Friday, October 31, 2008

The Tour de Cove October 26 2009 - an amazing event!

I knew the Tour de Cove was going to be an amazing event, but until you actually experience something like this, you have no idea what to truly expect. So I'm hoping these photos do it just a little bit of justice. 

A little bit on the background of the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Their mission is to give those with the desire to live active, competitive lifestyles every opportunity to compete in the sports they love. They believe that involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life. Read more about their mission here.

They organize events throughout the year, but this is one of their most important. The San Diego Triathlon Challenge is a half-ironman distance event that features world-class challenged athletes, professional triathletes, celebrities and other able-bodied participants on one of the most breathtaking courses in the country.  Concurrent to this event is the Tour de Cove, a 4-1/2 hour Spinning event set up on the grass of La Jolla Cove, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The morning of the event dawned very foggy, but the forecast was another beautiful warm day. Due to the fog, the swim portion of the triathlon was shortened (you couldn't see very far out over the Pacific Ocean), and that got going about 8:30 am.  The Tour de Cove, the 4.5 hour Spinning event, started at 9 am. Here is a view looking out over the crowd.

The front row was lined up with hand-cycles. Every hour or so they would rotate the young athletes to give them a chance to participate. They put a placard with their name so we could read them and announce to the crowd who was now in the front row. Since I had a Tour de France theme to my 1.5 hour presentation (I took them up Alpe d'Huez), I used the terminology that the announcers of the Tour de France use when referring to those in the front, the favorites. They call them the "Heads of State", so everytime I had to introduce a new wave of participants at the front, I introduced my "heads of State". One young girl was only 4 years old! Most were between the ages of 7 - 18.

The next photo is the riders from the side. My husband Jeff rode the entire 4.5 hours and this was his point of view. Of that time, he "Kranked" for an hour!

This is me on stage during my segment. I'll post my playlist and what I talked about tomorrow. For now, I just want to share the photos.

Up on stage with us, they would rotate some amazing athletes. The guy on the handcycle to my left had his legs amputated immediately below the hips, but it doesn't stop him! And he had a smile the whole time. The guy without the shirt on on the left of the photo on the Krankcycle is Mike Michaels, a former Master Instructor for Spinning (one of the originals) is now again working closely with Johnny G to develop the Krankcycle. (More on the Krankcycle in tomorrow's post). Mike presented the first 1.5 hrs of the Tour de Cove, and then he continued to Krank for the entire 4.5 hours!
Some more of the athletes on stage.

Looking down from my perspective over the "Heads of State" and the entire crowd of over 100 participants.  Participants raised over $50,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation! (Thanks to all of you who sponsored me!)

The Heads of State.
Take a close look at this young man. He has no legs (two prosthetics) and no hands! And he is in a standing climb with excellent form. How can you see this and hold on to your own excuses for not accomplishing something? This guy was my hero, and for me, was the most inspirational part of the event.

I've posted 40 photos of the whole event on my Facebook page. Please check it out, I can't post them all here, and you'll be even more inspired!

And come back over the next few days for more on the Tour de Cove. Start thinking about it for next year - if you live anywhere in California, you'll want to be a part of this amazing event!


NikkiJade said...

Good for you Jennifer! Presented with a bang as usual I bet. :)

Jennifer Sage said...

Thanks Nikki,
it was a blast and so inspirational!