Most of us won’t remember what we did on May 21, 2016. But for Trek Travel guest Grant Curry, that spring Saturday will be forever remembered as the day he completed a 4 day, 400 mile ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains to celebrate 40 years of living with Diabetes. And as he pedaled alongside the Chattahoochee River into the small town of Helen, Georgia, not only had he successfully completed his Ride40, but he had also raised $40,000 for Diabetes Training Camp in the process.
Tell us a bit about your background. How long have you been riding bikes?
I’ve been riding bikes since I was quite young, and got on my first road bike around age 11. I was diagnosed with Diabetes at age 8, and as my love of road cycling grew, I found myself struggling more and more with Diabetes management. The tools available weren’t effective back then, particularly prior to 1983 when home blood testing was first being used. I was into many sports as a kid but my ambitions were thwarted by my Diabetes. I stopped cycling by high school, but returned to it about 11 years ago and haven’t stopped pedaling since. I’m far better able to manage my Diabetes and exercise these days, with the help of continuous glucose monitoring, rapid acting insulin and pump therapy. Those things, combined with an excellent knowledge base for Diabetes and exercise, have enabled me to find a very active and fulfilling life with my illness.
What was your inspiration behind Ride40?
My inspiration for Ride40 started about two years ago when I began really looking at how much my life with Diabetes had changed over the last few years and I was coming up on a milestone of living with Diabetes for 40 years. I wanted to celebrate my life and all of the challenges I’ve had along the way. It became an opportunity for me to share the gifts that a life with Diabetes has brought me. It may be tremendously difficult to live with but it has also helped me become a better person, a better friend, and has brought me a community of amazing people to share my life with. Living with Diabetes has made me resilient. I wanted to spread the message that people with Diabetes CAN lead active and fulfilling lives and there’s a place to learn how called Diabetes Training Camp.
Why did you choose a bike ride as your fundraising method?
Because cycling is my favorite sport and riding a bike is the closest feeling I can get to being able to fly. I wanted to do a ride that was harder than any I’d done in the past. I trained hard for Ride40. I’m not a competitive cyclist but love to ride for the challenge of it. I’m not a gifted climber but have a passion for it nonetheless. I chose to raise scholarship funding for Diabetes Training Camp Foundation because I’ve seen so many adult lives changed through the DTC programs. This was an opportunity to give back to my Diabetes community, to turn obstacles into opportunities. Climbing mountains on a bike is certainly a metaphor for the ups and downs of life.
What was the most memorable moment of the ride?
The most memorable moment of the ride was heading toward the summit of Mt. Mitchell with my dear friend, Townsend Myers, with whom I’ve done a lot of cycling and have been through many life challenges with. He and I went to Utah with Trek Travel in 2012. My wife, Cynthia, was in the support van behind us with our friend, Carrie Cheadle, inspiring us with music as we clawed our way up in the cold, rain and heavy fog. It was such a difficult day for the team. After making the long descent back to our lodgings, I checked my messages to find out that we had reached our $40k fundraising goal. I’ve never been more proud. My wife, who’s lived with MS for the last 14 years, likes to say, “The more difficult the conditions, the more memorable the ride.” It’s certainly true. She and I rode Utah twice with Trek Travel. Our second trip was challenging with poor weather on three days. But we had one of our most memorable days ever, together on bikes, riding from Boulder, UT to the Powell Point overlook in torrential rain, cold and sleet. The landscape had such a beauty in those conditions. We loved every minute of it, even when we were suffering.
What is the most rewarding part about your volunteer work as an Assistant Cycling Coach at Diabetes Training Camp?
I was a camper for two sessions in 2008, and it changed my life in so many ways. Now, working at Diabetes Training Camp has given me the opportunity to help some of our beginner or novice cyclists develop their skills and find a deeper enjoyment of the sport. I like helping people become more confident on a bike and more confident in their ability to ride with Diabetes. It changes my life to see people come to camp thinking they’re not able to ride well and leave feeling like champions. I want my Diabetes to be something that brings me joy and empowers me to live better. Helping others find the same is what drives me each and every day.