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 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.

Yours, Mike

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Don Milanowski

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!

Later, MC

Monday, November 16, 2009

The season comes to a close

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' 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 ( 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

A Fundraising Reminder

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.