Friday, October 29, 2010


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 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. 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.


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.