Monday, August 29, 2011

Ahhh, the last team ride of August

Yeah, nice, wasn't it? It was about 20 degrees cooler than it was last year, downright chilly in the morning and incredibly pleasant in the afternoon. The company for the day:

That Rob Guy
2 Clarks from Holland
2 Clarks from Grandville
2 Coury Lads
2 Dykstras
Mike H
2 Machutas
Dawn M
3 Scheidels
Brad not-fork-or-knife-er (yeah, I'll never get tired of that)
Diana S.
John VDB
Chris R
SGS/Hosts Paul & Kami W, who deserve our unending thanks for AGAIN opening up their wonderful house to the Horde of Us! The place is really beautiful, the setting, the water, the deck, the grill, the available routes to ride - you name it, this is a total highlight of the summer! Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!

So, 30 hilly miles - how'd that feel? Then 42 somewhat less hilly miles? Not too bad? Fun? Cookies? Looks to me like we did a pretty good job of following the really-important-rules that MC laid out a couple of days ago, with the staying 2 abreast, and getting good and narrow when there's a car back. Always keep that in your mind, whether you're riding alone or with a group; when you are with a group, keep communicating with each other - "I'll go ahead" or "Go ahead and pull in front of me" are things you're gonna want to be saying, hearing, and thinking, especially when we're in single-file-only Death Valley.

This weekend is Labor Day weekend, so we don't have any pre-planned team rides - but I'm pretty sure we'll have some opportunities for ya. I'll start with Monday, since that's more solid at this point - Kirsten D. and Sarah A. are doing the Honey Creek Duathlon, and we're planning to add some miles after that. The race is at 9:30 in the morning, so we figure that around noon we'll roll from Townsend Park, and do between 30 and 40 miles at a nice, easy, post-race pace. If you're interested, pester me.

We'd also like to do something on Sunday, and I'm open to ideas - anyone got any needs or wants or wishes they'd like granted (as long as they involve turnin' the cranks), again with the pestering me. If I don't hear anything by, say, Thursdayish, I'll make something up. I've got 50 to 55 miles in the back of my head, but that's just a barely-formed thought.

The next official team ride will be on September 17 from New Richmond Park in GR, and will include our making an appearance at the JDRF Walk event. How's that for cool?

Keep riding, raising, loving and rocking -


Death Valley "Extra Credit" Ride Details

Okay - this post is for those of you looking for an extra "challenge" to add some spice (and sweat!) to your Death Valley experience.

(We call this ride the "Death Valley Death March" least that's what the tee shirt says....but I didn't wanna use that in the title of this post. Besides - J2 asked me to change it)

The "D.V.D.M." (or whatever) is a ride a few of us are gonna do on Thursday, 10/13 while most folks are traveling to DV. It involves leaving Furnace Creek in the AM, riding out into the Valley, up through a curvy, hilly loop called Artist's Palette and then starting the HUGE climb up to Dante's View. The climb is a full 25 miles long, topping out w/ a 25% grade at the end. The view from the top is amazing - we'll be a vertical mile above the valley, looking down @ the road that we'll ride on Saturday.

Needless to say - the return trip is a BLAST!

We'll have some support.......Lin will meet us twice along the 70-ish mile route w/ food and fluid.

IMPORTANT!!! - This is NOT a JDRF ride in any way, shape or form. It's not authorized by JDRF, recognized by the Park Service or anyone else. This is a few folks goin' for a ride and lookin' for some o' that pain/pleasure stuff. (You know who you are!)

Reasons not to do it:

It's HARD - possibly harder than the ride on Saturday. I'd hate to see anyone screw up the "real" Ride by blowing themselves out on Thursday! (For the record - the 5 of us that did it last year all had good rides on Saturday...jus' sayin')

The logistics are a pain - we'll have the bikes there by then, no sweat. But - you'll need a place to sleep on Wed night...on your dime...... and you'll hafta make the arrangements.

So - if you have any doubts at all in your ability to push yourself on Thursday, recover on Friday and ride at your best on Saturday.......this might not be your ride. (Make that "is not"!)

If you are still reading...and interested/intrigued - let me know that you're in ( and we'll chat!

Ride on you RockStars!

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Reminder, a Plea, a Warning even....

This conversation is probably overdue and for that I apologize. But it's been on my mind and I kinda want it to be on yours as we wrap up the summer and head into Fall and all that promises.....

I've attended two 2011 Rides already - and from the driver's seat of a SAG wagon I've seen the same issue in VT and WI. Namely - JDRF riders (and , sadly, coaches) violating the single-file rule and blocking the road.

I see it on team rides too, not to mention the shop rides, club rides and pretty much every dang ride I do.

But - when it comes to the Tahoe Ride, or Death Valley, or Tucson (but especially DV) here's why it matters so much, why you're gonna hear WAY more about it that you have in the past (trust me!!) and why Coach Derek and I are gonna be beating this drum @ every training ride from here on out:

We can't afford the $5,000,000 rider!

What (or who) is that, you ask?

That's the rider that causes the Ride Program to go away. Shut down. Disappear. We're gonna raise 5 mil + this year & that's a lotta money to spend on research so that your friends and mine won't hafta deal w/ diabetes!

The rider that gets themselves seriously injured or even worse (shudder!) could be that rider.

The rider that wears out our welcome in DV...or on the streets of Burlington, or the country roads of MN or Iowa could be that rider too.

And that'd be a damn shame!

So - when we ask you to ride legal (which means no more than 2 abreast!) that's the reason.
And when you get to Death Valley (or any Ride venue) and Tim or I plead w/ everyone from the microphone @ dinner or the pre-ride meeting to ride single file...that's why.

For the first time in the Program's history we got a complaint from the authorities...the MN State Police contacted us about the conduct of our riders during the La Crosse Ride. And this was after Tim had pleaded w/ the coaches and riders the day before to stay single file and share the road!

Disappointing to say the least.

So - that was the reminder and plea section.......this is the warning portion of this note: Based on the level of frustration amongst the Nat'l Ride Staff and the Head Coaches I won't be at all surprised if someone gets pulled from a Ride this year. I got a decent amount of backtalk from riders AND coaches in La Crosse as I tried to get folks to move over and behave themselves and that didn't go over very well when I shared that fact w/ Trish, Aly and Tim after the Ride.

So - I'll be preaching this gospel at every Team Ride from now on and I apologize to those of you that "get it" & don't need to hear it.

Please be safe and keep riding and being the Rock Stars that you are!

And thanks for listening..................Coach Mike

Monday, August 22, 2011

This Week in Preview

We're "fresh" off ODRAM (and, for a select trio, MARDO), but we have a HUGE week upon us so no rest for the weary!

WEDNESDAY! We need you to come to the Grattan Raceway (mappity map map), because it's JDRF night! We are the sponsoring group for the bicycle races, which means we are handling the organization and prizes for the night. We need people to help with registration, prize handling, lap counting, and final placing, AND we need prizes! MC and VCC are going to provide some merchandise, but we need more "primes" (that's "preems" as in "premiums") to award folks at intermediate times. The traditional thing is baked goods - cookies, pies, cupcakes, bread, etc. - but we're open to pretty much anything.

So, for working OR for providing primes & prizes, please get in touch with me ( and let me know.

We would also love to have you race! Wha? Race? Of course! We have a "C" division that pretty much anyone can ride. The track is amazing to ride on - wide, smooth, wonderful fast corners, and a grippy surface. It's 1.8 miles around the track; the C racers will go 3 laps, so it's all of 5.4 miles. It's an experience unlike anything you've otherwise done! If you can come race, wear your Pink Peloton jersey, assuming you've got one...

Here's the schedule for the evening:

registration opens at 5:30
track opens to riders for warmup at 6:00
Tandem race (3 laps) will start at 6:30
C race (3 laps) will start 1 minute after the tandems (at 6:31)
A race (20 laps) will start at 6:50
B race (15 laps) will start 1 minute after the A race.

It's $10 for a tandem, $5 for C (or to just ride on the track during the warmup time), $15 for A or B racers.

This SUNDAY we will have a repeat of the really awesome Barlow Lake ride that we did last year, thanks to Linda T-P. Rollout time will be 9 AM sharp for the 30-something mile first loop, and 11:45 AM for the 40-something mile second loop. Post ride we'll have... FOOD! and a LAKE! and more FOOD! and US! Further details will be emailed later this week.

Until then,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Impromptu Team Ride

For those not riding in the ODRAM on Saturday (or those that do and want even more mileage) we are putting together an unofficial team ride on Sunday. Ride leaves at 1:00 from Tom and Mary's house in Rockford (email us if you need directions). We'll do about 50 miles and then grill out on the patio afterwards. Sort of like a Wine Wednesday ride, but we'll call this one Sangria Sunday. Bring whatever and whoever you want. This will be casual, one loop, with a shower or hose option at the end. Please let us know if you are planning to attend.
Ride On.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August already?!?!

August - it's hot, for the most part. Mercifully, my lawn has settled down and doesn't need to be mowed every weekend (not that I do that). Back to School ads are in full cry, and... well, it's the height of riding season in West Michigan!

Bend your thoughts towards Wisconsin, as tomorrow MC and Berger drive West to La Crosse to do the Bike Room/BikeFace thing at the second ride event of the year. On Saturday, Dan Ensing will be doing his first JDRF ride, along with veterans Chris and Julie Radford - folks, I wish you lots and lots of goosebump moments! For the rest of us, follow the #bikeface hashtag on Twitter for live updates from the event, and start building up your goosebump muscles...

So, I owe ya a ride report! This past Sunday we planned an official 70ish mile total, but ACTW Kirsten wanted to get in a good century before doing the One Day Ride Across Michigan on the 20th so a few hardy wheels started off from Townsend Park with a 32-mile Loop Zero. The day's roll call:

Cindy A.
Sarah A.
Linda C.
Past rider Jeff H.
Mike H, once again rockin' the trike
Tom M.
Stewart M.
Jason S.
El Kaato Diablo
John VDB
and Chris R, gettin' in a last one before heading for the the Cheddar Curtain.

For the century folks - my usual mapping site claims 6,223 feet of climbing. I'm inclined to believe it. If any of you want to work on your climbing legs, the Townsend Park area is a fine place to do so!

Special thanks go to Jason, for being our host for the day and providing some most excellent post-ride grilled chicken sandwiches. Y'know, I remember when after a ride everyone just went home - I like this better!

Now, we had two more folks along for the ride (har) as well - first off, we had SGS Molly P, who many of us met at the Allegrina 100, and who also rode with Stacey Orsted and Sarah Andro in the ALS ride in June. I was bummed to find out that Molly's moving back to Boston shortly - we ALMOST had her fully ensnared in our warm, fuzzy tentacles, but, life happens, so we wish ya well, and we hope to see you again! I would have to guess that Molly going to Death Valley would result in some additions to this gallery...

Our other Special Guest Star... y'know what? I ain't gonna tell you the story, because it's closing in on mythological status. But, if you've been hanging out on the Book of Faces, you've perhaps noticed a flood of people doin' the Friend thing with one Lindsey Stacy. If you haven't done so already, join that flood, because, yeah. Lindsey did her first group ride ever on Sunday. And her first century. Lindsey's been riding for about two months. And she finished with pure BikeFace.

Next team ride is August 28 - we'll be repeating that way-cool ride we did from Barlow Lake last year. More info will be forthcoming. Until then, ride lots and raise lots, and, of course, rock lots!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Team Ride This Sunday!!!!

Hey y'all!

Well - Ride to Cure #1 is in the books AND solidly in the win column as 144 riders rasied over 550,000 more reasons that Type 1's goose is cooked! I can tell ya more about iot this weekend 'cuz we gotta ride to do!

I know the info's on FaceBook, but not everybody hangs out there as much as the Dykstras do...(actually no one does!) so here's the straight scoop:

Where - Townsend Park in Cannonsburg Township
When - 1st ride @ 10am / 2nd ride @ 1:00pm
What - 1st ride 30-ish miles / 2nd ride 40-ish miles.
Who - hosted by Jason Sigal
Why - well - if yagotta ask.......Death Valley is 10 weeks away!!!!!!!!!!!!

More stuff - Chef Jason's gonna be grillin' chicken sandwiches after loop 2. (yum!) Please let him know you're coming either via FB or by calling him @ 847-971-3369 so he has food for you! Feel free to bring anything else you think sounds yummy.

Optional century variation - Did, Kirsten, Kaat & myself are meeting there @ 7:30 to add on another loop - feel free to join us!

That's all for now......hoping to see you this weekend, either @ Van Andel or the ride. (Cindy still needs folks @ VA - jus' sayin'!)

Keep rocking like only you know how!
Coach Mike