Happy holidays, everyone! We're back after spending some time with our families and doing some fat biking to bring you Episode 13 of the Midwest Cycling Podcast. This week's guest is an incredible guy who has some amazing stories to tell you from his experiences working with the JDRF Ride to Cure.
In 2005, Mike Clark was asked by one of his bike shop's customers to become a Ride Coach for a newly-formed Western Michigan JDRF Ride Team. If you're not familiar with JDRF, it's a foundation that raises money to fund research that will lead to a cure of Type 1 Diabetes. Mike has been involved since being asked to coach that team, and in the years since, he has become the Co-National Ride Coach, and Head Tech Supervisor for the JDRF Ride Program.
That means Mike can be seen at every JDRF ride that takes place throughout the country. He sets up a pop-up bike shop at each venue and makes sure each rider's bike is working flawlessly. Then he does the 100-mile rides and makes sure all of his team members, as well as anyone else who crosses his path, have a great day on their bikes. If it sounds like a lot of work, it is. And it's a labor of love for Mike that all goes towards the goal of curing Type 1 Diabetes.
I'm not gonna lie, you guys. This one gets a little emotional. Nearly everyone who participates in a JDRF ride is doing it because someone they love has Type 1 Diabetes. The people who raise money and show up to ride all have a story to tell, and some of them can be as heartbreaking as they are inspirational. I would imagine for most people who attend one of these rides, it's hard to get through the weekend without shedding a tear, and for some listeners, it might be hard to get through this interview without a kleenex or two.
For Mike, and the people who participate in JDRF, taking a heartbreaking story and turning it into one from which people can draw strength to make a positive change in the world is what these JDRF rides are all about. Mike tells us that the success of this program has a lot to do with the Power of the Bike, and the people who ride; something a lot of our listeners have very likely experienced in one form or another.