2014 Rides: Lake Tahoe, CA and Nashville, TN
One of the biggest fans of the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes is Victoria Cumbow of Nashville, TN. A two-year veteran of the program, Victoria hopes to complete two JDRF rides in 2014—one in Lake Tahoe, CA and the other in Nashville. She enthusiastically shares her Ride stories with everyone and hopes to channel her excitement into new riders and more research dollars for type 1 diabetes (T1D).
Victoria was diagnosed with T1D 20 years ago. Despite a family history of diabetes, Victoria’s diagnosis came as a surprise—she was the first person in her family diagnosed with T1D, and the first to be diagnosed as a child. For years, Victoria's family and friends rallied around her, joining family Walk teams and raising thousands of dollars for T1D research. As an adult, Victoria manages her diabetes with an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor.
Victoria began cycling in 2011, when she purchased a 25-year-old Fuji road bike with the intention of riding a few times a month. But before long, she was riding several times a week. It was through her local JDRF chapter in Huntsville, AL that she met Ross and Sarah Armstrong. Ross had recently completed the 2011 Tucson Ride, while the couple’s 6-year-old daughter with T1D rode the full 109 miles throughout the summer months. Never having been much of an athlete, Victoria was reluctant to commit when Ross tried to persuade her to sign up for the 2012 Death Valley Ride. But the idea of riding alongside hundreds of others supporting JDRF appealed to her, and Victoria began her Ride training with gusto.
It was her passion for T1D advocacy that led her to blogging, where she connected with a large and growing diabetes online community. It was through this network that Victoria met Jeff Mather—who blogs about managing his blood sugar while training for triathlons—and convinced him to join in the Ride. Together, Victoria, Ross, and Jeff took on the Death Valley Ride. Ross and Jeff completed the full course, while Victoria rode 70 miles—finishing the course with tears in her eyes and promising to return every year.
In 2013, the three rode in the inaugural Nashville Ride, along with Ross’ wife Sarah and several new riders from the Alabama Chapter. In 2014, the Alabama team has plans to tackle the Lake Tahoe Ride—hopefully with even more new riders.
Victoria is passionate about JDRF and the Ride to Cure Diabetes program. And since Victoria recently moved to Nashville, and she’s thrilled about having a JDRF Ride in her new hometown. “The Ride embodies a sense of family I haven’t experienced in any other event,” Victoria says, “Not only with the other riders, but with everyone at home rallying to support the effort through financial commitments. It's truly a community effort—one person signs up for the physical challenge and training, but through fundraising, the event fosters camaraderie, support, and a sense of ownership from everyone involved.”
For Victoria, the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes is a family affair, and it’s why she keeps coming back each year—or at least until Type One becomes Type None.