By Dan Santos, Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer
Ray Tschaeche is not concerned about finishing first in the American Red Cross’ Ride for the Red event on Saturday, November 13.
“It’s not a race,” said Tschaeche (sounds like Check-E). “Anyone who signs up for the ride should know that. You don’t win a prize for coming in first. You get a thank you for participating, a small gift bag, and the satisfaction you get from helping a good cause.”
Tschaeche, now retired, worked for 40 years as a full-time employee with the California Air National Guard in Los Angeles County. During that time, he also fulfilled his duty one weekend a month as an active member of the National Guard. He’s also a veteran of the fundraising bicycle ride, where all proceeds go to support the Red Cross’ Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) program. He first rode in the event in 2016, missing just once since then due to other obligations. The ride returns this year after being postponed in 2020 during the pandemic.
“I’ve known a few people over the years who were helped by the Red Cross (SAF) while they were deployed, and I wanted to support that,” Tschaeche said.
After initially participating in the 50-mile route on his Fuji touring bike, Tschaeche said he’s down-shifting to the 30-mile ride this year. “I haven’t been able to put that many hours on my bike this year.”
At this year’s ride, Tschaeche said he’s looking forward to “enjoying a nice, scenic ride, where you can talk to other riders along the way. People are open and very friendly during the rides. I see some of the same people riding every year.”
Tschaeche, 64, has lived in Simi Valley since 1987. Ray and his wife, Roxanne, have two grown sons. One son, 33, serves in the U.S. Coast Guard in San Diego. The other son, 31, also a Simi Valley resident, has a two-year-old daughter. The Tschaeches are expecting another grandchild in December 2021.
Ride for the Red organizer Diane Krehbiel said the event was first conceptualized in 2014 as a Tour de France-style event for veterans across the United States, “with people on the sidelines, cheering and saluting as the riders pass by.”
“This is a fun ride for a great cause, and not a race,” she said. “We do this for people like Ray Tschaeche.”Diane Krehbiel