6 days. 540 miles. Houston, Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana.

Each day had its challenges on the bike, but there were always fun times, and it was terrific engaging with the other 53 riders. Fluid Trucks were present to help at every stage in the process, starting with bags loaded into the box truck, to snacks loaded into the vans for rest stops to supply the riders throughout the day.

Fluid Trucks stationed to provide support for the riders on the Tour du Rouge ride.

Although much of the day was the monotony of turning pedals mile after mile, there were a lot of high points throughout the days.

Arc locations along the route waited to meet us and share with us at rest stops, including at the end of day three (a 100-mile day!) where a large group greeted us at the finish line from the Arc of Acadiana. We were met with cheers, noise makers, signs, hugs, fist bumps, and high-fives. 

Simply amazing. Seeing them made this tour REAL.

A crowd of supporters cheer for the Tour du Rouge riders at one of the stops.

I've had an opportunity to spend time with members of the Arc and come to realize the phenomenal impact that they have through their support activities for the communities and families with individuals who have intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). 

The Arc’s vision is that every individual and family living with IDD in the United States should have access to the information, advocacy, and skills they need to support their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.  

I take a pause and reflect on the challenges that individuals with IDD and their families face day in and day out and suddenly, my pain seems trivial. I am motivated that I am playing a part –– albeit a small part–– in helping their cause. 

In the parking lot along the race route, Fluid Trucks and riders gather at the end of the day.

I was shocked to learn that my home state of Texas ranks #50 in the nation at promoting independence for people with IDD. This makes the work of ARC so very important, and it would not be possible without support of donors like you. If you want to learn more about the Arc and how you can get involved, feel free to reach out to me. You can also visit their website www.aogh.com 

Regardless of the struggles on the bike, it's always a good day on two wheels.

Many people think that riding 540 is a big deal, but it's truly one of the highlights of my year! I look forward to riding next year. I encourage others to join and experience this amazing event themselves, and to donate to this amazing organization that has locations throughout the country.

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