This one is very inspiring and from a guy with a big heart. On June 13, 2010, Christopher Beltz participated in the Tour de Cure. A fundraising effort for the ADA held in Kansas City and a grueling test of endurance and dedication. Here is Chris- In His Own Words....
"I have always been an active person and always loved the going to the gym, but I never really did much cardio. Hitting the weights is and will always be my favorite. But as I got older I noticed that my metabolism slowed down and I started to pack on unwanted weight. Dieting helped, but I still could not get that lean look. I realized that I needed to start doing cardio = not fun.
I tried running, but falling off a ladder a few years prior pretty much did my ankle in. So I took up a Spin class at the gym. I took it every Friday for a little over a year. After a year, I got the itch to buy a bicycle. It had been years since I was on a bicycle. I think the last bicycle I owned, I was 14 and it was a BMX bike. I had no idea what to look for, so to keep it simple I decided to buy a cheap beach cruiser. Nothing fancy, just a single gear cruiser. I missed being on a bicycle. I rode that cruiser around for most of the summer of 2008, but by the end of the summer I was looking at other bicycles. The cruiser was a good start, but I needed something that could pick up speed and get me to where I wanted to go, faster. Spring of 2009 is when I purchased my Schwinn Cutter. It’s just a single gear road bike. No bells and no whistles. I just can’t afford those fancy multispeed bicycles. I rode that bike all summer, making personal goals for myself. The largest goal that I made for myself was to ride 300 miles in one month, which I accomplished. Achieving a goal like that makes me want to set bigger goals. I always like pushing myself to the next biggest thing.
This year started out slow on the bicycle. It seems the forecast has called for rain every day. Needless to say, riding has been limited. Just a little over a month ago is when a co-worker asked if I wanted to ride in the Tour de Cure with him. It’s a benefit ride for diabetes. Without thinking twice, I told him I was on board. He said he and two other guys would sign up for the 40 mile ride and should have it done in 2 hours and 30 minutes. I started calculating in my head what that means to me. Now all I have is a single gear bike. Top speed before I bottom out is around 23 mph and that is pretty much all out peddling. So in order for me to finish the ride in that time, I needed to keep up a pace of 15 mph. The longest I have ever ridden in one day was 55 miles, but that was in a span of about 4 hours, taking my time. This was going to be a little bit of a challenge for me, especially since I have not ridden that much this year.
First and foremost, I wanted to help raise money for the ride. The first week out, I was able to raise $400! It’s a great feeling to know that I have wonderful friends and family to support me. I had such good response that I had to raise my goal twice. I ended up raising $670 total in about a 3 week period!
Now as far as training went, I was able to squeeze out a few rides here and there, but not as much as I would have liked. The weekend before the race, I was planning one more long ride. Friday night came and was almost over when clumsiness took place. I tripped and put my hand through a plate glass window, and I had to go to the ER. The cut was so deep that I lacerated the tendon on the side of my right hand. I left the ER with four stitches and my arm in half cast. The only thing I was concerned about was, how am I going to ride with this cast and stitches in my hand? I wasn’t about to cancel the ride. I had worked too hard to raise this money and well…there was a little pride in it for myself. It was a goal that I set and I wanted to accomplish it.
A week later, Sunday morning, it’s time for Tour de Cure. The half cast was off, but the stitches were still in. I’m stoked and ready to go. The forecast…rain of course. None the less, I packed my gear and wrapped up my hand to make sure the stitches stayed intact and headed out the door with the full support of Mandy; she was my pit stop crew, waiting on me at various points along the course. We got to the event and met up with my other 3 teammates. Here I am pulling out my single gear bike and they rode up on their $3000 plus road bikes. Talk about bringing a knife to a gunfight. I told them, “Try to keep up” jokingly as we rode up to the start.
Shortly after the start of the ride is when the rain started. This was the first time that I rode in the pouring down rain. It rained for the first 20 miles. I thought it was kind of nice and figured it might keep me cool. Around mile 22 is when the rain stopped and the hills started. Holy crap and talk about some hills. It seemed that no sooner that I topped one hill, the next one was going to be steeper. There was a moment that I felt my legs locking up on me, but not once did I stop in the middle. If I stopped, it was going to be that much harder to start up again.
Mile 24 we took our last pit stop. Knowing that the hills were not going to stop, I took off ahead of my teammates, figuring that they will catch up with me later. It wasn’t until 15 minutes after I finished the ride, they finally caught up. I ended up finishing the ride before them with a time of 2 hours and 42 minutes. I fell short of my goal by 12 minutes, but considering it was my first long ride, I was on a single gear bike, in the rain, stitches in my hand and the hills we endured; I will take that extra 12 minutes in stride. It was a sense of accomplishment that I have never experienced before. Best of all, it was for a good cause. I’m on the email list for more rides and benefits, but maybe I should start looking for a geared bike? Too many of those rides on my bicycle just might require knee surgery later on in life.
A special thanks to Mandy. She’s a marathoner. I’ve seen her accomplish some things I could never imagine doing. It was because of her that kept me going up those hills. Thanks Mandy, I love you!"