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Woman pedals toward juvenile diabetes cure

By Shelly Birkelo, Janesville Gazette

1709 days ago   Article ID# 1526266
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Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

JANESVILLE, WISCONSIN (Janesville Gazette) - Erika Toebaas is beginning to prepare herself mentally and physically for the ride of her life.

The 35-year-old Janesville woman on Oct. 20 will make a 105-mile ride through Death Valley, Calif., for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Ride to Cure Diabetes.

She is among hundreds of riders, including one other Janesville woman, who will make the ride.

"Every once in a while I think, 'Oh my goodness, what have I gotten myself into?'" she said.

While she trains for the grueling ride, she will be working full time as a stylist at a local salon and starting full-time massage therapy school.

Toebaas said she finds strength through the support of others—clients, her boyfriend and co-workers.

"I feel like if I can do it, it will be such an amazing accomplishment," she said. "I've always wanted to do a half marathon. That's on my bucket list also."

Toebaas is busy organizing fundraisers, including a golf outing and a gold-buying event, to benefit the foundation so it can fund research for better treatments and a cure for diabetes.

"I want to be part of something big. This is a great cause because diabetes affects so many children. Not every child makes it to adulthood and for those who do, it's a hard road for them," she said.

Toebaas will start training for the ride the first week of April. She already has been connected with a cycling coach.

Although she is an avid cyclist and averages 30-mile rides, she is in the process of upgrading to a smaller road bike.

"They're lighter and make for easier travel," she said.

Toebaas plans to take longer rides with others on weekends and shorter rides—6 to 40 miles—by herself during the week. She'll ride in all kinds of weather to prepare for the warm days in the California desert valley situated within the Mojave Desert.

"The most grueling will be making sure to take the time to train and hitting those long rides," she said.

The Oct. 20 ride starts before sunrise at Furnace Creek Ranch. Riders will finish between early afternoon and sunset.

The ride's terrain includes vast vistas, multi-hued rock formations, hidden canyons, shimmering salt flats, undulating hills and one long climb to Jubilee Pass overlooking the desert, where cyclists will see the occasional coyote and roadrunner.

Regardless of whether Toebaas finishes the ride

(it's not a race), she just wants to do something to help others.

"I'm just one person finding ways to raise money for a cause of a child past or currently having Type 1 diabetes.''

Copyright 2016 Janesville Gazette   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 1709 days ago   Article ID# 1526266

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