Hey Team! I know it's still 2009 and I know that it's cold and snow-ish and I know that you're probably up to your still-fit-from-this-summer's-riding behind in Christmas plans and madness and all that.....................but:
If you look over there to the right we're asking you to "vote" on which Ride you might wanna attend next season (not that it's a binding vote or anything) and for many of us the 2010 season is here, let alone right around the corner 'cuz we're fund-raising and recruiting and planning and dreaming and can't wait for "next year" to become "this year"!
So - here's what I know or have been able to find out about the 2010 Ride Schedule. Some of this is opinion, some is hearsay and some might even be best characterized as an educated guess. i oughta state for the record here that almost everything I have to say here is tentative and will remain that way 'til registration opens (hopefully in mid-January) but again - here's what I know or think I know @ the moment:
Burlington VT. July 15-18: New venue will be a Sheraton in Burlington. Route is yet to be determined but would hopefully hug the coast of Lake Champlain. I don't have any elevation info. Smaller ride than Killington expected perhaps 150-200 riders. Yes - that is the same weekend as the Holland Hundred! (Frown-y face icon)
LaCross WI. August 12-15: This route was suggested to National by the WI Chapter folks at least partially to satisfy the needs/desires of the large Hy-Vee contingent from the Iowa/Nebraka area. The route would cross the Mississippi River several times and visit both Minn and Iowa. I've ridden over there - it's pretty hilly along the river. No info as yet on the hotel, etc.
Lake Tahoe NV. Sept 10-13 (Fri-Mon): This would be a "piggy-back" ride in conjuction w/ the Tour of Tahoe. (www.bikethewest.com/tourdetahoe/html) The goal here is to replicate the success of this year's Tucson Ride and eventually be the dominent charity ride contingent @ this ride. (Sort of like Team in Training and Tucson). The route is a 72 mile loop around the lake w/ 2600 feet of elevation gain. Check out that website for more details but what sort of jumped out @ me was the mention of 2 "challenging" climbs - one of 800' and one of 1000' and the fact that they recommmend this ride to "conditioned recreational cyclists, not beginners." Not that I don't think that our riders couldn't handle it - just sayin'. I dunno if we'd stay @ the hotel/casino that serves as the ride HQ or not. (My guess is that we would not)
Death Valley CA. Oct 14-17: The Big Enchilada! Really the only "classic" JDRF Ride on next season's calendar, which seems weird to me. In my opinion this is THE elemental JDRF Ride, offering the strongest emotional effect and yes - a significant physical challenge due the the possiblility of tough conditions. A significant % of the Team has already verbally committed to DV for 2010. If you've not been - we stay @ Furnace Creek Ranch, an oasis of green in the midst of the desert. Rooms are fine, if not fancy and dinners are under the stars. The route is an out-and-back on good-to-marginal asphalt. Quite roll-y w/ a serious climb @ the turn-around of the 105 mile route up to Jubilee Pass of 6-7 miles that'll leave an impression on ya! Despite the weather history (which calls for high temps in the '80s that time of year) it's been 95-105 all 5 years that I've been there. Logistically we fly into Vegas and shuttle bus from there. Your coach is cooking up some "extra-credit" madness for DV this year that will invlove getting there a day early and doing a pretty gnarly 100+ mile ride on Thursday - details on that later! (If I let it slip that DV is one of my favorite places in the world.......oops!)
el Tour de Tucson. Nov 18-21. This was an experiment in '09 and was a much bigger success than any of us expected! The ride is enormous - w/ over 8500 riders this year. We stayed in an incredible JW Marriot about 20 minutes up into the hills overlooking Tucson. The weather was perfect, the lodging the best I've ever seen @ a JDRF event and the ride itself was very well organized. Our small-ish contingent of JDRF Riders (90-ish) had nothing but good things to say about their experience. It is a little weird logistically staying so far away from the the start/finish and ride expo and all that (and it adds lots of work for the crew, lemme tell ya) but that gave us the intimate feeling of it being a JDRF Ride as we ate on the deck under the stars every night. This was a pretty cool ride!
So - that's what I know (or think I know). I'll add details as I get 'em but hopefully this'll help you make up your mind.
So - let's get on it, huh? Time to ride!
Your guys rock, but you knew that, right?
Monday, December 14, 2009
Hey Team! I know it's still 2009 and I know that it's cold and snow-ish and I know that you're probably up to your still-fit-from-this-summer's-riding behind in Christmas plans and madness and all that.....................but:
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I'm sitting in a hotel room outside of Chicago - another in what has become a fairly long list of hotel rooms for Mrs Clark's favorite son this l-o-n-g year of 2009 - and I'm thinking of all the reasons that I have to be thankful here on this most thankful of all days. Prominently near the very top of that list would be this Team - you guys - and the simple fact that somehow the JDRF Ride to Cure Program and I stumbled onto each other 5 years ago.
Being a part of this remains one of the highlights of my life - you all mean so much to me that I'm having a hard time finding the words. (How come hotel rooms aren't stocked w/ a thesaurus?) Being a member of this Team means the world to me and JDRF's stuck w/ me 'til someone fires me!
Just wanna thank each and every one of you for what you mean to JDRF, our friends and family dealing w/ diabetes and....well......to me.
It's been a tough week in many respects and for many of our friends and team mates a pretty damn tough year. Many of those close to us won't be sad to see the end of 2009 for a variety of reasons and I just want to ask you all to be there for each other as we wrap up this year and roll into the next one.
So - shake off that turkey coma - be safe tomorrow (hopefully by steering clear of the crazies @ the mall) and let's get started on making 2010 the Best. Year. Ever.
Thanks again, (and again and again and and again!) for being who you are and doing what you do.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
We have some sad news to report. Our friend and fellow rider Don Milanowski passed away this morning of a heart attack. It was very sudden and needless to say very surprising.
Don was a strong rider, always finishing near the front of every team ride and JDRF event. He completed century rides in both Whitefish in 2007 and Death Valley in 2008.
But more then a good rider he was a good friend. Don's wife Linda and Mary have been friends since high school. In fact, Linda was the Maid of Honor in our wedding. We've known Don since he and Linda were dating. We watched as they built a great life together with three lovely children, Nathen, Max and Ellie. We got together with them on many occasions as couples and as families. Don and Linda were great fun to be around. Don will be missed terribly by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.
Don's funeral will be in Holland on Wednesday, visitation will be Tuesday afternoon and evening. Details will be in Sunday's Grand Rapids Press.
Friday, November 20, 2009
First off I goota tell y'all that this place we're headquartered in here in Tucson is over-the-top ridicu-awesome! Google "Marriott Starr Pass sometime when you get a sec and see for yourself! The Bike Room is a huge permanent "tent" behind the resort and is big enough to hold all 85 bikes w/ room left over to test ride them inside!
I got here about noon yesterday - an old friend picked me up and I've been here since. Got the Bike Room set up and the truck unloaded last night and started tuning and assembling bikes this morning about 6:30 local time. W/ a couple breaks I worked straight through 'til about 30 minutes ago so it's been your basic 16 hour day. All 60-some are tuned, assembled, aired up and ready though, so that's good.
Tomorrow is the Tune-Up Ride, a trip down to the big ride Expo for an additional safety meeting and who knows what else?
And hopefully I'll have the juice to fill you in!
Monday, November 16, 2009
With Saturday night's party at Rosewood Pointe in Holland the 2009 Ride Season comes to an official close. The West Michigan Team raised about $200,000 for diabetes research. That gives us a total of over ONE MILLION DOLLARS raised since we started this little endeavor back in 2005. Thanks to everyone who rode, volunteered, donated, or just kept us in their prayers.
This years award winners are (seated) Derek Dykstra - Most Training Rides; Dawn Riccomini - Most Training Rides by a Special Guest; Dawn Anderson - Killington "Road Snake" Award; Linda Clark - Death Valley "Scorpion" Award; Nick Murphy - Top Fundraiser.
More photos of this glorious event can be found on our google photo site by clicking here.
Monday, November 9, 2009
So - the Iceman and Chilly Ride are in the rear view. Congrats to teammies Scott, Mel & Cathy (Kaat) for rockin' their 1st ever Iceman Cometh Race and I think that next year we oughta make a bigger fuss over this oft-epic & always massive event and have a huge JDRF presence!
That'd be BIG fun!
Thanks to Did, Brian, Heather, Kathy H, Pablo, John J, JD, Rob, Kaat and anyone I missed (sorry!!!!!!) for making the Chili Ride yesterday too - 'twas a hoot and much chili was consumed. (Yay! to Heather for being the co-winner of the cook off! Yumm!)
As I may have mentioned before - there are still plenty of reasons to get offa the couch and out and about despite the it being the next-to-the-last page on your calendar. Check it:
Tonight - Jeff Bannink in GR
Tomorrow - Jeff Bannink here in Holland (New Holland, 4-6pm)
Saturday 11/14 - MASSIVE TEAM PARTY!!!! If you haven't RSVP'd (is that a verb?) please do so asap, 'kay?
Sunday 11/15 - 'Cross race in GR. Manhattan Park to be exact. Come see several of your homies (J2, Kaat, Heather? myself, others???) suffer in this unique slice o' the bike race pie. Racing starts @ 11:00.
Saturday 11/28- Last Call Band @ Saug Brewery. Come and see if anyone in the band remembers MC's b-day.
Sunday 11/29 - Last 'cross race of the series! Holland Stadium, 11:00-2:00 and the big season-end blow out afterwards @ New Holland! Be there!
There's a holiday in there somewhere too, and I gotta be in Tucson for the last Ride to Cure of this l-o-n-g and wonderful season. Before you know it it'll be trainer time (arrrgggghhh!) so hopefully I'll have the pleasure of seeing y'all @ one or more of the cool happenings on this list!
VAN ANDEL PLUG - If you've not done a shift or 3 @ Van Andel yet - I'm here to tell you that you might be missing out! Now - I know that I'm...um.....shall we say.....unique in some ways and I'm not promising that you'll dig it as much as I do, BUT - you do get a significant jump on 2010 fund-raising, you do get to hang wit'cher Team Peeps (my fav thing!) and you do get a chance to do some serious people watching! Now folks - that's what'cha call an All Around Good Deal! Next May a buncha us are gonna be feeling pretty dang smug about where we are $-wise on Ride Tracker and able to concentrate on riding while others of y'all are gonna be writing letters and sending e-mails and contemplating bake sales! (Hopefully we'll be tolerable)
I'm just sayin' you might wanna drop Cindy a line (email@example.com) and see when you might could hop this train, that's all.
It's been too long since I've had the pleasure of seeing all you guys - it's been a helluva season! When I think back to all the rides, the tough conditions in VT and DV, the smiles and the miles and the green tee shirts and pink jerseys and helmet "decorations" and door posters and haikus and....and.....and being lucky enough to have had the the chance to come along for the ride - well, I'm left staggered by my good fortune, humbled by your friendship and inspired by your courage and strength.
You guys ROCK and I'll never get sick of saying it.
Thanks for all you've done and all that you will do.
Thanks for a great 2009 season, let's celebrate it this weekend and then get rockin' on 2010!
Friday, November 6, 2009
Now that the 2009 season is drawing to a close (the thank you party is next Saturday) it's time to start thinking about 2010. Specifically, how to raise money for next year's ride. Some folks are already volunteering at the VanAndel Arena, which is a great way to build up quite a bit of cash. Another easy way to make money is with XS Energy Drinks. We received a pallet load of XS this summer and there is still some left. The deal works like this: A case of energy drinks has 12 eight ounce cans. The cost is $15 per case that goes to your individual ride account. You can drink the XS yourself or sell it to friends and neighbors. The retail cost is $24 a case so this is a very good deal. I'd also like to get this stuff out of my garage before the snow flies. If you want some XS please email Tom or Mary. We will be able to bring some to the party next weekend. See you then and happy fundraising.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
(this is long... go get yourself a refreshment and use the restroom before starting to read this)
Death Valley was awesome. I will admit, I was a little apprehensive about what being in Death Valley with ONLY 11 West Michigan team members there would be like. We've always had a big crew out there and I was nervous it wouldn't live up. I also had pressure of finally finishing my first century (which I had planned to do in the less extreme Killington, but extreme rain prevented). Killington was going to be it, and when it wasn't, I've been putting pressure on myself since the end of August to finish the century in Death Valley. It's time.
I will never forget the stars we saw on Thursday night. Most of the team, plus Coach Tim drove up to Zabriski Point. I cannot describe how dark it was. We trekked with minimal light from cell phones up to the top of the lookout. It was incredible. I have never been big into stars or astronomy, but MY WORD. You could see the milky way so clearly. The stars were incredible. We laughed up there. We joked. We enjoyed the serenity of what night in the valley is. We were "West Michigan". I missed the rest of the team, but I knew then that it didn't matter how many we had... we were going to have the same experience I remembered.
Friday broke like every day in the valley: sunny and warm. The tune up ride to Zabriski Point was easy for me this year. I've struggled in the past with blood sugar, and tired from climbing from Golden Canyon last year. It was a breeze this year. I felt ready. The tourists at Zabriski made for stories to tell, and although the West Michigan crowd was smaller, we all looked good in our pink pancreas cell jersey's (well, except for this one who decided to wear plaid bike shorts). Relaxing by the pool for the afternoon was great. I stuck to my "nothing but water" rule on Friday, even though Furnace Creek put in a service window where you can get margaritas at the pool (TALK ABOUT SELF CONTROL - I KNOW!). Having cars made it easy for the team to decide to run up to Artists Drive to see what that was all about late in the afternoon. The dinner on Friday was different this year as we stayed in the court yard instead of trekking through the coyotes to the palm grove. I actually think it was ok to stay... the atmosphere was just as good.
After dinner, we did the West Michigan thing and decorated our helmets. Even though Jasker grumbled about helmet desecration for months before the ride, he & Rob came through with decorations from Parumph after those sent by Mary were lost with Rob's clubs somewhere in the US. With candy and letters to each from Coach Nicole in hand, we all called it a night.
I woke up Saturday not in great shape. The Continuous Glucose Monitor (sensor) I was counting on to help me through the day was off... by 200. My finger poke said 330mg/dl, but the sensor said 120mg/dl. This was not good. It was too late to start a new sensor, so I had to try to get my BG down to better levels to calibrate and hope the sensor reported accurately after being calibrated. Time was not on my side. I spent the next two hours worried about blood glucose levels, sensor reporting and trying to eat a decent breakfast without overdosing with insulin which would cause me to go low. I checked my BG five times between getting up and starting the ride. By the time the ride started at 7 a.m., my finger poke and sensor were within 50 of each other. At this point, I was not planning on being able to use the sensor during the ride and did not feel good about riding 100 miles in Death Valley without that technology.
The Ride started. The excitement was there and it was nice and cool. The 17 miles to Badwater were awesome. I felt good. Really good. I played leap frog with two girls from the Novo Nordisk team trying to catch Pablo (I passed him once all day... he was on the side of the road waiting for SAG cause his tire or tube split - no worries, he passed me again in about 15 minutes). I rolled into Badwater with most of West Michigan team feeling really good. Finger poke and sensor were within 20 of each other (good enough for me) and I was in the low 100s. Took some pictures of first time riders Nick & Linda with the Sea Level sign. Ate a PB&J, refilled water & gatorade bottles and we were off. I tried to stick to Coach Mike & Tim's - get to Jubilee as fast as you can and we were averaging about 17 mph at this point (that's an easy stretch going out).
After watching Pablo take off with a group of riders, we all took off for Mormon Point break point. Rob took off and said "you'll catch me" (uh huh, sure) This next stretch is where we finally get in the sun, but because of our speed, we made it further in the shade than I ever have before. I rode most of this stretch with Pete Dow. Nothing much to say other than I felt really good and kept up that 17mph average.
It started getting warm by breakpoint two - Mormon Point - 34 miles. My plan going in had been to hydrate my insides but also my outside starting at Mormon Point in hopes of keeping cool. I took about a half a cold water bottle and dumped it on my head. Another PB&J and refill the water and Gatorade and Steve, Nick, J.D. Linda & I were off. I think Mike was in the area as well (he said he was coaching everyone, and he was - but I knew he was keeping an eye on us kids from the Great Lake state). Nick & I stayed together most of the next 11 miles to Ashford Mills. This is where we finally passed Pablo (who had Pete with him and knowing them... I figured we'd just keep going and they'd catch us). The water I dumped on my head felt like an air conditioner with the head wind we dealt with for those 11 miles. There is a long straight 3 or 4 mile hill that is straight and you can see forever. I was out of water to drink and dump on me at this point, and had about 1/4 gatorade left for the last few miles. Getting to Ashford Mills break point was an effort but we still had our average above 16mph.
I dumped Gatorade for both bottles having water at Ashford Mills. They also gave us towels that had been soaked in ice to put on our necks. That was a life saver. Another PB&J, a chocolate Gu and an entire water bottle downed at that breakpoint, and an entire bottle dumped on my head/arms and legs. Another dunk into the ice with my towel and I rode up the hill with it tucked in my jersey around my neck. I knew the next seven miles were going to make or break my plan. I knew I could not let my body get too hot. It was time.... A group of us head out, actually - most of the West Michigan team was together at this point. Rob went first but we also had Jasker, Danny, Linda, J.D., Nick, Steve & I (along with Coach Mike) in the pack. It was clear that it was hot. It was clear we were all going up Jubilee at our own pace. I was very happy to have Linda & J.D. going about my pace. We tried to keep drinking water. That hill is so long. We got to the first turn where the hill really starts and I told Linda - 1 down, 6 to go. I kept putting small amounts of water on my head through my helmet and taking small sips. About 30 minutes in, and not half way up, I knew Linda & I were in trouble. It was so hot. We were going sooo slow. Mike was there, and JD was up ahead just a bit. Out of no where, a SAG wagon. And they had ice cold water in a cooler. And some ice to soak our towels. The driver gave us a running push start to get going up the hill. Another 60 minutes later, and one or two more SAG refills I made it to the top of Jubilee Pass. I was in SOOOO much better shape than I had been in years past. Don't get me wrong, it was hot and miserable, but I was OK. The first glimmer of hope that I could make it. I had never felt this before at 52 miles in.
A few pictures later and a few soakings of my towel in ice and we were off. It was a bit chilly flying down Jubilee with the cold wet towel on my neck. A few times I almost lost the towel.
I have to admit, I don't remember much about seeing Ashford Mills again or the 11 mile trek back to Mormon Point. It happened, I was there, but it's fuzzy. I know I was at bottom by the time we got to Mormon Point. It was about 70 miles in and 104 degrees. My feet were on fire. I had started pouring water straight into my sandals at some point. Sitting on a chair under the tent I contemplated for a few minutes being finished, but a few soakings of my trusty towel in ice by the volunteers and putting it on my neck & head and a bottle of ice cold water to drink and I started feeling better. It was nice we had a bit of time to cool down and take a break and I thought maybe I could do this.
At this point, it was Steve, Mike, Danny & I. We had 34 miles to go. The stretch between Mormon and Badwater is horrendous in the afternoon. There are juts into and out away from the mountain base. There are supposedly 5 of these, but it seems like 9. You can see cars for FOREVER driving by and then back out and around. We missed the first SAG wagon that went by. I wanted to cry. It was so hot. We lost Danny right around this point. My drinking water was almost gone and my dump over head & body bottle was hot water. It took another few miles but we finally saw the SAG vehicle and stopped it. Refreshed with fresh ice cold water and freshly soaked towel on our necks (well, not Mike - he wasn't stooping to our level (yet!)). And low and behold... it was GLEN. AGAIN. Every time a SAG vehicle stopped(think about how many times I've mentioned sag vehicle so far), it was GLEN. Poor guy - he will hold with him forever me telling him I loved him over and over and over. Steve was like - woman - leave the poor guy alone. (Dont' worry, Glen and I got even closer later... keep reading).
So after Glen left, we took off. We came around the next bend, and there was another one. We got around that bend and there was another one. We go around the next bend and there was the 1 mile to break point sign. Supposedly. I never saw it. Nor did Steve. But Mike said it was there and that he pointed at it. I saw him point, I did not see a sign. I was totally ready to go around another bend and see another three mile stretch to the next bend. We got about 1/3 of the mile from the break point and my chain falls off but locks so that I can't even move the pedals. Mike says - "well we aren't stopping here, get up here and I'll push you". Mike... did ya hear the part about me not being able to pedal so it's hard for me to speed up to catch you? Anyway, Mike pushes me into Badwater. After kicking the volunteer out of her chair (sorry volunteer - I needed it) and getting some fresh water and a few soaks of ice towel again I felt like maybe I could possibly do this. We saw Rob & Nick at Badwater, but they refused to continue with us. They were done and were enjoying the view at Badwater. They looked too calm and carefree. I sooo wanted to be them. But I knew I had to keep going. I was 18 miles from the goal I had been striving towards for four years. I had to show Ellie that diabetes can not hold her back.
We were almost there. 7 miles to the next makeshift break point. 17 miles from the top of hill into the Ranch. 18 miles from the end.
Steve, Mike & I take off. There are not many people left on the road. Every SAG vehicle that goes by has people in it and bikes on the back. It is hot. Mike has given into my every whim of having SAG vehicles stop. I'm dumping water on my arms, my neck, my head, letting it run down my legs and then pouring it into my sandals. We are two miles from the break point and I need water. We hear a SAG and there he is, GLEN. Shout it with me. GLEN!!! He fills us up and I am ready to die I have to go SOOO bad. I tell Glen to stay over with the boys and pull down the shorts beside the van. (NICE!). Glen almost got an eyeful but thankfully Mike & Steve warned him to stay by them! ha! We get our towels dunked. Filled both water bottles and keep going. (I'm shocked Mike is more than willing to stop each time... he is not pushing us to keep going. I find it strange, but keep to myself). See ya, Glen.
Two miles to the somewhat uneventful breakpoint. It's so hot. The water pouring helps but it's miserable. It is SOOO hot. We spend a few minutes at the breakpoint. I hop in the van that the volunteer has running with air conditioning. Another group rolls in, and rolls out. But I wait. I know I need to cool down before continuing cause this is it. 7 miles with lots of climbing to do. The three of us again. We actually are going at a fast clip. My pump starts alarming a high BG (the first high of the day and I was 180mg/dl - I had no low alarms - that is AWESOME diabetes control people - 98 miles and my first "outside of norm" alarm!). I can't seem to make it stop beeping. It's keeps alarming. ne-nah-ne-nah-ne-nah. OVER AND OVER AND OVER. We stop and I can't get the buttons to press. The buttons on my pump are not working!! At all. Finally it comes up with an error: BUTTON ERROR. (that does seem good). Somehow, I get the alarm to stop.
We are up in the 14 to 16 mph range (which is insane). I feel really good and my legs are fine. We get to Golden Canyon in record time and refill water bottle one more time. The BG alarm goes off again and keeps going. I finally get it to stop (we are talking minutes of ne-nah-ne-nah-na-nah) 2 miles up, 1 mile down.
I cannot believe when we finally make it to the top of the hill. The three of us stop. We hug. I am amazed. I have done it. FINALLY. I HAVE DONE IT. I'm perfectly happy and we are laughing. I feel great. My legs are fine. (did I mention it's hot). We start down and Mike & Steve let me go first. Somewhere in that first 1/4 mile I look down and see Ellie on my bike card. I think: I did it, Elle & Anna. All of a sudden, crying. HARD. Harder than I've cried in I have no idea how long... years. We roll into the ranch and they announce our arrival and it's over. I'm gasping for air I'm crying so hard. Hugs to Steve and thanks to Steve & Mike for helping me. I could not have done it without my two Clarks, or Glen.
Some 'Katie quotes' from right after the ride:
"I will NEVER ride my bike to the top of Jubilee Pass again"
both are true.
I will ride Death Valley every year, until the cure for Ellie, Tom, Jack, Rick, Nathen, Ken, Ann and all of my other friends who are affected by type 1 is found.
For anyone who wants to join us, Rob, Steve & I will be in the Valley on Oct 16th, 2010, riding 90+ miles. ;-)
Hey guys! The 2009 season might be winding down but there's still lots going on and let's face it...the 2010 season is right around that corner! (Many of us have a good start on our fund-raising for next year thanks to all the Van Andel events Cindy is setting up - you REALLY oughta catch that train!).
Here's a few things worth considering: (in chronological order instead of by coolness level)
Saturday 10/31 - Halloween Party @ Saugatuck Brewery w/ Last Call , Delilah and the Lost Boys and The Concussions. 8:00-Midnight
Sunday11/1 - 'Cross race @ Riverside Park - see some of your team mates suffer in the mud! 11:00-1:00 and there's chili and soup!
Sunday 11/8 - The "Chili Chilly Ride" here @ the shop! Meets @ 2:00, rolls for 30-40 miles and then there's the famous chili cook off!
Monday 11/9 - Jeff Bannink of Team Type One in GR - you should've gotten an e-mail about this, let me know if you haven't (or deleted it)
Tuesday 11/10 - Jeff Bannink in Holland - 4:00-6:00 @ New Holland Brewery - a chance to meet Race Across America Member and Holland native and chat him up about the race, the team, riding w/ Type 1 - you name it!
Saturday 11/14 - PARTY PARTY PARTY! It's time for our annual end of the season bash and blow out! You should have received an E-vite by now - lemme know if you don't have it!
Sunday 11/15 - 'Cross race @ Manhattan Park in GR - more mud, more suffering. Same time as the last one.
See? Lots of bike stuff and you don't even hafta ride for most of it! (Not to imply that's a good thing!)
I hope to see you guys at lotsa this stuff - and I realluy hope to see you @ Van Andel soon!
Monday, October 19, 2009
You'd think that I'd get used to it. After all - this makes 4 Rides this season and 9 in the past 2 so you'd think that I'd be used to the weird conflicting feelings of joy, relief, sadness and exhaustion that fill me on the Sunday of a ride weekend.
You'd think that - but you'd be wrong. Way wrong.
It's hard to come back to the ranch (after a great morning of hiking - more later) and see the bare spot on the grass where the bike room tent was...w/ a few sliced zip ties and a valve nut or two mute testimony to the efforts of 5 guys to make sure 180 bikes were ready. It's weird-n-painful to realize that the cleaning lady came by and transformed room 512 from the nerve center of the whole weekend back into a plain ol' hotel room again.
It's just weird. It's like the circus has left town...again...and even though it was great and you can still feel the excitement and passion and sweat and tears in the very air...it's.....still.....more than a little sad.
Hell, maybe it's just me.
Anyway - the aforementioned circus has for damnsure left town and by now the various players have re-scattered from Las Vegas to Denmark and everywhere in between. 'Cept us. "Us", in this particular case is Lin, Pablo, JD, Maggie and my-own-bad-self. We had a great day here today - we hiked out to the Natural Bridge, we drove up to Dante's View and hiked up to the viewpoint, we hung by the pool, we drove Artist's Canyon @ sunset and then drove down to Stovepipe Wells for dinner. Nice, nice, nice.
Tomorrow we all head home save for Pablo. (Repeat after me "he's here on a research project for school!") and before you know it........this 5th Death Valley Ride to Cure Diabetes for the West Michigan Team will be a fond memory.
But we all know that it'll forever be more than that - a LOT more! It was a statement of 200+ people's drive to cure diabetes and have a special, bonding, powerful time while doing so. It was Katie crossing the finish line, Chris poundin' out 90+ miles (mostly by himself), it was Pablo and John and Pete and Rob and Steve and JD and Linda and Nick all riding so well and showing the JDRF world that our Team doesn't hafta be the biggest to make the most noise! It was Maggie and Becky rockin' it out @ the top of the Pass at the #1 break point too!
Damn I love you guys!
So proud of everyone.
So happy for everyone.
I hope to see all of you @ the big party next month, I hope to see all of you online soon as we share pix and stories of this weekend and the whole dang season.
Let the wild rumpass begin!
Sunday, October 18, 2009
So - not sure what happened to the hilarious and touching report I a-l-m-o-s-t got posted last night. Trust me when I say that you would've laughed, cried and mebbe even peed your pants. No way to re-create it though so you'll hafta settle for this. It's all I got.
Friday - Breakfast, pre-ride meeting and then tune-up ride. Since we're too cool to follow the crowd these days we decided as a team to take a pass on the lame lil' ride out to Golden Canyon and headed straight for Zabriskie Point. That climb is always a pisser - it's 5 miles up from here if you've not done it - and when we got to the lookout we were once again sharing it w/ approx 123, 584, 594 euro tourists. Still - always a sweet way to wake up travel-heavy legs. While we were all grouped for a photo op some dude grabbed my bike and started posing w/ it like we was a rider. That was weird enough, but harmless, so I was cool w/ it but then he freakin' climbed on and started weaving through all the other euro tourists! I was still tryin' to decide just what to do about it when he decided that his buds had enough shots of him bein' big bad bike guy and put it back. No harm no foul - I guess - but I was wonderin' how he'd feel if some dude climbing behind the wheel of his Ferrari and started pretending to drive it while folks took pics, And then fired it up for a few hot laps' 'round the parking lot.
After that we split up w/ J2, Pablo, dude from Indy and I heading up for a few more miles of climbing before enjoying a full 10 miles of descent back to the Ranch. After lunch we scattered a bit - Nick for the hike, a group for a drive through Artist's Canyon and a buncha us for the pool. After I did the bike seminar w/ TSC and Mike Malekoff 'twas dinner time. The "program" was short and sweet, they awarded the green and yellow jerseys and then we had our obigatory helmet desicrat...er....decorating session. Thanks to good ol' John "I hate helmet crap" Jasker for steppin' up after our stuff was lost w/ Rob's golf clubs on the way out. After a bit of that...and some sweet-n-serious "why & how we're here & what it means to us" chat most of us called it a night w/ JD, J2 and Maggie taking advantage of the free star gazing session over by the airstrip.
That brings us to Saturday. Ride day. We rolled out in perfect conditions, 170 strong. The ride to Badwater was the best ever as I rode w/ Lin, JD and Pablo. We grouped up again there and the bit to Mormon Point went smoothly as well. After that things got tougher - we had a really pissy headwind for all those l-o-n-g climbs leading up to the Ashford Mills breakpoint and that made things tough. From there we headed up the pass - I was w/ Lin, Katie, Steve & JD @ that point w/ everyone else up the road and Chris behind us. The climb was tough - by then you're in the full-on sun and heat and...well.....7 miles of climbing is just that - 7 frickin' miles of climbing! We all got there and after some recovery and pix we turned back for the return trip. Our group bid farewell to JD @ Ashford Mills and the 5 of us (Lin, Katie, Steve, Danny-from-Indy and I) made our way back to Mormon Point in decent time. We'd lost Lin to a sag wagon at that point, and would soon lose Danny as well, but the 3 other Clarks were kinda on a mission and that mission was to see Katie cross the line w/ not only her first-ever century but having completed this ride.
And I'm completely happy to say "Mission Accomplished". She was a rockstar all day - riding strong, hydrating, keeping cool. It was a great thing to see. Steve was his strong-n-steady self and we rolled in w/ 20 minutes to spare. The scene @ the line - w/ all of our team mates there in keeping w/ the West Michigan tradition - is something that'll give me goose bumps for a long time! (Oops - there they are now! See 'em?)
At dinner that night we enjoyed a slide show of the weekend and the twin highlights of Maggie and Becky's breakpoint winning the best rest stop award and then Katie receiving the polka dot "Spirit" jersey!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whatta great way to wrap up a great day! Then it was on to the hallparty where everyone but me enjoyed the now-traditional "watch MC roll around on the floor w/ cramps" show and talked about everything from yesterday to next year.
Congrats to everyone on the Team - everyone rode so well - JD got to the top of Jubilee, Lin rode 70 + miles in the brutal heat, Chris rode out to Ashford Mills and back (90 some miles!), Nick and Rob rode up to the top of the Pass and then all the way back to Badwater, J2 was his usual strong self, so was Pete and they rode the whole ride. Pablo rode his longest ride ever by over 40 miles and finished the whole course strong and...........well................I already toldja 'bout Steve and Katie.
I'm outta words to describe how I feel about everyone on this team...........you are ALL rockstars in my book - DV riders, VT riders, past riders.........you've done so much and, well, I can't wait for 2010!
Talk to you all soon, hopefully.
Friday, October 16, 2009
So - the 1st full day in the Valley. When we got here yesterday afternoon we couldn't unload the truck so we couldn't set up the Bike Room either. No worries - this ain't a bad place to be w/ nothing to do!
But - today was different. After breakfast we unloaded the truck and started assembling and tuning up the 170 some bikes. Everyone else on this crazy circus showed up either yesterday or today so by lunchtime the whole shebang was in place and Furnace Creek was once again Ride to Cure Central. Thanks to the stellar work of Berger, Glenn. Samuel and Chris Kegal we got every bike built tuned and aired up by about 7:30 tonight. Along the way our Team showed up....along w/ everyone else from all over the world. There's a big international contingent from Europe - Denmark, Spain, Poland.......mostly associated / Novo Nordisc. (Lotsa funky bikes too). Dinner was burgers, dogs and salad under the stars and then pretty much the entire team + Tim St. Clair headed up to Zabrieskie Point for some star gazing and it. Was. Awesome. Every star in the sky, just out of reach and there just for us.
'Twas a l-o-n-g day and I was glad to call it about 10:00. Tomorrow will be great - Coach's meeting, tune-up ride, more hanging by the pool. I can handle it.
Stay tuned - we miss all of you back home and we Sure As All Hell wish we had the whole team out here w/ us.
Monday, October 12, 2009
So........it's come to this, has it? 48 hours from now Lin and I as well as Bike Room Dudes Berger, Gleen and #1 Son Sam will be en route to DV, to be followed a day later by the Rest of The Team - John, JD, Pablo, Steve, Katie, Rob, Pete, Nick and Chris. Despite the fact that this will be the smallest presence that our Chapter has ever had in DV - we go knowing that our impact will be far greater than the number of riders we have 'cuz we'll be riding for all of you, just like you all did for us in VT.
No one could have forecast the impact that our lil' 'ol Chapter would have on the Ride Program when we started it 5 short years ago......Tom's movie, the title of "Largest Team, the title of "Fastest Growing Team", the impact our passion and friendliness and energy and.......well.........joy has had on the other the other teams and the staff is imeasurable and that's all 'cuz of you guys!
Just like the end of the movie - I can't wait for next year. I'm not lookin' past DV (or Tucson for that matter) but I'm also thinking about what we need to do in 2010 and what we can do better. Everyone knows it was a tough and challenging year for raising $ and 2010's not likely to be different. We're going to lose some riders - we always do - and we need to remember to cherish them as they move on to other challenges or maybe just take a break - they are our team mates forever, right? Let's be thinking about who we might recruit - let's be thinking about what Ride we wanna do in 2010 and............if you think of it...........@ about 2:00pm local time on Saturday howzabout you shoot a little positive energy and "bikema" (it's like "karma" on 2 wheels) westward for your team mates that'll be climbing up Jubilee Pass right about then? I'm sure that they'd appreciate it and I would too.
Even if I had the biggest Thesauras in the world sittin here on my desk I couldn't find the words to describe how proud I am to be a part of this w/ you all! It's been a wild and wondeful ride and I don't wanna ever get off!
You guys rock - but you know that, right?
Friday, October 9, 2009
Who's ridin' Colorburst on Saturday? The forecast could be better (but it could be worse too!) and I know that Did, Cath and I are on for sure and Brian J is a "likely". Anyone else?
As if that wasn't more-than-enough for one day........my band is playin' the Saugatuck Brewery that night from 7:00 'til 11:00 or so. This will be the world debut of your team mate and mine Cathy Tahy (you might know her as "Priest") as guest-star vocalist!!!!!!!!! Just think - years from now you can say "I saw her @ her first-ever gig!"
Annnnnnnnnd - if you have anything left on Sunday - it's the Pineapple Bob Classic ride here @ the shop. We roll @ 2:00, there are 35 and 48 mile loops, both of which are at least 30% gravel and dirt roads. Homebrew and yummy munchies back here @ the shop!
Hope to see you @ one or all of these-here good times!
Monday, October 5, 2009
Really? Is this really the last official post-ride report for 2009? Really?
We had a nice mapless and tip sheetless (we're so adventurous!) 40 miles to Grand Haven and back today...managed to avoid the rain, chat lots about the upcoming DV trip, and even celebrate Pablo's birthday! Most of us were able to avoid the disturbing number of roadkill items along our way...and only one flat for the group. All in all--a really nice way to wrap up the season, if I do say so myself.
These rockin' folks were part of our velo posse today:
Rhonda (SGS co-piloting the tandem with Mike)
Stacey (SGS and quickly become a fast friend to all)
Berger (decidedly losing his SGS status...just because we love having him around so much!)
Afterward, we headed over to New Holland for pizza, apps, beer, diet coke, and a grand old time. Thanks for joining us, Clark #2 and Machuta families, too!
So...it's now upon us. Just a couple of days until the truck whisks your bikes away to Death Valley, and just over a week until you all leave on jet planes to go there yourselves. I've made no secret of my immeasurable envy that this trip is coming up and I won't be able to hang with you this year. But....please know, especially you first-timers, that it's only because I have an idea of the incredible journey that you're about to undertake, and the gut-busting laughs you're about to have by the spring-fed pool as Rob paints his toenails.
Soak up every moment, and know that your long season of training, regardless of the number of miles you end up logging on ride day, is all worth it at the end of the day. Make lots of new friends, and laugh heartily with your old ones. And send lots of pictures back, would ya?
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Come one, come all...our final team ride of 2009 will be this Sunday October 4. We'll roll from Velo City Cycles in Holland at 10:00 a.m. for a nice, fun cool-down ride (about 45 miles) for our Death Valley pals. Afterward, we'll head over to New Holland Brewery for some pizza and beer and other athlete-friendly food/drink for a fun little send-off party for our DV riders.
Bonus if you're a DV rider sending your bike on the truck: you can just leave your bike at VCC that day. You're also welcome to send a duffel bag with your gear along with the bike...helmet, shoes, CO2 cartridges *you CAN'T take those on the plane at all--not even in checked luggage!*, anything you'd rather not fly with...be sure the duffel has a tag clearly marked with your name and "West Michigan Chapter."
Please post a comment here, or e-mail Nicole to let us know if you plan on making it for the ride, or heck...if you just feel like joining in the fun at NHBC afterward.
See you soon!
Monday, September 28, 2009
It was a select group that met @ Smallenberg Park here in Holland for the Team Ride last Saturday. It was gratifying to see a goodly # of the DV-bound squad and equally sweet to enjoy the presence of our Vermont brethren! Here's the Honor Roll:
Linda C (DV)
Cathy P to the T (VT and tandem-bound due to her still busted wrist)
Derek D (VT)
John J (DV)
Nick M (DV)
Chris M (DV)
Coach Nic (VT)
Pete D (DV)
Pablo P (DV)
Special (and temporary) Guest Star Rick K
and your trusty reporter and tandem pilot.
We did a nice lil' fiddy miler - headed east at first and then worked our way down into the K-Zoo River valley and out around Hutchin's Lake. We stopped in Douglas for a Jasker-induced visit to the cookie store and then back home. Afterwards most of us found our way over to the New Holland Brewery where we ate burgers and pizza, enjoyed frosty adult beverages and tried to keep Nicole away from the TV showin' the MSU game. Good fun!
One more pre-Death Valley Team Ride! It's this Sunday and the details are being finalized right now. Stay tuned!
Have we mentioned the extent to which y'all rock lately?
Your proud and humbled coaches.......Nic and MC
Monday, September 21, 2009
Our 2nd Saturday ride of the year (and 2nd to last team ride of the year! no way!) is coming up this weekend, 9/26.
We'll roll at 10:00 a.m. from Smallenburg Park in Holland for 50ish miles.
If you're interested in meeting up earlier to grab a few more miles beforehand, say 8:30am with a trek down to Saugatuck and back, leave a comment here. Cancelled; everyone seems to think 50 miles is just fine, thankyouverymuch.
See you there!
BTW...who's doing Apple Cider Century on Sunday?
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The annual concert to benefit JDRF takes place this Saturday night at Wealthy Theatre. You can tune in to a couple Grand Rapids radio stations this week to hear more about the festival.
Wednesday, 9/16 10:45-11:00 a.m. WGVU-FM Morning Show 88.5 FM
Tom and Jake Scheidel are interviewed by Shelly Irwin about this weekend's festival.
Friday, 9/18 11:00 a.m. - noon WYCE Local Resonance 88.1 FM
Tom Scheidel, Music Director Clay Grueber, and singer Todd Herring appear with Kevin Murphy on this weekly show highlighting local music.
Friday 9/18 12:30 - 3:00 p.m. WYCE Rebecca Ruth show 88.1 FM
Members of the Grand Rapids School of Rock will play and talk about their upcoming appearance at the festival.
You can learn about the performers and get other concert info at www.jakesmusicfestival.blogspot.com.
Hey, just 'cause we're back from Vermont doesn't mean ya gotta put yer bike up! (You might want to make sure there's not too much water in it - my bike is still sloshing slightly.) There are a number of tours that take advantage of the cooling temperatures and changing leaves.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Well, 'twas a small-ish yet select group that gathered @ Townsend Park yesterday for our 1st "post Killington / pre Death Valley" training ride. Must've been the lousy weather that kept folks home! (Not) We had a great ride - up and over the rolling hills of the Honey Creek / Pettis / Knapp loop south of the park and then up north as far as M-57 and back around. Not a super long ride but it was great to have a chance to get together, share tales of road snakes, plastic bags and newspapers under jerseys! (You had to be there!)
Tom-n-Mary S (proving that proximity does not = timeliness!)
Chris R joined us later out on the road.
and your faithful reporter.
We did about 46 miles, ate a lotta chips and salsa, cookies and such, basked in the sun and in general had a great time!
Thanks to all the VT riders that came out to motivate their DV-bound brethren!
Next week is the Harvest Tour hosted by Peggy Miller up in Leelanau, the Apple Cider Century is the week after that & stay tuned for up-to-the-minute info on upcoming traiing rides and team events!
Be well, ride lots and ........as.always.........thanks for all you do!
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Did I mention that there's been a time change?
Contrary to my e-mail from earlier this week and the time listed on the post below about the map - WE ARE ROLLING FROM TOWNSEND PARK THIS SUNDAY (9/13) @ 10:00AM, NOT 2:00PM!!!!!!!!!
Allow me to state for the record that this is neither Mary's or Did's fault - I gave them out-of-date info.
Remember - WE RIDE @ 10:00AM THIS SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I sure do hope y'all can make it - it's been too long since The World's Coolest And Bestest Team has blessed the area roads w/ it's presence!
Sunday, September 6, 2009
In case you all were wondering what's been up out here in Big Sky Country.............
Aaron & I flew out here on Wed morning, arriving @ the Grouse Mountain Lodge about 3 pm. The rest of the crew and riders rolled in by dinner on Thursady. As you probably have heard - this was the smallest Ride to Cure ever, w/ only 20 riders and the challenge for the crew was to make sure that they got every bit of the "goose bump thing" that they deserved. Tim and I concentrated on meeting everyone, doing as much hangin' w/ them as possible and making sure that they felt like they were at a JDRF ride. We had 7 new riders and 13 vets - w/ 6 from Mid Jersey, 4 from Indiana, 2 from Wisconsin and the rest single riders from all over.
Today (Ride Day) dawned clear and cold - about 45. The group rolled out and enjoyed the beautiful ride up to Star Meadow, the ride up along Whitefish Lake and the trip out to North Fork. 18 of the riders completed the full 101 miles, w/ the other 2 attaining their goal of 72. The scene @ the finish line was great as everyone hung around to see if Amarilis from Indy could manage her first ever century. (Some of the riders waited 3 hours or more!) She did - escorted by my good friend Tim St.Clair and the celebration commenced!
It's been a great weekend even if I've missed you guys a ton. The spirit of the Ride was in full display despite the small numbers (or because of it, who knows?) and I can't wait for Death Valley!
Tomorrow I'm gonna f-i-n-a-l-l-y get my butt up to Glacier - it's only my 5th time out here! We fly home Monday and I'm looking forward to riding w/ y'all on Sunday!
Friday, September 4, 2009
........that you guys ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know that you know that I think that - but I've been out here in MT for 3 days now and I can't stop thinking how much better a Ride to Cure this'd be w/ a healthy dash of West Michigan added to the stewpot! Now - I'm not just talkin' about numbers here - although if all y'all were here we'd have quadrupled the size of this Ride - I'm talking about the spirit and the passion and the love and the joy that our Team brings wherever we go. The folks here are great, don't get me wrong. They are committed and ridin' for all the right reasons and fun to hang with and all that ................
But.........................they ain't you guys!
And here's the thing - no one else is! I've once again been the recipient of praise from crew and coaches about our Team last weekend, just like I am anytime I go anywhere JDRF-related. Remember when Tim said that it was Sam and Jeremy's jobs in VT to make me look good? Well - you guys make Nic and I look REAL GOOD and while she doesn't need the help I most surely do and I appreciate it very much!
I can't wait for the next Team Ride! I really hope that all of our VT riders will join the DV squad and regale them w/ tales both tall and true about the 10 inches of rain, sub-zero temps, hurricane, swarms of locusts, earthquakes and tidal waves we survived. ( Not to mention our respective drives!)
I miss you guys, that's all I'm sayin'. I kinda missed you guys in VT too....and I feel bad about that. It was great to get a chance to ride to the finish w/ some of you - I know you don't need me but it was awesome to get to ride up that final hill w/ somma my peeps.
I hafta go eat dinner and continue to fend of Trish and Aly's attempts to get me to play my guitar - I never shoulda had it sent out here! See you guys next week - I hope you shake those colds asap and I'll talk to you later!
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Hey Team! So - somehow I find myself in Montana w/ the traveling JDRF circus! My head's still janglin' from VT and now there's gonna be a layer of MT laid over that.
I'll have tales to tell and yarns to spin - never fear!
Right this sec I wanted to let'cha know about some left-over JDRF clothing that we had in Killington - 2007 long sleeve jerseys and windvests. It's here in MT and I can bring some home if anyone wants to grab some. It's a really good deal - $30 for either piece! It's from 2007, so it's the red/wht/blue design and keep oin mind that the sizing is SERIOUSLY wack! (I wear a XXXL!)
Lemme know if you'd like some and I'll make it happen!
Big Team Hug!
Monday, August 31, 2009
Hey gang, visit the link to the right --> and edit the page to include a link to your photos, wherever you happen to store them (can be Picasa, Flickr, Snapfish, Facebook, whatever). If it seems like a pain to do, send your link to me in e-mail, and I'll post them for you. Happy viewing!
Greetings and congrats (again!) to the awesome members of the Killington Team! I have your bikes here at the shop and we are trying to get them cleaned up a bit before you pick 'em up. Obviously the sooner that is the better - I've already moved 'em twice since we got back 3 hours ago - but whatever works for y'all.
They all need a little work - call us here if you want us to go farther that a quick wipe-down. (To do more w/out your go-ahead would be presumptous, don'cha think?)
I know lots of words - but I don't know the ones I'd need to describe how proud I am of every one of you guys and in what high regard I hold you all. Thanks again and again!
On to Death Valley!
Sunday, August 30, 2009
When I got up @ 4:30 this morning it was raining steadily. For 3 days we'd been watching the weather, talking about the weather and worrying about the weather. Now it was Ride Day and our worst fears were realized - rain, lots of rain and temps in the 50's. Oh - and fog. As I walked to breakfast (and a meeting w/ the other 3 that'd be making the call as to whether we rolled as planned, push back the start or even ride a'tall) I would've given you even odds on any of those 3 options. I wasn't looking forward to taking even a quarter share of the heat if we cancelled the Ride.
But - as we ate and talked the weather cleared (a little) and it warmed up (a little) and I'm pleased to report that we settled for pushing the start back an hour (to 8:00) and then we hit the road.
I'm very tired and have another early morning so lemme give you the high points of the day - Basically......our Team rocked! Everyone rode SO well and once again at the end of a long and very challenging day it was a West Mich -heavy crowd that greeted weary riders @ the finish line. And - the winner of the Best Breakpoint Award went to the one manned by a crowd of West Mich guests.
I know this isn't even coming close to capturing the essence and the power and the emotion of this Ride. This was the biggest Ride to Cure ever and we had the biggest team here. Once again the passion of these riders, volunteers and staff shone bright even on a pretty damn gloomy day. I'm beyond proud of the riders, the coaches, the volunteers and the JDRF staff. It was a
helluva day and I can't wait to tell you more. For you team mates @ home - these folks did you more-than-proud and you're see what I mean when the pix and FB posts start flowing.
Gotta go - you all rock SO HARD that I just can't think of how to say it!
Your very proud and humbled coach - MC
Friday, August 28, 2009
Killington is gorgeous--crisp air, lush trees, rolling hills (will those seem so 'beautiful' tomorrow? I'm guessing not), and an indescribable energy and buzz of having 218 riders, 28 coaches, and dozens of volunteers ready to take on the challenge that awaits us tomorrow.
Today, we had a nice breakfast, some safety meetings, and a chance to take our bikes out for a little tune up ride before tomorrow. How about those bike room guys, eh? That place is unreal in how smoothly it's running--and the biggest props in my bag 'o tricks go to MC, Berger, and Sam for leading the way and making the bike room work really, REALLY well for the biggest JDRF ride to date. You guys rock.
In the afternoon, a bunch of people did all sorts of cool stuff today like alpine slides, gondola rides, hiking, a few extra cycling miles, and clearance shopping.
Tonight, our program included the pasta dinner, and lots of really cool, motivating stuff from all corners of the JDRF and Ride worlds. We also had our usual helmet decorating party...the ugly proof of which you can sort of see in the team photo above.
Right now, I should be sleeping, but I just can't yet. I have my usual pre-ride butterflies (the good kind), and also, maybe, just a hint of apprehension about the forecast for tomorrow. We've got some good plans in place to keep everyone safe, sound, and smiling for the day...send good thoughts our way, and we'll share lots of awesome stories with you when we return.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Great Lakes West Chapter:
As Tuesday rolls into Wednesday, it’s now here and there’s no avoiding it…we’re going to Killington. I haven’t slept well for over a week in anticipation of this trip. Sure, riding 100 miles always presents a challenge, but the actual ride is the least of my worries.
Those of you who have ridden with me or Sarah know that she is the emotional one. Sure, I cried after completing my first JDRF century, but does anyone remember Sarah’s last trip to the desert…she was bawling at the start line while I just wanted to ride. So where am I leading with all of this…well, let’s just say that I may not be myself this weekend.
I would be lying if I said that I never hoped that all of these rides might lead to an advance that would allow my Dad to hang around a little longer. Something to give him a chance to watch his grand kids grow up, to share another golden year with Mom, or another opportunity to help mold me into the kind of man he turned out to be. Needless to say, that advance didn’t get here in time. So I am riding this weekend with a heavy heart and my father on my mind. He was a great man who did what he could for this cause and to fight this disease, so continuing to ride is the best way I know to keep his legacy alive. I know there’s video evidence to the contrary, but I will never stop participating in these rides.
So before I call it a night, let me once again thank the greatest teammates anyone could ever ask for. Despite my lack of participation this summer, I never once felt left out or uninformed. It is an honor to be a part of your pace line.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Just another reminder that we'll be meeting at San Marcos, 9740 Cherry Valley Ave SE (AKA Broadmoor), Caledonia - 9:00-9:30ish tomorrow night.
Margaritas are buy 1, get 2nd for a penny. Come thirsty, or bring a friend. :)
Kitchen is open until 9:30pm only. We'll try to get there and get a few snacks ordered before that...if you're counting on dinner, be sure you're there by 9:30 to place your order.
Riders, family, friends, all are welcome. We've never really had a send off party before...should be cool.
We'll arrive at the Park and Ride lot at 60th and Broadmoor by 11:15pm to start loading up the bus.
DON'T FORGET YOUR PASSPORT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, August 24, 2009
If you're gonna have a cool-down ride just a few days before several folks head off to Vermont, the training ride we had Sunday is exactly how you want it to happen.
So many things went juuuuuust right yesterday...
Weather: Cool temps, no rain, a few peeks of sun. Pretty much awesome.
Location: Thanks so much to the Fischers for hosting us yesterday at their gorgeous home on Mona Lake. Thanks to the Fishers and Williamsons for putting on an awesome spread!
Riding STRONG: This group kept up a clip around 18-19 mph for the duration of our 45 mile ride yesterday. Everyone pushed themselves hard, and rode really, REALLY well.
Riding SMART: We sent a ridiculously long letter (sorry 'bout that) to the Killington folks last week with tons of detail about our trip, but also wrapped it up with some friendly reminders about what it means to be good cycle citizens and to ride smart. Yesterday, we were (pretty much) that cycling team that drivers don't mind sharing the road with. Cool.
Great Peeps: 21 riders (including our first ride with Pablo! Welcome!!), one stopper-byer (Jack Clark), and one puttin' on the party-er (Amy F to the F):
Derek "Still a bit fuzzy" Dykstra
Scott & Melanie "I make a perfect s'more" Williamson
John "Stop calling me that nickname" Jasker
SGS Dawn Riccomini
Coaches MC & N2
So, the bikes are being loaded onto the trailer as we type, and our mobile bike room and rockin' coach MC leave tomorrow night for Killington. Can you believe it's here?
Don't forget the pre-bus-loading gathering at San Marcos in Caledonia on Wednesday night, 9:00ish. Join us!
You guys rock more each time we write these post-ride reports. Cool.
PS. Even with all those things going super right on Sunday, it's hard to forget that things went really darn WRONG for Cathy P to the T last week. Send some good vibes her way on Tuesday as she has a bit 'o surgery to fix her mountain-biking-broken wrist, eh? Love you, Cath!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Great question, and one that I should've covered in that letter, huh? The answer is - it's up to you! In the past we've wrapped bikes bound for the Gainey truck w/ pipe insulation and bubble wrap 'cuz one of our rider's bikes got a scratch on the way to DV in 2006. Anyone that watched (or participated in) a truck loading or unloading @ a Ride a few years ago would totally understand how that could've happened, so we started protecting them. (Let's just say that there's been times when there was more "enthusiasm" than "caution" and leave it @ that.)
Things are different now. Jeremy and I are gonna load the bikes @ this end and unload them in VT. They'll be wrapped in shipping blankets and stacked as if they were on the Gainey truck. They oughta be more-than-fine.
Now - am I guaranteeing that your pride and joy will not get a nick in the paint? I am not. That's why I'm saying that it's up to you whether you take steps to protect your bike - we'll totally understand if you do & our feelings won't be hurt.
Remember - we're rollin' out @ 5:00pm on Tuesday whether we have your bike or not!
Next week! Can't wait!
How long has it been since I mentioned how much you guys rock?
'Cuz you do, you know that, right?
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
A week from tonight, a big chunk of this team will be heading east to Vermont, to celebrate a great season of training and fundraising for an incredible cause--with a century ride. I can't believe it's almost here.
Details on the Vermont bus send-off party are coming together. San Marcos, 9740 Cherry Valley Ave SE (AKA Broadmoor), Caledonia - 9:00-9:30ish next Wednesday night. If you're riding the bus, come early and have a margarita (buy one, get 2nd for a penny!) before we load up....if you're not, come hang out and celebrate with us!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
This Friday, veteran JDRF rider Tom Scheidel will be on the WGVU-FM Morning Show with Shelly Irwin, talking about the Ride to Cure Diabetes. This live interview will start right after the 9:00 a.m. news, so about 9:05 a.m. Interviews usually take about 15-20 minutes. To listen, tune your radio dial to 88.5 FM on Friday morning, August 21st.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Our 'cool down' ride before Vermont will be this SUNDAY, AUGUST 23 at 10:00 a.m., in Norton Shores hosted by Amy Fisher and her family and Melanie & Scott Williamson. Team members, check your e-mail for the address sometime today or tomorrow.
We'll do 40ish miles--with fishing/swimming/boating/bbqing on Mona Lake afterward as a really cool send-off party for all. Our hosts are providing kabobs, a cucumber salad and probably a sweet item. As always, feel free to bring whatever you'd like to add to the spread. Your families are also welcome (contact Amy for details), but please bring life jackets for the little ones.
IF YOUR BIKE IS GOING ON THE TRAILER TO VERMONT, you are welcome to leave it at the ride on Sunday. Coach Mike will be there with the trailer, and it's our hope that most of them are loaded up on Sunday. If you can't make the ride but want to drop off your bike, that's cool too. Or, if you're 100% unable to make it on Sunday, you'll have to get your bike to Velo City Cycles in Holland before TUESDAY, 8/25 at 4:00 p.m.
We'll also have the ride day jerseys and team t-shirts for everyone that hasn't yet received theirs.
One last thing, Vermont riders...a somewhat lengthy letter is on its way to you in snail mail...keep your eyes open for it--lots of important details about our trip. Don't worry, Death Valley, folks...we'll have one for you too when your ride approaches and more details are hammered out.
See you on Sunday!
Nicole & Mike
Thursday, August 13, 2009
|From Team Ride 080909|
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
What's that you say? You're bummin' 'cuz there's no Team Stuff this weekend? O contraire! Various members of JDRF's Coolest Team are cookin' up enough BikeStuff to keep you hoppin' all weekend long! Check it:
Saturday is the 12 Hours of Pando mountainbike race. Done right this is as much a day-long party as a competitive event. Solo riders and teams of 2 or 4 race (ride) the 4+ mile pando singletrack. (One of the best trails in the area by this old dog's way of thinking - and I've ridden them all) from noon to midnight. Check it out @ www.funpromotions.com and let me know if you'd like to get involved. As of this writing @ least 2 of your teammies are planning on it but we'd sure enjoy the pleasure of your company!
Sunday is another Yoga for Cyclists Class put on by our own Heather Allegrina and benefitting JDRF! If you've not done one of these....you oughta! I've been jonesing for a yoga fix since the shop classes went on hiatus for the summer and I bet I'm not the only one! ( I know what'cher thinking - I can't do yoga after Pando. Wrong! It might be just what'cha need! For details search "Yoga for cyclists w/ group ride" on Facebook. but here's the scoop:
Where - Satya Yoga Center on Blue Star Highway in Saugatuck
When - Noon - 1:30 (Optional group ride @ 10:00)
How much - $15 minimum donation
Why - You'll feel better, learn what a yoga program could offer you as a cyclist and support JDRF
Who - You and anyone else you wanna bring along!
So - what say we get a bunch of us to ride all day (off and on) @ Pando, huh? AND let's all head down to Saugatuck on Sunday and get all sweaty and limber together too!
Next Team Ride is 8/23 - stay tuned for the details!
Monday, August 10, 2009
Well - I guess there was no questions yesterday about whether summer is f-i-n-a-l-l-y here, huh? 20 intrepid members of JDRF's Coolest Team defied the 100+ degree heat index and headed up to Hostess-with-the-mostest Cindy Aley's place in near Cedar Springs for the second-to-last pre-Killington Team Ride. Your reporter had to cut out early due to a previous committment so some of what I have to say is 2nd hand, hearsay or rumour!
Rob A (back from injured reserve....Yaaay!)
Special Guest Star Eric
I missed her but the word is that Karen K made the trip over in time to hang w/ folks and enjoy that "post-ride glow".
The long route was almost 70 miles and the "short" cut over 50. Thanks to Cindy's efforts there were stops a-plenty and the group also enjoyed support from Cassie Aley and her friend at one point. Everyone put in a good days work and we're pretty much lookin' good for VT.!
The next Team Ride is set for 8/23 - which is only 3 days before the bus rolls for Vermont! Holy Crap! How did we get here so fast?!?!?!?!? Please watch for the details on the 8/23 ride here on the blog and via e-mail. Also - please watch for a very important actual letter (printed on paper and everything!) w/ tons of critcal info on everything from money to what to bring to VT or Death Valley to safety tips. It oughta be in your mailbox in a week or so.
Please remember that we need to keep working our riding skills and etiquette as well. There were several incidnets yesterday where cries of "Car back" went unheeded for far too long. In VT we're gonna be on narrow 2 lane country roads and we're going to be expected to share the road w/ our unfortuate 4-wheeled brethren. The "Car back" call only works in a long paceline if it gets passed up the line......there's no other way for the folks in the front to know what's happening behind the group. Conversely - it's the job of everyone in the group to "pass back" any info from the lead riders about road hazards........it doesn't do someone 9 riders back any good if they run into a pothole that was pointed out by the lead rider but not passed back by others inthe group! We need to watch out for each other and we need to remember that when we're riding around here we are alos representing the Western Michigan cycling community! And when we get to VT or DV we are also representing our Chapter to the rest of the riders AND JDRF to the rest of the community!
If we can all keep that in mind - we'll all be happier and safer riders!
So - here we are - less than 3 weeks from VT and less than 10 from Death Valley! It's been an honor and pleasure once again to be associated w/ this Team againa nd I can't thank y'all enough for all you do and all you mean to JDRF. I'd like to take a sec to thank Nicole for stepping up in such a strong way as our new coach and I'd like to call out our fellow members of the Ride Committee too - they do a LOT of work behind the scene for this Team! They are John "Jazzmo" Jasker, Derek "Did" Dykstra, Cindy Aley, Katie Clark, Mary Scheidel & Rob Andro.
Let's ride lots this month and show the JDRF world that we all know what it means to be a member of the West Michigan JDRF Ride Team! I hope to see you @ the next Ride!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
In case you missed the notice on Facebook, Cindy's cell phone is acting up this morning - she can hear you, but it's not picking up her voice. SO, if you need anything, leave her a voicemail or send her a text, or call me, or call Coach Nicole, and one of us will get back to you.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Hey all.......if you're in the mood for some extra miles there are a few things cookin' here @ the shop in the next few days.............
Friday 7/31 - Dawn Patrol. Leaves the shop @ 5:00am for a buncha miles before meeting up w/ the weekly Bagel Ride @ 8:30. We oughta be around 65-80 by the time we get back around 10:30.
Sunday 8/2 - "R.A.A.D.D." (Ride Around All Damn day). Roll from the shop @ 9:00am and.....guess what?......ride around all damn day! We're thinking 120+ miles but who knows? No planned route, no maps, no support, no whining! (Wanna ride some but not all - that works too! We'll be coming back towards town a couple times)
More to come!
Monday, July 27, 2009
Y'know, every team ride rocks--so much in fact, that we're having a hard time coming up with new ways in which to say how much they rock.
I might be biased, but I think this particular post-ride report is a good opportunity to thank the people that support us--our families and friends and supporters.
A huge thank you to my grandparents, Ted and Sue Hunter, my mom Cheri Nelles, and my aunt Kathi Downs for hosting the 2nd Annual (3rd if you count our departure from Montague Township Park in 2007!) Great Northern Ride on Saturday. They truly, TRULY love having this ride and party, getting to know each one of you and why you're so darn dedicated to this cycling thing we do.
A blanket of gray clouds hung over the sky prior to our departure, but like a scene out of a sappy movie, the minute we started rolling down Indian Bay Rd., the skies turned the most awesome shade of blue, and we had a gorgeous day for a ride. 62ish VERY hilly and challenging miles (sorry about that last big hill and the 2 miles of gravel at the end...welcome to the Great White North where 'paved roads' are a relative term) to Silver Lake and back. THANK YOU SO SO SO MUCH to Derek for the super sweet, hurts-so-good route and logistics...the Whippi Dip has never been so cool as it was last Saturday.
Rockin' post-ride brats provided by co-host with the way-most Did, fixins provided by Katie & Steve: YUM!! A few more clouds rolled in as we wrapped up our festivities--but it was just fine if you ask me.
26 riders and tons of family members joined us...
Mary & Tom Scheidel
Coach Mike & Linda Clark
Heather & Brian Bowe
Katie & Steve Clark & family
Scott & Melanie Williamson & family
Tom "What do you mean MC and I are the only salsa entries?" Miller
Amy Fisher & family
Derek Dykstra & family
Chris Machuta & family
me & family
Special Guest Stars Dawn Riccomini and (future team member?) Eric Bouwens
Next team ride is Sunday August 9...details to come!
Monday, July 20, 2009
Whatta day, huh? Congrats to everyone that rode (Linda, C, Did, Peggy, Brenda, Cindy, Danny - from - Indy, Cath, Chris M, Steve C, Trike Mike, Kevin O, Nathan, Kevin C, Jack, & I'm sure several more) and THANKS A TON to everyone that helped make the HH / JDRF connection as strong as it was! (Nic, John "Jazzmo" J, Chris R, Patti B, Tom-n-Mary, Linda C, Diane A, Linda PT, Scott P, Nathan, Melanie, Brian J, Heather A, Katie C.......the list goes on and on and on........)**********
1250 riders had a blast on a near-perfect day. We sold the crap outta raffle tickets, root beer floats and XS drink too!
I think we put this one in the "Win Column".
When the financial dust settles the HH committee will figure out what sort of donation they'll be able to make to JDRF.....I think it'll be a nice one!
Thanks again you guys.............you made me proud!
On to Montague!!!!!!!!!!!!
********* Did I miss you? I'm really really sorry! I was somewhat distracted for a good part of the day.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Next SATURDAY, July 25, is our next team ride. It's the 2nd Annual Great Northern Ride and Salsa-Off, hosted in Montague by Derek, Katie, Steve, and myself. Check your e-mail this week for a map and address.
We'll do a 10:00 a.m. roll-out with 63ish and 45ish "somewhat hilly" mile options with refueling opportunities along the way. You'll be especially happy if you are someone that enjoys blue raspberry slushies.
After the ride, we'll supply brats, hot dogs, and all the fixins'. You bring something to pass...perhaps an entry into the Salsa contest (this year with 'traditional' and 'non-traditional' categories to make it fair for those of us who like mangoes in our salsas), or whatever you like.
Don't forget to bring bathing suits, towels, etc...there's a pool! Families are welcome--and there's a beautiful beach right around the corner where they can hang out while we ride, and can meet us back at the house afterward.
It's a bit of a hike for some of you, but we promise, totally worth it. If you think of it, send us a heads-up that you plan to make it, and approximate headcount. Thanks!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
This is a totally fun, totally unofficial ride. Some of you may remember last year's 5x55 Ride on the Musketawa Trail. This is year is even better. A better trail, the White Pine from Comstock Park to Sand Lake; more bars, the 6; and fewer miles, the 46.
The date of this auspicious event in August 8. Start time is 11:00 a.m. from behind Vitale's in Comstock Park. Highlights will include the Corner Bar in Rockford, The Cedar Pub in Cedar Springs and the Sand Bar in Sand Lake; plus three additional establishments.
Join us to ride or just hang out. Mark the date in your calendar, more details coming soon.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
More than once in the last few days, I heard or read someone mentioning how incredibly awesome our team ride on Sunday from Mike & Lin’s house was….Now, even in crummy weather and with lots of flats and all that sort of stuff this group tends to have a great time. But there was something special about Sunday….it was probably a perfect mix of a whole bunch of factors—glorious weather, delicious food (I think I can still taste the garlic from MC’s salsa…YUMMMMMM), a few laughs, and a whole slew of cyclists riding their hearts out. Seems like people really took to the idea of riding with whom it makes sense to ride with—practicing for what Ride Day is really like. Simple concept that seems to be sticking. Let’s keep it up, eh?
Roll Call…team members and tons of Special Guest Stars (SGSs)!
SGS Chris “Route Meister” Davison
SGS Carmen “I can’t stay but my brownies will” Hannah
Heather & Brian
SGS Mike – friend of BJB
SGS’s Rhonda and Jake and Stacy
SGS Jen – teaching stuff to MC about bikes!
John “I’m really important. There’s a kid named after me now” Jasker
Cathy P to the T
SGS’s Don & Linda Milanowski
Kevin “I’ll captain that tandem” Carnes
SGS Dawn “Stop picking on me before the ride even starts” Riccomini
did the Map Man
Host and Hostess with the Mosterest: MC & Lin
See you many of you on Saturday for the Holland Hundred, and again just under two weeks for the Great Northern Ride and Salsa-Off (e-mail to come with details)!
One more reminder Killington bus riders....got your passport/passport card all set?
Friday, July 10, 2009
(Hey everybody, here's an announcement that I wrote about my upcoming Tour de France viewing party. I'd love to see a lot of you there. The ride is optional, and it's kid friendly)
Tour de France viewing party benefits diabetes research
SAUGATUCK, Mich. — Cycling's Tour de France is one of the most mythic sporting events of all time, and with seven-time champion Lance Armstrong seeking to return to glory after four years of retirement, the excitement level is even higher. West Michigan cycling fans will have a chance to celebrate the Tour's storied final stage while supporting the fight against type 1 diabetes.
On JULY 26 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., Spectators Bar and Grill in Saugatuck will host a benefit viewing party of the Tour de France's stage 21, which ends on the Champs-Elysees, with proceeds to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's West Michigan cycling team. The breakfast buffet costs $8, with a portion of each benefiting the JDRF team. Spectators is located at 6432 Blue Star Hwy in Saugatuck. For more information, call (269) 857-5001.
Spectators owner and chef Clare Ray said the restaurant is happy to host the event. "I've been a fan of the Tour de France since Greg LeMond was the first American to win back in the '80s," Ray said. "This gives us a chance to not only celebrate cycling, but to help JDRF in its quest for a cure for type one diabetes."
This year, some 58 riders are raising funds to participate in hundred-mile events in Killington Vt. or Death Valley, Calif. Since 2005, the West Michigan JDRF ride team has raised some $778,000 for the charity, and this year so far has raised nearly $100,000 more. Team member and event organizer Brian J. Bowe said the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes program is physically challenging, but also rewarding. "The team is filled with dedicated people who are focused on helping find a cure for diabetes, all while reaping the amazing physical benefits of spending lots of time on the bike," he said. "
Type 1, or juvenile, diabetes, is a devastating, often deadly disease that affects millions of people — a large and growing percentage of them children. Insulin keeps people with type 1 diabetes alive, but it's not a cure. Along with the challenges of living with diabetes, there are many severe and/or fatal complications caused by the disease. Thanks to advanced research, a cure for type 1 diabetes is within reach. The JDRF funding and its leadership is associated with most major scientific breakthroughs in diabetes research. JDRF funds a major portion of all type 1 diabetes research worldwide, more than any other charity.
Note: A an optional pre-breakfast road bike ride will leave from Velo City Cycles, 77 E 8th Street in Holland, at 7:30 a.m.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Just a reminder about our upcoming team ride, this Sunday at Casa de Coach Clark in Holland. Roll out is at 10:00 am, and the fajita bash will follow afterward. 60ish and 45ish mile options will be available. This will be a great opportunity to work on that riding-with-who-you'll-ride-with stuff, paceline practice, etc. that was mentioned in a recent team e-mail too.
A map to the house was included in that last team e-mail. Contact MC or Nicole if you need directions.
See you there!