After being inspired to get back to bicycling, thanks to my man DJ who teaches a spinning class at the local health club, this was my first attempt at an organized ride in about 30 years. So why Tour de H20? We’ll I’ll be honest; As I looked for local rides I came across this one. It was a reasonable distance (52 miles) for a first ride and the base fundraising commitment was within what I felt was achievable. However, as I peeled back the covers on this fundraiser, the more intrigued I became. With sponsors like Whole Foods and Global Partners for Development, I found this to be a true grass roots effort to help those in need.
Tour de H20 is the brainchild of Steven and Keely. Both avid riders (although Keely is grounded for awhile – Congrats on the upcoming July baby) they decided to expand their giving ways by organizing a ride to raise money to build fresh water wells in the dry lands of Kenya. Building wells and helping underprivileged people seems to have become a passion with this unselfish couple. Check out their bio at http://tourdeh2o.org/AboutUs.aspx for more details.
For a first year event, I found TourdeH20 to be very well organized. Apparently Steven and Keely really did their homework. Food and snacks provided by Whole Foods, SAG services provided by BikeSource, plenty of volunteers, and well marked routes. (Okay, I missed one of the markers and went 1/2 mi out of way – shouldn’t I get extra credit?)
The route consisted of two 27 mile courses that traversed the countryside near Galloway, Ohio. Although the weather forecast called for rain, it turned out to be a great day for riding as it was a little overcast and the winds were moderate.
The ride was fun and the old legs, butt, etc. held out pretty well as I maintained an overall average of 16.3 mph. But the real victory was in the good that will result from the generous contributions from friends and families. The end result was that the fund-raising goal was exceeded and it is exciting to learn that at least two water wells with hand pumps will be constructed in partnership with the Kakelo Community.
According to Steven, “These wells will be constructed this year! Women and children from this community normally spend hours each day fetching water from distant sources. The Kakelo Community members will be so happy when they learn that their long-desired dreams for nearby, fresh, clean water will finally come to fruition. With this project, the women will be able to use their newfound time much more productively, villagers won’t be debilitated by water born diseases, and children ’s attendance at school will increase thanks to improved health. “
The ride was a great fun but the big satisfaction came from knowing that those contributing to the ride have helped to generate a bright new future for these people in need.
Specifically I’d like to thank the following people who supported me in my fundraising efforts: (for privacy purposes I’ll keep it on a first name basis)
Mitch, Pat, Tom, Nancy, Jonelle, Shawn, Jeff, Belinda, Karen, Mike, Rachel, Geoff, Christine, Lysandre, Bill, Tom, Bil, Evonne, Randy, Lynn & Myron.
Throughout the year I’ll keep everyone posted as to the progress made on the wells. I’ll also keep riding as I train for Pelatonia in August and I’ll definitely be back for next years Tour de H20.
See you next time!