Autumn -- 09/23/11
Autumn began today, sometime before dawn. The weather is not really autumnal -- we have temperatures somewhere around 68 or 70 -- rain, varying from light drizzle to heavy at times -- with chance of scattered thunderstorms -- flood warnings have been issued for those who live near streams and rivers -- and it is humid, very humid. This is pretty much what we had yesterday and we are supposed to have more of the same tomorrow.
One thing that autumn brings is a very, very, very long bicycle ride for my brother Charlie and his son. Those of you who have been reading my online rambling for a sufficiently long time may recall having seen mention of their 105 mile bike ride across Death Valley. Really long time readers may even remember the very first such notice about Team Chad & Dad back in 2002. The purpose of the ride -- in which they join with hundreds of other riders -- is to raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Team Chad & Dad has expanded this year to include my niece Melissa.
Charlie is my baby brother -- well, 'way back in the 1940s when I was a little kid, he was a baby -- but the relative size of the tremendous age gap between us has narrowed over the years, but he remains three years (and a few months) younger than me (that is, he just turned 65 a couple of weeks ago). He looks much younger than that -- which is probably partly due to the vast amount of exercise he gets every year training for this ride (you don't just hop on a bike and say "I think I'm going to go for a 105 mile bike ride.") -- and also because he is (as we like to joke) battery-powered (which is a reference to his pacemaker implant -- yeah, he has a pacemaker and he goes for hundred mile bike rides).
My nephew Chad is a graphics designer (he designs awesome t-shirts and book covers and just about anything -- very talented) spent his first birthday in a hospital intensive care unit recovering from a diabetic coma. He became a competitive BMX bicycle racer at a very young age (plus a competitive skateboarder) who then branched out into mountain bike racing. (Two or three years ago he placed second in age group at the national championships.)
My niece Melissa surprised everyone when she said she wanted to ride Death Valley this year. She has always been a tireless worker and is an absolute champion at organizing walkathons and such, but she had never shown an athletic side before. However, last year she was a volunteer worker at Jubilee Pass and decided that this year she wanted to ride. She has been training all summer and is now ready for the challenge.
A number of you have supported their efforts in previous years by making donations to JDRF. (Thank you.) So I am again bringing this to your attention in case any of you might be inclined to support their efforts by making a contribution. Each of their names above link to their individual JDRF contribution pages or click one (or more **grin**) of these links: