My husband Nathan and I rode our first RAIN ride this year. We had just started riding last July when we bought our first tandem. We decided we would ride RAIN shortly after the event took place last year and we found out that this year's would be on Nathan's 30th Birthday. We couldn't think of a better goal or way to celebrate!

Everyone thought we were crazy. Some people thought we were crazy because we wanted to ride it on tandem. Others thought we were crazy because we hadn't been riding but a month when we decided we were going to do it. We even thought we were crazy. Then when we started training for RAIN we knew we were crazy.

We trained simply by riding. As much as possible, as often as possible. We rode 5 century rides this season, our first in March and one in the big hills of Kentucky in April! We got well over our 500 CIBA miles in May. One day even riding 3 CIBA rides in the same day!

While on RAIN however, we met CRAZY. Leaving Nathan's birthday party stop where we met up with his family at mile 116 we met Daniel McCrillis from Newton, Illinois. Daniel is 15 years old and was riding by himself. We got to talking because of his Herbalife jersey but came to find out that this young man had an unbridled spirit and the boundless determination that many times only a 15 year old boy can possess. Daniel was in a lot of pain and had stopped for about an hour and a half to lie down because he was cramping and fatigued. But he got back on the bike and kept going. We then found out that he has been riding the road bike for just 4 weeks! He has a mountain bike and does some fun little trips but never anything like this. This young man went to his parents and said I want to ride across Indiana and they supported him in his decision! What great parents! Daniel admitted to us that he thought about giving up when he was cramping but he was determined and strong willed.

We slowed our pace from 20mph to 14mph to pace this resolute teen and try to raise his spirits and take his mind off of the pain as long as we could. We know from experience how hard finishing a ride can be when you are in pain and it would be easier to give up and the people that stick by you then is what gets you through. We rode with Daniel, answering his many questions and giving him bicycle advice for about 30 miles. And he stopped with our PSV and his parents at Germantown where his proud father got on his bike to join Daniel and pace him the last 15 miles into the finish.

We finished in positions 1160 and 1161 and watched Daniel roll across the finish line in position 1177! Every once in a while you meet someone that impacts your life in a small, but meaningful way. Daniel and his parents Tina and Shawn McCrillis gave me a new perspective on determination and heart. I can't help but wonder what my parents would have said to me if I wanted to go to another state and ride across it on a bicycle by lyself at 15 years old. I applaud this family and respect them greatly and we are happy to welcome Daniel to the Cycling Family!!

Name: Kristen Dinges
Bicycle: KHS Cross Tandem
City: Indianapolis
State: IN


Kristen & Nathan:  Thanks for bringing so much to the sport of bicycling.  Your story about Daniel, and your first year of tandeming, is truly inspirational.  Thanks from everyone at Bicycle Garage Indy for sharing Your Bicycle picture and story.


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