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!