Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Hey Team!

So...........2008 is just about in the books, huh? Although the news and history books might disagree I gotta say that it's been a HELLUVA year! Thanks to each and everyone of you for sharing your hearts and sweat and effort and time as we continue this journey together.

And here's to even bigger and better things in 2009!

I have a tentative schedule set up for the Ultimate Cycling Challenge in Feb. The times that I "assigned" to everyone are based on what'cha told me 2-3 weeks ago when I first brought it up so I'm more than prepared to hear that I need to make changes! (I used a pencil!) As you can see there are still a few spots open so let me know if you wanna get in on the fun! (Also - I need a minimum donation of 30 bux a head when you get a chance. Make checks out to "Ultimate Cycle Challenge" and send them to my attentiion here @ the shop. Velo City, 77 East 8th Holland Mich 49423).

Here's what I have so far:
8-9: MC
9-10: Heather A-B
10-11: Chris R
Midnight-1: Nicole N
2-3: Did
3-4: John J
4-5: Ross S
5-6: Kevin O
8-9: Joe S
9-11: Scott P & Linda T-P
11-Noon: Melanie W
Noon -1: Amy F2
1-2: Katie C
2-3: Steve C
3-4: Jack C
5-6: Brad S

Again - the dates are 2-20/21 and it runs from 8pm to 8pm. The rumors that Team members JD Stone, Brian Bowe, Heather Allegrina-Bowe and I are forming a band for the sole purpose of playing a set @ the event on Saturday afternoon are pretty much true, so you got that goin' for you, which is nice. There will also be a Velo City Cycles Team so if you are afraid that you won't get enought trainer time.............talk to me!

Need more details? Surf on over to www.ultimatecyclechallenge.com (I tried it - it works!)

Other stuff:
New Year's Day Ride @ the shop - 1:00pm
Outdoor Road rides on Tuesdays @ 6pm & Fridays @ 8:30am
Dirt Road "Adventure Rides" from the Hamilton Grocery Store on Sundays @ 2:00pm
Heather's Tuesday Night Yoga @ the shop at 8pm
Indoor Training Rides on Wednesdays @ 8pm & Saturdays @ 8am

Let me know if you need me to add you to the U.C.C. list, change your slot or if you have any questions about this (or any other!) stuff!

Ride on!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

All I Really Need to Know I Learned Working $1 Beer and Dog Night at Van Andel

So, tonight was my first experience working at Van Andel (yeah, yeah…I know, it’s long overdue). I selected an infamous $1 beer/dog night as my inaugural gig. I heard plenty of warnings prior to tonight, and must say, it was pretty intense at times. But, I worked with a rockin’ group of riders from our ever-so-awesome team, and really did have a great time. Now, as I relax after a hellacious white-knuckled icy and foggy drive home, I realize that one can actually take away several life lessons from this cool set up at VA…

Be diplomatic. Explain nicely that beer and hot dog limits are in place so that we DON’T run out before 8:00 p.m. Plus, we don’t have a tray to give you anyway, so just take what you can carry and go watch the game, man.

Be assertive. It’s ok to card a 60+ year old man on $1 beer night. There’s even a little sign on the counter that says so.

Be an example in patience. When faced with 75+ Griffins fans waiting for the beer taps (yes, ALL of them stopped working at the same time) to be fixed…keep your cool.

Shrug your shoulders, smile, and try to look cute when faced with an angry mob. See previous comment regarding extended lack of beer.

Flattery will get you everywhere. Just ask Chris Radford who kept carding all of those “21 year olds.”

Be appreciative. Giving a big ol’ “thank you!” and quick plug for the awesome cause for which we’re working after each tip (also, just loud enough so the next guy in line can hear it too!) makes everyone feel good.

Be frugal. Apparently, those little cheese cups are counted. Don’t give them away.

Wash your hands. Please.

Trust people. When the “Queen of the Cash” comes by and takes a wad of money out of your drawer, it’s cool. She knows what she’s doing. And dang…she is GOOD at this stuff.

Respect authority. When you don’t really know what the heck you’re doing (you know, like on your first night working at VA), just keep asking what you can do, and then do it. e.g. “Count these cups…No, Nicole…those stacks should only have 40 in them….”

Smile. Everyone has more fun when you do.

Healthy competition is a good thing. I’m pretty sure “Tip for the girls!” FAR outnumbered “Tip for the guys!” tonight. And even if it didn't, we still pulled in a ton of tips by fostering a little bit of competition.

Pass blame whenever possible. It’s not my fault beer sales cease at the end of the 2nd period. “Sorry, sir. It’s arena policy to end beer sales at this time.”

Reward yourself after working hard. Usually you won’t have to twist Cindy’s arm to visit her favorite coney/bar across the street from VA after working.

Call home. Especially when you have to go 60+ miles in fog that most closely resembles potato soup.

Team: What other lessons have been learned during Van Andel events? :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow in DV

What a difference a couple of months make! Wouldn't a little snow and ice make the ride down from Jubilee Pass even more exciting?

Current conditions in Death Valley as of 7:12 pm PST
Light Snow

Feels Like: 34°

Barometer: 29.8 in and steady

Humidity: 93%

Visibility: 3 mi

Dewpoint: 32°

Wind: W 7 mph

Sunrise: 6:54 am

Sunset: 4:35 pm

High: 49° Low: 31°

Training Video

You know, Herb & I spend so much time on trainers during the off-season that it struck me - why haven't we made a neat little training video with the West Michigan JDRF Ride to Cure team hosted by Coach Mike? It wouldn't have to be as high-tech as the Coach Troy videos, but Tom with his video camera & Coach Mike narrating, I think it could be a super-seller. All those jealous non-Coach Mike teams would be begging to buy them from us. A nice little 20-25 mile ride in Ada, or maybe something along the lakeshore would be perfect. It would also be a cool recruitment tool for new riders.

Now I can't make this thing, but if Tom can or somebody else, I'd certainly be your first customer.

Happy Kwanzhanumas everybody! Or if Festivus is your thing, Happy Festivus. I, too, find tinsel distracting.

On a more serious note, Merry Christmas everybody. & have a great New Year.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Great write-up of Death Valley!

Hey All! Our team mate JD has a cool account of his DV ride on his blog. Check it out!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Too Quiet!

Hey Ya'll! I know that it's winter and we can't register for the Ride(s) yet and it's cold and it's snowy and all kinds of crappy out but that doesn't mean that the World's Coolest Team is in hibernation!

Ooooohhhh Nooo! Just take a peek here @ some of the stuff that some of your team mates are up to (and think about joinin' the fun!)

Outdoor rides from VCC on Tuesday @ 6:00pm
Yoga for Cyclists @ VCC on Tuesday @ 8:00pm
Indoor Training Rides @ VCC on Wednesday @ 8:00Pm & Saturday @ 8:00AM
The Last Cyclo-Cross Race of the Year this Sunday in Holland @ 11:00AM (followed by a big party @ New Holland hosted by the local club!)
The big Mel Trotter Benefit Party @ McFadden's in GR on Wed 12/17 (featuring the Last Call Band*)
"Holiday Ride" from VCC on 12/21 @ 2:00PM
New Year's Eve Party @ Schiedels!
New Years' Day Ride from VCC @ 1:00PM (1-1-1..get it?)
The Ultimate Cycling Challenge is "only" 10.5 weeks away! I'll have a sign-up sheet goin' soon. We were the 2nd Team to register ('cuz we're from the Planet Awesome!)

That's just a taste....be sure to post up and let everyone know what you're up to, okay?

Coach Mike

(* Those guys are playin' this Friday @ New Holland and Saturday @ the Saugatuck Brewery as well)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Since I started doing JDRF rides back in '05 I started logging my miles to this site www.bikejournal.com . It has been extremely helpful in keeping me motivated. Logging my miles after each ride and keeping a journal of the rides has helped me a lot in my training. I also include indoor training miles since those are the most brutal. I set up a club on the site called JDRF West Michigan if you want to join and you will be able to see how many miles everyone else is doing.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Indoor Training Rides Start in December!

Hey ya'll! Our shop Indoor Training Rides commence this comin' Wednesday and will continue through the winter. There's no charge (well.......one. I'll get to that) and you can join us as often or a seldom as you wanna! Here's the scoop:

When - Wed night and Sat morning @ 8:00.
Where - Here @ the shop. (Velo City in Downtown Holland)
What - 45-90 minutes of dorected inddor training using a variety of Spinerval and other DVD's from our collection.
Who - Anyone w/ a trainer, a bike and the desire to sweat!
Why - 2 words. Killington Vermont!
How - Be here on time, get'cher bike and trainer set up and go for it! I'll set up a schedule of which DVDs we do when and the sweat will roll! It's a ton of fun and WAY more enjoyable than toiling away by yourself in the basement!

Details - You can store your bike and trainer here @ the shop for a one time donation of any size to JDRF.

While I'm (sort of ) on the subject...if anyone isn't getting our shop newsletter (the "Quick Release") and would like to....so you'll be up on all the rides, events, sales, etc....either go to http://www.velo-citycycles.com/ and sign up or drop me a line (mike@velo-citycycles.com) and I'll make it happen.

Keep riding!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The trailer is posted

The movie trailer we watched at the party on Saturday night has been posted to YouTube. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNjP-dJ0L4I. We are also taking a break from our "Death Valley Ride" blog and have started a new blog called "More Than 100 Miles...". That site will follow our training for Vermont as well as post updates on how the documentary is coming along. A first bit of news is that Todd Herring, lead singer of Craic Wisely, will be doing some original music for the film. More later. Ride On!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Talk About a Party!

Holy Cow! Never, and I mean never, let it be said that JDRF's Coolest Team doesn't know how to party! What a blast! Thanks for everyone for makin' the trip, thanks to Tom, Mary, Derek, Katie and Nicole for doin' the majority of the work (Keep in mind that I wasn't around for the clean-up, so I apologize if I left anyone out) and thanks to every single member of our Team - riders, family, friends, donors......................for making 2008 our best year ever!

Lin and I had a complete hoot...............the food was awesome, the crowd was rockin', there was all sorts (and I mean ALL!) of singing (I still have that "Loving Feeling" song in my head) and the memories of that night...and all it stands for......will keep us warm for many a winter's cold evening!

I haven't shut my new picture frame down and I don't plan to. Thanks again and again and again!

So much I wanted to say that night.....so much I'd like to say now.....words fail me. I'll just say thanks again for EVERYTHING all you guys have done and will do and thanks again and forever for allowing Lin and I to come along for the ride!

You guys completely and profoundly rock, have I told you that lately?


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holiday Benefit Party Invite!

I know........your mind is on OUR party (and who could blame you?) but believe it or not, life WILL go on after this weekend and here's a Cool Thing To Do:

A riding buddy of mine puts together a big party to benefit the Mel Trotter Mission in downtown GR. Legend has it that when he asked the director down there what they needed most he was told "We need socks and underwear 24/7, year 'round". Thus - entry to this event is just that - packs of warm socks and/or underwear. (Men's). This bash has outgrown Founder's and will take place this year @ McFadden's, a cool pub across the street from Van Andel (right next to Cindy's favorite pre-Van Andel waterin' hole) in their upstairs room. There will be snacks, a cash bar..........and more area cyclists than you've seen together since the Holland Hundred! One of the coolest things about this bash from my point of view is how it brings all the different pieces of the West Michigan cycling scene together...you'll see folks from every shop, every club, every team....roadies, 'crossers, trial riders, fixxie-freaks.......you name it.

So - it seems to me that you oughta be able to see a goodly hunk o' JDRF's Coolest Team there too, don'cha think?

Wed. 12/17 from 7:00pm 'til ???????????????
There will be snacks and such and a cash bar.

Oh yeah.......The Last Call Band will be performing as well.

So....gimme a shout if you need more details aor have any questions.

Monday, November 17, 2008

2009 Rides

The 2009 rides are posted. West Michigan was featured in the Tucson picture. Can you find yourself? Looking forward to the party this weekend and getting fired up about the ride for next year!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday the 23rd...

So next Sunday, the day after the team party (which you'll be attending, right? I'm makin' baklava!), we have a potential group activity. Three of our teammates will be engaged in that uniquely self-abusive form of cycling known as cyclocross racing, starting at around 11 am at Manhattan Park in Grand Rapids. Howsabout we all grab our cowbells and caravan over to watch Ross, Jasker, and of course Coach Mike get themselves throughly dirty?

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I offer you these words, courtesy of DV vet JD Stone.....

"If you want to travel quickly - go alone.
If you want to travel far - go together"
African Proverb

To which JD added @ the bottom "Anyone that rode in Death Valley knows this to be true".

I look forward to traveling together with you guys!

See you Saturday night I hope!

Monday, November 10, 2008


Okay, so it's not 'til the end of February, still...it IS approaching and it's time to start thinking about it! Registration is open and they are going to limit it to the forst 50 teams this year. I'm going to sign us up and then we can figure out the details later.

For anyone that missed it in years past - here's the scoop: This is a 24 hour indoor cycling event to benefit the Lance armstrong Foundation. It takes place @ Ultimate Fitness here in H-land and it runs from 8:00pm Friday to (strangely enough) 8:00pm Saturday on Feb 20-21. We used it last year as a way to get folks interested in our Team and to have a good time. Shucks - it was we met Scott and Linda for the 1st time! I think we could probably get 2 or more teams togther if we wanted to! It's a minimum donation of $30 a head and you get a t-shirt and a lot of support.

I'll take care of registering us as a team, we won't have to get them a roster until February. We can do 1 or 2 hours stints on the trainer and I'll set up a sign up sheet when folks start getting back to me to claim a time slot.

Go to www.ultimatecyclingchallenge.com for more details, or contact me!

I hope to see EVERYONE @ the party next week! Can't wait!


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

While it's no 'Twitpicing'...

...it is still pretty funny. I might try to Simultube next year at the Ride.


Whassup w/ that? Too much politics? Everyone bored w/ the whole Team Thing? Killington and/or DV seem so-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o far away?

Nonsense says I! We have a Big Time Party comin' up in 17 days and I can't wait! Let there be laughter and tears! Let there be silliness and hugs! Let there be talk of who, what, when and where for 2009! Let the overall power and style of the West Michigan Team put last night's Grant Park Party to shame!

Okay...maybe not....but STILL...it's time to celebrate the wonder that was this Team in 2008 and to "keep it in the big ring" as we kick off '09!

I hope to see everyone @ the Big Bash on the 22nd. Keep riding and spreadin' the word........let's make 2009 the Best Year Ever, okay?


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Life is for the Living

Special thanks to Sarah & Katie for hosting the "Life is for the Living" movie & discussion @ the Wealthy Theater last night. You guys are my heroes. Thanks for standing up for such an important issue that gives people with Diabetes & other chronic illnesses such hope. Just when I think I am ensconced in a world of perverted morality, you guys stand up for true morality & what is right.

If you haven't figured out by now, we truly have an awesome team that goes so beyond riding bicycles, & Sarah & Katie are true icons of what this ride team stands for. Again, thanks a ton. It was truly a life-changing experience to see the movie & serves as a motivation for what we are doing throughout the year & the hope our fundraising holds for many people suffering other diseases than diabetes as well, because if we can cure diabetes through embryonic stem cells, we may also cure other diseases such as Parkinsons etc & vice versa.

If you haven't seen Life is for the Living, make a point of seeing it if it ever comes around again. You will get another 10 miles of inspiration, for sure.

"There's a battle going on in this earth every day. Work, School, Death & Birth. There are 6 billion people on this earth. Can you tell me what every single life is worth? Take a spliff, look around & see history. My weapon and my method is no mystery. I didn't come here to chill. I came here to rock. To smash the empire with my boombox." - Michael Franti (another one of my heroes, so Katie & Sarah, you have now entered the ranks Michael Franti awesomeness).

Monday, October 27, 2008

Haiku redux

Due to overwhelming awesome pics and great dialogue, Mike's post fell far down below, and I feel that there is still some creativity just bursting out there, in 5-7-5 format. Plus, I'm bored and want to write poetry with y'all.

From Mike....
Sick of limericks yet? (I am!) Howzabout a haiku?

pink lycra flashing
cherries sparkle in the sun
west michigan rolls on

From me...

ride season complete
how long until november?
team party will rock

Friday, October 24, 2008

Me Again!

I know, I know.....I said that I'd shut up and I will..............maybe...............someday. (No promises). I just spent some time back in the Valley courtesy of Katie and Nicole and all the other camera-freaks on the Team and I can't decide whether to laugh or cry.

I was tradin' e-mails w/ Tim St. Clair - just re-cappin' the season, talking about 2009 and such and he said something that kind of hit home. (Nothing new about that!) He said that it seemed like a dream, this Ride to Cure Season of '08 and that he and I are "damn lucky men" to have "gone where we've gone, seen what we've seen and met whom we've met".

I hope you guys know how lucky I feel to be a part of this Team. I don't know where I'd be if I'd said "thanks but no thanks" back in '05 like I had every intention to do. Wherever I'd be - I wouldn't trade it for where I am!

Wherever we ride next year will be great. Although we were (sort of) joking in the airport that cool places are cool 'cuz we're there...............there's a lot of truth in that! Anywhere that I get to hang w/ you guys is a cool place in my book!

Thanks for a great season, let's do it again soon, shall we?


Hey...just an opinion, but the poll should allow us to select multiple options when voting for next years ride.

Just a thought.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Hey, you all are on Facebook, right? You should be! Look for me (Derek Dykstra) or anyone else on the team there, and we'll get you set up with all the cool people...

Things I didn't know I was looking forward to that happened anyway

Getting up before my alarm went off Thursday morning
Hurrying through O'Hare with a bunch of other blue shirts
Seeing all the Wisconsin folks in Las Vegas
Driving across The Strip to get to the bus yard for our lunches
The nice old lady at Smiths in Pahrump who swiped her discount card for me

Y'know, I'm trying like the dickens to come up with a list like I did before we left, but I just can't. Nothing comes to me - because it all comes to me, all at once, in a huge rush. I mean, the worst part of this trip was probably the unavoidable fact that hotel beds aren't all that comfortable, and, really, who cares? I wasn't there to sleep (and lord knows I did as little of that as possible anyway). I would have been just as happy (maybe even happier) sleeping under the stars out on the driving range, with the coyotes.

Folks, that was a ludicrously, deliriously, magnificently good event. What else could make you and me and us want to go out and repeat such suffering? I've never felt as completely cashed out as I did on that last climb before rolling down to the ranch. Ross called this the hardest ride he's ever done - that's saying something, coming from Ross. I'd be back there doing it again right now if I could.

Well, let me qualify that. I'd be there if I could, IF you were there with me again. Cruising along with Brad and Rick and Ross was awesome, the best I've ever felt on a JDRF ride. We were, as they say, haulin' the mail, all the way down to Ashford Mills. But behind the joy and satisfaction of that was being a bit sad that I wasn't with other people on our team, too. You're the best people in the world, and I wanted to ride all the way with all of you. Such is life, I guess, and more, such is the true measure of a team.

We, West Michigan, are an incredible team, not only because we're so good within our group, but because we're so good for those who aren't with us at the airport. Once the ride day jerseys are on, we manage to embrace every rider out there. The concept of "us" grows so quickly - from, what 25 people in 2005 to 65 or so this year, to hundreds of riders and volunteers on ride day!

Somehow, every year with this team gets better - somehow, whatever we do next year will exceed what this year was. The thought of it stops me in my tracks.

You'll be there on November 22nd, right?

was that MSU water bottle stolen?!

..... Nope!

After I threw it at Nicole's spokes (missed her, darn it!), my Spartan water bottle had a hole in it. At Mormon Point, we came to realize there was a hole, and no amount of duct tape was going to stop the water.

This nice woman said she'd trade me hers since she was on a tandem and wasn't going up Jubilee Pass. They came and got their water bottle back from me after I crossed the finish line. They said they had mine in their room and I could get it from them. I told them to keep it. ;-)


Take a look, a real look!

Have you seen the pics yet? I gotta say....despite the overall awesomeness of all the ride shots my favs so far are Tom's shots of the dinner Friday night. Look at those smiles!!!!!!! That is one happy buncha folks, huh?

It makes me choke up just looking at 'em, like the portrait montage @ the end of last years's Team Video does.

Sigh.............can we do it again asap? Please? I don't care "where" as much as I care "when" 'cuz I want "when" to be "soon"!!!!

Okay, I'll get ahold of myself, I promise. ( No Ted, not THAT way!)


Haiku anyone?

Sick of limericks yet? (I am!) Howzabout a haiku?

pink lycra flashing
cherries sparkle in the sun
west michigan rolls on

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Death Valley Photos

Photos are starting to pop up on the Internet. There are many pictures posted on our Team Site with Photos page. You can click on the link to the right or here to see photos of the DV ride.

This our team photo taken right before the tune-up ride. The Pink Pelotan certainly made a splash in Death Valley.

We also "adopted" several riders (and at least one coach) along the way. Everyone who rode with us for a significant time was presented with a cherry tree sprig, which they all displayed proudly. One of our adoptees was Ian from North Carolina. He actually used to work with Mike Clark many years ago and is Type 1. Ian rode with us most of the day and finished with us. He has a Flickr account and posted some photos which feature the West Michigan team.

From Ian's Flickr page: "As an adopted member of the cherry orchard (West Michigan team), my bike was appropriately decked out with flair."

We may not have been the biggest team in Death Valley, but we were the loudest, the most fun, the most noticeable, and yes, the best.

Caption Contest

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ambulance Anyone?

Luckily, the EMT was there to save me at the top of Jubilee!

First Pic! Top of Zabriske. DV always amazes me with it's beauty and the great, quiet times I get along the route.
I remember pedaling in my least favorite part of the route - between Mormon Point and Badwater. I was on a long stretch, out in the sun, between the mountains with nothing but rocks and and quiet all around me. Both beautiful and desolate. It was a point of reflection for me. How fortunate am I to have this experence with these great people for this cause. How backward is it for me to say that I still hope that I never have to do it again? That said, Vermont Anyone?


I know, I know..........I gotta be done at some point....I realize that. It's just hard to let go, y'know? There's such a weird mixture of relief, sadness and satisfaction that I carry around w/ me on the Sunday after a Ride - it's kinda like the circus is leaving town and our team won the Big Game and I didn't screw up.

All day on the plane yesterday I was thinking about Saturday......and mostly I was thinkinig about our Team and how everyone was SO THERE for everyone else. (Now - I'm gonna mention some names here, and these are just the instances that I either witnessed or heard about. I'm sure that there were more and I hope that folks w/ the first-hand scoop share!)

Maggie hangin' w/ Peggy when the going got tough....
Steve stayin' w/ Katie @ Ashford Mill after she and I decided that it was time to be done.....
Did interrupting his descent from the Pass everytime he spotted a Teammate en route to the top.....
John helping folks on the climb....
Ted goin' back out to Golden Canyon from the Ranch not once but twice w/ cold water and a helping hand....
J.D. helpin' Dan-from-Indiana (a guy he just met on Friday!) on the way back in......

and all the other moments, little and big, that made us a "Team" in every cool sense of the word. All the laughter and the tears @ the finish line, all the cheers for every rider (even Wisconsin!), all the pix and the poses and the Corvette and the "hall party" and the painful stretches and the pink jerseys and cherry trees and the pool and ..............and...............and................

and every damn minute of every day that we do this thing together. I'm so proud of our Team - I always have been you know - and everything I saw and felt and heard in DV was affirmation. Just like Asheville. Just like Whitefish and DV in 'o7 and '06 and AV and DV in '05 and all the training rides and Van Andel gigs and everything else that makes this Team what it is....a special group of people that, even though they're all plenty awesome enough as individuals become something much more than the sum of their parts when they get together.

So - congradulations to every West Michigan rider that made the trip to Asheville and/or Death Valley! Not to mention everyone that helped any of us, whether @ home, in the JDRF office or on the road. We've left our mark on the Ride to Cure Program and we're gonna leave our fingerprints on history 'cuz when there's a cure for Type 1 we're gonna be able to say "Yeah, we had a piece of that!".

I love you guys, let's do it again, huh?

See you next month for the party if not before!


Monday, October 20, 2008


Well...I've noticed a complete lack of pictures so far.  Lame!

I'm stunned...I thought I'd be drowning in pics by now.  So...this is my attempt to call for pics.  JDRF Team photographers, time to make the magic happen!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Death Valley Wrap Up

I wish you could see what I see if I lift my head up. I'm sitting in this little courtyard deal just inside the entrance to the ranch, the sun will be up in about 15-20 minutes so right now the hillside in front of me is backlit and glowing. It feels like it's about 75 degrees This is such a beautiful place in so many weird and different ways!

So......how to tell you about yesterday? Where to begin? Basically - it was incredible. We rolled out in cool (for here anyway) temps and calm air. The Team was awesome........SO many rode SO well and I think everyone went to bed last night feeling good about their day. (I sureashell hope they did anyway - they deserved to!) I rode out to the Pass w/ Maggie and Peggy, we were towards the back and saw many of our teammates in the course of the first 45 miles. The climb was long and hot and there was a significant W.M. presence as we spun up to the top. I spent some time "yo-yo-ing" up near the top until everyone was up, then we started the 7 mile 35-40mph descent. (Yep, that was as fun as it sounds like it'd be!) We hit a moderate headwind for a bit, but if that was the reason for the occasional cloud cover - fair enough! My group bid fairwell and Great Job to Peggy @ about mile 85 and it was Cindy, Maggie, Mary, JD and I 'til the end. As per usual we were greeted @ the Finish Line by pretty much hthe whole Team - 'cuz that's just how West Michigan rolls! Tears, hugs, pictures, laughs, salt-stains, cramps....we pretty much had it all!

Deborah had our only spill and it wasn't a bad one. Scott suffered our only flat and to make sure that he got the award - had another one just to make sure. EVERYONE rode so well and represented our chapter SO WELL and once again I received about a bazillion complements from other coaches and other JDRF staff about what a great bunch of folks we have on our Team.

(Okay - just in case you harbor the suspicion that I'm blowin' smoke at you I am 100% SERIOUS about this! Everywhere I'v gone in the JDRF universe this season I've had people gush to me about you guys. Truth!)

Dinner in the Palm Grove was great.......another beautiful post-ride party and due to what will no doubt revealed later as a miscount I was honored to receive the Most Motivational Coach Award which I think again is a reflection on our Team and how damn special we are.

Afterwards about 20 of us had a "hallway party" in our dorm and perhaps some of the details of that are best left unspecified. At least for now!

So. The 2008 Ride to Cure season is in the books. It was an incredible success in every way. After the first Ride back in Sonoma Trish, Aly, Tim St. Clair and I sat there in the hotel lobby late Saturday night and marveled at the great vibe and spirit of the weekend and wondered if we'd sen the high point of the season already. We wondered if we could keep it up and use that Ride's spirit as a starting point for the best year ever. Thanks to everyone involved, from the JDRF staff to the volunteers to the riders...........mission accomplished! The Program is in better shape than ever. We raised more $ for research, we touched more lives, we grew in numbers and spirit..............so thank you for everything you've done and thank you for allowing me to come along for the ride!

It's nearly sunrise time. Some folks are already enroute for Vegas and the airport on 6:00 shuttle. (I've been on that one - it's a quiet ride!) and the rest of us are heading to Sin City for a night or 2 of more being together. Then it's home, then the big end-o-the-season party next month and then...................on to 2009!

Thanks for reading, thanks for caring, you rock, have I mentioned that?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Time to get it on!

4:39 AM. Almost time to go and "break fast". A coupla hours before the last Ride to Cure of '08. Team West Michigan is ready, methinks....bolstered by our adopted riders from Indiana and N. Carolina.

Yesterday was grand..............the "Tune Up Ride" had been switched from the climb up to Zabriske Point to a shorter and easier jaunt out to Gold Canyon but I got the okay for us to do both (bad-asses that we are) and most of the Team joined 7 buses of cigarette smokin' Euro-tourists at the Zabriske viewpoint. Lots of us went hiking and the rest of us hung-n-hydrated poolside. Last night's dinner lacked some of the emotional punch of past Rides........different speakers, different topics, etc.........but it was cool to have the '09 Ride schedule announced already - earlier than ever!
Here 'tis, by the way:
Sonoma - Late June
Vermont - Last weekend of Aug.
Whitefish - 1st weekend of Sept.
Death Valley -Mid Oct.
Tucson - Weekend before than Thanksgiving.

Two new Rides! Time to start thinking about which one(s), huh?

Anyway - to return to the task at hand.....we'll be rollin' out soon. My assignment as a coach is to get to the climb up to Jubilee Pass, stay on the climb 'til it's empty of riders and then try and get folks back to the Ranch before the course closes @ 6:00. It was my first choice, but it'll make for kind of a long day. The forecast calls for 100 degrees...and that'll be fine as long as the winds stay away. (Not counting on that).

Okay - time to get the feedbag on. I'll fill you in our day later...........wish us luck!

(Hey Michigan-folk - look at'cher watches around 9:00pm your time and send a little positive energy this-a-way, huh? we might be in need of it!)

See ya!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Death Valley JDRF Tune-Up Ride

Map of the tune up ride.


I know this will be a shocker...but, it's hot here.  Who knew?

Death Valley, Pt 1

It's 5:30 am DV time but my body still thinks that we're home and I've been up for a bit. Yesterday was a long day of travel w/ all the frustrations inherent in that statement and yet....the minute we (f-i-n-a-l-l-y !) stepped off the bus into the waiting arms of the desert and our JDRF family....all was way more than well! We're all present and accounted for 'cept Jason from Chicago, he arrives today. We hung by the pool, then hung out on the lawn next to our "dorm", then ate giant burgers under the stars ( Sorry Jack!) then hung some more. All together there was a whole lotta hangin' goin' on!

Today it's the "Tune Up" ride out to Golden Canyon and up the Zabrieske Point. The official ride is to the canyon but I got "clearance from the tower" to take our team up to Zabrieske since all the DV vets told the first-timers that it was not to be missed. Then a hike for some, the pool for others, and a few meetings for your trusty reporter. Tonight's dinner will have a few awards, some cool speakers and a brief discussion about Saturday while enjoying the near-surreal surrounds of the Palm Grove.

I can't wait for tomorrow! I think we're ready. Saturday will tell the tale....and then I'll tell ya'll.

Until then..........................

Thursday, October 16, 2008

October 29 & Other Ramblings

On October 29 the film “Life is for the Living” will be played @ Wealthy Theater in Grand Rapids. Sarah sent out an e-mail regarding it a few weeks ago. I will be driving from the Muskegon area, so if anyone wants a ride, let me know.

I know that stem-cell research is a very touchy issue for a lot of people & I don’t pretend to understand or criticize those that oppose this for whatever reason. However, I believe that if we have the ability to end terminal diseases by using donated embryonic stem cells or blastocysts, then we have the moral obligation to do so. Embryonic stem cells will not fix your flat tire, or the click in Herb’s back wheel, but they offer significant hope of curing the disease for which we ride. I am opposed to vivisection, but support JDRF even though they are engaged in that practice, hopefully for the benefit of the human animals. If making vivisection illegal were on the ballot this year, I honestly would be torn about how I would vote, so all I am saying is that we all believe different things for different reasons, but I think it is best to be well informed & seeing this movie might be a great opportunity for anyone unsure about how they approach this issue & this proposal (2).

Health Care is also very important this November. I am lucky to have health insurance, but that has not always been the case. If I had to pay for my monthly prescriptions, it would cost me over $800 (over $1,000 is you include CGM materials). I go to the doctor 6 times a year, eye doctor once a year, dentist at least 3 times a year for routine check-ups, plus all of the other things that come up. I get my blood work taken 3 times a year. All that being said, if I paid this all myself I would be spending well over $20,000 a year to take care of my disease. Plus, if something happened to my pump & I had to purchase another one, that would be another $8,000. You get the picture. It’s expensive. When I did not have insurance, guess what I did. Yup, no doctor visits, rare blood sugar tests (100 test strips cost like $120), no blood work, etc. etc. And my health suffered. It is absolutely unacceptable to me that many people, including many diabetics, live in the greatest country on earth & cannot afford health insurance or receive adequate health care. Please keep the pressure on whatever candidates you support that health insurance must be made available to all citizens.

I hope the Death Valley riders are enjoying themselves. When you get back, it’s back to work & we expect a good attendance @ the Wealthy Theater on the 29th.

Sorry for rambling. “I should have been a pair of ragged claws, scuttling across the floors of silent seas.” – TS Eliot


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Jingle for the Ride

Please sing the following "jingle" to the tune of the old Oscar Meyer Wiener song...

Oh, I wish I was a going to Death Valley
Riding with my friends up Jubilee.
I'd be helping find a cure for Diabetes
So that finally my son could be pump free.

Somehow, this came to me after working at the VanAndel last night.

Happy trails to the whole West Michigan Team!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A picture is worth...

I'm not nearly as good with words as Rob or Derek. I'm more of a visual guy. So here are some photos to say my piece.

The first West Michigan Ride Team in Death Valley in 2005.

Zabriski Point, site of the annual warm-up ride. Like we need to get warmer.

Jubilation at the top of Jubilee Pass in 2007.

What I'm looking forward to

Seeing a horde of blue shirts at the gate in Grand Rapids
Flying over canyon country
Seeing the Vegas Strip from the air
Watching the Vegas suburbs dissolve into scrublands and desert
Seeing Furnace Creek Ranch for the first time - a square of green in a sea of brown
The mesquite tree near the bike mechanic's area
Snipping the zip ties and padding off of Ruby and going for a twirl around the parking lot
Watching the sun set over the Panamint range to the west as the fading light sets off the colors in the Funeral range to the east
The hall party (or wherever it happens)
The sky at night
The breakfast buffet
The pre-tuneup-ride meeting
The Pink Peloton!
Plaid shorts!
The "Sea Level" sign
Climbing up to Zabriskie Point
The view
The pictures
The descent back to Furnace Creek Ranch
The Date Palm Grove
Decorating our helmets
Not being able to sleep Friday night
Pancakes, eggs, and bacon Saturday morning
Everyone together in the dim
Setting off
That line of light coming down the western wall of the valley
Trying not to give in to the excitement and go too fast to early
The volunteers
Wondering if Mormon Point is around this bend or the next one, or the next one after that
Ashford Mills, then Turning Left and Going Up
And Up
And Up
And UP!
The top!
Wanting to go down, but not wanting to miss people getting to the top
Being helped
The wind - no matter where it comes from
The afternoon
Back to Badwater
Back to the Sea Level sign
Downhill back to the Ranch
Rolling in
Not wanting to be done
Next Year!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tick, tock, tick, tock...56 hours until we leave....

I’m starting to get that feeling…

It started when I read the Asheville blog postings...then I talked to Brian Bowe...I heard about Jack Clark’s speech...and I saw Cindy Aley’s pictures. Then we put the bikes on the truck…

Death Valley is here people…and I can’t tell you how excited I am! This will be my third trip to the desert and I can’t wait to suffer. I know that sounds dramatic, but it is so much more. Yes, the 105 mile round trip through Death Valley is the most physically and emotionally challenging thing I do all year (it is the most inhospitable place in the United States after all!), but there are so many other things that make it worth while. In 2006, at my first century attempt, I finished the entire route (with more than a little help from our present day Head Mentor Derek Dykstra). So last year, when I only completed 88 miles, I was pissed, I felt like I failed, and I was racked with guilt while I was being driven in from Badwater. I felt terrible sitting in the medic’s tent waiting for my approved dismissal. While sitting there though, I met the owner of the Whitefish lodge that hosts the Montana ride. He told me all about the Whitefish ride, what this program meant to him personally, and surprisingly, what high regard he had for the West Michigan Ride Team. When I left the tent I heard about Amy’s day and went to see her. I found her in the medical room hooked up to her 2nd (maybe 3rd?) IV bag, and when she saw me her first question was about her teammate, “How is Melanie doing out there?” As soon as I left the medical room, I found the rest of the West Michigan Team at the finish line. We cheered Kevin Owen, the McBride’s, and countless other non-West Michigan riders as they crossed the finish line. We watched Steve Clark finish his first complete century! I was so happy for our Team, and the entire Ride, that I forgot about my personal pity party. When the coaches finally crossed the finish line at dusk, it was a West Michigan party (I think our whole team was still at teh finish line!). In fact, our Team’s optimism, personality, charisma, and fellowship made the whole weekend (during the ride too!) seem like a party. So why wouldn’t I be looking forward to that again?!

To all of you Death Valley rookies, I can promise you four things. 1) The ride up Jubilee Pass will suck. 2) The ride home is going to be long and brutal, and will also suck. 3) Your perseverance and determination, not your fitness level, will be what decides whether you finish or not. 4) Numbers 1, 2, and 3, won’t matter at all once you are back at the ranch, because Saturday night we celebrate. We celebrate the decision we all made to help cure diabetes. We celebrate that we are, at that moment, surrounded by some of the greatest people, West Michigan or not, walking this earth. We celebrate all the work we did, and the money we raised. We celebrate the fact that all the work we did, and all the money we raised, got us one step closer to curing diabetes, and allowed us to ride our bikes in Death Valley National Park.

On a separate note…I want to thank all of you, Asheville riders too, for doing so much to help cure this disease. Most of you know my story…you know how diabetes has been a part of my family’s life for the last 37 years. Many of you though, came to this team without a personal connection, yet you do so much, so selflessly...you are all amazing. Diabetic or not, personal connection or not, I want to thank each and every one of you for being part of this great team…for allowing me to become a bigger part of the team this season…and for making my 2008, which hasn’t been the best, a lot better.


I like this forecast better, compliments of Weather.com....

High: 89
Low: 58

Wind: SW 9 mph

Be optimistic people!

Sunday Ride Report

There was a decent smattering of JDRF-ers amongst the 20-odd riders that showed up for an impromptu ride from Velo City yesterday. Present and accounted for were John J, Ross S, Derek D, Linda and my-own self. The weather was scary-good......82 degrees (IE 18 or so less than later this week!) and the wind was hopefully similar. We had a great ride - 47 miles around Hutchin's Lake w/ a stop @ Kilwins in Saugatuck for ice cream.

There's an ice cream stop 'tween Ashford Mill and Mormon Point, isn't there? Or did I dream that?

I don't recall EVER being more pumped for a Ride than I have been for the last 2 weeks or so! I CANNOT WAIT to see the Valley again and to meet up w/ everyone from our Team and everyone from "our" bigger Team as well............'cuz let's face it....everyone there this weekend is a Team Mate, if one we haven't met yet. Let's remember that when we get out there and try hard to remind folks why the West Michigan Team has made such an impact on the Program and folk's memories! (IE......everyone comin' across the line gets a cheer and maybe even a hug!) (Yep...even if they're all sweaty!)

I'm looking forward to seein' a buncha smiling faces and blue Team Tees @ the airport!

Until then.............(unless you have a question or anything else I can help you with).........have a great week, focus on hydration and getting some rest!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Death Valley forecast

Oct 17
High 100°F
Low 66°F
Precip 0 %
Oct 18
High 99°F
Low 64°F
Precip 0 %

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Need some Help

Sorry to waste blog space on this...but, I am making a quick appeal for help to anyone I can think of...

If you have a copy of Windows Vista Home Premium on DVD, I desperately need to borrow it for an afternoon.  MS Tech Support needs it in order to repair Karin's (my wife) broken OS.

details at http://rossschueller.blogspot.com

I'd return it ASAP.  Shouldn't need it for more than an hour.  And, I've been assured by the people at MS Tech Support that this is completely legal.  So...no concerns about me pirate-ing your copy of the OS.  They just need the disk to replace some corrupted files.

Thanks to anyone who can help me out!

Gonna be a lovely weekend - wanna ride?

Anybody interested in a bike ride this weekend (assuming you've got a spare bike)? Looks like the weather will be really, really nice. I'm thinking 40-50 miles, nothing hot n' heavy hill-wise, location and time to be determined by whoever might be interested.

Helpful Hints

Ross reminded me over on Facebook (What? You're not on Facebook? C'mon over and join us there too!) of one of the funniest and one of my favorite blog posts ever. May these tips and tricks bring a smile to your face as the DV gang gets ready to leave (ONE WEEK! YAHOO!!!!!).

Monday, October 6, 2008

The (sob!) Last Training Ride of 2008!!!!!

......and it was a grand one! Sunny skies and crisp temps greeted us yesterday as we gathered @ the home of Sara and Lorna "No autographs please" Meinke for the final pre-DV ride of the season. The route, courtesy of Chris "I got'cher hardcore points right'chere!" Radford was challenging w/out being too gnarly and offered something for everyone.

Others in attendance were (in no particular order):

Maggie D, Peggy M, Team Scheidel, Ross S, John J, Cindy A, Brenda B, meself and Spoecial Guests Jeanine fro TC and a pair of Sara's neighbors whose names escape me. (Sorry!)

J2 and I had to split right after the ride but the cookies were good and the rest of the chow looked and smelled great.

No issues to report except for Cindy losin' a cleat bolt and Brenda gettin' a flat. (Any connection to those mechanicals and the 2 of them stayin' out too late the night before are purely theoretical!)

Bikes leave for DV tomorrow and folks leave for DV next Thursday! Hoo-lee cow!

I can't wait!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

More Stuff About Death Valley

I've had a couple of questions about what to bring to The Hot Place; that's probably enough to warrant putting up a blog post, so, in addition to what MC just posted:

First off, it can't be repeated enough: Hydration is everything out there - 100ยบ and 15% humidity will pull the water out of you even faster than you think. Living here in humidland, we just don't have a frame of reference for this. Check out the pictures of people from last year - that white crust is dried sweat. You won't even feel all that hot - your sweat will evaporate so fast it'll do a good job of keeping you relatively cool, but you gotta be putting the water back in pretty much constantly. You want to make sure you've got water with you all the time on Friday, the day before the ride. If you feel like you're in the bathroom every half hour on Friday afternoon, you're on the right track. A water bottle that you can carry with you comfortably might be a good idea, especially if you do one of Friday afternoon activities that will take you away from the Ranch.

Along the same "wow it's dry here" line, some skin lotion will feel nice.

For my feet, well, I'm wearing sandals to travel, and other than my bike shoes that's the only footwear I'll have along. A couple of years ago, I did the hike (from Zabriskie Point back down to the valley floor via the washes and gullies in the valley wall - VERY cool hike) in sandals, and was fine. I'm wearing jeans for the travelling, too, and that'll be the only pair of long pants I bring,
too, unless the weather points to some cooler evening and mornings in which case I'll bring my ultra-sexy purple fleece sweatpants. Up top, well, I find myself pretty dang well stocked with JDRF t-shirts, so, there you go. Furnace Creek Ranch ain't a formal kind of place.

For riding, I'll have arm warmers and knee warmers along, just in case. It can be chilly before the sun starts doin' its thing. If you bring some of those, label them in some way, like sharpie marker on the tag or something to ID them as yours. That'll increase the likelihood of getting them back at the end of the day. Also on the bike, in addition to the normal ride stuff (tubes/CO2 carts/tire levers/whatnot), I'll have a little tube of sunscreen and some chapstick with sunscreen in it.

Don't fergit yer sunglasses! Or yer swimsuit! Or yer camera(s) with extra memory cards and batteries! And, when we stop in Pahrump for the famous "supplies," you technically don't have to buy just alcoholic beverages; it's a full-size grocery store there.

One other thing: the airlines are pretty universally charging extra for you to check a bag. In order to avoid that (and to avoid the horror of lost luggage), I'm planning to avoid a checked bag at least on the way out. On the plane, you're allowed a carry-on bag and a personal bag. The carry-on bag has to be smaller than 45" in total size (length+width+height) and has to fit in the overhead compartment; the personal bag has to be smaller than 36" in total size, and fit under the seat. On smaller planes they might take the carry-on bag at the boarding gate and stash it in the cargo hold, then you reclaim it at the door when you get off the plane - that's pretty slick.

So, we've got a lot of serious Death Valley vets on this team - I'm sure there's plenty more good advisin' to come from them!

Death Valley Thoughts

Hey Team! I know that I covered a lot of this in that last e-mail.........just wanted to remind you I guess!

Stuff to send w/ your bike: CO2 cartridges can't be taken w/ you on the plane so pack 'em wit'cher bike if you want to have them in DV. Sending your helmet, shoes and other riding gear (assuming that you can spare it) on the truck means that you won't have to carry it on the plane or check it (and then hafta worry that it makes it!). Your bike needs to have 2 bottle cages (w/ bottles!) and ideally a seat bag w/ your flat tire stuff. (At minimum)

Note - If your bike has any "unusual" needs ( Unique sized tires or tubes, for instance) BRING THEM WITH YOU! (Or send on the truck) The Ride Mechanics may or may not have you covered!

Your bike should be in proper working order before you get there. In my 2 stints this season as Ride Mechanic I've been amazed at the condition of some of the bikes. The folks that are out there busting their butts for us in the Bike Room aren't there to give you a free tune-up. Nor will they have time to do so. They'll have more-than-enough to do assembling shipped bikes and dealing w/ unforeseen repairs.

Ride Day Strategy - We've gone over this so I'm not gonna beat it into the ground but.....I can't emphasize enough how important it will be to STAY HYDRATED!!! It's gonna be 109 degrees in DV today and it ain't gonna cool off all that much in 2 weeks! Your goal is to finish off that 2nd bottle as you roll into EVERY Break Point! You won't want to drink that much, you'll have to make a point to do it. A good trick is to take a swig every time you see someone take one.....or to say "Drinking" every time you do to remind your companions to do so as well. The general rule is that water itself won't be sufficient for the whole day...that you'll need the supplemental electrolytes that you'll get from the Heed or Gator-aid. That's probably accurate, unless you are popping those "E-Tabs" or eating lots of the electrolyte gel chews. ( Clif Bloks, Sharkies, etc). The point is to get them into your system however it works for you.
Other than that - if you ride smart, stay within your limits and keep an eye on your Team Mates....we'll all be fine!

(I'll leave the "Surviving Vegas" seminar to the experts!)

Okay - check out the calendar:
Saturday - Yoga ride and seminar in Saugatuck
Sunday - Team Ride @ Sara-n-Lorna's
Monday - bikes to the Office by 5:00
Next Friday - Last Call Band @ New Holland!
Next Saturday - ColorBurst Tour
Next Sunday - Open day - how did that happen? What should we do?
Saturday 11/22 - E-Nor-Mous End-O-The-Season Bash!

(Hey Did - how's that for a list?)

Ride On!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Excitement check

OK, I'm just wondering:

Am I the only one who's put together a spreadsheet of all the stuff I'm gonna pack, what bag it's going in, and what's gonna be stuffed in to what? And what I need to do before we leave?

We get on the plane in less than 354 hours!

Hardcore Points? Did someone mention "Hardcore Points?

There were plenty o' Hardcore Points for the takin' last night on the final official Velo City Tuesday Night Ride of the season. TeamFolk Ross S, Heather A and meself accompanied by 15 or 16 non-JDRF-ers (or as I prefer to think of 'em - potential Team mates!) rolled out into what APPEARED to be clearing skies and headed south west.



The drizzle machine kicked on pretty much right away....then as we reached the "southern terminus" of the loop it changed over to full on rain. Then......as we started back towards Holland south of Saugatuck we had a spell of pretty-dang-awful downpour stuff - the kind where it's hard to see and there's so much water on the road that you hate to draft 'cuz of the spray. 'Twas a wet-n-chilled bunch that convened back @ the shop for pizza!

Despite the aforementioned 'Last Ride of the Season" status....we have decided by popular demand to continue the ride for the month of October (at least!). Still 6:00pm....but we won't have as many groups and front and rear lights are required.

Feel free to join us!

Hope to see everyone this weekend - either @ the Yoga Center for the ride and/or session or at Sara -n-Lorna's ride or both!

Death Valley take-off.......T minus 15 days and counting!


Monday, September 29, 2008

One Dollar

Anyone have any idea why we (at least some of us) had JDRF donate $1 to ourselves this month. I just received a credit card bill for $1 from JDRF. Only $1, but just find it strange.


Sunday Team Ride

No, we didn't have 5000 people like the Apple Cider ride, we had 5. But as the saying goes, "It's not the size of the hook, but how you wiggle the worm". We wiggled it for about 58 miles.

Jack "Lefty" Clark
Herb "Click" Baushke
Amy "Herb is my sweet spot" Fisher
Eric "Spit" can't remember his last name, but is Herb's step-brother
Don "Gravel" Milanowski

We started out @ Muskegon's Pier Marquette beach & headed north through North Muskegon & Block House Hill, over to Duck Lake & the lighthouse @ White Lake channel & back. It was a great ride, cool & a few good climbs. The roads, with the exception of Scenic Drive in North Muskegon, were all nice.

I hope everybody got in a good ride this weekend.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Impromptu team ride Saturday...

Hey folks, you might have seen my email, but here's public notice - some of us are going to get together Saturday morning. We'll repeat the lurvely (and appropriately hilly) 62 mile loop that we did a
couple of weeks ago from Cindy's house.

Rollout time is planned for 10 am; we'll have at least 2 food/fuel stops along the way. If you want, bring some food to share post-ride. I'll email out a map to Cindy's place later today.

Extra hardcore points are available for doing both this ride and the Apple Cider Century on Sunday...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Apple Cider

Who's goin'? I know it's no Leelanau tour (holy cow that sounded like an awesome time!), but....

The Ride "Up North"

JD, Rob, Dawn, Peggy, Brenda, Jerry, Cindy, Maggie S., Jack, Maggie D. and Joe

Final thoughts from Leelanau (boy, did you guys miss a great weekend):

First, Peggy Miller might be one of the greatest hostess’ around. Peggy and her husband Gene put on quite a show and couldn’t have made us feel more welcome. Their cottage is a fantastic, rustic home on Lake Leelanau. Saturday night’s dinner was as robust as they come and provided the perfect fuel for Sunday’s ride. The Miller’s invited some of their family and friends to dinner as well, so it felt more like a party than a simple dinner with teammates. Unfortunately, or fortunately, there wasn’t enough alcohol enjoyed to get Brenda to swing from the roof of the house (maybe next year!). For those of us who spent the night (JD and his wife Maggie, Cindy, Brenda, Dawn A., and myself) the cottage provided a great night of rest. Peggy and Maggie (they stayed at Peggy’s house, a half mile away) even had oatmeal and coffee ready in the morning, so when we met Jack and Joe at Glen Lake HS, we were all anxious and ready.

Our home away from home.

Sunday’s ride was, in a word: awesome. If you haven’t spent any time riding in Leelanau County, you won’t find a better place to pile on the miles. The roads are HILLY with great shoulders, great views, and a tolerant driving population. It really is one of the most rider-friendly places I’ve ever ridden. If that wasn’t enough to draw you there, the Cherry Capital Cycling Club puts on a top-notch ride. The route was amazing and clearly marked. The rest stops were perfectly placed (each one was in a beautiful, lakeside park…the highlight was the homemade vegetable chili at stop #2), well supplied, and staffed by some of the kindest, friendliest volunteers.

Stop #1 - Cleveland Township Park on Little Traverse Lake

Stop #2 - Lake Leelanau...CHILI!

Stop #3 - Solon Township Park on Lake Leelanau

Random view of Lake Leelanau from the top of another climb

As for us, your teammates, we all had a great day. Maggie Stone rode the 45 mile route and made some new friends (she even delivered them to the airport following their ride). The rest of us (including our new “teammates” Gene and Jerry, Joe and Jack’s hosts Saturday night) did the metric century which turned out to be just over 64 miles. We rode in two groups. Brenda rode with Dawn while the rest of tried to maintain our DV fitness level, and pushed a slightly more aggressive pace. Jerry was our early leader, until time became an issue for him...something about getting home to finish some hardwood flooring, but I think we were just too slow for him…: ). Once he bid us adieu, everyone took turns leading the pace line, and everyone seemed very happy with the day. It was a great experience, great exercise, and great practice. By the time we reached the final rest stop, we had already started planning the future Leelanau peninsula JDRF ride. When we crossed the finish line we were greeted with a bluegrass band, a pasta lunch, and ice cream cones…not bad at all!

So what are my final thoughts following our trip to Leland:

- I’m really glad that Brenda didn’t ride the swing from the roof of the back porch…

- I really enjoyed sharing the road trip with Maggie DeBoer, she is an interesting woman and great teammate…
- The Miller Family is awesome and their daughter Annie, age 12, is a sweetheart! I can’t wait to hang out with Peggy again. She is a perfect teammate and will be a riot to hang with in Death Valley and Las Vegas…
- The real champs of the weekend were Peggy Miller and Dawn Anderson. They both completed the 64 mile route, which is now their longest ride to date!

Bottom line: It was a truly GREAT weekend, and one that needs to be repeated. Next season’s training schedule must include a September trip to Peggy and Gene’s!

The West Michigan JDRF Team at Inspiration Point overlooking Glen Lake

Sunday Team Ride

Cast - Peggy Miller, Maggie DeBoer, Cindy Aley, Brenda Baushke, Dawn Anderson (new 2009 rider), JD & Maggie Stone, Joe Schmeider & friend (sorry, I can't remember his name but he kind of looks like Chris Parnell from SNL), Rob Andro, Jerry Lewallen (potential 2009 rider) & me.

To those of you who could not make it, my heart goes out to you. You missed the most amazing ride. It was absolutely beautiful. The ride was challenging, some really nice hills, but also some awesome descents where you could FLY, & the roads were very smooth, wide shoulders most of the way, light traffic & the views were better than any ride I have ever done.

Am I exaggerating? I think not. I (as well as Joe I believe & others) would love to petition JDRF to do one of their rides up on Leelenau Peninsula. I believe it would be a HUGE success. If you are in power, able to make the JDRF decision to do a ride up there & are willing to accept all of the credit for suggesting & putting this thing together & getting all of the praise from the riders across the country about how this is the best century ride they have ever done, well now is your time to act. We need to do this thing.

Hopefully Rob can post some of his pictures on the site (Rob, please?). A big thank you to Peg for having a lot of the JDRF members stay with her up @ her wonderful cottage (I only got a view of it from across the lake) & Jerry for hosting me. It was a wonderful weekend & a great, great ride.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

One month from today

Monday, September 15, 2008


For a week, at least.

Last weekend's trip to Whitefish is kind of a blur.....the Rides are kinda runnin' together a bit, but I'll try and sort 'em out if you're interested. Workin' on the Ride Crew is different than being in the bike Room or on the road as a coach. It tends to be more like interval work - periods of calm interspersed w/ furious activity - but there still didn't seem to be much time for sleep! The MAIN THING is that the Ride Program is now 4 for 4 in delivering exactly the sort of meaningful and memorable experieince that we set out to provide for every Ride and every rider. Nothing's gonna do more to ensure the future of the Program and allow it to grow than that. Everyone behind the scenes worked hard, the weather was freakin' perfect (again!) and the riders had a blast.


Compared to that......what else matters?

I flew into WF on Wednesday, met Bill (another crew guy) @ the airport and we picked up our van. Went to Grouse Mountain Lodge, met up w/ Chase, John, Amy and bossman Brock and went over assignments. Basically we had until Friday morning to get all the shopping for food done, mark the route, set up the Rest Stops, pack all 5 SAG wagons, get the radios set up, set up the start/finish area w/ tents and tables and such and a buncha other little stuff, all of which had the ability ot make-or-break the weekend from the rider's point of view. (For instance - we ran outta safty pins...twice...and that was a borderline disaster of epic proportions to some riders!)
On Thursday the riders started showin' up, I spent some time helpin' out in the Bike Room and things got busy @ the Lodge. with 225 riders this was to be the biggest Whitefish Ride ever and /w Big Ride Program Boss Mike Malekofff in attendance the pressure was for damnsure on.

At dinner Thursday night Head Coach Tim St. Clair expressed his opinion that we were "fixin' to have the Best Ride to Cure Ever" and that set the tone for the weekend. The tune up ride went off okay - although I really think the route needs work - and Saturday morning dawned clear and bright. Of course when I say "dawn" I mean 4:30 am, 'cuz that's when our day started. It was about 40 degrees @ that moment, maybe, but the eastern sky held hope of bright sun and warmth. The riders rolled out in jackets, vests and leg warmers as the sun rose and started takin' the chill off. I was Sag Wagon #1 and my "beat" was the Whitefish Lake route until about 1:00. Very little business for me...and that's just how I like it! Lots of happy riders and bikes that were rollin' along. Later in the afternoon I switched to the North Fork leg of the route and followed the last riders and coaches in @ 5:20. Then it was time to hit it hard as we still had the course to tear down, 2 semi trucks to load and 5-6 hours more heavy lifting to do. Sleep came easy Saturday night for the crew....just like it does for the riders!

Sunday was for farewells and hugs, sort of like when the circus leaves town.

I can't wait for Death Valley! All you Ride Vets - Death Valley, Asheville or Whitefish - know what I mean when I say the same thing I said from the podium @ dinner Friday night.....I am so envious of anyone who gets to be @ their first Ride! I know that it's gonna be everything that you are hoping that it is.

I hope you guys had a great weekend, I havben't heard much about whatever rides folks did while I was gone. I'll be gone this weekend as well...but it sounds like there's stuff goin' on!

We leave for DV in egg-zac-lee 31 days! Your basic month, in other words. Let's make sure that we're ready...be it riding fitness or fund-raising!

I can't wait!

More soon..............MC

Friday, September 12, 2008

Whitefish '0, take 2, part 2.

So..........Friday. Pre-Ride Day. Get the course ready day. We've been at it since a little after breakfast....settin' up for the "tune-up ride", marking the course, getting the gear and tools ready for the SAG Wagons, packin' the box truck for our 4:30 am (!!!) start up to the top of Star Meadow so we can drop off the tents, tables and other big stuff and stay ahead of the lead riders. At Head Coach TSC's request I sat in on the Coach's Meeting......he started applying some of the things that we've been talkin' about since Asheville - we'll see how it goes tomorrow.

This is my 3rd Ride to Cure this summer where I don't get to "chamois up" and ride and I gotta tell..................it kinda sucks! I'd rather ride for sure! Still....I'm here, I'm w' the crew and the riders and that something to take lightly and I don't.

Tomorrow will be a l-o-n-g day for damnsure! It'll commence @ 4am and I'll be lucky to get back here to my room before midnight so please excuse me if I don't post an update 'til Sunday!

Gotta go............got 'nother meeting!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Whitefish '08, Take 2!

So, here I am again. It's been exactly 9 days since I left this bee-yoo-ti-ful little chunk of the world. It's good to be back, good to feel the slow-risin' buzz of another Ride to Cure, good to see Trish and Aly and Brock and Chase and all the other members of the JDRF Traveling Circus and Medicine Show. I ran into some folks from Oklahoma that I met a tear ago....they were 1st year riders then, w/ hardly any team a'tall and now they're here, all 18 of 'em rarin' to go.

How cool is that, huh?

Different hat again this time 'round........I'm a member of the "Ride Production Team" which means lots of loading trucks, running errands and driving tech support. I can dig it.

Bad news from home.......new Death Valley rider Nathen wiped out on his mountainbike and busted his collarbone - he's doubtful for DV. Bummer.

It's cold and clear outside my window @ 10:00pm...........the weather here is pretty much a carbon copy of back home. It's supposed to be around 70 on Saturday....we can work w/ that!

Time to crash, it's been a long day! More later, I promise


Monday, September 8, 2008

Sunday Ride?

Ladies and Gents...Derek and I have been tossing around the idea of a ride Sunday before the yoga session. We're thinking 50-ish miles. Anyone interested?


Well, sort of, anyways. Nice cool mornings, that whole "will I need these arm warmers?" deal as you pack your ride bag for the day...I kinda dig it.

We had a great ride up @ Cindy's yesterday, I sent out an e-mail w/ all the inside scoop on it, the next coupla weekends and such so watch your inbox!

5 weeks 'til Death Valley Week! Holy crap! (Insert cliche-yet-factual comment about how fast the year's flying by here___________!) 2008 is gonna be the best season ever for JDRF's Coolest Team and that's exactly how it oughta be!

Thanks for all you bring to the Team and the Program!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Jake's Music Festival is this weekend

Jake’s Music Festival is a combination of great music and a great cause. On Saturday, September 6, for the fourth consecutive year, local bands will get together for a concert to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The Festival was started by Tom and Mary Scheidel of Rockford and named for their son Jake who was diagnosed with Type 1 or juvenile diabetes 11 years ago when he was only six. Local performers MidLife Crisis, Truckstop Cobras, The Waxies, End Times Orchestra, Karisa Wilson, Todd Herring and Andy Holtgrieve donate their time to this worthy cause. The show takes place at the Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids and runs from 6:00 p.m. to midnight. There will even be a family hour from 6:00 to 7:00 featuring Irish family band Five Leaf Clover and the debut of the Grand Rapids School of Rock. Tickets are only $10 and available at the JDRF office, at the door, or by emailing jmf@scheidelgroup.com. This is the music event of the year. Make sure you're there.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Team Ride Report, Last Day o' August

OK, first off, we had:

Jack C.
Scott P.
Linda T-P.
Dawn W.
Chris R.
Ross S.
John J.
Cindy A.
and, appearing for the first time, Kris C, all the way from Flint!

Now, please note that, counting Cindy in each group, Asheville riders outnumbered Death Valley riders 6-5! That's awesome, and a total testament to the way of this team that riders who are "done" for the year keep coming out to the team rides!

We met at Grand River Grocery, where we were hosted by Sarah Andro (with special guest Sophie and designated Team Baby Hazel). We got a bit of a late start, thanks to your humble scribe, here, who really ought to inspect his slowly-leaking rear tire in broad daylight rather than a dim garage. Sarah rescued me by stealing a tire from someone elses bike (Rob, I owe you a tire).

Anywho, we managed anywhere from 30-ish to 50-ish fairly hilly miles south of Ada, and returned to Grand River Grocery for really awesome burgers off the grill, and a whole mess of fixins, and then spent a couple of hours doing the team thing on the patio there.

Next week we'll be hosted by Cindy from her home in Cedar Springs, doing 62 miles. Rumor has it that we'll hit Fisk Knob on this adventure. And we'll have our coach back to keep us in line!

Another Perfect Ride!

There's no other way to put it..........it happened again! I told the folks @ dinner last night the exact same thing I told them in Asheville........that every time I head for another Ride to Cure I try and prepare myself for the fact that at some point there's gonna be one that isn't the best one ever! It's just got to happen, right?


Well.....perhaps, but not yet. Yesterday's ride had all the JDRF stuff we've come to expect in spades...............love, passion, laughter, tears, smiles, sweat, sun, wind, hills, new friends, old friends, family................it was ALL there! As tough as it is to sit in that damn van and watch everyone else ride - I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else. I'm not sure what's going on........everyone felt that Sonoma set a new level.....then came Asheville and the same feeling.....and now Whitefish #1.

Makes me antsy to get out to Death Valley!

I wish I was riding w/ you guys today...........I'm ready to be home for a bit. Be safe, have fun and have a great weekend!


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Quick Whitefish Report

I should be in bed. I hafta get up in 4 1/2 hours to drive a SAG Wagon while 115 riders enjoy a perfect day out here in MT. I was on the way too, really I was, and then I got to thinking about tonight's dinner, and some of the things that were said and I just had to tell you guys before I crashed.

It never ceases to amaze me - the power and feeling behind the stuff that folks say from behind that podium. I'm not talking about what Tim St. Clair says, or me, or any of the JDRF Ride Staff. After all...we know we're gonna hafta get up there, we know it's part of the gig, y'know? I'm talkin' about when a rider (like our man Jack in A-Ville) gets up there. Someone that maybe doesn't talk to big groups all that often, if ever. Someone that they'd refer to as "jes folks" back where I come from. That's what's keeping out of that very inviting bed behind me......that's what I wanna tell you about.

Bear with me, okay?

A guy named Dan White from Maryland won the Yellow Jersey for recruiting the most riders. (10!!!) He told us that what he tells prospective riders is that we're gonna cure this damn thing and when it happens.............he's offering them a chance to be able to say, when someone asks "Who cured Diabetes?", 'We did".

Think about that for a sec, team mates. That's what we'll be able to say as well. Everyone knows that Sark cured polio.....but we'll know that we helped cure Type 1. We helped cure it for Jack, for Eddie Jasker, for Katie and Ellie, for Sophie and her Grandparents, for Lorna and David and Adam and everyone else that we know that's been touched by diabetes.

We helped do that. You helped do that. We'll do it together and we'll do it by ourselves and we'll do it in the saddle and on the phone and at meetings and Walks and about a million other damn things but remember.....................it's gonna happen and when it does.......

We helped do it.

Any questions about why you guys rock?

It's 2:10 am where you guys are and I hope that you are all asleep and things are great @ your house and in your lives 'cuz you deserve it. It's not fair that I get to come to Rides w/out you all and as much as I love to do it it ain't the same w/out you guys here w/ me so I cannot wait 'til there's a a bunch of us out in Death Valley! Sleep well, have a great ride this Sunday - I'll be thinking about you as I re-pack all those bikes that I just got unpacked yesterday and I'll be wishing that I was riding w/you guys.

I'll try to post a post-ride report tomorrow but don't hold me to that...there's lots to do!

You guys rock and I'm honored to be a member of this Team and the Ride to Cure Program.

Thanks for all you do!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another way to help JDRF

Thursday, August 21, 2008

MOST bestest!

So, who all's coming up to Montague to ride on Sunday? Looks like great weather, and I think they'll have excellent routes - probably some of the same roads we did for the Great Northern Ride a few
weeks ago, and also a lot we didn't do. Registration time is between 8 and 10; anyone got a time preference?


Monday, August 18, 2008

We came, we rode, we ate, we hung out...........

Yep, that we did! 'Twas a nice group that gathered @ Joe Schmeider's crib in Ada yesterday for a "hilly" little 45 miler. The weather was perfect, the route was a hoot and we had a ton of fun.

Roll Call:
Lin and I and
Special Guest and Prospective New Rider Tom Miller.

The burgers, dawgs, beans and various dips and salsas went down plenty fine afterwards as the Asheville contingent shared tales of huge climbs and even bigger fun last weekend.

It was extra-cool to see so many of our Asheville riders there.....keepin' their DV-bound fellows honest and working.

The ride scheduled to be hosted by Sara and Lorna in Cannonsburg this Sunday has been switched to 9/21 ro give both of them more time to recover from their respective injuries. As a result we decided yesterday to encourage the Team to ride the "MOST" Tour up in North Muskegon. The ride leaves from Nellie B. Chisholm Middle School in Montague and registration is from 8-10am. There are 25, 50 and 75 mile routes, lunch is provided and there are other food stops as well. Your 20 bux gets you a water bottle too! Let's talk this week about car pools and such and be sure to wear your 'Team Pink" kit!

More details @ http://www.wmcoastriders.org/ or you can e-mail Bill Shouman (Melanie's Bro-in-Law!) @ shoepop@aol.com

I have apps here @ the shop too.

So...let's make a big fuss up @ this ride this weekend. The following Sunday (the 31st) we're having a ride from the Grand River Grocery in Ada hosted by Sarah Andro and her clan. I'll be in Whitefish but I'll be wishin' I was ridin' wit'choo guys! (Trust me! By Sunday morning I'll be up to my ears in bikes to re-pack for shipping home!)

TEE-SHIRT RE-ORDER IN PROGRESS - SPEAK NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE! I'm gonna order a small run of the wicked hot West Mich Team Tee so lemme know if you wanna get in on it. Cost will be $7-ish per shirt and based on the splash they made in Asheville you might be able to sell a shirt or 3 either in DV or 'tween now and then maybe. Contact me at mike@velo-citycycles.com

THIS JUST IN! CHECK IT OUT! Our Team keeps rackin' up the press coverage as the rest of the world s-l-o-w-l-y figures out that we're the Right Stuff. Check out this article on Death Valley Vets Paul and Kathy:


Thanks again for everything that each and every one of you has added to our Team and the Program! You all Rock w/ a capital "R" and it was cool to see down in A-ville that everyone else in the JDRF universe is figuring that out!

Be well, ride safe and ride lots!

Type 1 Rider

Hey all:

My first post, so I guess I can say I finally consummated this JDRF West Michigan Blog relationship.

Anyway, I met a rider in Asheville who gave me a web site for Diabetic bike riders. I checked it out & it does have some really good information/articles etc in the Forums section. Check it out if you wish.


Nice to see everybody @ Joe's yesterday. Another great Ada ride (need to do more of those!).


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fun ride this weekend

Here's a chance for Asheville riders to do something completely different than last weekend. The 5 x 55 is a completely FLAT ride and only half the distance of the Asheville route. Plus there are adult beverages along the way. We will be assembling at the eastern end of the Musketawa Trail near Marne. Click here for a link to the trail web site and then click on the MAPS link. Assemble time is 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 16. Roll out is 12 noon. The sun sets at 8:46 p.m. so we want to start on time. Now you may be asking yourself "Eight and a half hours to do a 55 mile flat ride? What's up with that?" Well, on the way out we will be stopping at Fenian's Irish Pub in Conklin and the Ravenna Pub in Ravenna. The turnaround point is the Dog House Tavern in Muskegon. On the way back we hit the Ravenna Pub and Fenian's again. So bring some cash for food and drink. You may also want to bring a lock. Remember this is a self supported ride. No SAG, no massages, no women with hillbilly teeth. But it will be big fun. Use the comment area to let us know if you plan on coming. This is NOT an official JDRF event, so feel free to pass the word to other friends and riders.
See you Saturday.