Friday, August 12, 2016


I just went through and cleaned house in the PowerTrain blog. I haven't used it much this year even though I really should have. It's been pretty crazy in the world since the '15 Tour and I apologize for letting the posts get buried in Facebook.

Let me maybe put it a little bit aright with a story for you.

If you're new to the Tour or the 'Train, you may not have noticed that sunflowers sometimes figure into our team photos and and flyers. There's a reason for that other than that they're pretty nice to have around the house.

You see, way back when we first took the plunge and became a Tour de Cure team, it came about that we decided to dedicate each year's ride to someone we knew...someone fighting diabetes right here in our world...not some corporate face on a publicity poster. 

That first dedication was Leanne Cardone. She lost her fight with diabetes at the age of 41 and since her Mom and Dad were really good friends of mine, it was pretty obvious that she and they would be the ones we rode for. I've written about Leanne, Donnie and Sandy several times over the years but there's one story that I don't think ever got told.

You see, Leanne loved sunflowers. Donnie told me that many times when he and I worked together on the "Lakeshore Express" at midnight. She loved those flowers and I will always remember Donnie telling me that after she passed away, the big farm field by her house all of a sudden blossomed with millions and millions of sunflowers. From end to end and side to side. I remember him saying that she would have smiled.

He tells the story so much better than I do and I always get a little misty when he does. It's a bright light and when I think of it, all the work to pull off the Tour seems worth it.

It makes the FLX more than a bike ride or a fundraiser to lots of us. For me anyway, it's a memory and hope. It's something good in what's sometimes not a nice world. It's friends and people to meet. It's sunflowers when it snows and spring rides after long winters. It's a lot of things to a lot of people...hundreds of people along the way doing great things for everyone who's waiting for the day when they can say, "I used to have diabetes."

And as Paul Harvey always said, "Now you know the rest of the story."

See you all at the mighty FLX!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

For Leanne

I mentioned Leanne Cardone on our Facebook page today and then when a team member asked about her, I realized that we've come such a long way that some of the PowerTrain haven't heard the beginning of the story.  
I wrote this back when we were the Thoroughbreds but it still holds true and I still remember how it felt.  
So here's the story of Leanne and Team NS in the early days.  Look at what we've done since 2010 gang and be really proud of yourselves.  
Still fighting a good fight!

The Why of it All 

Harold Brill

I used to wonder sometimes about the string of co-incidences that led me to the Tour de Cure. At first glance, it looked like an easy, low pressure local ride and not much else. The cause was secondary to the attraction of the chance to ride my first Century and entering my first organized event since I took up biking again. I hadn’t really thought about the implications of diabetes and what the Tour meant much beyond that 100-mile goal of mine.

As happens, one thing led to another and a glance at the Tour website found that my employer had corporate teams riding in Virginia and Georgia. A spur-of-the-moment Sunday email to the COO soon had us off and running as the northern-most branch of Team NS Thoroughbreds and suddenly there was more to this than I originally bargained for.

We fumbled our way through the first year without much of a clue as to what we were doing but wound up having a ball and actually raising enough in donations to come in third in fundraising. A week later, I was planning for the next team.

Still, the real reason for it all remained a little hazy. I knew what we were doing was important in a distant sort of way but the ride and the team were the big focus. The disease and the goals stayed in the background of my thinking. Now it’s another year and now at last, it’s all starting to fall together, the how and more importantly, the why of Team Thoroughbreds and the Tour de Cure. I owe it to Leanne and Donnie.

Leanne is the daughter of my good friends Donnie and Sandy Cardone. ‘Cardie’ as I soon came to know him, was the first real live railroader I ever met when I was first kicking around the idea of taking up the profession. He pretty much talked me into it and has been my sounding board and advisor in a pinch for almost 14 years ever since. Luck had it that at one point, I could even hold an engineer spot on his job for a while. I learned more working with him than anywhere else since engine school and amazingly, we managed to have a good time doing it. Even after he retired and left ‘The Lakeshore Express’ for good, we kept in touch and got together once in a while to do what railroaders do best; drink coffee, gripe about the railroad and catch up on who’s doing what and where.

I knew Donnie had diabetes from watching his struggles when we worked that all-night local together and I knew Leanne had had it since she was young as well. I only actually met her once but felt like I knew her through her Dad. You find out just about everything when you spend 12 hours in a locomotive cab with someone night after night for months.

He told me in bits and pieces about Leanne’s long battle with diabetes; the hospital stays, endless tests, medications, late-night crisis’, setbacks and victories. All the while, he managed his own illness and worked a demanding job to maintain the medical coverage they both needed. I looked up to Donnie and often wondered if I could do as well.

A few days ago, I heard the sad news that Leanne had lost her fight and passed away suddenly at the young age of 41. The day before her memorial, I saddled up and rode over to see Cardie and Sandy. I can’t imagine losing one of my kids so I really didn’t know what I was going to say. I shouldn’t have worried. Donnie was just coming out the door when I rolled up and in his usual way; he smiled and shook my hand. He looked tired as well he should but through it all, he still had that smile. I knew right then why I’m doing this. It took a while but now I know.

It’s for Leanne, for Donnie and Sandy, for everyone who fights this thing every day and still manages somehow to smile. For everyone who’s had to say goodbye too soon. For everyone who’s said to me, “Hey, I have diabetes too” or “I know someone who has diabetes.”

For all of them and all of us.

I knew without a doubt right then that the Finger Lakes NS Thoroughbreds would be riding in memory of Leanne Cardone. When Donnie shook my hand, I knew that her struggle against diabetes would be our motivation.

Something good will come of this. When we head out as Team NS Thoroughbreds on the Tour de Cure this August, we’ll carry another name with us. When we ride, we’ll ride for someone we lost along the way. A friend most of us never knew and a family whose fight against diabetes is an inspiration. Cardie and Sandy are coming to see us off and I know he’ll still have that smile. When we ride, we’ll ride
For Leanne

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

We Made the Papers!

team ns Powertrain news release

elmira star-gazette  nov. 22, 2013

Courtesy of drew guild

FLX Tour de Cure sets 2014 goal

Officials with FLX Tour de Cure recently announced the “100/35 Campaign” for the 2014 Tour — that’s a goal of 100 team members who raise $35,000.
Last year, the 2013 NS PowerTrain team raised $31,107 for the Finger Lakes Tour de Cure held Aug. 17 at Watkins Glen High School.
“That was a new team record and beat the goal by $1,107,” according to a news release from FLX officials. The total amount raised for 2013 was just over $200,000.
With 88 members last year, PowerTrain was the largest corporate team comprised of Northfolk Southern executives Wick Moorman, John Rathbone and Mark Manion. So far, they have 20 people registered for the 2014 event, including several new riders, a fifth of the team’s goal for riders.
Each year, the PowerTrain team dedicates the ride to a person battling diabetes whose lifestyle has changed dramatically due to the disease. For 2014, the team will dedicate its efforts to two riders: Kevin Romer of Trumansburg and Amy Bishop of Spencer, the release states.
Romer, 55, is a two-time myocardial infarction survivor and Red Rider — a diabetic who rides. He was also one of the largest fundraisers for 2013.
“I don’t want my friends or family to have to deal with this dreaded disease either,” Romer stated in prepared remarks.
Bishop, 49, was diagnosed with diabetes last February. She was also a Red Rider and participated in three Tour de Cures prior to her diagnosis.
Bishop went to a nutritionist and changed her lifestyle. Her daily routine includes cycling, walking and Zumba.
Diabetes changed Bishop’s life, she stated in the release. She plans to manage her diabetes with diet and exercise.
“I look forward to riding in the Tour in 2014, I am planning on doing the 35-mile ride,” she stated in prepared remarks. “Thanks to all who ride and donate.”

Monday, August 19, 2013

The 2013 seen by our teammate Kevin Romer

The 2013 FLX Tour de Cure is now history. I am both happy and sad…happy that I took part and made lots of new friends, and rekindled the old and sad to know that it is “over”…for this year!!!

I want to say to my best friend and riding partner…Kristen Romer… THANK YOU and I love you!!

To the most awesome team ever…the NS Power Train…you are the best ever!!! Your inspiration and motivation was a huge driving force. The force behind a team like this just drives energy!!! Thank you for allowing me to be a small part of huge effort!!!

Yesterday started out pretty early as we wanted to be there when the Century riders departed. Doing 100mi on a bike…AWESOME…and maybe not next year for me, but if it all works out, for sure the year after.

Then I needed to decide whether to do the 20mi route or jump and do the 35mi route. My longest ride ever was 21mi (adult life anyways) so I knew I could do the 20 without a problem, but now I needed to challenge myself again…20 or 35?? Right up till the registration table, when I was asked which route..I said… 35!!! That decision all alone was bittersweet for me…I wanted the challenge, but I didn’t want to leave my friend and riding partner. I am sorry for that but happy I chose the challenge.

As the 35mi group departed, I waved and off I went. To “the hill”!! Let me tell you that “the hill” was worse than I imagined. I rode a small distance when it was just faster to walk and push the bike. When I looked up the hill, it was a relief to see that I was not the only one walking. It was amazing to see those that could ride up the entire hill and disappear…someday…maybe it will be me doing that.

When I go to a point I could begin to actually ride the bike, the course continued an uphill climb, even with the short downhills, the course continued upward. I struggled at times, caught a few riders and passed them (nice!!) and was passed by them at another point (not so nice) and arrived at the first checkpoint. Ate about half an orange, took a breath and off I went…as I left the girls working the rest stop said “it’s all downhill from here!!”…it was obvious quite quickly that honesty is not a trait for rest stop volunteers!!!

The ride from Dundee to Himrod was actually pretty nice, although the climb seemed to continue for
about 5 more miles…then the start downhill. Across the tracks (successfully I will add), turn left and
across to more sets of tracks (still without issue), then UPHILL to the rest stop. Doing okay still, but the sun is beginning to take a toll on me. If you know me…I am not a big fan of direct sunlight…and shade was not to be found.

Left the rest stop with my friend Doug Wheeler and headed for Watkins…knowing that I was half done was relief. Course seemed have leveled off some and I was able to make some pretty good time…got into a zone and cruised.

With the third rest stop approaching…I was feeling pretty good, but knew if I stopped there…it might have been my last stop…so I kept going…right on by. After a couple of stretches of highway that you could see several miles in the distance, and the beating sun, and what appeared to be no progress being made…and mirages of cool water and palm trees began to appear…I need to get out of the sun…BADLY. The 14A overpass came into view…I HAD TO STOP!!! The VanDruff crew stopped and asked if I was okay and commented “its all downhill from here” and if I wanted to finish the course with them?? Off we went…downhill into Watkins.

As we all crossed the “finish line”… it was awesome to see my wife waiting for me… I did it!!!

35.5mi in 3h 36m… my thighs were on fire, I was cooking from the sun…and needed a cold drink!!! But I did it!!!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Personal Story from a Team NS Mom

Ten years ago today ours lives changed forever. 

The nagging feeling that something just wasn't right with our Megan. The mystery of the number 11 and the distinct feeling that Aunt Ruth who had passed away was trying to get a message to me. The wondering why Megan would be chatty and happy and full of herself one minute then sound asleep the next, why she cried out in panic that she couldn't see the T.V., the headache that kept her company for a couple days and finally the thirst that she couldn't seem to quench. As we contemplated checking her blood sugar with Ted's glucometer, a decision you don't make lightly when you are considering poking a 4 year olds baby soft finger tip with a needle the thickness of a tack to get a drop of blood. 

I bolted up in bed and declared "the date totals number 11 Ted, we have to check her'. The meter came back with the message "HI" which means the level is above 650, (normal is 80-120)and I phoned the pediatrician on call, we had instructions to head to the ER room right away, I watched as my husband sobbed knowing what Megan was going to have to live with, a panic started to rise within me and before I could succumb to the sobs an overwhelming sense of peace came over me. I just KNEW we were going to be okay. 

The next days weeks and months are a blur but day by day; we are getting through it. The beginning was incredibly tough as we had to hold Megan down for shots; pull her out of her hiding places to inject her with the insulin that she needs to stay alive. As the days went on Megan came to accept this was part of her life now and it wasn't going away. It hasn't ever been easy but she is living her life and enjoying sports, some incredibly great friends, sleep overs, and siblings who have held her when she was sick with high or low symptoms. 

As we wrap up a Decade with Diabetes I am grateful to my family and friends for all of their support over the years and most importantly to Heather Henbest and Ted Henbest who have sacrificed so much to support their sister through 10 years of this battle. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Different Kind of Bike Ride

The Second Annual ADA Rally

This Saturday, June 1st is the day to get in a nice cruise, enjoy a day on the road and a great chance to see some of the countryside that the bicycle riders of Team PowerTrain and the rest of the Tour de Cure will see in August.  

Since we're suddenly right down to the wire on this one, I wanted to get out a quick, much abbreviated TourNews about the Rally.  
The title above is a link to the event page and here's one to the
Rally website.

If you've been waiting for the weather to break, it looks like 80 degrees and only a chance of showers...which beats the frost and cold of last weekend!

Get the bike shined up and come ride with Team PowerTrain!

Special thanks to Steve Gorney and Dave Lanning for pulling this one together!  Way to go guys!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

We Ride for Adam

One of our own Team PowerTrain Red Riders tells it like it is!
Adam Robbs

What living with Diabetes means to me.

I hate it! I hate that when under control I feel sick to my stomach.  I hate when out of control I am a mean person with wicked mood swings!  I hate taking insulin!  I hate giving myself shots!  I hate stabbing my fingers many times each day!  I hate losing feeling in finger tips!  I hate my eyesight changing!  I hate low blood sugars that scare me at night and then I’m afraid to go back to sleep for fear I won’t wake up!  I hate a special diet! And I hate people feeling sorry for me the most!

I may never see a cure but I will do everything I personally can to bring awareness to the disease and possibly help to cure this for the next generation.  I don’t want sympathy.  I don’t want pity.  I don’t need that. I’m not a great athlete but I will try that’s one step closer to the cure and every year I will get better.  I have people in my family that have it much worse.  I read about people that have the disease much worse than me.  I deal with people every day that have lost toes, fingers, feet, eyesight and lives because of this terrible disease.  So I’m not complaining by any means.

Diabetes will not beat me.

I am Adam Robbs and I have diabetes.