Tour de Fresh 2015 Day Three - Anthony Gallino, Mike Deusebio, and More Share the Details
HELEN, GA - "Play through the pain" has a whole new meaning for anyone who witnessed the Tour de Fresh.
"Cycling is a sport where you are hurting if you are a beginner and you are hurting if you are an expert," Anthony Gallino, VP of Sales for California Giant, tells me. Having cycled for several years and been involved in professional circuits, he saw potential for the sport in the produce industry long before many others did.
"I looked at this and said, you know, this is a marketing tool," he explained, "but I never imagined that, about 15 years later, this is where we'd be."
Now that tool is being applied to a healthy cause for America's youngest generation, with riders having cycled hundreds of miles to promote healthy eating in schools.
The group trouped through their third day of the course yesterday, and what was considered the last trek of the trip. Each approach has been drastically different, but each individual is still here, and has crossed the finish line for day four. Tomorrow, we will recap the final leg.
Mike Deusebio, Director of West Coast Produce Operations for C&S Wholesale and cyclist of 30 years, talked to me about some of the challenges newcomers might experience on such a grueling trip.
For those who don't yet know how to participate in such a ride: "Just start small and work your way up," he said, explaining that it's really just about getting on the bike and riding. "Many of us don't do 77 miles in a day like we did on day one [of Tour de Fresh] but it's for a good cause and it's worth it."
The Tour de Fresh’s coveted “yellow jerseys” were awarded to those that stood out on the day’s ride, especially those that stuck together on a road that sought to separate riders with difficult hills and even more difficult drivers. Helena Beckett and Christa Schuck were fondly referred to as the T&A wonder twins when receiving the yellow jerseys.
Not only do these two ride together, but they participate in other activities in the industry as well. After successfully participating in the Tour de Fresh's debut ride last year for instance, they told me how they participated in the PMA Fresh Summit's annual 5K Race for Talent.
Another dynamic duo is literally inseparable on the trail, referred to as "the tandem." Because, well, that's how they get around.
"At home we ride the tandem on the weekends in the mountains," Ed Purves, who is from Southern California and riding decked in a Natural Delights kit, said. He and his wife Robyn, who will now have to fight over the yellow jersey they won, have ridden their tandem bicycle for about three years, while he has been riding solos for six.
Others have had a crash course (pardon the pun) in the art of maximized cycling with minimal pain. Brian Vetter, Co-Founder at Tessamae's, has won the 'I can't believe I've ridden this far' jersey, Gina Cole of the support crew aptly named on the spot as she presented him with his prize. The title acknowledges the story that will make you feel like you should be here as well—after having never ridden more than 25 miles, he was awarded a jersey, and plenty of advice and aid from fellow riders.
Other yellow jersey winners include:
- Dave Howald
- Mark Swanson
- Chris Higgins
- John Jackson
- Maria Lopez
- Chris Ford
- Raina Nelson
For all its difficulty, the pain comes with a passion I see every time we pass a rider, and sometimes when we let them hold on to the door for just a minute while they laugh about how great they feel - unless they REALLY don't feel great.
The 275-mile trek deep in the woods, past waterfalls, over bridges, and into tunnels was an adventure, with a number of stories and experiences, wipeouts and triumphs.
As of October 22nd, the TDF has raised over $150,000 as riders crossed the finish line at the Whole Foods Market in Roswell, GA - just in time for PMA Fresh Summit. Look forward to our day 4 recap tomorrow. See you there!