Posted: Sep 14, 2013 11:13 PM by Keele Smith - MTN News
THREE FORKS - About 60,000 people in Montana are currently living with diabetes.
Hundreds of people hit the pavement on Saturday to take a stand against the chronic illness.
A Type 1 diabetic, Elizabeth Leslie said, "I have Type 1 diabetes and we want to find a cure."
Leslie rode 12 miles in the fifth annual Tour de Cure.
"Your legs get really tired and your hands hurt but it was really fun," she said.
Leslie is one of more than 500 riders who are raising money to improve care for people with diabetes.
But to be a part of the race, participants have to do more than just pay a registration fee.
Before the actual tour, each rider above the age of eight, commits to raising a minimum of $150 with all proceeds going to the American Diabetes Association.
But it's not just about raising money. The annual bike ride is also a way to promote an active, healthy lifestyle.
Tour de Cure Co-Chair Carla Cox said, "If we all keep active, the people that have Type 2 diabetes, they need less medication. If they have Type 1 diabetes, it's just like the rest of us, keeps your heart healthy, keeps mind better. So it's a good reason for all of us to be out here."
The tour has been gaining momentum with about 100 new riders participating each year. Returning bikers say the growing support is uplifting.
Justin Rudolph is riding the Tour de Cure for the fifth year, which is as long as the event has existed.
"You're hearing ‘Go Red Rider' as you're on the path and you know that we're all out here together battling the same cause," Rudolph said.
"Life with diabetes is difficult, but you can do it, and diabetes should be about living," he said.
Some participants chose to walk five miles, while others pedaled anywhere from 10 to 100 miles.
The Tour de Cure is already on the books for next year. It will be on September 15th at the Missouri Headwaters State Park near Three Forks.