Monday, August 31, 2009

PHOTOS: You know you have 'em!

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

Where to Start? What to Say?

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: Days 1 and 2

Eve of Killington Ride to Cure 2009
Team Michigan Great Lakes West

I meant to post something last night...but after a 16 hour bus ride here, dinner, hanging out with friends for a while, was just too late to put any coherent thoughts together.

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

Wednesday night Sendoff!

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Excited yet?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Post Ride Report: 8/23

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):

Kathy Hesch
Derek "Still a bit fuzzy" Dykstra
Katie Clark
Scott & Melanie "I make a perfect s'more" Williamson
Maggie DeBoer
Cindy Aley
Tom Miller
Dawn Andersen
Linda Clark
Nathen Kooi
John "Stop calling me that nickname" Jasker
Brenda Baushke
Lynne Gallagher
Ken Thorne
Nick Murphy
Pablo Peschiera
Kevin Carnes
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

Hey Coach, Do We Hafta Wrap Our Bikes Up?

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

Green Mountain State, here we come!

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

On the radio Friday morning

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

Sunday's Ride & Bikes to Vermont

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

A picture is worth a thousand words

From Team Ride 080909
I'm sure everyone is getting very excited since we are extremely close to leaving for the Killington ride. But just in case you need more motivation, take a look back at photos from this year's training rides. We have just put up a bunch of new photos from Kathy Hesch. Click here or on the link to the right to see them.

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 @ 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 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!

Roll call:

Chris R
Tom M
Tom S
Mary S
Coach Nicole
Linda C
Linda T-P
Scott P
Rob A (back from injured reserve....Yaaay!)
Special Guest Star Eric
and me.
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 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!

Coach Mike

Sunday, August 9, 2009

quick notice for y'all

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.

Otherwise, hey, we're totally gettin' ready to ride! Be sure to comment on how clean the coffee table is...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sunday's Ride

We'll roll from Cindy's house at 10:00am on Sunday morning. E-mail forthcoming with map and details. See you there!