Sunday, November 28, 2010

Flight!

Presented without further comment, as anything I could add would dilute the awesome. Ladies and gentlemen, Air Clark.








Wednesday, November 17, 2010

BikeFace Redux - UPDATED

Due to popular request, well actually just one request, but the person who asked is popular...
Anyway, I've uploaded the BikeFace slideshow from Saturday's party to Google Docs. Click here to see it. Unfortunately the conversion process degraded the quality of the photos. But you can still see who everyone is.

The video of this year's Death Valley ride has been uploaded to YouTube. Click here to see that.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Passé un bon week-end

See, Madame Leland, I did retain some French!


So, big weekend coming up here, for reals - this Saturday night we celebrate... us. No, it's not some self congratulatory mass of people all full of themselves - this is the real deal. I think I might describe it as a Ride weekend distilled down to it's most spine-tingling moments.

And we have the added bonus of this very much NOT being the season wrap party, where we leave with a head full of ideas and dreams for next year and head back to our dens to hibernate. This time, we have first-year rider Walt and returning Alpha rider Stacey going out to the Tour of Tucson. Also going to Tucson are Jeremy to be the lead architect of the Bike Room, Tom M. to get the whole Bike Room experience, and of course Our Man MC, who will be wearing his National Head Coach hat this time around.

I'll freely admit that I'm jealous. I love these events; being part of two of them this year was a real treat. Tom's gonna get to see a different perspective a Ride, and I think he'll find it to be a lot of work for a lot of people who will be honestly thanking him. It'll be just as cool, but from a different place on the cool continuum.

Tom, my friend, prepare yourself for a diet consisting of all the major Mexican food groups: tacos, burritos, fajitas, and salsa bars. This is what powers the Bike Room.

So, back to the celebration at hand! We can arrive at the Rosewood Pointe Retreat House (I'm the Map!) at 6 pm. Parking is kinda snug, so carpool if you can. It doesn't look like we'll have a pile of snow to deal with, which simplifies things a lot. The eating will begin immediately, with the presentation starting at about 7 and running for about an hour. We can then return to the eating and the little groups gathered around telling stories.

We're not charging you specifically, but rather we're gonna pass the helmet around for contributions to cover the expense of renting the place. Bring a dish to pass and BYOB as well. You are more than welcome to stay the night, as well; the place sleeps about 25 easily. Please let us know ahead of time if you want to do that, though - please check your email and follow the link to the RSVP form, or ask one of us.

Sunday, the fun continues! If you're staying at the party, or just feel like dropping back in, we'll have breakfast and finish off the cleaning, and then... well, we'd love to have you come over to Manhattan Park in Grand Rapids to watch the KissCross cyclocross race. If you've not experienced a 'cross race, you need to - there's no more spectator-friendly form of bicycle racing, with short (roughly 1 mile) laps done on a twisty course with climbs, barriers, mud, sand, and, um, "features" designed to test, or possibly humiliate, the racers. I know of at least 4 of us planning to race - MC, Kaat, Tom M. and (gulp) me - and you're welcome to join the fun as well. The "C" race, the slowest and shortest of the starts, is at 11 AM; entry is $20. Try it, you'll love it!

And if you don't want to ride, please, come support/heckle us - bring your cowbells!

Friday, October 29, 2010

DEATH VALLEY BIKE DROP OFF F.A.Q.

Hey Kids! I've gotten a few questions about how to get'cher bikes so here's more info if'n you need it:

WHAT'S THE BASIC SCOOP? : I'm hookin up w/ Paul and his well-traveled rig today (Friday the 29th) @ 3pm. We're using JD Stone's office building 'cuz it's easier to access w/ a big rig that the shop on a Friday afternoon.

SO DO I NEED TO PICK MY BIKE UP THERE OR WHAT?: Nope. I plan to hang out there 'til 5:oo or so, then I'll start runnin' bikes (and bags) to Velo City. Obviously if you can get there this afternoon it'll make things easier on me (and I am old and do tire easily!) but if that won't work you can get your bike from the shop anytime we're open.

AND THAT IS.....?: 11-8 M, W, Th, F & 10-5 T & S

I CAN LEAVE MY BIKE THERE IF I NEED TO, RIGHT?: Weeellllllll - if you've been here you know that it's not the biggest shop in the 616 area code so we'd appreciate it if you could get your stuff asap. We're prepared to store stuff for a week or so, after that..........it could get ugly! :)
By the way - not to bust all business on ya but if we did work to your bike pre DV we'd appreciate if you could settle up.

DO YOU NEED ANY HELP?: Need? - not really. Coach Did and Tom M are gonna be around. On the other hand if you miss us..........we'll be there!

SO WHERE IS THIS PLACE AGAIN?: Well, if you mean JD's there was a link to a map on the e-mail we sent out. The address is 10967 Paw Paw Dr in Holland for you GPS types. Best way I can describe it is that Paw Paw runs parallel to Chicago Dr east of Holland and his office is kind of behind all those car lots and RV places on the south side of the road just east of 112th. (west on Chicago Dr towards Holland, south on 112th and then east on Paw Paw will get'cha there.)

ANY THING ELSE I OUGHTA KNOW?: I think that does it. Call me @ 616-610-0334 if you have questions or are just feelin' kinda lonely.

Thanks y'all! Have I mentioned how proud I am to be lucky enough to be your team mate? 'Cuz I for damnsure am!!!!!!!!

Coach MC

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More on Death Valley

Death Valley was great this year, if a bit on the warm side. I've shared my thoughts in a three part post over on my blog, More Than 100 Miles. Rather than repost it all here (it's long with lots of photos) I'll just post the links.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Here's also a quick clip of the coaches crossing the finish line.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Death Valley Report!

So - I gotta go first huh? Well, I guess that makes some kinda sense. I've been out there as much as anyone on our Team, I talk a lot, write only slightly less.....hell, maybe it's my duty as a coach to "prime the pump" as it were.

So - it's been a week (8 days actually) since we once again set out from Furnace Creek Ranch for points south.

All bound for Badwater & Mormon Point. Some for Ashford Mill. Some for the top of Jubilee Pass.

Remember how it felt to be there on the start line? The sun comin' up as fast as the goosebumps on our arms? The pictures and fistbumps and high fives and smiles and tears? Then we roll......out of the ranch, takin' that right turn ("Thanks Officer!") and up that right-away hill. Right again @ the intersection and then we're on the way for real. Coasting, passing, ("on your right!") pedaling.

I'm not gonna try to recount everyone's story here. Hell - I'm kinda hoping you all will do that! I saw nearly everyone during the ride - rode w/ Lin and Peggy early on, saw Tom and Did and a whole bunch of glitter-tree-bedecked folk @ Mormon Point. Rode outta there chasing Sarah and Nathan, who were chasing Rob. Saw a ton of us @ Ashford Mill - some turning around, some going on, saw Brad and Rick and Kaat comin' down offa the pass before Nathan and I started the climb. I rode up w/ Nathan, saw Cindy for a while and saw everyone on the way down. Chatted w/ John J and Stewart as they stopped during their descents. Saw LTP, Scott, Brenda, Herb and many more @ the top.

Well....anyway......my point is that Team West Michigan was ALL OVER that route all day! Shoot - we were over 12% of the entire rider total so you'd expect that!

We all know that it was hot. What you DV 1st timers might not realize is that those of us out late inthe day caught a break. That thin cloud cover blunted the sun's edge and dropped the temp at least 10 degrees. And for the first toime in years - the wind died down. Still - a tough day and not everyone had the day they had planned.

But - we survived. We thrived. We hung tough, rode smart, made wise choices, took care of one another and showed everyone just how we roll.

Not to mention that we again gave that jackass Type 1 a kick in the crotch!

I'm so proud of you guys! Your strength and grace and passion and humor and blood and sweat and tears. The way you hung out @ the finish to greet every rider as they came across the line. I was talkin' to Trish later that night and she once again mentioned that as the epitome of what makes our Team special and expressed again her fervent wish that other teams would follow our lead.

It's hard not to get lost in the pics and the FB posts, huh? Is for me anyway. I'm looking forward to reading some of your thoughts here too though.......some things oughta be for the record, y'know?

So - one more Ride and the 2010 Ride Season is in the books. Walt and Stacey will be flyin' the West Mi flag high and proud, Berger will be runnin' the Bike Room and yours truly will be dustin' off his Head Coach cap again. 'Tween now and then we have the Big Team Party on 11/13 and plenty o' Van Andel gigs comin' up!

What say we just get 2011 started huh?

Thanks for reading this. Thanks for being who you are, doing what you do and rocking like you all do!

Coach Mike

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Death Valley Primer

1. It will be hot. Very hot. Inside your oven kind of hot. But it is also dry. Very dry. 4% humidity kind of dry. Dry heat is wonderful in the sauna, not so great on the bicycle. This leads to point number 2:

2. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Have some type of fluid (water, Gatorade, water, juice, water, watermelon, water, etc.) nearby at all times. Because of the lack of humidity your sweat evaporates instantly. So you are losing water all the time, but you don’t feel it. Always have a water bottle with you, even next to your bedside table while you sleep. Drink a lot and drink often. In fact, start now.

3. There ain’t no cell phone coverage in the desert. There are a few spots you may get reception (and rumor has it that there’s now an AT&T tower actually IN Death Valley). Katie Clark sent a TwitPic from Badwater one year. But don’t plan on being able to contact anyone via cell, even with one of them fancy new Droids. There is wi-fi, but …

4. Friday afternoon is free time, enjoy it. Go on a hike. Rent a jeep. Sit by the pool. Play golf. Just make sure to wear sunscreen and drink plenty of fluids.

5. Hydrate. That means drink things, like water, ice tea, lemonade, Propel, and XS.

6. The ride will start before sunrise and, if the wind is calm-ish, end shortly before sunset. Plan on spending 9 to 11 hours out in the sun. As weird as it sounds, put on sunscreen before you come to the starting line. Yes, that means you’ll be slathering up in the dark when you can still see the moon. Once the sun pops up over the Funeral Mountains you will be in hot sunshine until the ride is over.

7. Speaking of sunscreen, bring a BIG tube and a small tube you can use on your bike. Use it often. Coach DID suggests you also use some moisturizer. Actual quote, “Your skin will thank you for it.” Bring some good SPF15+ lip balm stuff too.

8. “Drinking!” You will hear this call frequently on the ride. It means one of your team mates is drinking. Whenever you hear call of “Drinking!” you should respond in kind and take a drink. You’ll want to finish a solid 24 ounces of fluid every hour, at least – you should have to pee at every break point.

9. Breakfast starts at 5:00 a.m. Our first year in DV Mike Clark suggested eating early so that your body will have enough time to “properly digest” breakfast, if you know what I mean. It’s 17 miles from the start to the first break point without a tree to be seen.

10. Death Valley is a starkly beautiful landscape. At times it feels like you are on another planet. The air is so dry that you can see for over 20 or 30 miles down the valley. At times this can become a mental challenge. When you’ve ridden for half an hour and the scenery looks exactly the same you begin to wonder if you’re in an episode of the Twilight Zone.

11. The hotel accommodations resemble a college dorm more than a Holiday Inn. This is a good thing. The very dorm-y post ride, post dinner hall party is something of a tradition.

12. Things to bring – Sunglasses, wide brimmed hat, swimsuit, light jacket or sweatshirt for the cool mornings/evenings, camera (have you seen the photos? The sky really is that blue out there).

13. What to Wear – T-shirts, tank tops and shorts will get you through most of the trip. For the Friday tune-up ride wear your “Pink Peloton” jersey. For dinner Friday night wear your team t-shirt. For the main ride Saturday wear your 2010 JDRF jersey. It might be a good idea to pack these in your carry-on.

14. The shuttle bus from the airport will stop in Pahrump for “supplies”. These “supplies” are usually found in the liquor aisle. Sadly, these supplies are not a particularly good way to hydrate, but you don’t want to be buying them at the convenience store at the Furnace Creek Ranch – they’ll cost twice as much there. You can get stuff for the Las Vegas After Party then, too.

15. Other “supplies” you might want to grab in Pahrump: food for Friday lunch (that’s the only meal for which you’re on your own – there’s a restaurant at the Ranch, but it’ll be packed and expensive), non-water drinks other than the aforementioned booze, snacky foods, etc.

16. In case we haven’t mentioned it, it is very important to stay hydrated.

17. Maybe bring a flashlight. The Ranch is well-lit in public areas, not so much elsewhere.

18. If you’re a stargazing type, maybe bring binoculars. You’ll see why the first night we’re there. In fact, we’re hoping to get a mess of people up to Zabriskie Point Thursday night for just that purpose.

19. Ride day advice! Here’s the thing: assuming you’re doing the whole 105 miles, the halfway point in mileage terms isn’t necessarily the halfway point in terms of time. You might only be a third done, in fact – here’s some thoughts:

a. Wind will more than likely be an issue. And it’ll be stronger in the afternoon. And it’ll probably be a headwind then, too. To minimize your exposure to that, the best “how to ride” advice we can give is get south fast. Now, don’t hammer in the morning and wipe yourself out – you gotta ride smart. But the further south you can get before the sun pops out from behind Funeral Peak, the better you’ll be.

b. DON’T GET OVEREXCITED IN THE MORNING! The first 18 miles to Badwater is a net downhill. It’s cool, you’re in the shade, and you’re with 349 of your closest friends – it’s waaaaay too easy to find yourself going faster than you ought to. Go fast, but not too fast!

c. Climbing Jubilee Pass is all about rhythm – find a pace you can maintain, then find your Happy Place and keep chuggin’ and drinkin’. Take breaks if you need to. It’s a loooong climb, and it’ll be getting hot.

d. Eat smart. There’s gonna be LOTS of food out there – if it weren’t for the dehydration you could gain weight on this ride! Don’t overstuff yourself or experiment with foods you’re not sure about.

e. In the afternoon, especially if it’s windy, find a group to ride in and get a nice paceline going. Keep an eye on each other, especially as people fall to the back of the line – don’t drop anyone!

20. Did we mention the need to drink lots of water? No? Well, drink lots of water. Always!

21. More than anything, enjoy the experience.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ride Team on the Radio

Tune in Tuesday morning to the WGVU-FM Morning Show with Shelly Irwin. We will be talking about the JDRF ride in Death Valley. Air time in 10:04 a.m., right after the news. 88.5 on your FM dial. Lakeshore folks tune in to 95.3 FM.

MOUNTAINBIKE RIDE THIS WEEKEND!

Oh sure - our road bikes are (as Did so eloquently put it) all tucked in and en route to Death Valley but that doesn't mean that we stop riding!!!!!!

Let's gather @ the LutonPark Trailhead for a 9:30 roll-out this Sunday and "do it in the dirt"!

(There's even a pretty-dang-good chance that you'll have a chance to see someone's new-to-them off-road tandem tearin' it up!)

Okay - Sunday Sunday SUN-DAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYY! See youse guys there, huh?

By the way - have I mentioned the full extent to which you guys rock lately? No? My bad!

'Cuz you all for dang sure do!

See you soon!

Coach Mike

(DV Count-down 10 days 'til take off!)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Snug as Bug in Rug

They're off!


This was the first time I'd ever seen the bikes packed in to the truck. We've had great luck with getting the bikes to our various rides, and now I see why - Paul, our driver, has done this for 4 years now, and has it down. Every bike is wrapped in a blanket. They're tucked in with each other, and then all those bags of clothes and stuff that you sent along are used as dunnage to further hold them in place. straps lock the bikes in place front-to-back and rails separate the rows. Those rails are also used to create a second layer for packing more bikes in the truck- our 40 bikes ended up a lot less space than I expected. Ultimately there will be about 150 bikes on this truck, and the whole bike room setup, and all of the supplies and and gear that Trish and Aly use at the ride. We make goooood use of this truck, and Paul takes really good care of us!

As Paul was closing up the truck and getting ready to head off to Indianapolis, I noticed the final cool touch:








Is that not awesome?








If you get a chance, say hi to Paul, and give him a great big thanks. He's a major part of making this whole thing happen!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Saturday Details

While I love MC's, um....'generous' way with words when blogging*....I found myself hunting for details on this Saturday's ride in the lovely, eloquent post below. So, here goes, the details:


SATURDAY 10/2/10
10:00am roll-out; 28 miles
Velo City Cycles, Holland

loop 2 - rolling around 12:30pm from same place. 50 miles.

BIKE DROP FOR DEATH VALLEY TRUCK: Leave your bike and (if you want) a small duffel bag clearly marked with your name and "West Michigan.**" Take water bottles and computer off your bike, anything else that might disappear. If you can't ride on Saturday but are still sending your bike on the truck, it must be at Velo City Cycles by 5:00pm Saturday 10/2.

See you Saturday!

* Love ya, MC!
**This should actually say "Michigan Great Lakes West," but let's be honest, that's just too long to fit on a luggage tag.

Monday, September 27, 2010

TEAM RIDE REPORT /A.C.C./ TEAM RIDE INFO!

'Twas a hardy (and select!) buncha JDRF teammies gathered in the wind, occasional drizzle and chill last Saturday @ Ada Park for the next-to-last Team Ride of September. Coach Did had prepared 2 rides fulla challenge and elevation change and after a few minutes of discussion it was "onward and upward" for the group, comprised of Coach Did, Tom M, Nick M, myself and for the 1st time - Dara from Dewitt, the latest addition to The World's Coolest Team. We rolled east, then up the big climb on Snow and played around on that side o' town. Tom had the only flat of the day but we ended up cuttin' it a bit short to get back to the park by 11:40 to be ready for the "2nd shift". 29 miles to be exact.
Waiting for us @ the park were the Machutas, Mike H and the lovely Linda C. Dara took off, having accomplished her longest ride ever, and off we went for points north. We went through Ada and up towards Cannonsburg and all the hills and dales up that-a-way. It was still pretty breezy, kinda chilly and spit a little rain every once in awhile. We hung in, bid Tom adieu about 15 miles in and worked our way up, around and over for a total of 47 miles. (Or as Linda would call it- "50") Cookies and various munchies were consumed in the parking lot afterwards before we split up for the day. Total for both rides - 76 miles (or as Linda would say "80", 1 flat, lotsa climbing.

The next day brought us to the Apple Cider Century, a great ride down near the In border featuring (surprise!) apple cider, 5 routes and 5500 riders. I saw a buncha team mates down there - Brad S, Team Scheidel (all 3), John J, Penny E, Kaat T, Herb and Brenda B, Stewart M, Cindy A and Mel W. It was a challenging day - hilly, windy and brisk. Easily yhr toughest century I've done this year! Still - a day in the saddle w/ friends 'tis a fine day indeed and we were blessed to have just exactly that!

So - that's enough about the past - even the pretty-dang-recent past! Let's talk about the future! Egg-zac-lee 17 days from right now our DV squad will be in or en route to Death Valley! I dunno about y'all but I can not wait! To those of you that will be @ your 1st Ride - I envy you and for the rest of you - you know what I'm talkin' about ! It's going to be a wild, wonderful, inspiring and exhausting weekend!
I promise!
Now - 'tween now and then are 2 important things so read on please!

This Saturday is the last team ride before Death Valley and I really hope we see a good turnout! It'd be awesome-beyond-awesome to see our LaCrosse, VT and Tucson riders here to show their support for their desert-bound teammies too. Here's the scoop:

We'll roll fromVelo City Cycles in Holland (the reason for that will be revealed in a paragraph or two) @ 10:00 sharp. The 1st ride will be the infamous "Llama Loop" of shopride fame - a 28 or so mile jaunt out S.W. of town. We'll roll back in and meet up w/ anyone that wants to join us for Ride numero dos, which'll roll @ 12:30. That one will be 45-50 miles so we'll be back around 4pm. There is talk of grabbin 'a bite across the street @ the brewpub afterwards so stay flexible if you can.

Afterwards you can leave you bike @ the shop 'cuz the Gainey Truck will be here later that day to pick 'em up for the trip to DV. Again - make sure your bike is ready to ship - remove computers, bottles etc and you can also send a bag (well marked and identified) along w/ your bike.

Not able to make the ride? Your bike needs to be here by 5pm Saturday 10/2 or it ain't gonna be waiting for ya in the Valley! If you're gonna want some work done make sure we have it a day or 2 ahead of time, okay?

I think that covers it - thanks for working your way all the way to the end here - I know that was lotsa words but - hey - lotsa say, y'know?

Hard to believe it's almost October - hard to believe we're talking about the last ride prior to DV, hard to believe that we've been on this journey for 6 seasons now. (The Ride journey that is - I know that many of you have been on the Type 1 journey for far longer than that and I salute and admire you!)

In 19 days we'll be on the road to Jubilee Pass, riding in that desert heat and sun and wind surrounded by 400-some of the finest people you'd ever wanna meet. It's going to be awesome - just like all of you are - and I can't wait.

So - keep riding, keep raising $, keep rocking like you all do so well!

See you this weekend!
Coach Mike

Dogs for Dollars TONIGHT

Come on up to Rockford tonight. Join us at the Corner Bar between 5 and 9 p.m. The Corner will be donating 15% of all food purchases to the JDRF Ride Team, specifically Tom, Mary and Ian Scheidel. Print the attached coupon and bring it along. If you forget, don't worry, we'll have some available there.
We did this a couple a years ago right before we left for Death Valley and had a great time. Sort of a team send off party. See you tonight.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

NEWS FLASH!

It would seem to be a bit toasty in Death Valley...



Who'da guessed?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Good News, Everyone! Ya get to keep yer bike longer!

Hey folks, change in our bike shipping plans for Death Valley!

We've been able to move the pickup date back to Saturday, October 2 in the evening. Not coincidentally, we're having a team ride that day, from Velo City Cycles - so you'll be able to get in a last ride, then you'll be able to leave your bike to be lovingly placed into the sweet embrace of a mess o' shipping blankets way up at the front of the trailer.

I've also confirmed that you can send a small bag with some stuff in it, as long as you make sure that it's clearly labelled as yours, and where it's going, and all that. That bag's a good place to put your helmet, shoes, and water bottles, assuming you won't need those items in the week and a half after the last team ride (*cough* Colorburst Tour *hack* October 9 *wheeze* if you've got a spare bike *cough*).

So, cool beans, eh?

Now, you're going to get an email very shortly here that you MUST respond to - by the end of the day Friday, we have to have a list of bikes that are going to on the truck, regardless of what fundraising package you're signed up for. So, look for that.

Otherwise, the rest of the information stands - team ride this Saturday from Ada Park, 9am rollout! Doing the team ride AND the Apple Cider Century on Sunday would be great training, I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

***IMPORTANT NEWS REGARDING BIKE TRANSPORT***

Awright, now, pay attention!


I just got off the phone with MC, who had just gotten off the phone with Aly at the JDRF.

We have finalized Death Valley bike transportation information for EVERYONE on the team.

First off, for Silver and Bronze Package riders, you CAN ship your bike on the truck to Death Valley. The cost will be $150 for the round-trip shipment.

So that's good news.

Now, for EVERYONE on the team who is going to Death Valley:

The truck will be picking up the bikes in the morning on Thursday, September 30. Yes, that is in 9 days. We are not yet certain where the bikes will be picked up from, but it's a safe bet it'll be either the Chapter office in GR, or from Velo City in Holland. We'll have that information for you shortly.

You will need to have your bike to the pick-up location by the end of the day on Wednesday, September 29.

Paul (the driver) is not planning to be in Death Valley until the Thursday before the ride, and our bikes will be waaaay up at the front of the truck. So, if you are one of the few folks planning to do MC's Thursday ride up to Dante's View and around Golden Canyon, you will need to box and ship your bike to Death Valley - please investigate the AirCaddy/ShipBikes.com option for that. I suppose you could do that if you don't want to give up your bike so early, but for Gold package people my guess is that you'd be on your own for that, cost-wise, since JDRF is already paying for the truck.

So, that's not the greatest situation for us, I guess - it means that your last chance to go on a really good long ride is this weekend - but, then again, it doesn't matter one whit what how much, or even if, we ride in Death Valley. It's the money we've raised that will get us closer to a cure!

Team Ride Report, Team Ride Notice, etc.

Yeah, so, I know, we didn’t publicize the team ride Saturday morning all that well, but nevertheless, the parking lot at Richmond Park was full of cars, and the place was humming with activity! Tents were being set up, people in strange clothes wandered around chatting with each other, it was the busiest team ride I’ve ever seen!

Ok, so the vast majority of the people were there for the Grand Rapids Pagan Pride day festivities. In fact, they all were, except for 3 of us. And two of us were coaches. That would not stop us from our planned 51ish mile ride, no sir it would not! Nor would the rain or the really awesome lightning! Yep, we headed out, a peloton of 3, and rolled south, and promptly stopped for a flat tire. With the shard of brown glass extracted from Coach Mike's front tire, we continued south, and promptly stopped to visit the nice folks at the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes. Some of these nice folks looked vaguely familiar, although I have trouble recognizing people in non-skintight clothing.

Well, after inserting ourselves in to a team photo, we continued riding north! The city streets disappeared beneath our wheels as Kaat guided us along through Grand Rapids, unfailingly bringing us to Richmond Park, where... wait, what? Weren't we just there? Ah, bugger it. Kaat had to go to work, MC wanted to get his 'cross bike prepped for racing, and me, well, my saddle and I haven't been on the best terms lately, so after a whopping 6.24 miles, that was kinda enough. We changed clothes and went for some breakfast.

So there ya go.

Now, THIS Saturday, September 25, we'll try this again! We will have a team ride from Ada Park (here: http://tinyurl.com/adapark) with a 9 am sharp rollout time for the first loop, and a Noon rollout for the second loop. Figure on 35 miles for loop 1, 45 or so for loop 2, and some basic gustation between and after the rides. It's 3 weeks before the Death Valley ride, so a couple of good, long rides would definitely be appropriate.

On Sunday, the 26th, there are a few of us going to visit one of our more far-flung team members; if you're interested in meeting and riding with Dara, let me know. Or just go and have fun at the Apple Cider Century!

As always, keep riding the good ride and rocking the good rock - we're getting hard in to the buildup to DV, so keep your eyes open for information and never hesitate to ask me or Mike or any of the Ride Committee for anything if you've got questions!

See ya Saturday!

Monday, September 20, 2010

WXMI-17 news tomorrow

Tuesday is the TV live shot at the dam in Rockford. If you can't be there at 4:00 try and come by at 6:00. We'd like lots of riders in the background for the live shots. Wear JDRF or pink pancreas jerseys. If you have questions contact Tom Scheidel.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Harvest Ride 2010

A weekend of Maggies - Maggie DeBoer, Peggy (Maggie) Miller and Maggie Stone.

Hosted by Peggy Miller - who Saturday late afternoon/evening treated not only the Maggies, but also Tom Miller, Rob Andro and yours truly JD Stone to a fabulous afternoon and evening that included a canoe ride, far East appetizers, pasta dinner with caesar salad (Maggie Stone supplied), fabulous local breads, a spectacular view of Lake Leelanau, and after dinner a roaring fire in the fireplace laced with great conversation, many laughs and some semi serious discussion on where things stand with finding a cure. Oh and did I mention the five berry pie locally baked earlier that day. Scrumptuous topped with ice cream.

Then it was early to bed and very early to ride - up at 5:45. Broke the fast with yogurt, granola, some fruit, and of course hot coffee.

The group broke into two - those doing the 25 mile loop Maggie S and Peggy with some of her relatives - who kinda got to sleep in while the other group of Tom, Rob, Maggie D and JD made lots of noise getting dressed for the metric century ride trying to figure out what to wear when the current temp is 45 degrees but expected to rise to the mid to high 50's.

Knees were covered most of the day. Two miles into the ride for all routes is a grade 7 climb(that's steeper than the Jubilee climb at DV) up to inspiration point. We commenced promptly at 8 AM and it was COLD!!

Blessed with sunshine it began to warm as the sun poked through. Beautiful views througout the day. Our mini-pace line was joined for awhile by an older gentleman by the name of Douglas who rode his 26 mtb wearing sandals, and shorts with a very unique riding form.

Food stop #1 about 24 miles in - really great cookies along with the customary bananas, misc. munchies and beverages.

The route took us east of lake Michigan and then north almost to the top of the east side of lake Leelanau (North lake L) and at the northern most point was Food Stop #2.

Some of the best chili we've ever had - Rob was horsing it down and warned the rest of us not to miss it. We didn't.

From there it was south along the Western shore of Lake L (south lake L) and of course more hills. There was no paucity of hills. In fact there was virtually no flat during this ride, you were either climbing at 7 or 8 mph or screaming down hills at speeds at times exceeding 35 pmh.

Food stop #3 had the best cookies - all home made and many varieties - I had the pumpkin with cranberry and added some locally made peanut butter.

Finally we made it to the finish - changed in to civies and guess what a hot meal of browned rice, with steamed vegetables garnished with a choice of plumb , sweet & sour or terriyake(sp?) sauce, a salad w choice of dressing. Followed by home-made ice cream cones, served outside at picnic tables.

All of this was included in the entry fee. What a deal. Great views, cool weather, lots of friendly people, a challenging Death Valley esq ride, and the hostes and host Peggy and Gene-O Miller - who shared their cottage built in the early 1900's with the JDRF crew who were able to make it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Be a TV star

Another great publicity opportunity has come our way. TV 17 wants to feature our team on their September 21st newscasts. This will include some taped interviews that will run during the 10:00 p.m. news and a live shot at 6:15 p.m. and 6:40 p.m. So if you want to be involved (and why wouldn't you) here's the details.

Show up at the Rockford dam in downtown Rockford at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 21. Wear JDRF or pink peleton jerseys. Tim Doty from TV 17 will meet us there. He will conduct some interviews then we'll do a short ride north on the White Pine Trail. We will stop at a couple of locations to allow the cameraman to get some action shots. For those who want to ride more there will be an extended route available. We will plan on being back at the dam area at 6:00 p.m. to get ready for the live shot. The dam is one block west of the Corner Bar. A good after party location.

This will be happening rain or shine. If you want more details please contact Tom Scheidel.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hi!

Hi from the Reno Int'l Airport & Casino

Here we sit, one tired person (me) and two absolutely dead wiped out people (MC & Berger) waiting to hurtle through the stratosphere in an aluminum tube. Ya ever wonder what Orville and Wilbur Wright might think of air travel a century after they first flew? I sometimes think they'd just apologize then go home and burn their Flyer.


Then again, without the $5 stale peanuts and flabby, smelly seatmates, I wouldn't have gotten out to the Lake Tahoe area for the past couple of days. I got to see a JDRF ride from a different point of view, and it's pretty much just as cool. I got here Sunday mid-afternoon, and had the slightly discordant experience of following a couple of fully kitted up JDRF riders as they rolled their bikes across the casino floor to the Bike Room.

Lake Tahoe is almost indescribably gorgeous - shades of blue going from pale to deep as the lake gets deeper, with rocky, wooded mountains all around. Indeed, the only ugly spot - the pimple on the supermodel - is Stateline, Nevada, home of the Montbleu Casino and the headquarters of the Ride. As MC said, it's a pretty blah place, at least 20 years older than the Vegas Strip places. Without the casino, it'd just be a kinda meh hotel, I guess. What made it not so hot for us was that the Bike Room was a windowless conference room in the bowels of the place, with inadequate light and distant bathrooms. And we spent a LOT of time in there. Maybe that's why we got through packing the bikes quicker than we'd expected; the urge to get out of there was powerful.

Out we got, though, for some good foodstuffs and, yesterday afternoon, a drive around the course backwards from the ride direction.

Just, wow. There are ride-off-the-side-of-the-road views almost everywhere. I wanted to be on my bike really badly, with a whole day to kill and full batteries in a nice camera.

So, would I recommend riding here? Well, mostly, yeah. The route is a no-brainer. It's only 72 miles, no option for 100, but it's very hilly and at high enough altitude to make a big difference. I think you'd need just as much fitness to ride this as you would to ride a full century. You could approach this ride differently, too - you could push and be done by noon and hang out for the rest of the day, or loaf your way through, stopping and soaking it all in. Did I mention the views?

The road surfaces are very good, but there's not much shoulder (or room for a shoulder!) in a lot of it, and the traffic can be tight as a result. But, they do get 1800 riders around the lake; there were lots of event-specific signs and such.

Being a piggyback ride, it'd have a very different feel than the DV all-JDRF all the time enforced cameraderie. Getting away from the casino would help some, at least.

So, basically, yeah, I'd recommend it, as long as you keep your expectations away from the Death Valley standard. Unfortunately that's kind of a damning thing to say about the ride. The DV standard is perhaps unreasonably high - but deservedly so. That place is special.

Anyway, on a more practical front, we WILL have a team ride this Saturday morning. We'll ride from Richmond Park in Grand Rapids at 9 AM, with the intention of doing roughly 50 miles. There won't be a dual-start option this time. We'll roll through the JDRF Walk event area too, so I'd suggest wearing your favorite ride day jersey (the Hincapie ones with the full zip, not necessarily the Pink Peloton jerseys, unless you want to).

4 weeks from today we head to DV! Pahrump! Supplies! The Date Palm Grove! The Pool! The Wonderfulness of Being Us! Daaamn but I can't wait!

See you Saturday...

TAHOE REPORT - WRAPPIN' IT UP!

I'v been here a full week and depending on the moment it seems either much longer or much less than that!

Yesterday went pretty much according to plan - amazingly enough. In the Bike Room by 8, the last 20 bikes packed up (including mine - no trip back up the switchbacks, sigh) by noon. Okay - 12:10. Off to ye olde cheap but yummy burrito emporium and a stop for ice cream. Back to the confines of the Bike Room by 2-ish and the dozen or so boxes containing our tools, workstands, pumps, parts, tubes, tires and suchlike were taped shut and affixed w/ shipping labels by 4:30.

Done.

Finished.

I wanna thank Jeremy for all his work and Derek for comin' out here for the last 3 days. You guys rock!

Last night we were sitting next to the window @ a place called the Blue Agave in Tahoe City on the other side of the lake. Coach Did & I were talking about this Ride and whether you guys might wanna consider it. We sorta decided "yes", w/ a few qualifiers, most of which I covered in earlier posts.

We might oughta talk about it over the winter though.

So, another Ride in the win column and that's pretty dang cool. A Team Ride this weekend - ditto.
Harvest Fest Ride - ditto ditto.
More rides, and before you know it.................a big buncha us will be wingin' it back out this-a-way, bound for Death Valley!

Ditto X 1000000000!

Speaking of this Saturday, details are still being figgered out but you can count on a 9am start time @ a park near downtown GR, a short ride over to the Walk and then back out to get 50-ish miles in.

See you guys soon, can't wait to get back in the 616!

Keep rockin'!

Coach MC

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

TAHOE REPORT - DAY 5 (?)

Turn out the lights, the party's over.

Boy, is it! By noon today virtually everyone of the 200+ riders, staff, crew and families had left Lake Tahoe, their memories glowing hot w/ thoughts of a great weekend and plenty o' BikeFace!

'Cept for the Bike Room Crew - Jeremy, Derek and yours truly. We have lots to do!

I was up @ 5, at breakfast by 6 and in the Bike Room @ 7. Riders started pickin' up their bikes pretty much right away (Jeremy, Did and Chase had packed all the ones goin' home by plane after the Ride on Sunday). By 9:30 'twas pretty much just us and we commenced a-packin' bikes in earnest. (Ok - in boxes, actually.) (Sorry).

Broke for lunch w/ Trish-n-Aly and then bid them adieu and then 'twas truly just the 3 Amigos! Back @ it 'til 7:30 or so and then called it a day. A long but good day.

We have 20 more bikes to pack - kinda thinking we can have them done by noon or so. A quick trip to our fav cheap burrito joint and then back to pack up all our tools and parts and workstands, and pumps and tires and tubes and rags and rolls of tape and...and...and....

...and then we'll be done.

Time to finalize DV plans! (Working on it!)
Time to ride this weekend! (Watch for details soon!)
Time to go home. (!!!!!!!!!!!)

By the way - in the "How Weird is That?" Department it didn't escape mine and Did's notice how fundamentally weird it is to be sitting in the coffee shop of a seedy casino in South Lake Tahoe planning a Team Ride!

Jus' sayin'.

So - another big win for the Good Guys! $650+k raised for research, major BikeFace achieved and recorded and on we go to the next stop for this crazy train!

Sure hope we see you this Saturday - stay tuned for the scoop!

G'night!

MC

Monday, September 13, 2010

THREE FOR THREE! (Tahoe Report Day 5)

Success!
Complete success at that!

In short - a pretty damn great day.

5:00am came early (when doesn't it?) and 1 by 1 we rolled into breakfast. Folks kept checkin' weather.com as they shoveled in the eggs, taters, bacon, toast oatmeal etc but no matter how often someone checked it sorta stayed 36-frickin' degrees.

No matter!

6:30 - kitted up in arm and knee warmers, vest, full gloves I gathered up a group and we went across the street to the start line. The choice of attire spanned the range from full shoe covers and balaclavas to a few hardy locals dressed for the anticipated (and hours away) 74 degrees.

Off we roll - in the first wave. The route went right down HWY 50-the same way we've been driving pretty much everyday to this great lil ' burrito joint - and across the state line and into the "cooler" part of South Lake Tahoe. (IE the California side). 5-6 miles through town and then we took a right to follow the shore of the lake. By now faster riders from the next wave were blowin' past us (a precurser to the entire day!) and things got crowded. I found myself (surprise!) @ the back w/ 82 year old Barbara and the 2 of us quickly fell off the pace. Tim St Clair caught us a short time later and for a while she had the entire National Coaching Staff as her personal wingmen. She called it a day @ the base of the 1st big climb (mile 9.5) and climbed into a sag wagon, leaving TSC and I to try and catch our riders up the steepest climb of the day. a few miles later it was obvious that it wasn't gonna happen so Berger jumped us forward 'til we saw some JDRF folks to ride with. Thus we were deprived of riding the steepest portion of the course, but I might try to get out there in the next 2 days and remedy that. Some MAJOR switchbacks to be sure! I hooked up w/ Jenny-from-LA, who I've ridden w/ in Whitefish and Sonoma.
We finished the climb, enjoyed the 2 mile descent and rolled into Breakpoint 2. Found more JDRF riders there - scooped 'em up and enjoyed the flat-out gorgeous North end of the lake.

I bid 'em farewell when we reached the dock where the ferry came in - we had 10-15 riders on it and Tim and I wanted to make sure they weren't behind us. Waited there for a bit, he showed up w/ Lauren-from San Fran and we started up the other big climb of the day, a Jubilee pass-esque romp up to Spooner Junction, the high point of the ride @ 7044'. From there a mostly downhill (yes, I mean that) 16 mile ride into the finish awaited.

I rode in w/ Lauren and a couple women from Tex that I remember from previous years. (Too bad I can't remember their names!) We came in around 4pm, about 5 minutes ahead of Tim ridin' sweep w/ Coach Keith and our last rider.

Dinner was great - after a pretty low-key Friday night TSC and I split up the mic duties and managed to rev 'em up a bit. David Nestveld did a great job presenting the 2 (!!!) Spirit jerseys and....well......I think we achieved both BikeFace and goosebumps!

As I said - we're 3 for 3! And I gotta tell ya - it feels damn good!

So - should we consider this Ride? Well...the answer is yes and no. Here are a few thoughts:

Yes - a fabulous route. Imagine the best of Whitefish and Asheville turned to 11! The nearly constant views of the lake, the cool little towns (all way cali!) the weather - all awesome!

No - LOTS of traffic! I mean lots. The route is mostly on tight and sometimes twisty 2 lanes, with or without guardrails. The locals were described as "cyclist friendly and accustomed to sharing the road" but.......not all of 'em got that memo it would seem! Lotsa cyclist traffic too, w/ a total of 1800+ riders. Not many of 'em have heard of the concept of "on your left" neither, based on the evidence. The other issue (for me at least) has been this shabby, 2nd rate old casino as Ride HQ and chief lodging. Now - obviously if I'm on record as hating Vegas then S. Tahoe's Vegas-wannabe nature ain't gonna thrill me. Based on the feedback I bet they change the venue.

Maybe - the limited route selection. There is only a 36 and 73 mile option and given that it's a loop ride the only way to cut it short is via a sag wagon.

Now - there's also the whole "It's Not Just Our Ride" thing, but that might hafta be another post 'cuz your ol' buddy MC is hittin' the wall HARD and is gonna call it a day. A great day, but a day nonetheless.

2 more days of hard work remain. As of noon tomorrow Jeremy, Did and I will be it. Gonna be lonely!

See you next weekend I hope! Look for details of the Saturday Team Ride soon!

Love you guys, you rock!

MC

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Off-the-books somewhat team Ride on Sunday, 9/26

Hi team. Was talking with our teammate Dara B. the other day. She's back from her family vacation to Ireland, and ready to Ride. Dara lives in DeWitt, which happens to be where Steve & I lived before we became Grand Rapidians, and also happens to be where my brother lives.

So... we've put together an off-the-books, somewhat of a team ride for Sunday, 9/26. We'll plan on a 50+ pretty flat miles route (I don't remember ANY hills up there - but I was never on a bike so.... ). We'll start at 10a at Katie's brother's house (look for team email with location).

We know some people are riding in the team ride on Saturday the 25th, and there are a bunch of the team riding in the Apple Cider Century on Sunday too. We hope there are a few people who want to trek to a spot just north of Lansing to meet a new rider (who has come within a few bucks of her minimum already!!), and enjoy a nice Fall ride. We are hoping to snag in past-Ride to Cure riders Patti Bills & Kris Bentley-Couturier to join us.

Let Katie know if you are interested in joining.

TAHOE REPORT, DAY 4

So - it's come to this. 160-some riders. 10 crew. 3 staff. An untold # of volunteers. All gathered here in (or at least in the vicinity of) a slightly shabby hotel/casino in South Lake Tahoe. Riders from 35 Chapters. Coaches from 12. Bikes from all over.

I guess we might as well ride tomorrow, huh?

Let's pause a sec here for the weather report: Sunny. No humidity (like none, like Death Valley none!) Low of 48. High of 85. Ooooohhhhhh dang!

Now, as someone that's spent the better part of every waking minute since Wed in a gloomy conference room deep in the bowels of this joint you might be getting the impression that I'm more-than-ready to ride tomorrow.

Very astute.
Did my poker face slip?

To say that I'm hot to ride is akin to saying that Custer misjudged his opponent. That the captain of the Titanic made a slight error, that......well....never mind. Let's just say that I'm dyin' to soak up some sunshine, breath in some of that high-mountain air and leave it at that.

Anyway - today was a full day. Up and @ breakfast by 6:30. In the Bike Room @ 7:30, off to the Coach's Mtg @ 8 and the riders mtg @ 9. Lotsa weird (to us) logistics on this'n. .....only 2 distance choices, 36 or 72 miles and the shorter one involves a trip 'cross the lake on a sternwheel steamer ferry. 1640 non JDRF riders sharing the roads w/ us. No JDRF-specific vehicles, rest stops or tech support. Weird.

Decent % of new riders here. Tim and I kinda split up dinner after a video about Phil Sutherland that Chris from.......umm........Georgia? made. Not the liveliest crowd I've ever seen @ a Ride to say the least. A "tough crowd" you might say. But we did our thing, green and yellow jerseys distributed, BikeFace discussed, applause shared and accepted.

So - the bikes are ready, tired pumped, bottled filled, kits laid out on spare beds all through the hotel. This time tomorrow the 1st Ever JDRF Tahoe Ride will be history and I'll tell y'all about it as soon as I can.

Goodnight from Rm 807.

Coach MC

Saturday, September 11, 2010

TAHOE REPORT, DAY 3 (tardy!)

Okay, so I had every intention of droppin' y'all a line every night but last night I
was
just
too
tired.

In brief, my day started @ 5:30am and I crawled/limped/dragged meself back up here to Rm 807 @ 11:15 pm.

A long day.

As previously stated, Jeremy, Chase and I got 50-some bikes assembled on um.........Thursday maybe? so when we flipped the lights on in the Bike Room 24 hours ago we thought we were in pretty good shape to get everything done that needed to be done by the time the reception started @ 6:30 pm last night. Hell - I'd even confess to thoughts of havin' time to clean up before dinner maybe.

Not.

As riders came in all day productivity dropped of as we had to "entertain", visit, catch up etc. Do NOT get me wrong - I freakin' love it - but the result of that was that when dinner was served we were still 7-9 bikes away from being "done". It didn't help that 1 chapter's worth of bikes showed up w/ them on an airport shuttle @ 7pm!

It was a groggy, crabby Bike Room crew that was putting the finishing touches on the last bike @ 11 pm to be sure!

I know - whine whine bitch bitch. Just lemme wallow in it here for a sec, okay? You can always skip down a bit to where I'm telling you how blue the lake is, how fine the weather is, hew flat-out great it is to be lucky enough to be allowed to be a part of the Awesome Thing that a Ride to Cure is.

And it is, to be sure!

Today (since as you have probably ascertained the Ride is on Sunday) is coach meeting, rider meeting, tune-up ride, fit seminar, bike 101 seminar and maybe even drive the course day. Hopefully the weather stays just like this for tomorrow - not a cloud, temps in the high 60's ( we are @ 6200' after all - it's gonna be cold @ the start!) and in a day or so I'm telling you that once again this Ride was the Best One Ever.

Stay tuned. Have I mentioned how much y'all rock?

Keep Tahoe Blue!

MC

Friday, September 10, 2010

TAHOE REPORT, DAYS 1 AND 2

Okay - so when you say "Lake Tahoe" I don't immediately think "low rent Vegas-y casino" but that's kinda where we are. The Montbleu Casino and Resort in downtown South Lake Tahoe to be egg-zact. Complete w/ the clamor of slot machines, the faint (at least!) smell of cigerette smoke and the umm......colorful people watching!

Not 100% our style, would you say?

I'd hafta agree.

Still - we're here and as of tomorrow so will some 180 riders and family and volunteers. And come Sunday they'll join 1650 other riders for a challenging and ab-so-lut-ly BEAUTIFUL ride around that awesome lake I can see glimpses of from the hotel.

I think it'll be just fine.

We got here about 4pm yesterday, got the Bike Room set up, grabbed dinner @ a forgettable Mex joint (one of 15 or so!) and got 10 bikes assembled before the combination of gettin' up @ 3am, travel and a 3 hour time change caught up w/ us. Today we cranked about 40 more together, so we have 25-35 to do tomorrow. The riders show up tomorrow, for the most part. (The Ride is on Sunday so everything's a day off). Chase has been helping build bikes and Derek will be here(yep - our Derek!) for the even bigger job of re-packing bikes early next week.

Stay tuned - I'll fill you in as the week unfolds.

I hope some of you are gonna ride the MapleLeaf this weekend........DV ain't too far off y'know!

Ride on Rockstars!

Coach Mike

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How to Raise Funds by Eating

There are two opportunities coming up where you can help raise money for the cause and all you have to do is eat. You're probably asking yourself "Can fighting diabetes really be that easy?" You betcha! Check this out.

Wednesday, September 15th, 5:00 - 9:00 p.m. at the Beltline Bar in Grand Rapids.
15% of all food and non-alcohol sales will be donated to JDRF. This event is organized by riders Nicole Nelles and Chris and Becky Machuta. Click here for the flyer. Wet burrito anyone?

Monday, September 27th, 5:00 - 9:00 p.m. at the Corner Bar in Rockford.
15% of all food sales will be donated to JDRF. Come on up and have a few world famous Corner Bar hot dogs. This event is organized by riders Tom, Mary and Ian Scheidel. Click here for a flyer to print and give to your server.

Join us as we eat our way to a cure.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

GREETINGS FROM THE OZARKS!

Hey Team!

Lin and I (and our entire extended fam) are down here in the Ozarks celebratin' my folks 50th anniversary and I just wanted to wish y'all a great ride today, a fabulous holiday weekend and a happy start to September!

The fact that it's September means that Death Valley is next freakin' month for many of us and that gets me all kinds of fired up!

It means that Tucson is ever closer as well!

I leave (along w/ Berger) for the Tahoe Ride 1st thing Wed morn - we have twice as many bikes as ever before to assemble so we'll be there a full week to get it all done. Coach Did is even comin' out after the Ride to help us pack 'em all up so despite the fact that we have no riders in Tahoe - yet again West Mi will be represented!

Lotsa rides comin' up - "official" Team Rides as well as plenty of tours. Let's talk amongst ourselves and make sure that we take advantage of the opportunities, okay? Looking ahead there's the MapleLeaf Metric, The Harvest Tour, The Apple Cider Century and the Colorburst Tour 'tween now and DV!

Speaking of DV - I know that there's been lotsa talk about bike transport (for Silver and Bronze package folks) and I'll have a handle on that when we get back from Tahoe. The loss of the Gainey truck sponsorship for this season has forced us to improvise a bit and basically we're figuring out the logistics of the next Ride while we're @ the current one. Less than ideal? Probably, but we'll get it done.

So - have a great ride if you can make it, make sure to remember why we're all hip-deep in this project in the 1st place and I'll look forward to seeing and riding w/you soon!

You guys are rockstars, you know that, right?

RIGHT!

Be safe, ride lots!

Coach MC




Friday, September 3, 2010

New ride video

Here you go. A short video from this past Sunday's team ride.

I'm watchin' you!

Just wondering if this would work!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TEAM RIDE REPORT, 8-29-10

WOW!
Whatta ride(s)!
Whatta great post-ride bash!
Whatta great place to hang out on a hot-n-fine late summer day!

This weekend's training ride was one for the books for several reasons: Becky's longest ride (in tougher-than-average conditions!), 1st time our New Best Friend From Chicago Mary rode w/ us, 1st time @ Our New Fav Place on The Lake, one of the hilliest loops ever.....all in all it was an All Time Show-Stopper!

We met early-ish for the advertised "hilly" 32 mile AM loop. Present were:
Coach Did and trophy wife Kirsten
Chris and Becky M
Team Scheidel x 3
Bad Brad S
Tardy John J
Host w/the most Paul
Nicole
Scott P
Chuck B
The aforementioned N.B.F. Mary (on her 1st tandem ride ever)
and me....piloting said tandem.

The route was awesome - and as hilly as advertised. The water stop was much-appreciated and we got back to the cottage just in time to feast on both lotsa Subway (good training for DV!) and the hoots and shouts of arriving teammies.
The potential disadvantage of the 2-ride concept was readily apparant as we tried to pry happy butts offa comfy deck chairs and back in the saddle. Actually - I thought we did pretty dang good to roll only 20 minutes late! The "rolling" 40-ish mile PM ride was a biggie......check it:
Everyone from Ride #1 'cept Chuck, Brad and Chris +
Steve and Katie C
The lovely Linda - claiming her rightful place on the back o' the tandem so Mary was on her brand new bike for the 2nd time ever!
Nathan and Stewart
Brenda B
Mel W
Amy F2
Rob A (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Chris R
Linda T-P (who's responsible for our newest Team Rule - (s)he who lays out the loop must ride it!)
Kevin O
Mike H

By now it was hot. Damn hot to be precise. It'd be accurate to say that some folks were feelin' it and we made a few "game-day" calls w/ short-cuts and such but everyone got back and the cook-out/stuff-yer-BikeFace/swim/float/drift/eat too much desert fest commenced for real!

Massive, monsterous World's Greatest Team Kudos gotta be sent out to our incredible hosts! Paul and Kami (geez - I never even got their last name!) are neighbors of the T-Ps and have 2 kids w/ Type 1 so they've been JDRFolk for a while. They bent over backwards to welcome us to their little slice o' heaven there on Barlow Lake and we owe them BIG!

So - there you have it. A great ride and plenty of BikeFace in evidence allll day. Thanks to Linda and Scott for takin' point and for everyone that made a point of joining us.

Next Team Ride is this weekend - 9/5 @ Cindy Aley's up in Sand Lake. I'd say the odds of not ridin' up Fisk Knob are low at best! I'll be outta town but rest assured that I'll be missing you guys!

Watch for an e-mail later this week w/ details and if you haven't heard from someone on the Ride Committee by lunchtime Friday contact Coach Derek.

Be sure to keep an eye on the Team Blog (yep - that's this right 'chere!) and that e-mail I sent out last week w / the brand new ride schedule 'cuz there are lotsa chances comin' your way to ride w/your buds. Also - the MapleLeaf Metric, Harvest Tour, Apple Cider Century and Colorburst Tour are all 'tween now and DV as well! Let's get together and ride!

As I write this we are 2 Rides into the best season ever for JDRF. In 8 days we leave for Tahoe for Ride #3 and there are only 42 days before we leave for Death Valley! (And then only another 6 weeks 'til Tucson!) (Tuscon?) Let's keep it in the big ring huh? Riding, recruiting, fund-raising.............let's make sure that our Team remains the role model for the whole dang Ride Program!

One of my fav songwriters (Greg Brown) has this lyric in one of his tunes - " I know I say that all the time like everything else I say" and it fights really well right here: You. Guys. Rock. I'm so proud to roll w/ you all.............let's keep kickin' diabetes in the junk everytime we can, okay?

O-KAY!

See you on the road, be safe, ride lots, take care of each other................
Coach MC

Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekends of the Past and the Future

This past weekend was, like, 103% bicycle related. Possibly more.


Saturday dawned - wait, no, it was well before dawn when things got going on Saturday.

Saturday started with a few of us gathering at Meinert County Park for the first JDRF incarnation of the One Day Ride Across Michigan. We had about 70 people registered, and between no-shows and day-of registrations, I think we had about that many people actually ride. Comments were overwhelmingly positive - the worst gripe we had was that there were no forks at the finish area cookout. So, count on this becoming a regular thing on the annual JDRF ridin' calendar. It was way cool to see, feel, and generally be around - gotta hook up and ride it next year!

JDRF folks who rode the 147 mile long event were Dawn A., Cindy A., Herb B., and (big shock here) Kaat and MC.

Mad props, y'all!

Some time around 7:30 in the morning, MC, Kaat, and FOMs* Maria and Jan re-mounted bikes and headed back westwards, in the aptly-named MARDO (Mad-A$$ Ride Do-Over) ride. Now, in case that's not quite sinking in, they rode from Lake Michigan to Saginaw Bay on Saturday, and from Saginaw Bay back to Lake Michigan on Sunday. That's pretty close to 300 miles in two days.

Somewhat later Sunday morning, Amy F-F, Stewart, Nathen, Nathen's Dad, my Mom, Kirsten, and I met and rolled northwards for the MOST tour. The MOST is nice and scenic, with some good climbs up some good hills to get some nice views of said scenery. It's all good, y'know?

Sunday afternoon, I managed to meet our MARDOers as they rolled their last 10 miles, 'cause, y'know, someone had to take their picture, right? I'm pleased to report an abundance of Bike Face in that crew, as you can see:


In fact, the whole weekend was Bike Face time.

Now, for the future!

We have a team ride this coming Sunday, August 29, that promises to be another one of those truly memorable events. Linda and Scott (Poeder twin powers ACTIVATE!) (I dunno why that just popped in to my head, but, y'know, my head's a strange place sometimes) will be hosting, not from their house, but from a family cottage in the Gun Lake/Yankee Springs area.

We're going to do the same trick we tried for the last ride, route- and time-wise. We'll start with a harder, shorter loop (which Linda promises will be positively goatish with hills); times aren't yet written in stone but plan on a 9 am rollout. We'll then return to the start point, eat a bit, regroup, gather up some more folks, and re-start for a longer but less hilly loop. If you want to join in for the second loop, figure on an 11:30 am NOON rollout.

Post-ride, we've got a lake to play in. Kayaks? Yep. Floating bouncy house thing? You betcha. Food? Well, our hosts will be doing hot dogs and burgers, so bring any sort of picnicky goodies to share. If you've got kids who'll be doing water stuff, bring lifejackets for them. Someone will be around to keep an eye on reasonably self-sufficient kids will we're riding; extra adults are welcome, too.

This has gone on long enough, so watch your email - we'll have a map to our start location, confirmation of times and distances, and whatever else seems relevant. Since this has more going on, we'd really like to get an RSVP, too, so think about who's coming and when.

Gonna be a great day, hope to see ya there!

did



*Friends of Mike!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ride Report, Ride Schedule, Ride, Ride, Ride!

A total of 11 committed ped’lers made the looong and arduous journey up to Whitehall last Saturday for 31 hilly miles or 41 flat (really!) miles. On the hilly route, we had a trio of Scheidels, JD, Nicole, SGS&ACTW Kirsten, SGS&AC’s Mom Ginger, and yours truly. I’m pleased to report that we all pretty much stayed together, and everyone in the group did all the hills despite being offered opportunities to cut ‘em off. Extra hardcore points all around!

We all rolled back to our cars, noshed a bit, then some of the folks headed out for family activities while we picked up some new riders. 5 of us rolled for 41 miles: Me, Kirsten, Chris R (who had apparently chased us for about 12 miles of the first loop), once-and-future-rider-and-always-on-the-team Jack C., and (making his team ride debut, and doing so most excellently) Randy D.

Let me note that the only person (other than me) to do the whole 72ish mile shebang was My Trophy Wife Kirsten. Yep, she’s that awesome.

Anyway, the idea of split starts for rides has kinda taken hold here in the coaching pavilion, so I think we’ll be trying that again at future team rides. AND, MC and I have done some revisioning of the team ride schedule for the rest of the year, so, here ya go:

8/21 – ODRAM!

8/22 – MOST Ride (tour opportunity)

8/29 – Team Ride hosted by the Poeders in the Gun Lake area

9/5 – Team Ride hosted by Cindy A. in the Cedar Springs area

9/11 – Maple Leaf Metric (tour opportunity)

9/18 – Team Ride from the Walk in Downtown GR!

9/19 – Leelanau Harvest Tour (tour opportunity)

9/25 – Team Ride from Ada Park

9/26 – Apple Cider Century (another tour, assuming it’s not full!)

10/2 – Team Ride from… somewhere!

10/9 – Colorburst Tour, GR Area (if we still have bikes!)

As always, we’ll have more information to ya as we get closer to the various events. ODRAM starts from Meinert County Park just North of Montague at 6am this Saturday; you’ve got cool teammates riding and working the event!

The MOST tour is a very scenic and pretty dang hilly 75 miler, starting from Oehrli Elementary School in Montague. Looks like there’s a fair group o’ folks riding, so, again, good company! There are 50 and 25 mile options as well; those are progressively less hilly.

Sorta the point we’re making here is that we’re about 8 weeks out from ride day – now’s the time to hit a few really good long rides, and we want to make sure you have opportunities to do so!

My apologies if this is kinda disjointed; it’s been a day, y’know? Anyway, you get the picture. You guys rock! See a bunch of you this weekend, and a bunch more next weekend!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A CORRECTION AND AN APOLOGY

Okay - there's a lesson in here somewheres....I just know it!

As I was tryin' to post updates from La Crosse each night I was b-a-r-e-l-y hangin' onto what passes for conciousness for me these days - the combination of gettin' up @ 6am, bustin' ass all day switching from "Bike Room Hat" to "Head Coach Hat" and callin' it a day around midnight was catchin' up w/ me. Still - that is no excuse for leavin' an important name off that list of past-n-present members of the Ride Committee and despite my fears - I did just exactly that.

And not just any name. Oh no! When I screw up I don't mess around! I go BIG! In this case I missed the name of not only a key member of the Committee for years, but a rider that's been w/ the Team since day freakin' one, a key player @ the office both as volunteer and staffer, a solid rider, a steadfast believer in the cause and the only member of the Team (thus far anyways) to have both married and birthed a fellow member of our Squad.

Fellow team mates, dear friends, partners in the cause and best buds......I humbly give you:

Mary Schiedel! 4 time DV rider! Killington survivor! A veteran of the sandstorms and heat and sun and rain and miles and smiles and tears and fears and joy and...yes....Bike Face that this Team and Program are all about.

She has my abject apologies and assuming that she ever speaks to me again I'll be tellin' that to her face.

Dang dang dang!

I'll do better next time. I promise.

Coach Careless

The secret to getting to the top of Jubilee Pass


Thanks to "In the Bleachers" by Steve Moore.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

La Crosse Ride Day!

Up @ 4:30, breakfast 2 5:00, Bike Rooom to distribute bikes, pump tires, fill bottles, kit up. Down @ the edge of the Mississippi for the anthem, the take-off. Over the bridge into Minnesota. Good roads as we travel south along the river. Break Point #1 @ 15 miles, with a small group that's riding okay. Move some coaches around and realize I have no one to ride with. Catch a lift for a sag up to a group. Break Point #2, still overcast, nice temps (80-ish) and moderate humidity. Hawks, frogs, tons of dragonflys but no sign of darting turtles. Breakpoint #3 is in Lansing (!!) Iowa, during "Fish Days" no less. Oh the humanity! Hoook up w/ fav coach Terri from Minn and take a group up the big climb ( about 40% 0f Jubilee). Sun comes out, temp goes up as do we. Water stop @ the top and I lose Laura to the med car (briefly). Big downhill back to BP #3 where I meet Scott, who I'll ride w/the rest of the day. Back to 2, where Laura gets in J2's sag (she rejoined us @ #3 after getting her color back). Scott and I press on - at the end but w/ 5 riders behind me. Back through Minn, there's the bridge back to Wis. Ride back almost to the finish w/ Scott, turn him lose and back to the next group. Do that 2 times and.......we're done! 240 some riders in safe, sound and smiling. $600K + raised! Quick ditch kit in the BIke Room and throw Team Tee and shorts over sweaty skin. Dinner in the big tent alonside the river. Tell them about "bikeface" from Patti B, give out Spirit (another post in itself - remind me) and Best Youbg Rider jerseys. Eat too much brisket and pie. Hang around and back in the doneness and success. Bike Room - then the bar, then a pizza w/ J2 then here to crash but not before telling y'all at least this much.

Thanks for reading, for riding, for caring, for being who you are.

Hugs - Coach Mike

Saturday, August 14, 2010

LA CROSSE, DAY TRES

Long day, good day. Too tired to report now. Tomorrow hopefully. Sorry!

MC

Friday, August 13, 2010

Behold the power of...


Just in case you're not on Facebook - some things just can not be missed:





Thursday, August 12, 2010

CHEESEHEAD CENTRAL RIDE - DAY DOS

Man - Mr's Clark's favorite son is beat! Long day - up @ 6am, unloading the truck by 7:30, Bike Room work pretty much all dang day, interspersed w/ Coach Stuff, planning for the Lake Tahoe Ride (!!!) and such. Not it's 10-fiddy here-time and there are cyber-miles to go ere I sleep.

240 riders here, plus the crew, the staff, the volunteers......all gathered here on the muggy hot banks of the Mighty Miss-a-sip to take another crack @ giving ol' Type 1 a swift kick in the junk. I met New Team Guy Justine, talked w/ Back w/ Us and West Mi Riders Forever Mike and Jamie Colgan (I believe the exact quote from Mike was " There could be a local chapter next door - we're members of the West Mi team forever") and broke bread w/ Kevin O. I also met Alan - the first ever rider to represent the Metro Detroit Chapter! Met staffer Lauren too, a real go-getter that is all about doing the Program on their end of the state. Can't help thinkin' that's a good thing.

What a blast! Hugs and familiar faces, new bikes and old ones, Barry and his weird-ass saddle, John and his funny accent, crew guys I've only ever known in this context.......the whole giant enchilada. Damn - I love it and still can't believe they let me do this!

Tomorrow I'm gonna ride early w/ Mike M and Bill Marshall, then the coach's meeting @ breakfast, the rider's meeting, the tune up ride, the other meetings they have me doing, dinner, presentations......it'll be a full on sorta day to be sure.

And then.......on Saturday.....we ride.

We ride for all the reasons ya'll know all too well.

For people we love.

For folks we've not yet met.

For ourselves and 240 other utterly valid reasons.

I get all goose-bumpy just thinkin' about it!

I'll check in w/ you guys tomorrow - there oughta be tons of pics on the Ride FB page tomorrow too!

Good night from La Crosse my friends.

MC

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

La Crosse Ride - Day 1

I did such a lousy job of keepin' y'all posted when I was in VT last month that here I am - with not all that much to say....still, I promised my-own-self that I'd do a far better job this time 'round so.......here I am!

Jeremy, John J and I (w/ help from The Hellkaat) loaded up the truck this morning about 8:30 and headed west, bound for LaCrosse Wi and Ride to Cure #2. W/ my compadre Tim St Clair suddenly unavailable I go t"promoted" to Head Coach Guy for the weeked so J2 kindly offered to fill my flip-flops in the Bike Room w/ Berger. Given that we have 240 riders headin' this-a-way I lined up Noel Kegel (of the legendary Wheel and Sprocket Kegels) to meet us here as well. The Bike Room oughta be fine.

Hotter n' Hell here....92 when we pulled in @ 5:30pm. Tomorrow we set up the Bike Room and start settin' up bikes. I need to find time to drive the route and then there'll be that welcome dinner and all that and the whole dang shebang revs up again!

Whew!

I'll drop y'all a line fillin' ya in on the proceedings as they unfold. Stay tuned!

By the way - once again as I hang w/ JDRF Nat'l types I'm struck by the level of esteem w/ which our team is held in the General JDRF Universe. Sure is easy to be proud of bein' a member of our team! I wanted to take a sec to call out the members of the Ride Committee 'cuz they've been bustin' their butts for years now and all-too-often covering mine lately!

Anyway - I wanna thank 'em and when you run across 'em @ the next ride or whatever you might wanna too!

Long time Committee guy and now Co-Coach Derek "Did" Dykstra
Current Committee Leader and past Coach Nicole Nelles
Long time Committee Leader and web-whiz Katie Clark
Long time Committee Member and Van Andel architect Cindy Aley
New this year Committee Member and $ guy Tom Miller
New this year and legal eagle JD Stone.

I'd be remiss-as-all-get-out to not call out past members John Jasker, Rob Andro & Sarah Andro as well!

Sigh - It's late, been a long day and it occurs to me that I'm virtually guaranteed to forget a name or 2. I'll fix it later.

So - keep riding, keep rising $, keep hangin' w/each other, krp caring, keep being the extra-exceptional folks you are!

See you soon.............Coach Mike

Monday, August 9, 2010

Team Ride Approacheth yet again

HiHo, did the coach here, quietly melting in the 400% humidity and thinking wistfully of the nice dry desert air... aaaaah, dry heat. So nice. Barely two months away...


Anyway, gotta keep riding, eh? So, Team Ride this Sunday, August 15! Sadly, we'll be minus Coach MC, as he'll be rolling home from the LaCrosse, Wisconsin ride - but then again, he's going to a JDRF Ride Event so my sympathy is somewhat limited.

On that note, hey, our bus driver extraordinaire Kevin Owens will be over there, as will Justin Barnaby from Ithaca, MI and our suburban Chicago father-and-daughter teammates Mike and Jamie Colgan. Someday, we will all meet the Justin and Colgans; until then, hey, they're part of the greater Us and so... propel them with your thoughts on Saturday!

So, how 'bout all y'all come riding up my way this time? How 'bout we ride from Lions Park (mappity map: http://tinyurl.com/LionsParkWhitehall) in Whitehall? We ain't never done that before! How 'bout we plan on... well, hold on a sec, here. New concept in team rides!

I have two loops. One loop is a bit shy of 41 miles, and goes South of Whitehall in to North Muskegon. It's basically flat, and pretty scenic. You'll see Lake Mich-e-coli up close.

Loop two is a bit shy of 31 miles, goes North up to New Era, and is... rolling. Now, none of the big hills are as vicious as the ones I subjected my wife too last Friday (I was the recipient of some emphatic non-verbal communication after those), and in fact are very reminiscent of Jubilee Pass in terms of grade, if not length. They're good training. Really.

So, how 'bout this: if you want to hit the hilly route, be at the start at 9:45 so we can roll out at 10 am. Note that due to this route being basically out-and-back, you could cut off some of the hills quite easily.

If you not feeling like you wanna bust an up, or if the early start doesn't work for ya, be at the start at 12:15 and we'll shoot for a 12:30 pm rollout for the 40-something Beach Route.

The two combined will be about 71.5 miles of really nice riding.

And then we'll sit around and do some noshing - not gonna grill or anything, but feel free to bring some of the usual snacks and stuff.

Clear as mud? Smart as a rock? Tight as a... not very tight thing? Contact me if you've got questions; my info will be in your email, if you don't have it already...

**********************************

NOTE CHANGED RIDE START POINT!!!!!

Goodrich Park is the site of the White Lake Maritime Festival - they'll be cleaning up from that Sunday morning, so we'll start the ride from a park basically across the street from there. Once we're done riding, Goodrich Park should be available so we can all go over there and play on the playground equipment.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

ANYONE WANNA RIDE TOMORROW?????

So - as you might be aware - we're throwing a big all day ride here @ the shop on Sunday. On the off-chance that the idea of a 200 mile ride is less than compelling I wanted y'all to know that there will be several shorter options.

Here's the scoop:

We're rolling @ 6:40am (approx, 'cuz everything about a Shut Up & Ride Club ride is "approx") to do a loop of the Holland Hundred from 2006. That'll be a somewhat different route than this year's to allevate boredom, plus we'll probably go backwards as well. So you could join us for that..or a portion thereof.

We'll be rollin' back to (or at least near) the shop sometime in the early afternoon.....hard to say exactly when 'natch....and then we're heading up to G.H. so you could climb aboard the train for that chunk as well. After we get back from G.H. (Nope - no hill repeats!) we;ll see how many miles we need and probably head out N.E. of Zeeland.

Feel free to gimme a call as we roll through the day to see when/where you might could hook up w/ us. 616-610-0334

Whether I have the pleasure of your company tomorow or not - you guys re-define "rocking" and as I head out to don my Head Coach Cap @ the LaCrosse Ride next week I promise to never forget that first, foremost and forever I'm a proud member of the West Michigan JDRF Ride Team. Y'all have a great, safe and fun training ride next Sunday - I hate like hell to miss it! - and I'll try and regale you w/ tales of Cheeseheads and all things Wisconsin-ish!

Ride on you rockstars!

Coach Mike

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wine Wednesday: Unofficial Ride Report


Last night's gathering, while not on the 'official' ride calendar, might rank up there as one of the best rides yet (If you don't believe me, go to my Facebook page and see the comments on the photos).


15 of us gathered after the ODRAM (have you registered yet?) committee meeting at Tom and Mary's house. Now...It's my understanding that Wine Wednesday (WW) started out as a little neighborhood thingy with Tom & Mary and the people on their street, then us JDRF peeps started coming too (No neighborhood people came last night. I wonder if we've scared them off?). Well, we're sure happy they invited us...15 people, 19ish miles, 40-45 mph max speeds on 7 Mile hill, lots of wine and ridiculously yummy goodies on the patio afterward. Bliss.

My favorite part was when we were chatting through our 'agenda' for the weekend in DV coming up...from the 'necessities' stop in Pahrump to when pool time happens to the date grove dinners to the warm up ride to anticipation of seeing MC in those plaid bibs to a retelling of the time I spewed mojito all over Tom & Mary... HOW many days till we get to leave?

Thanks Tom and Mary for having us. And sorry if we've scared off the neighbors.

Linda T-P
Amy F-F
Our lovely hosts Tom, Mary and Ian (no wine for you, mister)
Coach Did
Stewart
Nathen
Cindy
Chris R.
Mel
Sarah
Tom
Jeff
me

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Adding some color to the blog

Monday, August 2, 2010

RIDE REPORT FOR 8/1/10

Y'know - I kinda don't wanna post this in a way......here in BlogVille the latest post always gets top billing and I sorta hate to push Did's uber-eloquent prose down the page. (If you wanna go read it again right now it's cool - I'll wait)

However - as we all know, life (and this Team), rolls on so on Sunday we gathered down @ Teresa and Mike Howard's in Wayland to do just exactly that!

In attendance were:

Coach Did and Ultra-Special-Guest Kirsten
Cindy and Steady-Special-Guest Greg
Tom, Mary and Ian
Becky and Chris
Linda and Scott
Tom M
JD
J2 (ask him about his new dance!)
Chris R
Mike H
Queen Linda
Steve (where's my water bottle?)
Walt (aka Mr Goldfish Crackers)
Brand-New-Special-Guest Penny
and...umm.....oh yeah, me.

So - off we went, bound for points south. 'Twas an ambitious bunch w/ 90.047% of the group opting for the longer 52 mile loop while Mike H and Linda C volunteered to cut it short to get the grill ready. (Way to take one for the Team guys!)
Misdirection reared it's ugly head fairly quickly for the lead group. We chose to venture off-route and add on 5-6 miles to avoid some fresh chip-seal (this is where Did chimes in w/ "kill it with fire!!!") and to hit a Shellmart 'cuz LPT was outta peach ring gummy candy stuff to adorn her bike with. Shortly thereafter we "missed" a turn, (okay - it was gravel but still.....we missed it) and found ourselves adrift in the wilderness. Correcting that oops required a furious chase of the leaders by yours truly but 'twas soon all good and onward we went. (By the way - if Did or Cindy try to sell ya a bill of goods by claiming to be in possession of a certain voice mail from me - it's a scam!)

Careful modification of the route allowed us to not only get back to Howards w/ the correct mileage (well - most of us) but also led to a regrouping of the 2 groups for the final 8 miles or so.

Nifty, eh?

Post-ride fellowship was observed breaking out almost immediately over hot dogs, mouthwash-promoting fresh salsa, various salads, many cupcakes ("mini" too!), pies and a B-Day cake for Greg. The less said about our rendition of Happy Birthday the better I fear.

And I'm still not sure if I'm bummed or relieved that Did spared that watermelon!

Seriously - this was just exactly the perfect way to close what has been a challenging and emotional week for many of us and I thank you all for that. Those of you that showed up Sat morning for the memorial - I thank you for that as well. I know for a fact that it meant the world to Stacey @ that time of imeasurable pain.

From the heart I say again - you guys rock.

So - the next Team Ride is on 8/15. It will be hosted by none other than Coach Derek and his team of eves waaaaaaaaaay up north inMontague and is not to be missed! Alas - I might be doing just that, since Berger, DeputyBikeRoomDude J2 and I will be comin' back from the Wisconsin Ride but we'll see.

Watch your inbox for an e-mail in the coming week or so w/ all the details.

So - we are less than 2 weeks from Wisconsin and less than 10 weeks from Death Valley! How are you doing? Fund Raising on track? Letters out? Feeling good on the bike? Got'cher hydration and nutrition working? If so - GREAT! If not - let us know, okay? Coach Derek and I are always right here to help w/ any bike or fitness related issues and the entire Ride Commitee stands poised to help w/ anything else.

Also - this here TeamBlogThingy is for all of us to use - to share rides, jokes, salsa recipes - to ask questions - to share stories or tall tales that might embarrass J2 - to talk to one another about way we're doing this Grand Thing and what it means to us. I'd r-e-a-l-l-y like to see a bit more activity so if you've been holding back............and you have something you'd like to share w/ the rest of the class - speak up! If you need to get set up to post here contact Katie Clark and she'll do her thing on the keyboard and.........voila! Off you go into the Blog-o-Sphere. (Your teen aged kids will be amazed!)

I for one would like to hear what'cha have to say.

Okay - enough for a Monday morn methinks. Keep up the Good Work, keep doin' what'cher doin', keep on keepin' on.

I pretty much love you guys y'know.

And am proud to be a memebr of this team.

See you soon, be safe!

Coach MC