100-degree heat, accident don’t stop 100-mile cyclist
When COVID-19 cancellations forced Cathy Peregrino to get creative with her American Diabetes Association Tour De Cure route, she never thought she’d be riding solo for 100 miles in 100-degree heat. She surely never expected to be hit by an SUV while riding her bike and fundraising for diabetes research. But that didn’t stop Peregrino from pedaling toward her $1,800 fundraising goal, surpassing that goal and overcoming obstacles along the way.
“Last year everything was virtual, and since the Tour ended up being virtual again this year, I felt like I should do something to raise money for research for the American Diabetes Association,” Peregrino said, a few days after completing her century ride. “Since I would end up doing the ride by myself, which isn’t very motivating, I was trying to think of how I could do this and make my route more motivating.”
So Peregrino rode from her home in Farmington to her parents’ house in
Dassel, exactly – and conveniently – 100 miles apart, making this Tour the longest ride she’d completed in a long time.
“There’s diabetes in my family, and a friend of mine who has Type 1 diabetes does the ride regularly and I thought I’d like to try,” she said.
Her route took her through St. Paul and Minnehaha Park and onto the Luce Line, a trail that would comprise 30 of her 100 miles. One block shy of hopping on the Luce Line, a SUV pulling a trailer failed to stop completely at a stop sign and didn’t see Peregrino on her bike, bumping her and sending her to the ground.
“The guy admitted that he never saw me. I skinned my knee, but thankfully my bike was in good shape,” Peregrino said. “The car behind the SUV stopped and the driver got out to check on me as well as a nurse who shared with me that she had diabetes.”
Once she started riding the Tour De Cure, Peregrino heard about more and more people with diabetes, making her fundraising for a cure even more meaningful.
“Once I made a commitment to do this, a good friend of mine called me from the hospital to tell me he found out he has Type 2 Diabetes,” she said. “My mom and my brother both have Type 2 as well.”
Peregrino completed her 100-mile ride over the course of two days, with a stop at the AmericInn hotel in Long Lake along the way. She endured 100+ degree heat and relentless sun. Her dad met her in Dassel with a smile and his truck to bring her to their rural home for some rest and relaxation, something Peregrino not only earned from her long bike ride, but also after working nonstop over the past 15 months as an Unemployment Insurance specialist at the Dept. of Employment and Economic Development. She also serves as MAPE Local 501 Treasurer.
“I’m 58 years old and it felt good to be able to do something that raised money. After the pandemic and everything that came with that, I wanted to participate and set myself up with a challenge that would better my health and do something good for diabetes research,” Peregrino said. “As long as I’m able to do this, I think I’ll continue to do the Tour de Cure.”
There is still time to donate to the American Diabetes Association to celebrate Cathy’s commitment, persistence and 100-mile ride.