bike and has spent a lot of time telling us about her awesome experience last year. Me? Well I’m Kathy, a nurse as well as our clinical coordinator. Ten years ago I rode in events like this regularly. I was a triathlete and rode approximately 100-150 miles a week. Now I’m 10-ish pounds overweight and working full time, leaving less hours to be on my bike. In my mind, I’m ready but the reality is that It will probably be a challenge to complete the course.  (I keep thinking of the five mile long hill. FIVE MILES???)

Each of us has prepared for this ride in our own way but we have looked to each other for advice. Fingerless or full gloves, and clip in shoes versus standard pedals. Where to go for a bike tune up? Every day we check in with each other to see how it’s going and discuss our latest concerns. The four of us are a great team because each of us brings something to the group. Carl reminds us of why we ride. Everything we do is for our patients. The fact that he is a dedicated rider reminds us that ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) has not kept him from doing something he loves. Adrienne helps motivate me because she is able to exercise almost every day. I find it hard to get out on the bike after a long stressful day, but she makes it look so easy. Somehow, I find the energy after talking to her. Kristie has helped us prepare for the actual event. She has stressed the importance of having a rolling bag and handy tips on how to make the tour more enjoyable. I feel like I’ve been able to provide some basic bike riding tips and training suggestions. Because there are four of us going, it feels like our whole unit is a part of this experience. All of the patients are aware that the tour exists, and many have helped us countdown to our special trip. I’m proud of our little team and look forward to flying to Washington to do something I love with teammates from across the country.