To celebrate her 50th birthday, Diane Lea is riding her bicycle from San Diego, California, to Pensacola, Florida. She’s riding 50 miles a day, for 50 days, to promote awareness for 50 different Causes!
Each day that she rides, she will “spotlight” the specific cause for that day. She also wants to meet people every day in the cities and towns along her bicycle route, so that she can hear their personal stories and continue getting the word out about these 50 Causes.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Diane about her upcoming journey which will feature a grand total of SIX rare diseases causes including Global Genes itself!
Q: What inspired you to do this marathon bike ride for charity?
A: Two years ago I was thinking of what I might do for my upcoming 50th birthday and as I was narrowing down my options, I decided that I really wanted it to be a “Reverse Birthday” and do something for someone else. The 50 Causes Ride is my birthday gift to others!
Q: Fifty miles seems like an extreme amount to most! How long have you been cycling and is this an average day for you in terms of mileage?
A: Fifty miles was an extreme amount to me too, just a few years ago! I started riding in 2009 and needed a “goal” so I found a 40 mile charity ride and started training for it. My legs were like noodles at the end of that ride, and I could barely walk! Since then I’ve ridden 106 miles in a charity ride and was raring to go afterward (although I didn’t have to get back on the bike the next day, like I will with the 50 mile days). This is a huge personal challenge for me and has really been a lifestyle change, because I have to ride so much more mileage in preparation for this cross country trip. I am not riding 50 miles every day now; my mileage and workouts vary, depending on what effect I’m looking for and how much time I have to ride.
Q: What kind of organizations will you be supporting during your ride?
A: There is a lot of variety on the Cause list and that’s how I wanted it. First I looked around my life to see what was affecting the people I care about, and then I widened the circle. For example, my mom has Alzheimer’s, so that one made the list early. My aunt recently died of Breast Cancer, my best friend has Rheumatoid Arthritis, a friend’s child has a rare disease called Neurocutaneous Melanosis, and I know a family with two children who have the same rare disease called Sanfilippo Syndrome. That’s only five causes, but you can see that they run the gamut. I’m even working on a couple of animal causes.
Q: How can our readers help the organizations you’re raising all this awareness for?
A: That’s what this whole thing is about! Our website (which is still under construction at this moment) will have links to the causes so your readers can pick the causes that interest them and follow those links for more information. When the Ride starts, we will promote the specific cause for each day on Facebook, and we will provide more information there as well.
Q: What does your road agenda look like? Will you be riding every day or taking breaks in between?
A: The road agenda is the most exciting part for me, as you might imagine! I typically ride in the mornings so I’ll continue that habit as much as possible, and the plan is to ride six days per week and recover on one day, but I have to keep that a little flexible. After each of the daily rides I want to meet as many people as possible and hear their stories because they are the reason I’m doing this ride! I would absolutely LOVE IT if I get to meet a bunch of new people every day!
Q: What will you be taking with you?
A: This is a great question! I literally have “lists” of what I must take and what I should take, and what I might take. I have been loaned an RV to get me out to San Diego from Florida, and that RV will stay near me throughout the ride, so now I can take most things. I’ll need about a week’s worth of cycling apparel and “street” clothes for after the daily rides. I’ll take my electronics so I can post pictures and updates along the way. I’ll take my Daily Devotion book and my (new and very cool) journal, and of course, my beach chair!
Q: What did your family and friends think about this idea when you first told them?
A: My family is close and because they “know” me, most of the initial reactions were things like “Cool!” and “Wow!” and “Awesome!” (My mom has dementia and doesn’t “get it” but I just say something every now and then about “that little bike ride I’m doing” and she seems positive.) One of my brothers said something about me being (expletive here) crazy but after the initial shock, he has been very supportive. My sister is getting ready to paint my logo on the entire driver’s side of the RV – that makes me giddy! My other two brothers are enthusiastic as well. My Aunt Roberta (recently died of Breast Cancer) totally “got it” and was hoping she would live long enough to “track me across the country” but she didn’t make it. I have a bunch of nieces and nephews and cousins who are all pumped up about the ride! My friends had the initial “shocked” reactions too but they are very positive, supportive, and helpful.
Q: Will there be a place we can follow your progress as you make your trek throughout the United States?
A: Yes! And I’ve been told that “if people can track Santa Claus, we can track Diane!” Our Facebook page will be updated daily and the website will have even more information.
Q: Is there any “grand finale” planned for day 50 of the race?
A: Yes and no, and I’m glad you asked! We are planning a Celebration of the 50 Causes in Pensacola, Florida, on August 27th. We need a separate date for this, instead of having it on Day 50 – otherwise the Cause on Day 50 would have to share the spotlight and I don’t want that. All 50 Causes should have their own Day. We want representatives from all 50 Causes to be present at the Celebration in Pensacola on August 27th.
Q: Where will the marathon begin and end? And on what dates (approximately).
A: The journey begins in San Diego, CA on June 18th and will end approximately August 18th in Pensacola, Florida. My plan is to ride in San Diego for the first three days, on the same route out and back, in an effort to meet more people and gain support and momentum for this Ride.
Please get involved and follow Diane’s journey across the country on her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/50causesride and check out the website at www.50causesride.com for information about all of the 50 Causes. This “50 Causes Ride” will take approximately 2 months. Please DONATE what you can today and GET INVOLVED with this unique cross-country awareness ride. Thanks in advance and be on the lookout for Diane on her bicycle!