Denver Associates Take the High Road to Philanthropy

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Team Spirit — Team Toyota cyclists prepare for fund-raising ride.

On Aug. 22, 31 people from Toyota Motor Sales’ Denver Region, local Toyota dealerships and vendors took their charitable fund-raising efforts to a new high – a Rocky Mountain high.

They pedaled their bicycles 100 miles from Boulder, Colo., to Estes Park, a route that includes a climb of nearly 3,000 feet in elevation and is over a mile above sea level, as part of the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure (http://www.tourdecurecolorado.com/).

Team Toyota has doubled in size since its first ride last year with 31 cyclists and more than doubled its contribution, to $26,463, from family, friends and other supporters. “We are the No. 2 top team in Colorado for fundraising,” says Michael Connor, the region’s Signature Process consultant and team captain.

Boulder Toyota is the title sponsor of the Tour de Cure and provided vehicles for the event, says Connor. Boulder Toyota, Corporate Golf Incentives and Tundra Trucks sponsored the team, and seven Toyota dealerships made donations to the cause.

“Preparing for the ride was a great team building experience,” says Brad Thomas, a district sales manager. “We did a lot of weekend riding together, practicing foot-dragging and slip streaming and covering 20-70 miles at a time.

“You have to challenge yourself,” continues Thomas. “You have to be there both mentally and physically. There’s a 15 percent grade incline near the halfway point as you approach the summit. That’s when you dig down and remind yourself who you’re riding for and why. It gives you an extra push.”

Everyone has their own reason for riding. “As a team, we rode in honor of Larry H. Miller, a Toyota dealer, philanthropist and owner of the NBA’s Utah Jazz,” says Connor. Miller died in February of complications from diabetes.

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