Thursday, December 20, 2007
Okay kids, here's the latest on the greatest. (Team, that is!)
Mary and I met w/ Rod Stephens and Brian Walker @ Herman Miller yesterday. They are in as a Big Team Sponsor for 2008 and are committed to at least 20 riders again. We are also planning to do a West Michigan Team / Herman Miller / Velo City jersey for team riders to wear @ training rides, events and for the Friday Shake-down rides. We'll also make extras for everyone to sell as a fund-raising deal. It's gonna be cool!
(Rumours that it will be plaid are just that......rumours!) (For the moment anyway)
The other big news is that we've decided to focus our Collective Team Attention on the September Whitefish Ride and Death Valley. These are the Rides that score highest in the Team Survey and we think that focusing on 2 Rides will increase the chances of everyone having the kind of experience that we all know is possible. The dates are Sept 11/14 for MT and Oct 16/19 for DV so it's time to make your plans, weigh your options and decide! We still can't officially register but the Nat'l folks are slavin' away to get all the details set so that they can open up for business. 'Til then have your eager-beaver donors send you a check and let Mary know which Ride you favor so we can make sure that everyone gets in!
Having the Rides that we're planning on oughta make it easier to get new riders on board as well so let's do talk to all those folks that we know are thinkin' about it and get 'em on board before the train leaves the station!
Have a great holiday, a Merry Christmas and a Happy Happy New Year! Thanks again (and again and again and again..................!) for all you did for the Team and JDRF this past season and for lettin' me be a part of it w/ you. Don't forget the shop's New Years' Day ride, the indoor rides, the Ultimate Cycling Indoor Challenge in Feb and all the other cool stuff that's goin' on!
Blessings and Peace to you all,
Monday, December 17, 2007
A little extra-curricular holiday fun this past weekend, as the entire Scheidel clan visited Chicago. Tom, Mary, Colleen, Jake, and Ian are rockstars, enjoying every minute of their trip, even in a snowstorm. While the 7" of snow prevented us from logging any miles on the lakefront trail, we did manage to meet up at the Christkindl Market, take a stroll to Macy's to see the windows and the tree, marvel at The Bean and other artwork at Millennium Park, stuff our faces at one of my favorite loop pubs, and even get a little smarter and thoughtful with our visit to the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum.
PS. Check out Tom's hat--public shout-out to our team!
We had a great time, even chatting a bit about our great time in 2007 and looking forward to an even more amazing 2008 season with our team.
Happy Holidays to all!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
You know us Velo City folks...............always tryin' tp make sure you don't have too many excuses to let'cher arse get outta saddle-shape! Here's what's up 'round the shop these days rides-wise:
Sunday 12/16 : The December "Fun-Raiser" is the "Coffee & Chocolate Ride". It rolls from the shop @ 2:00pm for 20-25 miles and then a veritable feast of all things bean-based. JP's Coffee Shop will supply coffee and hot chocolate and there will be various sweets and other cocoa-based goodies. There will also be a (much!) shorter route option for them that are more interested in chocolate that riding in December! No charge, 'natch!
Tuesday 1/1: The (In)famous New Year's Day Ride is a 25+ year tradition! Join us @ 1:00pm (1-1-1, get it?) for a ride to seize the moral high ground and get the year off on the right foot! Route and distance to be determined (somewhat weather-related) but we'll start w/ the traditional parade on Downtown Holland's heated streets! Various snacks to follow!
Every Wed night and Sat morning we have group Indoor Training Rides @ 8:00. Bring your bike and trainer and join in the "fun". We do a different workout DVD each session and the company makes the time go by fast! (Which is what you'll be next Spring in you join us!)
Wanna store your bike and trainer here for the winter? Okay!
Keep in touch w/ me if you have any questions about indoor training, off-season workouts, etc. That's what I'm here for!
Okay, I wanna get the Team Roster for the Ultimate Cycling Challenge set up as soon as I can so let me know via e-mail if you are interested and what time slots you can and cannot take. The event runs from 8pm Fri 2/15 'til 8pm Sat 2/16. It's gonna be a minimum donation of 30 bux each and we need at least 4 to make a team.
I have an official "Yes" from Katie & Steve, Nicole, DiD, Jack C, new rider Ross S, Tom & Mary and myself.
I've gotten 2nd hand "I'm in" notification from Rob and Sarah. (As in "Oh, I'm sure _____ will wanna do it!")
Shoot me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll start making a schedule and such.
Be sure to have a safe and happy holiday, be well and stay healthy!
Monday, December 10, 2007
As in, "who wants to raise some?" while slinging beers, making salty pretzels, and wearing the super-stylish apron/trucker hat combo that's quickly becoming our second team uniform?
We're up to about $11,000 raised through working at Van Andel Arena concessions, and really, the big event season is just kicking in. In only the last week or so, we've brought in almost $2,000! There are huge events on the schedule for the dark months - Kid Rock, Van Halen, Grand Rapids Griffins games, and more - that'll give all of us the chance to get a big head start on our 2008 goals.
What's more, if you've got a friend who wants to support you, but can't swing a donation, they can work alongside you, and you'll get the credit. We're running at around $10 an hour, so one event can be worth $50 or more per person. The money gets distributed according to hours worked over a period of time, not based on what events you work, so even working a small event that doesn't raise much, you'll get the same hourly rate as someone who works a crazy busy thing.
If you're interested (and you should be), contact your mentor (yeah, we're still mentors after the ride season ends!) or Mary at the JDRF office and we'll get you the schedule of events and all the info you need to join the fun!
Friday, December 7, 2007
We're gonna put togehter at leats one team for the U.C.C., which is comin' up in about 6 weeks. What is it, you ask? Great question! "It" is an indoor 12 or 24 hour cycling even to benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation. It takes place here in Holland @ Ultimate Fitness on the north side and is Feb 16 & 17. We put together a team in 2007 and had a blast. It's a great way to keep in touch w/ your teammates and maybe spread the word about our team and JDRF. It's a relay.one rider @ a time and I'll provide the trainers and stuff.
I think it'd be cool to have more than one team, but that depends on the level of interest. The cost is $30 per rider and we have to have the team roster in by 1/25/08.
So...........let me know if you are interested and I'll get things organized. I think we oughta do the 24 hour event. It starts @ 8:00pm on Friday the 16th.
Check out www.cteam4.com for more info or gimme a shout.
Let's do it!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
We (me, the didlet, the wife, and the mom) managed to get over to Richmond Park last Sunday to see Mike, Ted, John J, and Danielle in the second-to-last KissCross cyclocross race of the year. I gather we didn't get the usual 'cross experience, as it was neither wet nor snowy, but between the wind, the hills, the barriers, the logs, the off-camber Corner of Doom, and the fairly crowded field were memorable enough! And I didn't even get over to the sand pit! More piccies are here.
Like I said, though, it was the second-to-last race of the season, so you've all got one more opportunity to watch 'em tear it up - December 8 in Holland, at Ridgepoint Church. First race (the "C" race) is at 11 am, the B race is at noon, and the A race is at 1 pm. Wear warm, grubby clothes, and bring your camera and your cowbell! Can we have a JDRF cheering section?
Friday, November 23, 2007
This is my 3rd attempt this morning to write something here. I deleted the first two 5-6 paragraphs in....and let's just say that we're all better off that I did!
I'm trying to tell you guys what I mean by "Goose Bump Moments" and why they matter. (Heard this one before? You can stop reading now, it's cool w/ me)
"Goose bump moments" are just that........those rare times where you realize that there is absolutely no other time or place that you'd rather be than right there where you're at, doing what you are doing and (and here's the big part) doing whatever it is with the folks that you're with.
It seems like I've spent the better part of my adult life (I know......the "adult" part's debatable) looking for the next "GBM". Once in awhile I get 'em @ a gig, they're a major part of the desert's hold on me and back in my climbing days they came around, usually after a near miss or some other scary episode. I've been blessed w/ a buncha good friends and we've had some fun doin' hard and sometimes stupid stuff here and there. I've also had the joy of being married to Linda for over half of my life and there have been plenty of "GBM"s as we've seen Katie Jo or Samuel find their way in the world.
Still...........................the best way I've found to experience the full-on thrill of a "Goose Bump Moment" is to be a part of a JDRF Ride. Hell......they're a dime-a-dozen! That's what Rob and I were talkin' about after DV '06 and he's done a better job of explaining them in his recent novella from a couple weeks ago but I wanted to give it a try, y'know?
Look, you guys know that I had no connection to diabtetes 3 years ago. Like DiD I had some vague idea that it was a drag for those afflicted and I'd had a couple friends or co-workers that had to deal w/ it but to me it wasn't any different than any other challenge that I didn't have to confront. I got into this whole "coaching deal" for mostly selfish reasons....I certainly wasn't on a crusade to find a cure!
Well.............thanks to you guys, and all the other incredible people I've been fortunate enough to meet and ride with over the past 3 summers.......now I am. For as long as JDRF wants me around and you guys will put up w/ me...I'm in. After we find a cure and there's no need for the Ride, we'll have a huge Ride to Celebrate and then move on to whatever's next, okay?
I know I'm a day late.................but I'm way-thankful to have made your aquantance...every one of you! Here's to our next "GBM"!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
....and not only for the fact that images exist of turkeys riding bikes. Although, it does reinforce for me that you can, in fact, find anything on Google.
I'm thankful for you - each and every one of you. My life is a better place because you are part of it. Sharing indescribable challenges and then celebratory hugs and laughs with you has brought me new joy in the last two years that I didn't know could exist. Reading your unfiltered, honest, moving accounts of our experience reminds me of just how incredible this group is. We are changing lives...for those we love that live with diabetes every day, and for ourselves, too. We are making a real difference, and this enormous sense of purpose overwhelms me. I'm thankful for how you, this team, has changed my life and will work tirelessly to change life for Katie, Ellie, and every last other person living with diabetes. Thank you.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends. I'll be thinking of you.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Heh. Rob's not the only one who can write a lot!
It's the "off" season, when I try (and to various extents, generally fail) to not gain too much weight or lose too much fitness. It's also the season for increased navel-gazing; perhaps it's the weather turning grey and gloomy that causes introspection. You'd think that hours spent on the bike staring at the stem cap fixing bolt would bring that about, but usually that results in bizarre, mantra-like internal dialogue, occasionally involving Simpsons characters singing popular songs.
Over the past few weeks I've been contemplating just how I got here, with this group of people, doing this thing, and finding it an indispensable part of myself. It's a pretty dang valid question; less than four years ago, to me, diabetes was something that you got when you sat on the couch watching TV, and had a diet consisting largely of food best classified as "other." Juvenile diabetes was therefore something that fat lazy kids got. I'm sure that's not an uncommon view; I've heard it even from at least one of my donors.
It's not terribly surprising that I was so ignorant;my closest contact with diabetes of any sort was an ornery cat named Macarthur, owned by a family friend. Macarthur needed an insulin shot every so often. I assume he did not get his blood sugar checked pretty much ever, as he barely tolerated uninvited affection.
Looking back to the fall of 2004 now, it seems like a chain of serendipity that got me here. I got a nice bike in high school, and rode it at least a few times every summer. But a desk job killed what little athleticism I inherited from my folks, and I ballooned to over 280 lbs. not long after starting work at Herman Miller (my workteam celebrates the smallest event with a huge potluck). Dieting got that down by a good 50 pounds in the spring and summer of 2004, and then I rediscovered how much I liked riding my big red 25 year old Viner.
I also discovered that I wasn't as flexible as I'd been in high school, and that my bike was really too big for me. So I went shopping. Somewhere in there was my first contact with soon-to-be-coach Mike. Most of the time when I took my bike into a shop they pretty clearly looked at the big ol' thing, with its 27" wheels, 6-speed freewheel, downtube friction shifters, and brake cables actually sticking out of the top of the brake hoods, like it was some sort of dirty Huffy. When I rolled it into the old Velo City Cycles location, though, I heard "Hi, can I help... Hey, nice Viner!" (Say that out loud. It's funny, 'cause, yeah, it's pronounced "vee-ner.") That day also stands out, as it was my first metric-century length ride, from Grand Haven down to Saugatuck and back.
I didn't end up getting a bike from Velo City then (though I rectified THAT just today!), due to the high pressure sales tactic that Village Bike Shop employed. Nothing breaks my resolve (or budget) faster than something that just works soooo well, and letting me ride a top-of-the-line bike ("just to give it a try, and see if it fits") was pretty much like swatting a fly with a baseball bat. So, Ruby the Wonder Bike came home with me.
I think that was the first important moment in this path. Knowing what I spent on that bike, it would have been a cryin' shame to not ride it. I also knew that my interest would dwindle over time without something keeping me in the saddle. I know me - my garage has layers of 90% complete projects. Having that bike kinda primed the pump.
In the later fall of 2004, I did a career interest seminar at work, and met Diane Aamoth. I'm not sure how the subject came up, but we ended up talking about the Herman Miller group that rode in an American Lung Association ride every year. I was interested, so she added me to her mailing list.
That's pretty clearly moment #2. Having a group to ride with, and a ride to focus on, seemed like a good way to help hold my interest on the bike.
Well, over the winter, it became clear that the ALA ride wasn't going to happen. I guess Herman Miller sorta went bike-related charity shopping, and through Rod Stephens, found Stacey Chase and the JDRF. An email went out (I'm pretty sure I still have it) announcing the opportunity to go to Asheville, NC to ride 105 miles. It sounded cool, but the fundraising requirement was scary. I signed up anyway - moment #3. I also looked up juvenile diabetes, and started to get an intellectual understanding of diabetes in general, and type 1 in particular. It is certainly not a lifestyle disease; it is an immune system attacking and destroying the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
Our first training ride (or at least the first one that I made it to) was my first contact with the team in bike-related setting. I met Ann O'Connor for the first time, as she, Andrea Terry, and I, and Mike and Linda on the tandem, did a nice 30 mile loop from Velo City to Saugatuck and back. Ann was the first person I met who had type 1 diabetes. At the second training ride, I met the Scheidels (still on their mountain bikes!), Joe Schmeider, Mike Hulsebus and Brian Shoemaker, and others, for 30ish miles from Ada Park. We started to feel like a team - The Vibe was clearly present.
The moment when I saw what juvenile diabetes is was at the pool party at the O'Connor's house. When it came time to eat, most of us headed for the food, but a few of the kids didn't - they went right over to their parents to get their blood glucose checked. I can just eat; my son can just eat. Kids who can't do something so simple and human as to just eat is a prime indication of what this illness does. It's undeniably true that people with diabetes today are far better off than ever before, but it's still a band-aid on a broken bone to have to draw your own blood every time you want to eat a meal.
So, in early October of 2005, with some basic knowledge and understanding of what I was doing and why, I went to Asheville. It was, in a word, transformative. So many events are anticlimactic and ultimately leave a person unsatisfied, but this - this was invigorating, and heartwrenching, and thought-provoking, and powerful, and simply the best thing I'd ever done. The simple satisfaction of riding a challenging century was completely overshadowed by the overarching rightness of the reason for doing the ride.
Since then, it's only gotten better, to the point that participating in this almost feels selfish. The rides are fun, certainly, but if that was all they had going for them I think my interest would fade. They've given me a sense of value or personal worth that sitting in an office just doesn't provide. Moreover, they've given me friends - the people who are associated with this event are truly extraordinary; to know them and to experience their drive and commitment has been a high privilege. Now, after three rides, because of these people, I'll claim this event as my own. It hurts people that I care about. It's become personal.
I simply can't imagine not being a part of this, for as long as necessary. The words that graced the bottom of all of our bike tags summarize it best - "Only a life lived for others is worth living."
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
The Ride Committee would appreciate if you could (for those of you have not already) take the Ride Survey. It will help us improve the ride next year, and also help to keep track of preference of where to ride. Click Here to take survey.
Note, if you are interested in stuff as some of the questions ask, be sure to put your contact info in the last question. :-) Otherwise, it's anonymous.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Just a quick note--our team site with the links to everyone's photos is acting up today. Tom, Katie, and I have been trying all morning to figure it out, but we finally gave in and contacted Google help. Will let you know when it's all good again. You can still see photos of everything posted prior to Sunday, but we are unable to get it save any additional changes since then. Weird.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Man..................it's bee 2 full weeks since we were out in DV and I still haven't come completely down. It seems like there's a new e-mail or pile o' pics on the web every other day or so and that kick-starts all the emotions swirlin' 'round my soggy brain for another go-round.
And I love it!
I think if we could get prospective riders to visit this blog and read what various members of the team have had to say.............there'd be no limit to what we could accomplish!
So...here's a few things to think about, some short-term, some l-o-n-g-e-r..........
PARTY TIME! Watch for an official E-Vite w/ a chance to RSVP and all soon but here's the scoop:
When - Tuesday. 11/13 from 7-10pm
Where - New Holland Brewing Company (A team sponsor!) Downtown Holland
Who - You, your family, your friends, anyone you ride in honor of, anyone that might be a potential rider, donors and sponsors.
What - A gathering to celebrate what we have accomplished thus far and an official kick-off to the 2008 season.
Why - Because we deserve it. Because we want to honor and enjoy the bonds that a season of effort and success have forged between us. Because we wanna make next season an even bigger deal than this season! (And because the food is yummy, the beer is cold and we wanna look at pix from MT and DV!)
Please help us make sure we have enough to go around by following through w/ the RSVP, okay?
PARTY TIME, TAKE 2! Sorry to be less than chronologically precise but I almost forgot to mention the Naya wine event this Thursday! It's called "Tasting for Sophie" and it's been set up by the endlessly hard-working Sarah. (AKA 'Sophie's Mom") It's @ Naya on East Paris in GR and there are lotsa details at http://www.nayagr.com/
PARTY TIME TAKE 3! Well....it's sort of a party! The shop is hosting our infamous Chilly Chili Ride this Sunday @ 2:00pm. We ride about 35 miles form the shop and then there's a post-ride chili taste-off. It's a shop tradition that dates back into the 80's, way before there even was a Velo City and it's a hoot! Bring a pot of chili if you are so inclined, otherwise just fetch alone your bike and your belly, it's all good!
OKAY, ARE YOU READY FOR THE BIG QUESTION? It's not too soon to start the dialogue as to where we wanna ride next season. As of right now the tentative 2008 Ride Schedule is Sonoma in June, Asheville and Whitefish in Sept and DV in Oct. There's been a lotta talk about where to ride next year and whether we can possibly get the entire team to the same ride and I know that there are probably as many opinions on the subject as there are riders so let's get it started, shall we? The sooner we get an idea of what folks want the sooner we can start working towards that goal. I'm looking forward to hearing what you guys have to say!
I can't wait for the 13th and I think it'd be AWESOME if we had a ton of folks show up. I can't think of a better group o' folks to spend a Tuesday evening with!
See you there!
Friday, November 2, 2007
Hey to all you computer-literate photo-hogs out there! I could use a hand w/ something. I would love to have a CD that I could play here @ the shop chock fulla pixs from training rides and the big ones as well from the past 3 seasons. We have a tv mounted on the wall and I try to have something goin' on it all the time and a slide show stuffed fulla JDRF Goodness would be just so fine, y'know?
Given the intended useage...........a slant in the direction of actual cycling and/or scenery might be just a tad bit better than Vegas B-day party shots, underwater cannonball competitions and the like, if you get my drift.
I would be delighted to re-imburse any and everyone that might be inclined to hook me up, both for costs and time!
Anyone w/ hints on how I can get all the pix on my computer onto a similar dealie........feel free to share them while enjoying the feeling of self-satisfied smugness that my lack of computer-literacy can provide!
Can't wait 'til the 13th!
Keep them posts and pic a-coming!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
More than a week removed from one of the most difficult days of my year…the range of feelings and pictures and emotions that has rolled through my head is almost comical. Last year was my first Death Valley visit and my first century ride and when I left, I knew I would never experience anything like it. I was wrong. Once again the tears flowed often, and were more likely a result of joy, triumph, and love as they were sadness and struggle.
As our bus rolled into DV on Thursday, the sense of dread that had been building all week felt like it would paralyze me. The warmth of having been with teammates from the moment I left my house was gone (thanks again for the ride Steve, it meant a lot to start this journey with you, your wife, and Lynn). I couldn’t see the beauty of the terrain. All I saw was desolation and rock. I didn’t feel like I had prepared enough…I couldn’t stop thinking of last years ride back to the ranch and how much I hurt at dinner afterwards. Once we arrived at Furnace Creek though, the ranch became a physical and emotional oasis. The shelter helped me forget the pain, and the camaraderie of our team, both new teammates and old, rekindled my spirit. Introductions and hugs abounded as I was greeted and as I welcomed others. Seeing Sarah, Ted, and Sophie warmed me to the core, and once I saw Joe and thought of Adam, or saw Tom and Mary and thought of Jake, and Steve and Katie and Ellie, I was reminded why I was here. This ride isn’t about me and how fast or far I go…it’s bigger than every one of us. Then, claiming my bike, with its picture of Sophie and my father, Bill, and helping the “Spirit Squad” decorate everyone’s door finished restoring my strength and fortitude. My real work was already done; I had raised my money and gotten to Death Valley (note to others who may want to try this in the future: everything I just mentioned is, sadly, easily forgotten when you’re out on that road…it might be tougher mentally than it is physically). Of course, hanging out with the team, learning how to make balloon animals (who would have thought that inflating the balloon was the most difficult part of the operation?!), and listening to Sean make fun of Katie Clark’s little toes didn’t hurt either (have you seen them…they’re really little!).
Friday morning brought a picturesque day, the type we would hope for on Saturday. Breakfast with the family and Sean…the meeting, our team introductions (yep, I shed a tear or two) the warm-up ride to Zabriskie Point, another lazy afternoon at the pool, and the inspirational Friday night dinner...all so simple, but so unforgettable. For starters, the scenery at the Point is astounding. I was as awestruck this year as I was last year. (side note: Why is it that in Grand Rapids I never notice Sophie’s pump, hanging from her waist in some ornate and beautiful bag, but while she was directing the team for our photo at Zabriskie Point, that’s all I could see?) And if you believed the afternoon at the pool was lazy, you obviously weren’t there to watch Sophie wear out rider after rider in the pool (she’s really become quite a fish!). Of course, I’d be remiss to not mention Kevin’s underwater photography. Consider this a warning, because once you see the footage you will want to run out and get your own waterproof camera. Also, be sure you get the name of the organic chocolate/blueberry delights that Carmen was handing out Friday night. Remember though, you suck on them, don’t chew ‘em!
Saturday started early, and it didn’t take long before my nerves took over. I was about to ride 105 miles through Death Valley! Last year I felt under prepared and only finished because of Derek Dykstra and the team from Appleton, Wisconsin. Yet here I was, feeling stronger but less prepared than last year, wearing bunny ears on my helmet, doing it all over again. Tom Schiedel told me after the ride that he used the inspirational quotes on our bike cards as motivation to finish the ride…I laughed when I heard that because I used them to start. I read each and every one, hoping that the athlete in me would take over once we got out there, and before I knew it, Sarah, Ted, and I were rolling into Badwater. Once Sarah turned back, Ted and I joined a big group of teammates and started, what may be…to this point, the longest and greatest pace line in West Michigan ride team history. I’m not sure if the calls of “POOP!” and “BA’LZ!” tarnished the experience for the others, but I know “DRINKING!” was a very helpful reminder for everyone (In case anyone is interested, Ted, Sean, or I are available for any of your non-JDRF training rides…for a nominal fee). As for the rest of the ride, what can I say…44 miles to Ashford Mill, boring (to all you returning riders, how cool was it to see the Herron’s out on the route volunteering!?)…Jubilee Pass and its 8 miles and 8 degrees incline, been there, done that (though, it was the first time I made it without resting)…52.5 miles back into an accelerating headwind and climbing temperatures, o.k, now you’ve got my attention! My ride “started” at Mormon Point (only 33.5 miles left!) and ended at Badwater. When Sean, Pete, Ted, and I pulled into Badwater, I really needed the break. I felt so good and strong for the first 72 miles, I was stunned at what the last 16 did to me. I couldn’t eat (everything was making me nauseous) and I couldn’t cool down. After 10 minutes off the bike, I felt hotter than when we arrived. Once I finally pushed my pride aside (not an easy job, trust me!) it took Bikin’ Mike about 5 seconds to convince me to get a ride in. I may have shed a tear or two Friday, (one tear at our team introductions and a second at dinner, while being reminded why we were in Death Valley). That was nothing compared to Saturday. When I threw in the towel and said good-bye to Ted, Sean, and Pete, (can you believe Ted wanted to ride in with me? He wasn’t “finished” he just wanted to finish with me!) I felt sadness for leaving my friends to endure what would assuredly be a horrific final 17 miles. I felt like I failed my Dad and Sophie. All I could think about was the dozens of times I could have trained, but instead procrastinated, always thinking there would be another time to train. The tears came easily. Mike dropped me off at the turn to Badwater so I could roll over the finish line under my own power (side note: I got a ride in with the fixed gear guy…during the drive, Mike asked him why “in the hell” he was riding that bike on this course…his answer, “’cause this is the bike I ride..” It was good enough for Mike so it’s good enough for me. Maybe someday I’ll get it.) When I rolled across the finish line and was greeted by Sarah, I was uncontrollable. I wanted to apologize…I wanted to explain, but I couldn’t talk. Sarah just let me get it out and then reminded me of everything I already knew…that just being there meant I had already done my job…each mile I rode was just a bonus. Thankfully, my tears would soon change from sadness to joy. I received the doctor’s clearance, went to check on the teams’ progress, and heard about Amy. I stopped at the medical “tent” to see her, and she turned my attitude around. There she lied; having spent every ounce she could on the ride, and hooked up to her second i.v. bag. As soon as she saw me her first question was about how her best friend Melanie was doing. Unbelievable! She’s the one lying in bed suffering, and all she can think about is her teammate. The tears didn’t stop there though. Sarah meeting Ted when he and Sean were driven in because of Sean’s “effin’” chain…Mary greeting Tom… Pete looking like a salt lick…Carmen’s joy…one Schmeider after another… Nicole’s relief…Katie greeting Steve, who was being escorted by the greatest coach in the world, (yep, it’s true) MC…it was unforgettable! How about the finish line late in the day? Did West Michigan rule or what? Not even the ever growing wind storm, and flickering power could stop us. Sure the dinner awards presentation was cancelled, but we already knew who the real winners were…us! Best coach…Mike Clark, again! Best team…West Michigan! Of course, it was nice to hear from Coach Mike that Tim St.Clair also thinks that we were the best. That’s all we needed to celebrate our many victories on Saturday. Thanks again to Kevin’s sister Belinda for the early evidence of our accomplishments, and for going to get us more beer!
Sunday morning brought some good-byes (it always seems so sudden…like we just got there)… Jasker (you should have shaved the body, dude!), the Schmeider clan in their van, and Sarah and Ted off to their honeymoon. Many of us continued the team building and brought Vegas to its knees Sunday night. For those of you who weren’t there, you didn’t miss much, but I can tell you several things…one, if you ever travel with Carmen, let her check you into the hotel…two, Mike Howard and Kevin Owens aren’t as nice as they appear (no matter what Carmen says, you guys rock)…three, if Tom tells you “you should see this scar I have…”, look away because he’s about to drop his pants, again…four, the educational seminar in front of the pirate ship is Kevin’s fault…five, let Steve Clark gamble with your money, he’s better at it than you…and six, if you want to get a tattoo, call ahead!
Yes, this is how I am remembering the weekend. Yes, it is more word-y than a long MC e-mail, and yes, I’ve left out a million fantastic, little things. I’m sure my personal copy will get longer as things keep coming back to me. The one thing that I know won’t change is the overwhelming feeling I brought home with me. From the outside, we appear very normal; different people from different places with a shared distinction and goal. We all love someone with diabetes and we want to find a cure. The reason we are great is that our love and selflessness doesn’t stop there. The very same soul and charisma that brought us together isn’t limited to the cause or the team. Each and every one of us looks out for each other, our fellow riders, and our fellow man...that makes us original, and great! My dad asked me this week, in the wake of my Saturday mental and physical rollercoaster, if I would go back and do it again. My answer: absolutely.
Why, you ask? Why would I submit myself to the mental and physical abuse of 105 miles through Death Valley? Well, there are two answers to that question. The first, easy and obvious answer: so that Sophie and Adam and Jake and Ellie and every other child with type 1 diabetes doesn’t have to endure what my parents have. I promise you…after seeing what this disease has done to my Mother and Father, the thought of Sophie growing old with diabetes just destroys me. I’ve spent my life hoping, and working, to avoid being diagnosed with diabetes. The day Sophie was diagnosed, I ran my 5 mile loop in 30 minutes (that’s a 6 minute pace, 2.5 minutes faster than my norm)…I was pissed. I spent the night begging and pleading with God that it be me instead of her…but I’m sure you have all been there once. The second, more difficult and selfish answer: I like the way it makes me feel. By that I mean it’s more than just doing something good. I can do something good anytime I want. Instead, I relate this experience to Christmas. Each December everyone gets nicer, more polite, more patient, and more loving. Whatever your religion, the holiday season is ripe with the sense of fellowship and family. You exude it, you feel it in others, everyone is better for it, and every year you probably wish that you could feel that way all year. Doing this ride is doing something really great with really great people! Last year, Mike Clark and I talked in length after the ride about surrounding ourselves with significant moments…moments that stay with you and really mean something. My daily life is mostly void of those moments…but in Death Valley, on the JDRF rides…those moments are everywhere. So if I know how to get it, and where to find it, I would be crazy not to go.
So, I’ll see you in Death Valley, for as long as I’m able…
Monday, October 29, 2007
I came across this video promoting the JDRF and TuDiabetes.com, a site where I occasionally hang out. The point of the video is that 6 million people every year are diagnosed with diabetes, and it shows folks running around with a little number hovering over their heads. When I finished watching it, the first thing that I thought of was my son Ben running around and seeing his BG number hovering over his head. It would be wild to watch his BG in real time. I guess those with the continuous glucose monitor can already do this.
On a related note, I was watching Ben at a soccer game this weekend and he was playing really poorly. He just wasn't into it. At halftime I ran over to where he was and checked him. I thought sure he was low because he was just dragging big time. The meter counts down... 5, 4, 3, 2, ...1. 400 mg/dl. 400! Funny how I was almost hoping he was low so there'd be some excuse for his performance. I've thought the same thing when he's behaving badly. "There must be a reason for this behavior." Yeah, I guess the reason is, he's a kid. He's seven. He's going to have bad days completely unrelated to being a diabetic.
Anyway, take a look at the vid. Anyone can grab the embed code and throw it on their site. Might be useful for those still trying to raise money. I think they have other vids over at TuDiabetes.com as well.
Find more videos like this on Tu Diabetes - A Community for People Touched by Diabetes
Sunday, October 28, 2007
See the "Ride Team site w/ Pictures" link on the right to see all of our team members pictures of the Ride to Cure Diabetes. Historical links are there as well too.
If you've been a rider with us in the past, please Join the group and add links to your online photos (Kodak, Flickr, Picasa, whatever!).
If you need help, contact Katie, Nicole, or Tom.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I will re-post my ideas in tribute to Katie's wise Vegas strategies, and because I apparent know nothing...
For motivation: POOP! or BA'LZ!
For safe desert riding: DRINKING!
And of course, for gambling in Vegas, when you are up a whole $2 when you started with $10 (that's right, I put in $10, got it up to $12 and before I knew what hit me, Katie was growling this in my ear...)
CASH THE F@#% OUT!!!
How's that gonna work you ask? Read on....................
I think that if we can bring to market merely a fraction of the t-shirts and other products that were inspired by our trip to DV we can "share the wealth" and never hafta do a garage sale or bake pretzels @ Van Andel again! I won't bore you w/ a recitation of the approx 347 t-shirt slogan ideas but a few other hot sellers come to mind........
A "Boob-Proof" cage to protect bike computers from inadverdant re-setting.
A 'Bike Bra Bra" to protect moving bicycle parts from unwanted lingerie intrusion.
(Hmm...is there a trend to spot here?)
The "Santa Ana Edition" tow rope and full fairing set.
The "Damn it's Hot out here!" conversion filter. This handy device snaps over the read-out screen of GPS units and cyclometers equipped w/ tempurature functions and changes the number from "104" to "78" for moral support.
The 'Wait for us John!" airhorn for when your riding partner rides off into the desert w/out noticing that you're no longer on his wheel.
The "Words w/ 4 Letters" Dictionary. Inspired by Rob, Sean and Ted. Laminated plastic pages so that it can be carried in a jersey pocket.
I'm sure that I missed a few................what else?
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's the equivalent of 3000 words, or about the same as a short Mike Clark message.
A West Michigan pace line heading up to Zabriski Point on Friday morning.
The long road heading toward Jubilee Pass.
Carmen, Mary, Melanie and Patti taking a break from fighting the wind.
I know we, as a team, have taken thousands of pictures. Let's figure out what site we can post them all to as a group. Use the comment section to discuss options.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Woooh..............mind buzzing............sleep deprived..............image overload................must concentrate!
Wow! How to describe last weekend? There's the obvious approach.... I could blather on about the 40mph wind gusts, the virtual ground-level sandstorm we rode through to get back to Furnance Creek just before (okay......a little after, mebbe) sundown, the constant mentions that I got from other coaches and Ride staff about what a great Team we have, the stars I saw w/ Patti B before dawn on Sunday, how great it was for me that Lin was there, what a drag it was that the post-Ride bash got kinda shut down by mean ol' Ma Nature (whatta bitch!), or any of a bazillion other images running around my boggled brain.
And I will... at some point...no doubt.
But for now I wanna say this: I was just on the Adventure Corps site, lookin' at pix and searchin' for glittery stars and my face hurts from grinning and my eyes are red. Every pic I saw of one of us made my day, y' know? This thing is SO BIG and SO COOL and has become SO MUCH a part of my life that I swear I dunno whatinthehell I'm gonna do w/ myself now that the '07 Rides are over. I want to thank everyone of you guys (again and again!) for lettin' be be a small part of this Team..............it's an honor and a privilage that I'm not sure I deserve so............thanks a TON!
Remember.......the Next Big Team Deal is the Post-Season Celebration / Next Season Kick Off Bash on 11/13! Details will be forthcoming as soon as Mary and I can get together but mark your calendars now so you can be there! Be sure to invite potential Team Riders, family and anyone else affected by diabetes that you think oughta be exposed to what we have goin' on!
I wanna say this too............(and those of you that have heard this once or twice or more can skip down!) I was talking to National Head Coach Tim St. Clair after dinner on Saturday night about an idea that I had. We had talked @ the coach's meeting about some potential different awards to hand out after the Ride and I was thinking that there oughta be a Team Award..........something to recognize the Team that just had it goin' on the most all weekend, y'know? My idea was that the staff and the volunteers and break point folk could get together and award the Team w/ the best attitude and coolest riders. He liked the idea and then told me (after making me promise that I'd "listen to him and believe every word that he said") "Your team would win that award". He said that we had been the talk of the weekend amongst staff and volunteers. Our spirit, our level of enthusiasm, our riding ability....you name it and we had it, as far as they were concerned. I knew that.........but it was cool that everyone else did as well.
He also said that it was too bad that the evening's presentation was shut down by the conditions 'cuz they would have made a big deal about you guys in front of everyone.
This goes out to all our MT teammies as well.............out in DV we knew that the bar had been set waaaayyyy up there by the riders from West Mich that had "led us out" @ the earlier Rides and that we all had a big pair of cycling shoes to fill.
I think we did it!
Congradulations to EVERY ONE of you guys................I couldn't be more proud of you all and I really hope that this season has (to cop a line from TSC) made your life bigger.
I can't wait to see everyone @ the Party, hear the tales and see the pix!
(Man.............I did a great job of keepin' this short, huh?)
You guys ROCK, have I mentioned that lately?
Monday, October 22, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
2400 miles on a road bike is pretty much irrelevant to my abilities on a mountain bike. Over the handlebars once, walked up numerous hills (not 'cause I lack the strength, but because I lack the balance to stay on track and maneuver around roots and sticks while cranking hard), and I generally ache all over. By the end of this whoppin' eleven mile ride, my rear wheel was doing a convincing imitation of a Pringle, despite stopping to straighten it two times.
It's pretty humbling to see a guy on a single-speed 29er (mountain bike tires on road bike size rims, roughly works out to 29" in diameter rather than 26 on a "normal" MTB) go hustling up a hill that I can't make it up in my lowest gear.
Oh, yeah. The ground is hard. When you suddenly find yourself staring at the gound as it approaches you at great speed, it is hard. The bike, when it lands on top of you, is also hard.
I shall refrain from complaining about the wind. It was windy, but it felt good. From what the nice folks at the NOAA say, Death Valley was, if anything, windier than it was last year.
Edited to add a link to some pictures!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Man, I SO want to be getting on that plane with you folks tomorrow morning - whatever the ride brought last year, the overall experience was over-the-top awesome. All you veterans know exactly what I'm talking about; if this is your first ride, just soak it all up!
I think Katie asked for things to do, so:
-Go on the hike.
-Get in the pool at least once.
-Go outside after dark, get away from the lights, give your eyes a few minutes to adjust, and look up.
I look forward to stories and pictures! Good luck, everyone -
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
On the WGVU Morning Show on 10/17 Death Valley rider Tom Scheidel will be interviewed by show host Shelly Irwin. The seven minute interview will start at about 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday and will cover the West Michigan Ride Team's upcoming ride in Death Valley. WGVU can be found at 88.5 FM in Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM on the lakeshore.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Death Valley National Park, that is.
Hard to believe we're about to board planes for this big adventure. I am SO ready to get out there. Our bikes are in the safe, capable hands of our pal Dennis from Gainey, and the weather is looking pretty awesome for Saturday (high of 89, sunny, and winds only at 12 mph).
Funny actually, the song from Chicago with the same title as this post, if you remove all the references to the 4th of July, is actually fitting for this weekend.... a few excerpts:
Saturday in the park... People dancing, people laughing... And I've been waiting such a long time for Saturday... People talking, really smiling, A man playing guitar (Coach Mike, perhaps??) singing for us all ... Will you help him change the world ... Can you dig it... And I've been waiting such a long time for today... A real celebration waiting for us all...
Safe travels to all. Looking forward to lots of laughs, food, drink, and amazing feats as we hammer down across Death Valley.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
So...........I'm sitting here in the JDRF office. Mary and I have spent the better part of the last 2 days gettin' 30-some Death Valley bound bicycles all wrapped in foam and ready to go on the truck.(Which oughta be here any second now)
Exactly one week from today we'll either be en route or already there.
It's pretty dang cool to sit here surrounded by all these bikes and duffles and plastic bins.......and think about how far we've come in 3 short years! It really says something about the power of the Rides....that despite all the turmoil and turnover here @ the office we've grown the way we have! It says something about the folks that have been working here at the office and it says something about the staff that's here now. And......it says a ton about you guys. The riders on this Team are so cool and so passionate and so dedicated and I'm pretty frickin' proud of what we have going here in West Mich!
So.........a week from now 33 riders w/ support from Linda and Sophie will be Death Valley bound You guys all know how much sweat and work that represents so I know that those of you that have done your Ride already will be sending good thoughts out west for your Teammates and for those of you that'll be in DV........it's time to Ride so let's go do it, eh?
Watch for details on the upcoming Team End-O'-Season / 2008 Recruitment Party coming up next month! You're gonna wanna be there!
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
And, no, I'm not actually talking about the beer - I'm talking about some knobby-tire trail riding! Montana vet Dawn is interested in having a mountain bike ride at the Owasippe boy scout reservation. Normally the trails there are closed to the non-scouty public, but weekends in October they do open up to us folks, for a $5 trail fee, and for limited hours (10 am-4 pm). There are two trails, both about 11 miles long, with about a thousand feet of climbing.
Anyone game? Sounds fun to me!
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Check out this link. Although not technically a JDRF story, check out the jerseys the two Apple Cider Century Bicyclists are wearing. :)
Monday, October 8, 2007
the valley awaits....
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Don't forget that we have a Team Ride planned for this Saturday. The place is @ Pete & Sue Dow's in Ada, the time is 3:00pm and we'll have details comin' at'cha very soon! I hope to see lotsa you Death Valley types...(we only have a couple more weeks to fine tune our fitness y'know!) and it's always way cool to be blessed w/ the presence of our various Whitefish team mates!
Monday, October 1, 2007
Here we are at the New Buffalo SAG stop, almost halfway to the hundred. The weather was perfect for the ACC this year, if a bit windy. There were some hills that weren't included in previous year's routes. Hills, wind and hot sun in the afternoon. Sound like any place we might be at in three weeks?
We saw Whitefish alumni Rick Blackmar and DV alum Lynn Elker on the ride. Lynn said the Schmeider brothers were there as well. Did anybody else make it to Three Oaks yesterday?
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Well, maybe not quite like this. But Patti Bills did pose an awesome discussion topic yesterday... thought I would help get a bit more buzz going around this one. If you listen to music when you ride, what's on your playlist?
I only used my iPod twice during my too-long ride in DV last year--on my hellacious journey up to Jubilee Pass, and on the last 15 miles of the ride. Somehow, having a distraction from the salt melting off my eyelashes and the incessant burning on my saddle made things a bit better. I listened to comedy--I had downloaded some stand-up tracks right before going to DV, and found that listening to someone tell me a story was actually an awesome way to keep pumping.
These days, my list has everything from Gipsy Kings to The Roots to Boston to Stevie Wonder to Irish pub songs to new rock artists I don't even know to....whatever I happen to be in the mood for, I guess.
But those doesn't work for everyone. What's on YOUR playlist? Posting of specific artists and song titles is greatly encouraged. :)
Monday, September 24, 2007
Turns out, someone already thought to ask Steve Jobs for his help in making this happen.
Things I learned yesterday:
1. No dog named Coolio stands a chance with this team.
2. If you happen to be a fast-acting carbohydrate, get outta Katie's way on ride day.
3. It's OK to 'borrow' water from outdoor faucets at tiny small-town churches on Sunday afternoons.
4. A hill in Oceana County is steeper, and thus allows one to ride faster, than coming down from Jubilee Pass in Death Valley. Scary.
Seriously, what a great ride with a great crew yesterday. I had a blast with everyone, but big thanks to Derek, Kevin, and Dawn for joining us - an awesome show of support from those guys whose official ride has already come and gone this year.
Only 26 more days until Death Valley!
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Well, despite the absence of our beloved Coachman, seven of us gathered at Montague Township Park for a generally very nice 60-65 miles (depending on who you ask) wander-ride up into Oceana County. My usual map fetish was thwarted by some unexpected gravel roads on my test-drive late last week, so Nicole, Katie, Steve, Patti, Kevin C, and Dawn had to rely on my verbal directions. I can report that everyone is accounted for, so I guess we did OK.
The weather was freakin' perfect, the roads were quiet, and the hills were, uh, hilly. Katie did accuse me of basing our route on finding the highest point in Oceana County. I regret that I have been unable to find out exactly where that is, but we did hit some nice verticals, and in a couple of weeks the view from the top of one of those will be a great fall canvas. We also found a killer downhill (WITHOUT a stop sign right at the bottom!) that gave a few folks all-time top speeds!
So, anyway, I'm now on a Nyquil-based diet, so look for a better report from Nicole in a couple of days.
Oh, and Coolio was a small terrier-thing that decided to chase us; my totally random aiming skills actually worked for a change, and he got a very surprising blob of water right in the face. I don't think I've ever seen a dog look quite so startled.
Off to bed...
Greetings form Sin City! Amidst all the other Vegas-related madness the biz center here in my :hotel" rnets computers for 15 bux an hour, so I'll make it brief. ( I know....I know....."get a laptop". Blah Blah blah.)
The Sept Whitefish Ride to Cure was a raging success, much like August! Everyone I spoke with during or after (and I spoke w/ a ton of 'em!) was positivly glowong about the route, the Ride, the folks............the whole shebang!
What a powerful deal this is! I saw tears and I saw smiles and I heard laughter and I heard cheers. So cool!
Your teammates Jeff, Joel and Chuck rode well...........all 3 did 100 miles + and Chuck did the whole 118. (Star Meadow was open again) They looked good @ dinner Friday night "representin' the mitten" in their team tees.
Jeremy and I were pretty much buried in the Bike Room from Wed lunch 'til 1:00 this morning. We were tryin' to raise the bar to remind everyone that West Michigan ain't nuthin' to mess with and the preliminary reports are that we succeeded. We both drove sag wagonms all day yesterday and aside from one endo-induced dead wheel and a buncha flats.......we had little to do.
The weather window was finely tuned just like the smoke issues of August. It was rainy and in the high 40's on Thursday, sunny and 70 on Friday, partly cloudy and about 68 yesterday and ....at least @ 5:00 am which is as far as I can vouch for.....raining and cold again today!
I hope that today's ride was a blast.........someone post up and fill the rest of us in!
More later, gott aput more quarters in the hard drive!
Coach in Absentia, MC
Friday, September 21, 2007
So..here I am back in Big Sky Countyr again! zhard to belive that 'twas a mere 4 weks ago that we were here. It was hot and dry and @ the moment (10:45pm on Thursday) it's about 45 and rainy. It's been cold and rainy all day and "what to wear" has bene the topic of the day. Hopefully it'll be warmer and dryer on Sat!
Jeremy and I have been wroking in the bike Room since yesterday afternoon and it seems to be going well. People have told us that we're ahead of schedule and that the room and bike-pick-up process is more organized and efficient that in the past. That's good to hear 'cuz that's the goal........show 'em all that West Michigan ROCKS, right?
Your teammates Chuck, Joel and Jeff are havin' fun. They did a rainy little trail ride today 'cuz Jeff's bike took a scenic tour of the country instead of comin' stright here but it's here now so it'a all good.
I was asked to give the wrap-up "speech" at dinner tonight. I told folks that I envied anyone that was here for the first time............that I was jealous of the experience that they were about to have. A lot of you know what I mean, right?
Anyway...just wanted to give ya'll a heads up......(oh oh! "Ya'll" means that ive been hangin' w/ Tim St. Clair too much! ) I hope you guys have a great ride this Sunday.I'l be thinking ogf you and wishin' that I was riding wit'choo guys instead of flying from here to Lost Wages NV. Take care, keep riding and...........smile!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Hey all -
We'll be riding up my way again this coming Sunday - start time will be NOON, get there a bit early for map distribution, etc.
We'll start from Montague Township Park (here's the inevitable map to the park) - the same place we started from in July - and we'll do a solid 60-65 miles, with a few of Oceana County's finest hills. I can't promise that the road will be marked this time, but y'all are pretty good at following directions, so I don't think you'll get lost. Most importantly, have a few $$ with you, as we'll stop at Twisters back in Montague for ice cream!
I'll have some extra water at the start, and I'll try to find a place to fill bottles along the way, too. Bring your favorite foods for both during the ride (I don't have a huge stash of old energy bars and gels, so be sure to have enough with you to keep yer legs pumpin' for 4-5 hours) and for "recovery munching" afterwards, in case the ice cream doesn't do the trick!
Here's my proposed route!
See you there!
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
A bee-yoo-ti-ful early autumn day, a great route (courtesy of my buddy Jim) and a good turn-out is the short story of yesterday's ride but as you might expect.........there's more!
15 members of JDRF's coolest team gathered @ Ada Park for the 11:00am start. (Well........actually 13 were there @ 11:00, but that's another story - right Cindy and Brenda?) We had a good showing from the HM/August Whitefish Team.......Kevin, Dawn, Derek, Cindy and Brenda, Jeff from this month's MT Ride and then Sarah, Ted, Matt, Kevin, John, Carmen, David and Rob from the DV squad. Oh......and me.
We headed south, right up the once-fearsome climb on Snow and waaayyyy south around Feeport and a few other way-sleepy little burgs out there in the hinterlands. The wind was in our faces at first and there was plenty of big hills but everyone rode well and we all made it back to the park for chips-n-salsa, cookies and such w/ a minimum of issues or whining. (Pretty much!)
It was great to see so many riders out w/ us who have already done their Ride! It's way cool that you guys were out /w your teammates, sharing stories and showing the way! The spirit of this team is awesome to behold!
The next Team Ride is this coming Sunday up in Derek's neck o' the woods. As I'll be in transit from Whitefish I've "deputized" him and Nicole and they are "large and in charge" of this week's ride. Watch for details, discussions and maps (lots and lots of maps!) from them soon!
On Wed. Jeff, Joel and Chuck leave for their Whitefish Ride. Keep them in your thoughts later this week. I know that everyone that was out there last month will be envious and every veteren on this team is jealous of the experience that we know they are about to have! (I'll be out there as well, along w/ Jeremy from the shop, doing the bike tech support.) No riding for me, but I'll file a report when I get to Las Vegas after the Ride.
As for you Death Vally-ers..............we leave in exactly one month!!!! Are you ready? Your bike too? Let's keep riding and fund-raising and finish the season strong!
Still some group fund-raising opportunities coming along.............contact Cindy Aley for info on the Van Andel dates.
Don't forget Sarah's Wine-Tasting Bash too! Details soon!
I had a blast riding w/ some of you guys yesterday..............I've had a blast all season! You guys are the best.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Friday, September 7, 2007
Whassup Team!?!?!?!?!?!? NO one got nuthin' to say 'bout nuthin'? May I remind you that we are in the absolute heart of our Ride to Cure season?
That 21 of us enjoyed a profoundly moving and enjoyable experience in MT last month?!
That 3 more teammates (and yours truly) will be headin' out to Whitefish in a coupla weeks to do the same?!
That our ever-changing-but-always-awesome Death Valley squad is only 41 days away from climbin' on the big silver bird for the trip west?!
That our own Mary Schiedel is takin' over Julie's gig @ the office?!
That we have a Team Ride comin' up a week from Sunday?!
That the BANG Tour, Apple Cider, ODRAM and lotsa other cool rides are right 'round the corner?!
Let the chatter commence! Let there be maps and pictures and thinly disguised jokes at each other's expense!
Is anybody out there!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Here are some portraits of the August Whitefish team that were taken during our (LONG) layover in Chicago. Not all team members are represented as a few were absent and others were unwilling to subject themselves to such humiliation. It's always nice to be able to put a face with a name.
|JDRF Riders Portraits|
Monday, August 27, 2007
Hopefully everyone has recieved my "official" Ride Report in their inbox by now, (and if you haven't...please let me know!) but I just wanted to chime in again about what a special group of riders it was that I was privileged to share the MT experience with last weekend!
Here's a dirty little Coach secret that we all talk about when we have our special little meeting @ breakfast on Friday. (Don't tell on me or the other coaches will take away my special "Coach" jersey!) We get way more out of this than we put in! JDRF takes good care of us, gives us all that fancy lycra and Tim makes a big fuss over us in front of everyone on Friday night. Shucks.......there's even a special award just for us! Then there's all the warm fuzzies that we get from you guys on top of all that! So, to earn all that stuff all I gotta do is ride (which I do anyways!) and hang out w/ you guys! (Which I'd do anyways if you'd let me!)
See what I mean? It's a pretty sweet deal from my point of view and I couldn't mean it any more when I say that I'm honored and humbled that it's okay w/ you guys that I hang around as your "coach".
Thanks again, and congradulations to each and every one of you..........August MT'rs, September MT's and DV'rs all!
Anyway............Looking forward to reports and pix from everyone! I have a few........a disproportionate number of which are of Linda, Diana and Rod! Still...........maybe I'll figure out how to post them w/out Cahd havin' to rescue me. (Don't hold your breath!)
Friday, August 24, 2007
Guilty as charged. I'm a bit of a nerd. But, this geekiness does enable me to post a photo from beautiful Whitefish, MT.
Everything looks set for tomorrow. Some changes had to be made to the Star Meadow route because of forest fires in the area, so the most challenging climbing has been eliminated. We'll still be able to log a hundred miles by doubling back over a section of the route. The weather forecast is for temps to top out in the mid 80's, but chilly in the morning with lows around 47. By this time tomorrow we'll all be relishing the feeling of having put many miles under our wheels, and having done something truly awesome for others.
Speaking as a first timer, this is really amazing. Impossible to describe, really, so I won't try. You veterans know what I'm talking about.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
A hearty send off to the West Michigan riders who will be leaving for Whitefish, Montana tomorrow. Those us of who have to wait two more months are envious of you getting to do your ride already. Thanks for supporting a great cause. With people like those on the West Michigan Ride Team there is no doubt that we WILL cure diabetes.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
From Mary Scheidel via Ann O'Conner...
Due to the crappy weather forecast for Sunday our team ride/pool party has been cancelled. Ann is looking at other possible dates for a future party. We'll keep you posted. If you need to contact Ann, her cell is 616-780-3406.
So, I'm grumbling this morning (not because of ride stuff). I opened the box containing 750 new test strips for my and Ellie's blood glucose meters this morning. They changed the packaging. And you will think, but Katie - why would this put you in a grumpy mood? Well, they made the vials that hold 25 strips each larger, and the new vials won't fit into the cases that carry our meter, strips and poker. WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA? I guess we keep the old vials and just move strips into them as we need it. We'll just have to tell daycare and school that the code on the vial and code in the meter don't match for a reason and yes we know the vial says the strips have expired but they really haven't.
Crazy. Just crazy. I want to find the person who thought this was a good idea (and I know who it is - a man with big fingers that didn't fit in the old vials). Such is life.
I am looking forward to the ride and pool party tomorrow. I hope the weather holds out (and I survive my 15-year high school reunion tonight!).
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Okay all you Death Valleyians................time to put'cher money where your mouth is! I've heard a lotta big talk about hangin' in Vegas after the ride..............now that Mary needs our travel info it's time to nail this down.
So..................who's up for 1 day? 2 days? No days? What's the plan? Is there a plan? Should there even be a plan?
Let the posting commence!
Monday, August 6, 2007
Here's the West Michigan Ride Team getting ready to leave Joe Schmeider's house yesterday. Notice how everyone is smiling? This was before 48 very hilly miles. The hilliest portion being Joe's driveway.
Post ride frivolity.
Chips, salsa, burgers, energy drink, pasta salad, muffins, and cookies.
Friday, August 3, 2007
Hey ya'll! I'm hoping to see many of your smiling and sweaty faces up @ Joe's this Sunday! Hopefully everyone got my last e-mail so your all up to date on the time and the place and all the details.
What could be better?
I know there's a chance of rain in the forecast...but what are the odds really?
See you there!
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Actually it's a certain Chicago-based member of the team that oughta be watchin' out for the cruel twists of karma!
Word on the street is that every time Nic rides w/ Did he gets a flat!
By the way..................don'cha think it oughta be "Bikema"?
Great ride Sunday, major props to the Big D for settin' up that oh-so-sweet loop, markin' the turns, etc. 'Twas good to see 20 riding for the cure!
Next ride is August 5th, hosted by none other than Joe Schmieder his-own-self. Roll-out is @ 1:00pm, figure on 55 miles or so and Joe's plannin' on firing up the grill afterwards. (Bring your own beverages) Details, directions and maps soon.
Looking forward to seeng many Team Faces @ the Holland Hundred this Saturday!
You guys rock, have I mentioned that?
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Photo 1: Mike taking a great amount of enjoyment in Derek's "Oh, crap, I just fixed my flat tire and clipped in, then fell over, leaving a big Derekprint in the weeds" moment by taking a photo.
Photo 2: Mike's flat tire repair, about a mile down the road after the Derekprint incident.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Hey all -
I've been buggin' for a team ride up in my neck o' the woods just about from day one. This Sunday, July 15, I get my wish - start time is 11 AM from Montague Township Park! It's dumb near bicycle paradise up here - I can promise lots of nice country roads, great scenery, and minimal motorized traffic. I can also promise a few nice, long, steady hills (with matching downhills!) that are great training for Whitefish or Death Valley. Finally, I can promise an ice cream stop as we roll back into town, so stick a few bucks in your pocket!
I'm figuring 45 miles, with an option for 36. I'll have the usual maps and cue sheets available.
Now, since I'm sure EVERYONE on our team won't want to miss this, I've had a little mapping festival. Some of you folks out West might want to carpool.
Map from Grand Rapids
Map from Holland
Map from Cedar Springs
Map from Kalamazoo
Map from Chicago
Map from Dallas
Map from Denver
Map from Los Angeles
If anyone's got any questions, leave a comment (or ask your mentor to get in touch with me) and I'll do my best to answer. Thus far even the weather forecast looks decent!
See you soon!
We just received 100 cases of H2Ultra Fitness Water from our sponsor XS Energy Drink. Just like the energy drink (see the July 5 blog entry) the water is available for us to sell and make money for the Ride Team. Check out this link for more information on H2Ultra.
So here's the program. H2Ultra retails on their web site for $1.30 to $3.00 a bottle depending on how many cases you buy. We are planning on selling it at events for $1.00 a bottle. Team members can buy it for 50 cents per bottle when purchased in a case of 12. (That's $6.00) These are half liter bottles and the water is engineered for better fitness. These will sell fast at $1.00 at any outdoor summer event.
As with the XS Energy Drink let Tom or Mary Scheidel know if you would like some H2Ultra.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
Thanks to Derek for helping to make my vacation week awesome. Yesterday we met for a nice long ride here in the great north. Rolling out around 10:00am, we made our way from Montague up to Silver Lake Sand Dunes and back. Probably one of the most beautiful days of the year, and 59 more miles under the tires.
Our only disappointment was that the heavenly cinnamon rolls he promised me were all gone from the bakery in Silver Lake by the time we got there. "Shoulda been here earlier!" was the response from our new pal Kathy behind the counter. Great.
Derek also provided me an opportunity to watch the reluctant Master of Flat Changing swap out a bum tube around mile 31.
Also, in case you were wondering, a really good time to have trouble unclipping your shoes at a stop sign is WHEN YOU'RE TELLING A STORY ABOUT HOW YOU ONCE HAD TROUBLE UNCLIPPING YOUR SHOES AT A STOP SIGN. No worries, though...just a little dirt in the gloves...and my bruised ego.
Hope lots of you can make it for our ride next Sunday 7/15 up this way. What a great place to ride a bike.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
If you are on the Ride Team you probably received this information from your mentor. So this may be a repeat for some but it's also for our blog readers and supporters.
New JDRF Ride Team sponsor XS Energy has come through. Today we took delivery on 224 cases (12 cans per case) of XS Energy Drink. All XS drinks are sugar free, carb free and very low calorie. Follow this link for more product info.
XS Energy Drink Flavors
Black Cherry Cola
Root Beer Blast
Root Beer Blast –caffeine free
Tropical Blast –caffeine free
Cranberry Grape –caffeine free
Electric Lemon Blast
Tea-Berry Blast –non carbonated
Call or email Tom or Mary Scheidel for more info or to get some XS.
Monday, July 2, 2007
Sunday, July 1, 2007
I think I speak for everyone that had the pleasure to attend the training ride at the Clarks' house in Holland this afternoon....Mike and Linda, THANK YOU! Thanks so much for taking us on a beautiful ride and putting together a yummy meal that really hit the spot. I was thrilled to see so many people there--a real testament to the strength and dedication of this team. I feel so lucky to be part of it. See you soon!
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Here's the analog version.............I have no idea how to do a Google Map (whatever that is!)
From the east: Take the 2nd Holland exit off of 1-96, go right @ the stop sign and head west until you hit River Ave. (You'll cross US-31, go past a cemetery, across RR tracks and there's a Shellmart on your right when you're @ River Ave.) Turn left on River up 2 blocks to 18th St. Go right on 18th and go a block and 1/2 to 130 West 18th. There are a couple white birch trees just east of our house. Park wherever and go around to the gate at the end of the driveway. Don't worry about the racket that Max-the-Dog is probably making as you arrive.
From the north: Us-31 to 16th, go right and follow the above directions.
From the south: Ditto.
Questions? More guidance? email@example.com or 616-610-0334
Hopeta seeya there!
Monday, June 25, 2007
We met up @ Kenowa Hills High School out there on the N.W. edge of Grand Rapids for Team JDRF West Michigan's 7th big training ride. 10AM was plenty early for those of us that'd been up waaayyy too late playin' music in the bar the night before, but I digress. In attendence were:
Sarah, Cindy, Derek, Matt S, Herb-n-Brenda, Patti, Jack, Special Guest and maybe-future-rider Eric, Kevin, Lin and me-own-self. The route took us west and north, crossing but not using the Muskatawa Trail and featuring an elevation profile that looked like a heartrate EKG w/ all the ups and downs! No real drama, despite an impromptu flat-fixin' demo brought on by a blowout on our tandem (just another of the many services we offer!) and a slight modification to the planned route by Ms. Andro and Ms. Bills that required a massive 30+mph chase on the tandem to correct. (Okay...it was maybe half a mile at most........it just seemed "massive", those guys were hauling!)
The roads were nice but I wanna apologise to everyone present once again about the traffic volume. This was the last time we'll be on a route that was designed w/out the benefit of local knowlege, I promise! I thought everyone did a great job of riding safe but it might be appropriate here to review the Michigan Vehicle Code which states that we are allowed to ride 2 abreast at all times, but never more than that. I think it's good manners to go single-file on crowded roads, and safer as well. Again...........good job everyone!
My favorite quote of the day was uttered by Lin, who was 1/4 mile away from finishing her longest ride of the year and was feeling it just a bit. It was about 30 minutes after we had chased down the errant duo who had missed a turn.........we were about 20 yards behind Cindy as she approached the final turn into the school and she said "If she misses this turn she' on her own, okay?"
I gotta tell you guys..........everyone is riding really well! I think we'll be ready!
Okay.........next Team Ride is this coming Sunday, 7/1 @ my house here in Holland. Ride time is 2:00pm and we'll be doing a great route that the locals call the Hutchin's Lake Loop. It's about 45-48 miles and features the best riding that Allegan County has to offer; a trip across the historic New Richmond Bridge, through Fennville, around Hutchin's Lake, past the Fenn Valley Winery, (near Ann's house!) into Douglas along the bayou, through Saugatuck and back to casa de Clark for a post-ride Tex-Mex feast. (I'll have a shortcut on the maps as well!) Friends and Fam are more than welcome, along w/ anyone that you're riding for. We oughta be back to the house around 5:00, but any non-riding guests are welcome to hang out or gimme a shout and we'll come up w/ a diversion for them while we're riding.
TOP SECRET! It's Patti Bill's Birthday Sunday! Don't tell her! Feel free to bring a card or something however. (Sarah's on Cake Duty)
Speaking of that...........folks have asked what they can bring. Folding chairs will come in handy, along w/ your favorite beverage. I'm planning on your basic fajita fixxin's, meat, beans, rice, salse, chips, veggies, etc. If someone wants to do guacamole, some kind of salad or more desserts.......that'd be cool but don't feel that you have to, okay? Maybe you could post here what'cher bringing so we don't end up w/ 9 different desserts? (Not that it'd be a bad thing!)
(Special requests and/or requirements? Lemme know!)
I think that's it for now. Looking forward to seeing a buncha ya'll this weekend!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
My 39 mile ride was great, minus the hearing loss due to their piercing mating call (it is impossible to describe the volume and tone with which these critters are looking for 'that special someone'), a cicada stuck in my helmet, and dozens of dead ones stuck to my tires.
Maybe the lakefront path isn't so bad.
Oh, and Chicago even has its own little blog about these things. Cicada haiku, anyone?