Monday, August 11, 2008

JDRF'in A!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


When they called me up to the microphone @ dinner on Saturday night I had NO IDEA what I was gonna say. Oh sure - I had a "script" that Aly had prepared but my complete inability to follow it the night before rendered it somewhat less-than-reassuring. I had my little idea for a toilet joke (you'll hafta ask someone - you kinda had to be there) but other than that........nothing.

I think that what I said was that this was my 10th or 11th Ride and that I was prepared for one to eventually not be the coolest one ever.

Not this one though!

Despite the presence of better writers on the opinion of my "coach's duty" is to go first - just like into the hot tub and in the line for the FRICKIN' WICKED AWESOME neckrubs from Heather "More than just a Podium Grrl" Allegrina-Bowe. Hey - it's a tough job but somebody's gotta do it, right?

Basically, this Ride was pretty dang much perfect. The weather, which was threatening 90+ temps and humidity a few short days prior was 80-ish, low-to-no humidity and calm. Sunny enough to help you develop those weird tan lines that we covet but just enough clouds to give ya a break now and then.
The route was bee-yo-ti-ful, despite the aforementioned Tour de Toilets, an odor-iffic jaunt past the waste treatment plant and climbs the like of which most of us had never seen! To say this was a tough ride would be to tax my limited grasp of the art of understatement. Especially from mile 20 on this baby was a killer!
The Team was perfecty awesome! As far as I can remember (cut me a little slack - it's been a l-o-n-g weekend!) Brian, Chris, Scott, Kristen, Mike, Jamie and Mark all set personal distance records and on that course that ain't no small feet! Everyone rode well - but that's such a tiny fragment of our Team's impact on the weekend that it's as if it was a foregone conclusion. To put it simply and crudely - we are the shit. Seriously -the regard with which the JDRF staff, volunteers, coaches and riders hold the West MI Team is pretty dang cool to behold. Ask Brian about the 2 dudes from MA that apologised for "holding up the West Mi peloton" on Friday. Read the last line of the nomination I got for coach of the Ride that says "Mike's entire team was very friendly and inspiring". Look around the room at dinner and see all the blue shirts. Watch the Michigan folks embrace their team mates (whom they've not met yet) from Il and make them feel like part of the family. See the tears on virtually everyone's face when Jack stands up at the mic on Friday night and tells the assembled crowd why he's riding and what this means to him. (I asked him @ dinner the night before!)
I'm SO proud to be part of this Team. You guys are special, I've know that for a while now and it's cool that everyone else is figurin' it out too!

Okay.......let the stories and pic-sharing begin! On to Death Valley! See everyone (hopefully!) at the Team Ride this Sunday @ Joe Schmeider's place in Ada! We would especially appreciate the honor of riding w/ our Kick -A ville teamies!

Thanks again. Great job everyone!


Cindy said...

What a wonderful experience! words can not express how this weekend turned out. The course was brutal. I am so glad that I didn't drive the course at all on Friday. I am afraid that mentally I would have been like "there is no way". I am so exited that my daughter came along, now she understands why I am so addicted to hanging out with all of you. She had a wonderful expierence and can't wait to go again nexy year to volunteer too! Not to mention the new respect she has for her mommy, after driving the course. Proabaly the most emotional part for me is when she was at the finish line telling me how proud she was of me. It was such an emotional finish for many reasons. I think most of all for the feeling of disbelief that I was actually able to make the entire ride. There were so many times I wanted to give up. With out Herb and Brenda there for encouagement I don't know how I ever would have made it. I also kept thinking of Jack's inspirational speach at dinner Saturday night. I too am so proud to be apart of this team. Derek, I don't know whether to thank you or hit you for not telling us how tough Asheville really was, but I realize now much of an easy decision DV was for you to make! Thanks to all of the team for another unforgetable life changing experience! I can't wait for Death Valley!!! I have lots of photos to share. From Sliding Rock to the Mellow Mushroom, the ride itself, our hillbilly friends at the Randell Glen (gem mining and goat farming) to Seeing Jack racing the other horses on the trail ride. To quote our awesome leader, "We Rock!" and apparently we are not the only ones who think so!

ceningolmo said...

Great job peeps!

Katie said...

Hey Asheville riders - Don't forget to post pictures you took on the team photo site. There is a link to it on the front page (on the right, top box in that column).

Jack said...

Sometimes things are best left unsaid because there are no words that can express the pure emotion & meaning of what we all did & accomplished.

I do know that I will be changing my training, as 80 miles ain't freaking good enough, but with that being said, the ride is incidental to the cause.

As you know, I love my music, my festivals (ROTHBURY in particular!). Asheville was my summer festival & you guys rocked my world.

I am so impressed with what you guys did. Brian, you are an inspiration. Great job @ finishing this thing. Dawn, oh my goodness, you successfully completed the hardest ride I have ever seen even when Brock was telling you to quit. Scott & Linda, congrats on your first century & thanks for doing it for the cause. You guys are awesome. Chris & Scott - what a ride. You look like you both were born riding.

To all of my peeps, including Coach Mike, Linda, my right-hand man Herb, Cindy, Kevin, Brenda, Heather, Dawn, Peggy, Larry, all Schmeiders, Rip, the list goes on & on . . . THANK YOU. You all hold a very special place in my life & I can't thank you enough for the experience. I truly love you guys. What a group.

The question a few nights ago was "Why are we doing the JDRF ride"? The question now is "Isn't riding fun???" I look forward to seeing everybody on the road soon. Diabetes will be a thing of the past soon & you are the reason why. I look forward to clinking glasses of berverages with each & every one of you when we finally finish this ride....


Scott said...

Linda and I were first time riders this year and WOW! What an experience. This group ROCKS!(I think I just plagerized that). There were a lot of unknowns when when we decided to get involved, and it was all new. The West Michigan Group is hands down the most accepting group of individuals that we have ever met. From Day 1, we felt like "you are one of us now".

Thank you to all of all you.

Cindy helped guide us around at the Van Andel (what's a naked brat?), Jack mentored us through the million questions, Mike kept us on our bikes and was always there with a smile, Mary answering our other million questions...
Every single one of you has touched our lives in an inspirational way.

We were so proud to be associated with the team in Asheville this past weekend; those who were there, know what I mean. Coach Mike did us all proud. As Head Asheville Coach, everyone was able to enjoy his charisma and his gift to charm the audience. He was a natural up in front of the crowd...funny, witty, insightful, inspiring...I was proud to be on his team.

As for my highlights of this weekend, I had many, but 2 stand out. First was watching my lovely wife finish the 100 miles. I was so proud of her. This being our first 100 mile ride, we both were wondering if it was possible to finish. If it wasn't for her, I am not so sure I would have, but she was an inspiration to me out there. I'm telling ya, she climbed those hills like she was a billy goat and encouraging me all the way to the end. I was one proud husband watching her go over the finish line, cold stomach and all, another story.

The second highlight was Jack's talk at dinner Friday night. There wasn't a dry eye in the house by the time he was done, followed by a standing ovation. I was proud to know him.

So if you're reading this post and wondering about joining, you'll never regret your decision to be part of this great group!

Katie said...

Does Linda read this blog? Does she know she was compared to a billy goat? Scott - glad to have you on the team, it's like you were always with us.

I can't believe 1/3 of our team are done. Congrats. Here's to helping the rest of us train for Death Valley.

Tom and Mary Scheidel said...


I have Linda on tape calling herself a billy goat. You can bet that will make it into the documentary.


Linda TP said...

now about that documentary... :)

Linda TP said...

Actually Tom...I can't wait to see the documentary...

I also wanted to give some thoughts on Asheville and the whole team. Pretty much I can ditto everyone's comments...the experience is almost too hard to describe.

I think the memories for me fall into more of an emotional context. The whole weekend was filled with laughter and tears. Getting to know each other better, supporting each other and adopting perfect strangers into my life. The shared knowledge that we were all there for one larger purpose was so powerful. It was quite a high for me.
I feel very lucky to have such a supportive husband, and I am proud of him and his ability to hate hills, but still keep a smile on his face as he climbed yet another one. Sharing this experience side by side was priceless.

I might climb like a billy goat, but what really lifted me up those hills was the fact that I "dedicated" each climb to someone on our team. As I climbed the hill I would think of a specific person on our team, and how they have affected my life. This seemed to make them more enjoyable. So please know that each of you hold a special place in me, and helped me by the kindness and support you have shown since the beginning.

I love you guys!!!