Monday, December 17, 2012

WHY I WORK @ VAN ANDEL (In case you were curious)

As we head into winter (once referred to quaintly as the "off season") I've already seen evidence that as a Team we're at risk of letting a great fund-raising opportunity slip through our fingers.

And that would be a shame!

Over the past 5 (?) seasons working the concession stands @ The Van Andel Arena in downtown GR has been a Godsend - and the primary if not only source of $ for a goodly # of our riders.

"Working VA" offers up some other perks as well.......and as someone that is no longer required to raise money (shhhh!) I thought maybe I'd entertain you for a few minutes as to why I'm there 3-4 times a month all winter:

#1 - Show Me The Money! - Let's not beat around the bush some point this whole project is about raising dough, yes? The fact is that by crankin' some nachos or $1 beers @ VA you 'll be compensated to the tune of $10-$12 an hour. (It varies) That go right into your Ride Account, no muss, no fuss. And here's the real hot set up - this is a great way for your friends and fam to help you out! Maybe your sister can't stroke you a big check every season - but maybe she can work VA w/ you? Now you've doubled your $, just like that. (Bring more workers - make more coin. Pretty simple, huh?)

#2 - You Get to Hang w/cher Teammies - This is my fav reason! Let's face it - not all of us are gonna ride all Winter - inside or out - and I'd hate to go all wi9nter not seeing as many of your smilin' faces as I can. The camaraderie (and potential pre and post shift social opportunities) more than make up for the sweat and the grease!

#3 - It's Kinda a Weird Kinda Way - I gotta 'fess up here.....I kinda like it. The people watching is off-the-hook and there's just enough food service in my past and my DNA that I actually dig it. Usually. (And besides - as I may have mentioned - I get to hang wit'choo guys!)

#4 - You Occasionally Get To Hear Good Bands (for free!) - Okay....not gonna lie...for a Dedicated Music Snob such as yours truly...that's kind of a stretch. (Mark Knoffler was awesome last month though when he opened for Dylan) but could happen! They get quite a few Honest To Goodness Big Names there - and although you can't see 'em you can for dang sure hear'em just fine!

That about sums it up (plus I reckon I've reached the end of your attention span / tolerance / interest!)

I hate to see Cindy struggling every week to fill the spots they've allotted for us and it'd be a HUGE DRAG for some of your team mates if we lost this method of fund raising.

So - give it a try if you've not done so. Maybe try it again if it's been awhile (there have been some positive changes!). Feel free to ask me or one of the other regulars (Cindy, Tom Miller, LTP, Mike Howard) for the scoop and a few tips about where to park, what to wear, how to get in, etc and think about joining us.

Did I mention the free "food"?

You guys rock - have I ever told you that?

Have a wonderful and safe holiday and ride on!

Coach MC

Saturday, December 8, 2012


So - one of the hottest topics every winter (no - it's not "How long will Katie wait to get on her bike?") is that ever popular party game "Where We Gonna Ride This Year?" In the interest of furthering the conversation, stimulating the discussion, fuelin' the fire n' fannin' the's what I have to offer on the topic:

(and I'm gonna try and keep it simple and [somewhat] brief).....

Burlinton VT -  July 25-28. 4th year venue. 1600' of elevation gain. Low point approx 100' / high point 500'. Mostly 2 lane country roads. Nice route out along Lake Champlan. Nice hotel and way-cool granola-y college town. Out and back ride.

La Crosse Wi - August 15-18. 4th year venue. 1920' of elevation gain. Low point approx 700' / high point approx 1175'. Mostly 2 lane country roads in Wi, Mn and Io. No climbing if you don't do the century. Route travels alongside the Mississippi River. Mixed reviews on the hotels (there are several) and the convention center is slightly seedy. Semi-grubby and "blue collar" downtown w/ TONS of bars. Out and back ride.

Lake Tahoe Ca - Sept 6-9. 3rd year venue. 2800' of elevation gain. Low of 6300' / high of 7100'. No century option - routes of 36 or 72 miles. 2 lane roads w/ fairly high traffic on the 1st half , wider roads on the back side. Gorgeous scenery (the lake is within view 80% of the time). Hotel is sweet (Embassy Suites, har!) and the town is way cool in a California Dreamin' kinda way. Good restaurants and brew pubs, etc. (As long as you stay on the Ca. side of the state line! Loop ride - and a "piggy-back" ride (we are part of the Tour of Tahoe - 1900+ riders)

Nashville Tn - Sept 19-22. New ride! 4420' of elevation gain. (Yep, most by far!) Low of approx 450" / high of approx 1050'. At this point I haven't seen or ridden the route (that might change in Jan) so I have no wisdom to offer as to the roads or the route. Or the hotel for that matter. Or the town. Stay tuned!!!!! Out and back ride.

Death Vallley Ca - Oct 17-20. The original JDRF Ride, 14 years? 2670' of elevation gain. Low of -280" / high of 1270'. HOT! All 2-lane roads w/ minimal (but sorta high-speed) traffic. Significant climb up to the turn-around, otherwise roll-y at best. (worst?) Hotel is okay in a "college dorm room" sorta way. The Furnace Creek Ranch is kinda cool, certainly unique and isolated. No good restaurant options or "town" nearby. (Great pool though!) Most challenging Ride- usually by a significant margin - due to the weather. (Did I mention that it's hot?)  Out and back ride.

Tucson Az - Nov 21-24. 5th year venue. 2290' of elevation gain. Low of approx 2100" / high of 3074'. Route includes some truly CRAPPY roads (as well as 2 "hike-a-bike" sections. Everything from back road to city streets. Hotel is off-the-hook sweet - best place I've ever stayed in. Food is awesome. Hotel is a 20 minute drive from town. Great time of the year to be there and not here. Piggy-back ride w/ 'el Tour de Tucson and lots of logistical complications. 8500+ riders. Route options of 42, 65, 85 and 111 miles. Loop ride.

So - there ya have it, as devoid of editorial comment as I am capable of. Please feel free to ask me anything about any of these Ride venues - w/ the exception of Nashville I've ridden, coached and crewed at all of 'em.

Dang! Now I'm ALL SORTS OF FIRED UP AGAIN! Can we go now, can we, can we, huh, huh?

Stay in touch, see you soon, have a fantastic Holiday if I'm not lucky enough to see you before then!

Coach MC

Friday, December 7, 2012

2012 / WRAP UP / 2013 KICK OFF......WHATEVER!!

Hey y'all!

So - as hard as is it for me to fathom...another season of JDRF-ed-ness is drawing to a close. Man, when I think back.....

The Ultimate Cycle Challenge in February,
Outdoor Training rides starting in April, as well as DuneCross and Jake's Music Fest,
The craziness of the Hope on 2 Wheels Ride in June,
Burlington in July,
La Crosse in August,
ODRAM too!
Lake Tahoe in September,
Death Valley in October,
Tucson in November,
and our freakin' awesome party in December!!!!!! (just last week in fact)

And woven in, around and between alla that stuff all those training rides, and nights @ Van Andel and golf outings and trail rides and flat tires and (sadly) busted body parts, and laughter and tears and meetings and (for our T1D folks in particular) the highs and lows* of another great season.

*no pun intended

Dang - makes me kinda goose-bumpy to just sit here and ponder alla that for a sec..........whew!

We had our last meeting of the 2012 Ride Committee this morning. I wanna thank (again and again and again) Nicole for herding the cats for the last buncha years and we all wish her nothin' but tailwinds and downhills as she finishes her long pull on the front and sits in for awhile. The committee is super excited to welcome Rookie of the Year Michelle Carpenter and JDRF Regional Endurance Program Big Cheese Kim Monk (who's also gonna ride w/ us!) to the RC Breakfast Table joining current-and-unable-to-think-up-a-good-excuse continuing members Cindy "Van Andel Queen" Aley, Becky "I wanted to be the Chair but settled for Secretary" Machuta, Cathy "the real boss" Coury, Rob "I can't believe I missed Death Valley" Andro, Katie "Web Mistress" Clark, Derek "Coach Did" Dykstra and my-own-self.

The Ride Commitee is ready-to-rock, that's all I'm sayin'.

For those of you that had to miss the party - we missed you too! We had 50+ people there, we ate wings and chips-n-salsa and cupcakes and such. We watched an awesome video (courtesy of Tom Scheidel) and we talked about 2012 - both from a Chapter (Top $ Team in Tahoe, White Jersey Winner Nick C there too) and National (5.2 million dollars raised, best year ever, most money ever, most riders ever!) standpoint.

We also handed out the 2012 Team Awards - custom Road ID bracelets - and they went like-so:

Top Fund-Raiser : John Jasker
Rookie of the Year : Michelle Carpenter
Comeback Rider, Death Valley : Dave "Ninja" Berkimer
Comeback Rider, Lake Tahoe : Ross Schueller
Longest Pull Award : John Jasker  (From 2013 on this award - basically a "Team MVP"- will be known as the "Jasker Award"
Ride Committee MVP - Nicole Lewis

Then we talked about 2013 - where to ride, who's gonna ride, etc. We had a buncha potential new riders there (mucho exciting) and I'm 100% convinced that 2013's gonna rock SO hard that T1D ain't never gonna know what hit it!

So - stay tuned. Lots of stuff comin' around the bend soon. We're gonna keep it in the big ring alllll winter long - training (if you're into that sort of thing), fund-raising, scheming about MORE fund-raising, hangin' out, gettin' together and alla that stuff that helps make this The World's Coolest Team.

Soon - like this week - I'll post what I've learned about the Nashville Ride route - as well as a quick synopsis of the other venues as well - so we'll be ready to get things started as soon as they open Registration (which oughta be soon after the New Year)

Until then.........................ride on!

Coach MC

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Hey Gang - long time no post, here, but the season's not over by a long shot! It could be argued that it never ends, but that's kind of a point of view thing like Obi-Wan Kenobi said.

But, I digress. There's a KissCross race this Sunday at Caledonia Lakeside Park (click that for a map), with races at 11 am, noon, and 1 pm. A fair number of us will be racing (and there's gonna be post-race beer and lasagna for racers!), then at 2:30 we and anyone who wants to join us will roll out for about 30 miles on the road - it's a great cooldown from the racing, and chance to do the togetherness thing before a dozen of us head to Death Valley in a couple of weeks.


Team Ride roll time - 2:30 pm
Location: Caledonia Lakeside Park
Distance - roughly 30 miles

Sound good? I think so!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Team Ride number Just After Tahoe

Yeah, hey, let's re-assemble so the new Tahoe veterans can fire up the DV folks, eh?

Team Ride THIS Sunday, September 16, from Case Drive SW in Grandville (I guess we didn't decide if the Machutas or the Clarks were hosting, but seeing as they live across the street from each other it probably doesn't really matter).

Rollout time is NOON, or as soon as we recover our composure after telling some first Tahoe stories.

We're going to ride the standard Clark Loop a couple of times, so you'll be able to go anywhere from 17 to 58 miles. Cool, eh? We'll have plenty of time to talk about the various shades of blue in Lake Tahoe.

Post-ride, we'll gush about Tahoe some more, over chips&salsa and stuff like that.

Sound good? Look for the invite on Facebook, and the usual email...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Last weekend and the weekend after next

Attention World's Coolest Team! Let's all band our hands together for the awesomeness that was our last team ride - right AFTER we re-read MC's notes about Tahoe.

Got it? Got shivers runnin' up and down your spine? Oh yeah.

OK! So, Saturday's roll call:
Cindy A
Patti B as in BikeFace
Clarks K, L, M, and S
Team Coury
Lori H who dang I hope rides with us next year
J2, aka Medium Jasker
Cliff & Nic
Becky M
Tom, Packer of Bikes
Team Scheidel
Bionic Diana
Michelle C
Hostess LTP
Host Paul W & son (who's name I failed miserably to catch, but rode the first loop on a beeftastic mountain bike so NO COMPLAINING!
and giddy diddy. Sorry about my productivity, there, Uncle Herman, though you should expect it by now.

Massive thanks go to the Weningers for again opening up their fantastic place to us, and for watching our various kids, and for the food and the lake and the lake and the food! This is another one of those really big deal highlight super-duper training rides that we like to talk up on the coaches conference calls. It's a highlight of the summer!

Ooooh, just had another Tahoe shiver. Mmmmm.

More thoughts and info will no doubt be coming your way in the next week, so keep your eyes and ears peeled!

Monday, August 27, 2012


Hey Tahoe Team - here's a few thoughts from yer ol' Coach that might make your time in Lake Tahoe better..........

First off - please make sure your bike shipping is under control! Gold Riders that haven't made arrangements to get their bikes to the JDRF Chapter Office by this Wednesday need to contact me asap! Silver/Bronze riders that haven't firmed up their bike shipping plans need to do so - and contact Coach Did if you need help!

The route is 72 miles around "Big Blue" (as the locals refer to Lake Tahoe). There's about 2600' of vertical gain - most of which happens @ about Mile 13 (the 800" switchback climb up over Emerald Bay) and Mile 53 (the 1000' grinder up to Spooner Junction*).  The elevation is between 6300' & 7100' so that can be an issue as well. The roads surface is mostly good.

The 1st 20-some miles (after we leave the main road thru S Lake Tahoe and head north) is 2 lane w/ minimal shoulder and lotsa curves and ups and downs. Traffic is fairly thick so single-file/ defensive riding will be critical!

I'd recommend that you pack for chilly weather at the start. We ARE gonna be @ 6300' feet & the forecast for this weekend calls for lows in the 40's. That would jibe w/ the last couple of years I was there. Full-finger gloves, arm and knee warmers and even a jacket or vest would be pretty nice to have! (You'll be able to drop 'em @ a food stop w/ a JDRF staffer)

Speakin' of food stops - my recollection is that they are plenty good! Boiled potatoes! Strawberries! Keep in mind that we will be 145 of 2000+ riders so the roads, porta-john lines and fodd stops will be "buzzier" than you've seen at "JDRF-only" Rides.

The hotel (Embassy Suites) is not only plenty nice - but on the right side of the dreaded Ca/Nev line. (Okay - there might be just a smidge of my hatred for All Things Casino peeking through there). The town has tons of cool lil' shops, pubs, cafes etc. I DO recommend takin' the tram ride up to the top of the mountain - although there's likely better ways to spend 20 bux than on a burger and fires @ the restaurant up top.

Okay - I think that about covers it. I hope Lake Tahoe is ready for us!

By the way - didja know that as a team we are only $485.63 away from first place in the Chapter Fund-Raising?!?!?!? Let's kick it into gear and catch them cheeseheads!!!!!!!!!

Okay - see ya'll in S.L.T. next week if not before!

You guys are the best (our entire team that is!), you know that, right?

Coach MC

Our Coachs will go the extra mile for the team

Mike Clark and Derek Dykstra, the West Michigan team coaches, will do whatever it takes to make sure our team members are trained and ready for the big JDRF rides. Here's a photo from yesterday that proves the point. Linda has her feet up enjoying the ride on the back of MC's tandem. Mike didn't complain, he was just happy that LTP was getting some miles in.

LTP says "I hope Lake Tahoe is this easy."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Whole lotta stuff going on!

Hey, whoa, hey there now! This week is dangerously close to getting away from me, here!

First off, we had a redonkulously good time doing the Pando relay race last Saturday, and we've got a couple of notables to report. First off, and Lindsey S. and mine-own-Kirsten both did their first ever mountain bike races (and Lindsey was doing her first ever mountain bike ride on a bike she'd never seen before!). Kirsten and JD Stone teamed up to do the 6 hour race, but K ended up doing the bulk of the lapping herself after JD's chain did a fair impression of a genade after only a lap and a half, and actually finished with her most miles ever on a mountain bike and the bruises to prove it!

Lindsey was joined by Tom Miller, Roy Logan, and John Jasker for the JDRF 12 hour team, and pulled off 23 hard-fought laps for 3rd place in their division. And, finally, Patti "bikeface" Bills, Jan Toscano (of the cookies at VeloCity), Coach MC, and li'l ol' me staged a come-from-behind victory in our "Open Veterans" division, somehow pulling off 30 laps in only 9 minutes less time than the second place team. More importantly, organizer Brett Walk was giving JDRF all kinds of love over the PA system, and I think we even got a few donations!

We really, really need to do that again next year, big time - we need multiple 12 hour teams. It's just batty fun; my throat was kinda raw the next day from all the screaming, and maybe a little from the gasping for breath after riding up the tubing hill. And maybe from barking at the deer that appeared on the trail ahead of me in the twilight. Big thanks to those who came out to watch - Tom and Ian, the whole Grandville Clark clan, and the long-suffering Didlet - and especially to the Nearly Healed HellKaat, who stayed until the bitter end!

THEN, Sunday, Paul Brown opened up his really, really cool house to me, Kirsten, MC & Lin, Heather A, Michelle C, Katie & Steve C (along with Ellie & Anna riding 15 miles!), Chris & Becky M, Paul and Nick C, Tom, Mary, & Ian S, JD Stone, and the irrepressible Linda TP; we rode some new-to-us roads east of Saranac and through the Ionia state recreation area.

Fast-forward through the blah blah blah of the work week - we had the LaCrosse ride on Saturday; MC will no doubt have a report in the works, but with over 400 riders and over a million dollars raised, it was a smashing success. At precisely the same time, the One Day Ride Across Michigan sported some 275 people rolling from Montague to Bay City; we don't have numbers yet, but with more than double the people we had last year, and people buying jerseys, and people raising hundreds of dollars to earn a jersey, and nothing but positive comments rolling in, it's safe to say it was a smashing success! Rolling across the state were our own Roy L, Kaat, Lindsey, Jasker, Michelle C, Heather A, and mine own Kirsten.

Now, we're in the home stretch for the Tahoe riders; our last pre-Tahoe team ride is this coming Sunday. we'll have a separate blog post and Facebook event and email for the details, but please, if you're going to Tahoe, try to make that ride. We're going to have a lot of information coming for you, so make sure you read everything carefully.

It's gonna be great!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tahoe Tales.....

Hey Team!

Man - even as we load the van for La Crosse (435 riders = a TON o' Bike Room Stuff!) I'm wonderin' if anyone is gettin' pumped for Tahoe?

Nice article in this weekend's USA Today about just exactly that place..........worth reading but here are a few quotes:

"This noble sheet of blue water is so clear the boat seems to be floating in air" and the air "bracing and delicious...the same the angles breathe."  Thus spake an enamored Mark Twain after his first visit.

"I call it the "Big Blue Pill" because it cures whatever ails you" Tahoe City local Todd Smith.  "I live in the most beautiful place on Earth". (Now - I don't know about that - there's a deplorable lack of desert for instance - but everyone's entitled to their opinion!)

Twain again, in his 1862 travelogue "Roughing It"..."As Tahoe lay there w/ the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface, I thought ift must surely be the fairest picture the whole Earth affords."

Well then - perhaps we shoud go see for ourselves then, eh?

Feel free to make the trip out to the Pando Ski Area in Belding on Saturday - Coach Did, Lindsay, Tom, Roy, John J, Pea, JD, Kirsten and lil' ol' me will be representin' & racin' the 6 or 12 Hours of Pando. The "fun" commences @ noon and goes to (strangely enough) either 6pm (JD & Kirsten) or midnight. Feel free to bring cowbells, pizza, cookies etc and cheer us on for a lap or three! (The "relay team" format of the event means that at any given time there'll be lotsa of folks you know hanging out)

And don't forget the Team Ride on Sunday! I sure hope to see you there!

Okay - Coach MC, over n' out!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Wow, what a fine day!
The first Team Ride of August was a good'n and for those of you that couldn't join us.....we missed you!

6 riders convened for the early "Loop Zero" option - lookin' to tack on an early 30 in search of a century - Coach Did, Kirsten, Michelle "These Boots Are Made For Ridin' " Carpenter, Lindsay "Happy Anniversary" Stacy, Kaat "I'm Baack And I'm Baad" Taahy and yours truly rolled out @ 8am to check the wind (there was some - but not nearly as much as there would be later!) and got back to the park About 10:30.

There we lost Michelle - her summer cold got the better of her - and added Paul Brown, Team Scheidel & Cindy. This time we went north - up around Cedar Springs (ICE CREAM STOP #1!!!), Sand Lake, etc. We blessed a bit of the White Pine Trail w/ our presence, climbed a lotta rollers, kicked Fisk Knob in the teeth and in general handed out some booty-kicking. The weather was perfect - especially after the steambath we've been livin' in - but there WAS a bit o' wind outta the West/Northwest to contend with.

And contend with it we did!

1:45 or so saw us back @ Long Lake Park - where we added the irrepressable LTP, John "It's not purple, it's eggplant!' Jasker & the ever-popular Linda Jo. After re-fueling on diet root beer, RC, watermelon, chips 'n salsa, peanut butter cookies and giant mutant raspberries - and a bout of "who's ridin' what tandem?" we rolled again - this time lookin' for 40 miles and the promise of more ice cream.

By mile 15 or so the endless rolling hills and stiff headwind was havin' some of us re-thinking our day. At the ice cream joint in Cedar Springs (ICE CREAM STOP #2!!!) we split into 2 groups - one heading directly back to the park (and equally directly into the wind) and the rest grabbin' the WPT again up to Sand Lake, back up n' over Fisk Knob from the other side and finishing up by riding much of the race course from the March TT.

Soon thereafter we were "reunited and it felt so good." Back at the park we commandeered the best picnic table down near the lake (yep - there's a lake at Long Lake Park - who woulda figgered?!?!) and more snacking and feasting commmenced.

All in all - 'twas a dang fine day!

Next Team Ride is Sunday, 8/12 from Paul's place in Ada. 'Tween now and then we also have the 12 Hours of Pando ATB race/party on Saturday the 11th. Details on both to follow!

Remember - we have 2 riders (Laura Brandt and Paul Brown) leaving for the La Crosse Ride next week! Keep 'em in your thoughts!

Also - ODRAM is comin' up fast! Saturday the 18th to be egg-zact!

And - Tahoe have a month before your Ride! You gonna be ready?

Let's finish this season strong, huh? Let's show T1D what a loser it's gonna be for messin' w/ the World's Coolest Team and show the rest of the JDRF Universe just how cool we are!

You guys rock, have I mentioned that lately?

Coach EmSi

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Team Ride Details for Sunday, August 5

Start Location: Long Lake Park on Krauskopf Drive - map here:

2 loops, 2 start times, plus more if ya want it:

Loop 1, 30 or so miles, rolling out at 11 am
Loop 2, 40 or so miles, rolling out at 2:15 pm

Early morning "gotta getta century" Loop Zero: 8am rollout time for 30ish miles.

Post ride snacks and hangin' out time, naturally! And there's a nice lake to jump in, so bring your suit (or swim in your kit, or whatever - there are bathrooms there you can change clothes in).

See ya Sunday!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A note about what we do

A few years ago I was at dinner before one of the JDRF rides. We had made our way from Michigan out to Death Valley. The 100 mile ride through the desert would start early the next morning. A variety of people spoke that evening. They talked about how much money we had collectively raised. They told us to be safe out on the road. And they gave awards to the top fundraisers and recruiters. One speaker, unfortunately I don't remember who it was, said something that has stayed with me ever since. He said "What you're doing here is important. You never know whose life you are going to impact." That lesson was made very clear this week.

Every year, as part of our fundraising, we send out a donation request letter to our friends and family. One year we also put a notice in our church bulletin. That year we received a donation from a woman from church. We knew who she was, but she was barely an acquaintance. She was one of those people you say hello to every week, but it doesn't really go any farther than that. In subsequent years we would send her a letter and she was always one of the first to send a donation. And every year the amount of the donation grew. We were perplexed. Why was this woman being so generous to the cause? Yesterday we found out. Included with her check was a note card that said this: "Best of luck with this year's ride. Appreciate your commitment to JDRF. It was 25 years this summer that I lost a sister to J.D. She died at the age of 34. God bless. Mary Ellen" You never know whose life you are going to impact.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Team Ride This Sunday!

Har. If you’d like to smack me for saying that, might I suggest you come to our next TEAM RIDE?
This SUNDAY, April JULY 22, we’ll roll out at 10am from Grand River Riverfront Park near Lowell – map is here: We pass this park all the time when we ride from Ada Park, so it’s nice and easy to get to. We’ll ride about 56 miles with some shortcuts available, and then Lori Huver has offered up her house for some of the usual post-ride hangin’ out and eatin’! Her place is just down the road from the park; we’ll have directions to her house at the park for those who show up to ride, or if you can only make it to the post-ride festivities get in touch with me and we’ll get you there.

So, deets:
  • ·         Sunday,  April JULY 22, 10am rollout time (be there early, please!)
  • ·         Rolling from Grand River Riverfront Park, here:
  • ·         Up to 56 miles, some hills (but we’re not going up Snow, so don't freak out!)
  • ·         Post-ride eats! Bring a dish to pass and something to sit on
  • ·         PLEASE RSVP by Friday, July 20!

Hope to see you this Sunday –

Y’all rock!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tour de Taco - in the bag!

Ahoyhoy, rockerinos!

Interestingly, the "rockerino" is a force-carrying particle predicted by the Standard Model of physics, like that Higgs boson everyone's all twitterpated about. The rockerino, however, is responsible for awesomeness.

Clearly our rockerino field is unusually strong.

OK, nerding out aside, we had a fantastic ride this past Sunday - many thanks to Coach Mike and Linda for opening up their house and yard, and to John Jasker for providing us with the flat tire demo that we neglected to do before rolling out.

In attendance:
Vern VH

Lori H
Tom & Donna
Heather & Brian
UberStoker Kaat
Heather A.
(Hmm. Both of our Heathers are "Heather A's". Interesting.)
MC & Lin
did & K
Nicole & Cliff
Paul B
Perpetual New Guy Rob A.
Chris & Becky
JD & Maggie

And we were joined by Tom & Mary and Diana S after the ride to help us with the chicken taco preparation and consumption, while House Canines Max and Jasmine provided numerous sweaty leg licks and longing stares at overflowing plates of food. Much hangin' out goodness was had, much love was felt!

This coming weekend, bend your thoughts eastward to Burlington, Vermont as Ride to Cure Season kicks off! I believe I saw that the Vermont ride was sitting well north of $800,000 raised - how kickass is that? It's worth noting that, while the BikeFace is certainly strong with us, ultimately it's about that number with the dollar sign in front of it. That's the number that lets JDRF fund research, and that research has made remarkable strides even in the last few years - improved insulin pumps, continuous glucose meters, and greater understanding of what causes this disease are making lives better, and bringing a cure into sight.

And that's what we're here for.

Next team ride will be July 22, most likely in the Grand Rapids area - watch this space for details. Thanks, y'all!

Friday, June 29, 2012

The XS is here! The XS is here!

A pallet of XS Energy Drink overtakes Team Scheidel's garage.
Yes, the XS Energy is here. Please help get it out of my garage. As many of you know XS Energy Drink has been a sponsor of the West Michigan Ride Team since our first year in 2005. They donate a pallet of energy drinks (222 cases) that team members can sell. All proceeds from the sales go to the ride account of the person who sells it. An easy and tasty way to make money toward your goal.

XS is not like most energy drinks that rely on sugar and lots of caffeine for their boost. XS has no sugar and is loaded with B vitamins.  Click here for more detailed info. We have several flavors to choose from. They all come in 12 can cases. Some flavors are in 8 ounce cans and some are in 12 ounce cans. The 8 oz. cases sell for $20, the 12 oz. cases sell for $25. Remember 100% of what you sell them for goes to your ride account.

Cranberry-Grape - 8 oz.
Citrus - 8 oz.
Tropical - 8 oz.
Wild Berry - 8 oz.
Cherry - 8 oz.
Electric Lemon - 8 oz.
Black Cherry Cola - 8 oz.
Root Beer - 8 oz.
Cola - 8 oz.
Naranja (Orange) - 12 oz.
Summit Blast - 12 oz.
Classic Blast - 12 oz.
Variety Pack - 8 oz.

If you want to help me clean out my garage and make some money toward your ride goal, give me a call or send an email and we'll arrange getting you as many cases as you want.

Thank you once again to XS Energy Drinks for your continuing support.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fractional Team Rides

No, not fractious team team rides! These are drop-ins in the schedule to give you more chances to see the rest of the cool kids.

First off, this Sunday, July 1, we'll ride from Townsend Park in Cannonsburg, 11am rollout time. Figure on a 45-50 mile distance, hopefully with a shortcut. MC's outta town (I think the guy should get a timeshare in Utah, as often as he's there), so you'll have to make due with one coach.

Second, on July 4, if you're not busy celebrating our nation's birth by blowing stuff up, we're tacking together an opportunity to do up to a century. If you want to get in a full 100 miles, we'll have a 7am rollout time from Velo-City Cycles; you'll ride up to Grand Haven and back, with a quick stop at the coffee shop in GH for a cinnamon roll or something. We'll roll back to the shop, so if you want to join up and do 50, be there and ready to roll by 11 am. Post-ride, MC's offered to fire up the grill at his house!

See y'all soon, I hope...


Monday, June 25, 2012

Hope Rides (& kicks some butt!) on 2 Wheels

So- as unlikely as it sounds.....I'm sitting in a bagel shop and screwin' around w/ my iPad dealie & trying to decompress from a pretty intense weekend.

Wanna hear about it?..........jump in the van w/ me...........

Background- the Hope on 2 Wheels Ride is the brainchild of Scott Kasper of Mt. Laurel NJ. I met him last year @ the Tahoe Ride, which was his 1st Ride to Cure. His mom and 2 of his 3 sons have T1D so he was pretty primed for a great big dose of the kool-aid and...well...he got it! Enough so that within 3 weeks of returning home from Tahoe he had become the Coach of the South Jersey Chapter and had cooked up this other crazy idea. Namely that 24 riders and a support caravan really needed to ride from NYC to Washington DC (252 miles) non-stop to try and raise awareness of both JDRF's mission and the need for more research in search of a cure in general. The plan was to ride "relay style", employing the same basic technique used by Team Type 1 while winning the Race Across America- separate teams leap-frogging each other to keep the pace up & the effort manageable. Needless to say when he invited me I was ALL about it! And that brings us back to the past 5 days.......

WEDNESDAY- I hit the road for NJ early. My 1st job is to get to Scott's place in Mt Laurel & assemble any bikes that team members shipped. I loaded Lin's car w/ bikes and tools and drove the 760 miles to Scott's, arriving in time to catch up and crash.

THURSDAY- As it turned out there were only 5 bikes that needed to be assembled so I talked Scott into a ride "before it got too hot." ( we rolled about 9:30- it was only 95 when we finished 20 miles later!) By the way- that part of NJ is why the license plates all say "The Garden State", it's bee-YOO-ti-ful! Quiet country roads, dead flat (hear that Cindy!?!), bunch a cool lil' towns, fields of everything from soybeans to blueberries to bamboo! Yup- bamboo! I know- weird, right? Anyway, after the ride we met Scott's co-coach Mike and Mike's little brother for lunch and after that I cranked bikes together while they ran errands.

FRIDAY- Scott and I got the last things on the list crossed off (find moving blankets, buy bananas & bagels for Sat AM, etc) then we met the ever-growing team of riders and crew and loaded up the vans for the drive down to NYC. (here's the thing- I SAY "down" but I basically had ZERO idea where I was the whole time I was there. for all I know we drove "down", "over" or all of the above!) Regardless- a couple of hours later & Mrs Clark's Favorite Son had his first bite of the Big Apple!

  ( Irony Alert- Those words were typed while I sit IN a Big Apple Bagel!!!)

Team HQ was a hotel right next to the site of the still-in-progress World Trade Center Memorial- the same swank joint that JDRF uses for visiting BigWigs & Other Important Types- so that was kinda cool in an intense sort of way. As we unloaded the vans who do ya think might've come sauntering up the sidewalk? None other than West Michigan's own Queen of BikeFace Patti Bills! Now- I knew she was there for her studies, this was a planned encounter but still.....kinda cool, huh?

Pea and I ditched the squad for a whirlwind 4 hour tour o' the city.....some pizza, a surly cabbie, Times Square, Central Park, Broadway, some KILLER gelato and a subway ride back to the hotel.

 (I figure I pretty much know everything the is to know about NYC now, thanks Pea!)

Dinner that night was in the restaurant on the 20th floor of our hotel....yep, the one w/ the huge deck overlooking the city and the WTC site. It was sponsored by Sanofi- who has a way cool new iPhone blood sugar app dealie they're pretty excited about. During dinner Patti got word that her flight was cancelled so on the spot she decided to hang out, crew for the ride and drive back w/ me. After introductions, a few well-chosen words from Scott & Mike it was time to try and get some sleep.....our 5:00 am roll out time was gonna come early!

Yup, sure did!

I was up @ 4:00, fed and kitted up by 4:30 and on my bike by 4:45. All 24 of us rode through the empty streets of Manhattan over to JDRF's Headquaters. We were met there by a young man that goes by the name of "The Diabetes Dude". His entire family had driven down from Boston to see us off & wish us well. From there's we rode to the Staten Island Ferry dock and after a 25 minute wait ( and a through inspection from one of New York's finest K9 security officers we rolled onto the ferry. It blasted off, took us right past that famous statue of the chick w/ the robe and huge cigarette lighter and then.....Staten Island! Okay! Let's rock and roll! We have 248 miles to go!

Yeah.....about that.....Staten Island is home to 1.5 million displace Italians and by all appearances they have a traffic problem. The solution they've gone w/is to put a traffic light on EVERY freaking corner and make sure that they're utterly out of sync.


As it turned out...the time we lost on that first leg across Staten Island would have significant consequences 18 hours and 200+ miles later..... After a further 35 minute delay waiting for our escort vehicles from the Port Authority to escort us across the bridge and into NJ (TOTALLY worth the wait in awesome though!) we got to the first stop. The plan here was to divide into 3 teams, cleverly labeled "A", "B", guessed it...."C". This was also 23 miles into the ride and most of you know the significance of that # within the JDRF Ride community. Jesse's mom Michelle was on our team so we spent a few minutes there remembering him as well as everyone else that we've lost.....while a bagpiper played "Amazing Grace". (dammit- it's too cold in here for goosebumps!!!)

And with that the A Team took our 1st shift. Our 8 riders included Tim & Erin from Team Type 1, your reporter, 2 other Mikes (one an MC!) 2 Matts & big Josh from MN. 20ish miles later we pulled into the stop and the B team took over. Josh and Erin decided the B group was more to their liking so we pressed on w/ 6 of us for the next 2 shifts, then we were 5 for the rest of the ride.

Our "assignment" was to hammer in a effort to keep the timetable (which was tight to begin with) from getting too screwed up. At one point we took a double pull 'cuz the next team was stuck in construction traffic.

And so passed the day....and the miles. In a blur of chamois cream, re-filling bottles, energy bars, sweaty helmets and brief frenzied " which way do we turn?!?!?!?!" sessions.

Mid-Jersey is as industrial as South Jersey is bucolic, Delaware is barely there (still flat though!) and Maryland is lovely.....if awfully roll-y for the last state on a four state ride!

Despite everyone's efforts sundown found us still a good 60+ miles from the finish line, a couple hours behind schedule. My group was prepping for our last blast.....18 hilly, winding miles to the last stop, from which the plan was to get all 24 riders back on 2 wheels for the last 20 miles. Alas- word came from a support vehicle that the C Team was stalled...the road was pitch black, the traffic heavy (lots of deer too) & their lights either dead or inadequate. The call was made for safety's sake to go pick them up and sag them ahead to the final stop.

In the meantime my 4 compadres and I clipped in and fired up the lights. With a van on our tail for safely we blasted over that last 18 miles at what felt to my weary legs to be full-on race pace.

 (Despite being a member of the 2008 TT1 RAAM team, Tim had made no secret of the fact that he'd had quite enough chamois time for the day thank you and sure seemed to be in a rush to get this last leg over with!

In other words I clung to his wheel like a desperate slobbering fool with my eyes crossed and my tongue in my front wheel. I will say that we DID get there in a hurry though!

Once we got the entire team in one place for the first time since Mile 23 over 15 hours ago it was pow wow time. 20 more hilly miles w/ minimal street lights. Half the team w/ no working lights. 10:30pm at that point. Scott and Mike made the right call in the time-honored JDRF "Safe, Sound & Smiling" tradition.....we piled into the vans, drove into Bethesda and unloaded about 2 miles from the finish.

We rode in en masse.....24 strong behind a phalanx of Harleys & followed by all 6 support vehicles. Waiting at the finish line- despite the late hour- was a bevy of family and well-wishers.

'Twas quite a scene to be sure! We rolled in @ 11:59 by the way.....a long day! An hour later we were still feasting on BBQ, pizza, beer and ice cream. It was a lot like being back in high school!

SUNDAY- The team scattered to the 4 winds.....back to MN, Atlanta, New England, wherever. After breakfast a few of us loaded up the van and headed back to NJ. There Patti and I re-packed the bikes, grabbed some lunch, said our good byes and hit the road. By 7:00 this morning we were back in the the whole thing was just a massive dream!


I didn't actually count or inquire, but my impression is at at least 50% of the riders were Type 1.

The support crew was awesome- all 8 (9? 10?) of 'em. There were 3 flats, 2 minor crashes and one IV administered for cramps. (he rode the rest of the way w/ the needle still in his arm....said it was " gonna come in handy @ the bar".)

Did I mention that Maryland is hilly?

Tony Luke (of Philly Cheesesteak fame)is a jerk. He promised sandwiches and other lunch stuff, stiffed us and wouldn't answer the phone all day. I'm not gonna wear my tee shirt 'till I draw a big red circle w/ a slash through their logo!

This was a huge project - it's consumed Scott's life for the last 9 months. It was an even bigger success. We made some noise, brought some new folks into the JDRF community and......well.......brought some awareness and hope!

It was one of the Top Five Days on a Bike for me easily! Maybe Top Three. (m-a-y-b-e, just maybe.....Best Day Ever. Except you guys weren't there)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Right now, our coach Mike is eastbound (although, not in a semi truck smuggling goods across state lines…we think) headed for New Jersey. He has been invited to take part in an amazing event called Hope on 2 Wheels. (Hats off to the guys planning this ride—we hear Mike was the first person who came to mind when they began inviting participants…clearly they know the perfect guy when they see him.)

On Saturday morning, Mike and 23 other cyclists (including two members of Team Type 1) will depart from JDRF headquarters in New York on a 252-mile ride to Washington DC. They’ll be greeted along the way with JDRF supporters, music, and lots of surprises, all aimed at supporting this amazing effort and all our continued dedication to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes.

It’s apparent that being asked to partake in this one of a kind event has really struck a chord with our dear MC. He’s done some cool stuff over the last several years as coach of our team, national co-head coach, and bike room guy. But this, a gathering of some of the most passionate and active people in the JDRF ride sphere, for a new high-profile event—that’s something to celebrate all over again. And he’s psyched.

We couldn’t be prouder or more in awe of our coach. Let’s remind him how much he means to our team, and to the entire JDRF family. Send Mike some happy vibes on Facebook, text, email, whatever, over the next few days, and think of him and the team on Saturday as they bring a whole new brand of awareness of JDRF.

Know somebody that lives in NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, DC, or VA? Send them the route information and ask them to go out and cheer for these dedicated and amazing cyclists. We promise it will be one of the coolest things they ever do, and those 24 cyclists will appreciate it beyond belief.

Check out Hope on 2 Wheels on Facebook or the web.

Thanks for keeping the hope alive, MC. We love you.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Hey Team! - was a strong - n- select group that showed up for our Father's Day Team Ride this past weekend. Whether they were lured by the idea of seeing Michelle's new bike, the promise of watching Coach Did and your trusy reporter whine-n-wobble the day after the Lumberjack 100 race or the general idea of a nice ride w/ an ice cream stop......14 riders were in attendence.

To be precise:

All 3 Dykstras, including newly crowned Lumberjack Did
Michelle C (w/ her new bike!)
Mark S and his stoker Katie
Paul B
Lindsay S
Linda C
Not-as-busted Kaat
Special Guests Kevin C and Dawn R
and my own sore self (MC)

We had a great ride on a perfect day...up and around the lakeshore - an ice cream stop (!!!!!) - a trip up-n-over Blockhouse Hill - lotsa views of the Big Lake.......'twas grand indeed!

We ended up splitting into 2 groups - a 33 mile contingent and a 46 mile group. (It was Michelle's longest ride EVER!)

Back at the park the remnents of the group feasted on cookies, chips, watermelon and suchlike.....all the while enjoying the company and the day.

The next OFFICIAL Team Ride isn't until July 8 - but watch for info on some other options - including a Fourth of July Early Century!

Thanks for reading, thanks for riding, thanks for rockin' like y'all do!

See you soon.................Coach MC

Monday, June 11, 2012

Team Ride 6 this Sunday, June 17...

Our grand tradition of having a team ride on Father's Day continues!

At least, I think it's a grand tradition. I dunno for sure.

Anyway, so, yeah, Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY! We're riding from Mullaly Park in North Muskegon with a 1pm rollout time (so, like, be there 15 minutes early and all that). I've got 33 and 48 mile options that stay together for the first 32 miles (how's that for planning!), and feature riding past the Duck Lake State Park beach on the recently-paved Scenic Drive, and an opportunity to stop for ice cream.

I can promise you that these routes will be as flat as possible. No kidding here. Flat. I mean, you'll have the option to do Blockhouse Hill if you're so inclined, but that's gonna be a detour from the "main" route. Flat's the name of the game. If you don't know why, you have to come up to ride!

So, deets:

Sunday, June 17, 1pm rollout time
Mullaly Park - map here
33/48 miles (FLAT!)
Post ride munchies & storytelling

OK? Pester me if'n you've got questions - see you Sunday!

Rockitty rock...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Team ride, uh, what was that? Five?

Yeah, we'll call it Team Ride 5 - there was a sort of a 4.5 in there, but it was Memorial Day weekend so I'm not all that inclined to over-count it.

Anyway, Five! Mos' def' a highlight-ride, we started with gorgeous weather - blue skies with fluffy clouds, perfect temperatures, and not too much breeze. Folks taking advantage of that weather included:


Steve Clark
Michelle "Grand Valley" C, tagging her first 40+ mile ride (and 3rd flat tire - we might have a contender for the Queen of the Flats, here!)
Lindsey S
Sarah "I wanna try sailing" S.
Chris & Becky M.
Jeff W
Tom M
Lori H
Diana S
Tom & Mary
MC & Linda
A big did and a little did
Amy F
Brenda B
Paul & Nick & Spencer
Heather A-B
Host-with-the-most JD

Grillin' and Chillin':

And there to show off her stylin' new black cast was our less-broken-every-day (but dammit hurry up and heal!) Kaat.

The roads were lovely, and we were pleased to see how many folks rode together in bunches, rather than trickling along individually. This cycling thing is so much better in groups, and it's pretty awesome to begin with, so, yeah, cool beans. 

But, let's not beat around the bottom bracket, here - this ride was pretty heavily weighted towards the post-ride gig, and it didn't disappoint. I think we had 4 different kinds of brownie, and at least that many kinds of cookie. And I think Pea somehow violated the laws of quantum mechanics with her chocolate brownie creation; I'd think only some super-advanced civilization could put that much chocolate into a single foodstuff. And it was versatile, too! I mean, it started out as brownies, but changed as the day wore on to something that could be spread on cookies. Truly awesome!

Hmm. Gotta compose myself a little - had a little chocolate moment there.

Next Team Ride! We'll ride again on Father's Day, June 17 - details will be forthcoming, but the tentative plan is to ride from Mulally Park in North Muskegon.

In the meantime, everyone keep riding and fundraising! You all rock!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

ODRAM Update

ODRAM (One Day Ride Across Michigan) is shaping up to be the best ever. It is scheduled for Saturday, August 18. Register here.

Need to raise funds for your ride account? The ODRAM organizational team has a few easy and exciting opportunities for you.

How about a very fashionable "JDRF" jersey bin? The bin is 6" X 4", made of thick flexible plastic with a secure press and seal closure. Perfect size to keep your phone, keys, ID, or snacks dry (or, think about it for boating, beach, or other places you want to keep your stuff dry/clean). Easily fits in one's jersey pocket. For each one you sell @ $5, half ($2.50) will go into your ride account. Sell 25 to your friends and you just covered a shift at Van Andel. Contact Tom (616-402-0097) or Chris (616-304-4250) with how many you want and we'll get them to you. Return the unsold bins by July 8 and we'll make them available for sale at the 5 JDRF national ride sites.

Jersey bins, not your thing - how about a new bike? We've partnered with Christian Family Services and Giant Bicycles to receive a Talon 29er Mtn bike to raffle (a $650 value). Raffle tickets can be purchased for $3 each or two for $5. For every two raffle tickets you sell, $2.50 will be deposited in your ride account. The winner may exchange the 29er for a different bike of the same value courtesy of Village Bike. Contact Tom or Chris to obtain tickets to sell. The raffle will begin at the end of June and run through August 30.

Want to be a part of ODRAM but not up to riding 152 miles or already have plans for August 18... how about an ODRAM jersey? The cost for one of these bad boys is a paltry $60 ($65 for XXL). Your order must be received by June 1 for it to be available on ride day. You can purchase online at the Bikereg website or contact Tom with your money and size desired and he'll take care of the rest.

Ride on, ride safe and have fun!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Team Ride Number 5 (or so) - Do! Not! Miss! It!

Ok, so I'm fresh(ish) from a couple hours of hammock-napping, so I've got, oh, 45 minutes or so before I zonk out for good here. The important thing here is:

This is the first of the EVENT team rides. Like, you don't wanna miss it! Our inimitable JD Stone will be hosting from Eldean's Shipyard on the south side of Holland, which means... a lot! We'll have a nice couple of routes to ride, and then we'll have showers, a pool, a gazebo, a really soft lawn (suitable for napping), and foooooood!

Seriously, ya wanna hit this one.

Now, since our rides are starting to get a little longer (distances for this one will be 30 or so and 45 or so), and as we want to maximize our post-ride hangin' out time, we're gonna roll out at NOON. Right? You know the drill!

So, the details:

Date: Sunday, June 3

Location: Eldean's Shipyard, park in the lot on the right side of the road past the big shed, unless directed otherwise.

Rollout time: NOON

Distances: 30 and 45 miles (-ish considerations apply)

Post-Ride Giggery: Oh Yeah. As above, and bring some munchies to share.

RSVP? Please! Comment here or post on Facebook; we'd like to have a headcount.

Guests? Heck yeah! But please let us know ahead of time!

Rocketty rock, y'all - see you Sunday!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Team Ride Report 5/21/12 / Lotsa Cool Stuff Soon!

Hey Team! Man - we had a sweet lil' Team Ride outta Johnson Park yesterday! 20 of us rode 25-ish under sunny skies and 90 degree temps. And then (and this will shock ya) we hung out and enjoyed each other's company as well as lotsa cookies 'n chippies 'n such.

The Honor Roll:

All 3 Scheidels
All 3 Dykstras
Jeff and Aimee
1st Heather
Paul & Nick
Chris Radford
2nd Heather
Lin and your intrepid reporter (that'd be me!)

No flats, no crashes, really no drama of any kind......just a buncha friends enjoying the the day (and wondering where the rest of their team was......?)

So - what "Cool Stuff" is a-comin' up? Glad you asked! How's this:

Saturday 5/26 there's a chance to meet and hang w/ Team Type 1 member and Holland native Jeff Bannink @ Velo City. Jeff worked for me back-in-the-day and was way too fast even then! Now he does stuff like ride across the whole friggin' country w/ a few of his teammies in LESS THAN 6 DAYS on the way to winnin' the Race Across America not once but twice! He'll be here @ 3:00 - spinnin' yarns and tellin' tales of what it's like to be an elite athlete w/ Type 1 - as well as details on how you actually do something like the RAAM.

Later that night many of us are working the Van Andel Red Hot Chili Peppers show. I hear tell that Cindy is still lookin' for workers if you're interested........

Sunday 5/27 there's an "unofficial" Team Ride! I'm 90% sure that Jeff will join us - that's the plan anyways - and it'll be cool to get a chance to ride w/ him, don'cha think? (dude punches a BIG hole in the wind.....seriously!). The time and locale will be determined soon - watch the FaceBook page and your inbox for the update!

Sunday 6/3 - Big Team Ride @ Eldean's Marina here in Holland. - Great routes, grillin' by the lake, a pool and swingsets for the kids........mark this'n in your calendar in Red!

Okay - enough for now. Keep sending all the healin' vibes you can muster in the direction of Kaat and LTP as they recover from a busted arm and knee surgery respectively.

And I hope to see y'all very soon!

Keep rocking, keep riding, keep being the Rock Stars you are!

Coach MC

2012 Ride T-shirt contest

It's time for the 2012 Michigan Great Lakes West (AKA West Michigan) Ride team t-shirt contest.   The t-shirt with the most votes wins.

Steps - figure out which shirt you want to wear.

Note:  It's likely we'll put Ride logo on the sleeve and date (if necessary).   

Once you figure it out - VOTE!   Right over there in the poll on the right side of this page!! --->>>>
Voting will end in two weeks - that's right - get your vote in by June 3rd.

*********************** Option 1 ************************
*********************** Option 2 ************************

*********************** Option 3 ************************
Option 3

**************** Option 4 (front & back) ******************

Eldean Ride Highlights JUNE 3rd

1.The pool. Bring the whole fam Daley and hang at the pool while Mom or Dad rides. (or both)

2. The ride. Derek's best effort route will include climbing, Hutchins Lake, a cookie stop, possibly Lama view, No rain, multiple lengths so if you ride the 100 grand, you can do this ride too because - see # 3.

 3. The FOOD, Brats from Montello with their donated Buns, Lamberts chicken breasts, a variety of salads, baked beans, Deserts, beverages or whatever special treat you may wish to share.

 4. YOUR PRESENCE,and what each of us brings to the party by joining this effort to WIN the fight to FIND THE CURE against Type 1.

 Hosted by Maggie & JD Stone and the Holland contingent of the West Michigan ride team. and see JD actually ride his bike on a team ride for the first time this season, I promise.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Team Ride 4 this Sunday!

Yowza, it's been a while on here!

First off, before I bore you to tears, we've got Team Ride #4 this Sunday, from Johnson Park in Grand Rapids. Rollout time will be 2pm, routes of 23 to 36 miles available. Weather looks gor-freakin'-geous!

Now, back in time a bit - the last team ride (I math that out to being Team Ride #3) resulted in some extra hardcore points being awarded, as we rode the whole dinkin' thing (all 22 miles of it) in cold rain. Killingtony! Points were awarded to Cindy A, Patti B, Paul B, Linda C, MC, Jack C, Amy F, John J, Host Tom M, Lindsey S, and li'l ol' me, with double points to Heather A and Michelle C for new rider badassery in the face of wretched conditions.

Since then, Your Coaching Staff bravely faced Tulip Time and rainy weather by pickin' up its skirts and darting off to the desert, in the company of Patti, Kaat, and Jan (of cookie fame). It was warm, dry, and dusty, and we came home with fully 95% of our limbs unbroken, which sounds pretty good put that way, but means Kaat needs your healin' vibes for her left forearm. Don't make me show you the x-ray! The amount that this completely sucks cannot be overstated - there will, however, be opportunities to do some sort of rides with her, and there's no doubt that as the bones knit she'll come roaring back in true Gato Diablo fashion.

Anywho, there's gonna be lots of ride opportunities coming up - at least a couple over the Memorial Day weekend, including an opportunity to meet and ride with Team Type 1 racer and Holland native Jeff Bannink. The 100 Grand ride is the Saturday after Memorial Day, with a team ride the day after. Details will be forthcoming; until then, keep riding, raising, and rockin'!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Ride 2 Report & Ride 3 Fanfare

Alrightly then, so we had really excellent turnout for Team Ride Deux at the ever-popular Ada Park - in attendance were:

Jeremy B
Tom M
Cindy (with her first flat of the season - someone start a tally!)
Sarah S (getting a quick taste of the tandem!)
Countdown Cliff
Diana S
Tom S
Mary S
Ian S
LTP, who we need to thank for the candy storage lessons
Kirsten D, who does NOT get extra mileage credit for wrong turns no matter what she says because coaches' trophy wives are held to a higher standard, so THERE! HAH!
Jeff H, briefly
MC and Lin
big D and little D

As ever, we're thrilled to have new folks to call out:

Lauren T
Skyler T
Vern VH
Lori H
Michelle "Grand Valley" C
Heather "MSU" A
Lauren "Hope" B

ADDED to assuage my total guilt for forgetting to include them originally, DANGIT!:

Paul C
Nick C

DANGAFRAGGADAGGADOOGA I hate it when I do that!

25 people for a "park ride" that was sorta iffily promoted? Not shabby at all, and we may even have made a dent in the massive pile of food that was in the back of MC's van.

Now, on to Team Ride 3 - that's this coming Sunday, yah? We're gonna be hosted by our own newly-retired Tom Miller from his house just south of Grand Haven. The address is 11881 Mistral Lane; here's the inevitable map link. Rollout time will again be 2pm, and we'll have distances from 20ish to 35ish miles. Tom say's he's gonna grill up some burgers and hot dogs, so please let me know if you're gonna be there so we can plan out how much to get, and if you're so inclined bring a dish to pass!

Don't forget about the T-shirt design contest - the deadline is NEXT FRIDAY (May 11)!

Keep to your rockin', and we'll see ya Sunday!

Friday, April 27, 2012

T-Shirt Design Contest - Get Your Entry Submitted

It's that time of year....   riding your bike, you say!?   Well, yes, but we're talking about the ever popular JDRF West Michigan Ride to Cure Diabetes Team T-Shirt Design Contest!   That's right - your chance you show off your design talents for all to see.  

The guidelines:
  • Must fit on an 8.5"X11" sheet of paper (front of shirt only)
  • No more than 2 ink colors (plus color of shirt)
  • If possible, have darker ink colors on lighter shirt colors
  • Should have the team name 'West Michigan' somewhere
  • Should have the JDRF ride logo somewhere (in design, on sleeve, etc.). 
Designs are subject to minor revision by the ride committee, graphic designer, or shirt printer if deemed necessary.

Please submit all designs to Katie Clark by Friday, May 11. You may draw a design on paper and scan it (or meet up with Katie and she can scan it for you), or create in a computer design program. .jpg, .pdf, or .eps are preferred file formats, but we can work with whatever you have. 

Your design doesn't have to be perfect - the graphic designer can 'clean it up' later. We are just looking for awesome concepts that capture who this team is, where we're going, and maybe even why we're doing this. After all submissions are collected, you will have the opportunity to view them all on the Blog and vote for your favorite. Good luck!

Monday, April 23, 2012

First Team Ride o' the Season Report!

Whatta GREAT turn-out for the 1st training ride of the season for the World's Coolest Team!

At least 31 riders convened @ Katie & Steve Clark's place in Grandville to brave strong winds and brisk temps.

Here's a list of the attendance - w/ the qualifier that the 2 of us that came up w/ it (MC n/ Did) had 100+ miles in our legs by then and that Did tends to mumble when stuffing his face!

New Riders:
Lindsey S
Laura B
Jeff B
Paul C

Prospective Riders / Special Guest Stars:
Amie B
Donna K
Susan W
Cam L
Dane D
Deb (didn't get last name, dang!)
Sarah S
Laurie (ditto dang!)

Annnnd....Veteran Riders:

Tom S
Becky M
Chris M
Coach Did
Kirsten D
Linda C
Cliff L
Nicole N
Linda T-P
Katie C
Steve C
Nick C
Diana S
Tom M
Mike H
Cindy A
Chris R
 and.....your trusty reporter Coach MC

Post ride festivities involved the demolition of a huge pan of "Mexican lasagne", Kaat's B-Day cake, J2's birthday cookies (many of which didn't make it 'til the end of the ride, a big pot o' queso, assorted fruits, candies and....of course....your basic etc!

All in all 'twas a powerful start to what stands to be a powerful season!

Thanks to the G'Ville Clarks for the hospitality - thanks to everyone for coming out and sending our ol' "friend" type 1 the messa ge that - once again - the World's Coolest Team is after your butt!

Next Ride - SUNDAY APRIL 29 - ADA PARK - 2:00PM. See you there!

Thanks for reading  - keep recruiting - every ride (yes, including DV) is still open despite record numbers of riders registering.

See you soon, keep being the rockstars that you ALL are!

Coach MC

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Team Ride Numero Uno!

Heyo, Ride Team members n' prospectives n' associated cool people - it's time to start team rides!

This Sunday, April 22, we're gonna kick off with our now-traditional gig from Katie and Steve Clark's house in Grandville (y'all got the address emailed to ya; if ya didn't, email me or Katie and we'll get you the info you need). Rollout time is 2pm (so be there by 1:45, right?) for 12, 20, or 29 miles at any pace to suit any rider.

Post ride fun? Of course! If you're so inclined, bring a dish to pass - hot food, munchies, dessert, whatever. Calorie replenishment is important, ya know!

Let's get this season of rockin' started!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

No excuse to stay home Saturday

Saturday, April 14th is a big day in west Michigan JDRF land. There is the inaugural DuneCross race in Saugatuck in the morning. This is a fund raiser that benefits the ride accounts of Cliff Lewis and Nicole Nellis. Then in the evening Jake's Music Festival takes place at the Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids. This eighth annual event is a major fundraiser for Tom, Mary and Ian Scheidel.

So don't even think about staying home Saturday. Here is a possible itinerary that I'm sure at least a couple of our team mates will follow.
Get up early and drive to Saugatuck
Race in DuneCross
Go home and clean up
Drive to Grand Rapids
Attend Jake's Music Festival
Go home with the knowledge that you've helped several of your team mates get a little bit closer to their goal.
(And if you bring friends we'll all get that much closer that much sooner.)

For more info on DuneCross click HERE

For more info on Jake's Music Festival click HERE

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Get your bikes ready for the season!

Hey Team!
Well - if this weather hasn't convinced you that it's time to roll........what will!?!?!?

(Rumor has it that even the Queen of Fair Weather Riders Katie Clark has moved her bike for the basement to the garage!)

So - here's the thing ...your sponsoring shop wants you to get your bike running smooth and ready for the season so from now untill the end of the month Velo City is offering you 30% off any tune up, service work and/or parts.

As you probably are aware - Jeremy here @ the shop is the Head Mechanic of the Entire National Ride Program, and new-guy-Nate will be working the Rides w/ MC this season.

These dudes know they're way around a bike - that's all we're sayin'.

So - drop 'em off - we'll turn 'em around fast so MC and Coach Did won't have a chance to bug you about why you're not riding!

Ride on!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Help raise money with this beautiful quilt

Here's a colorful way to raise funds to support our ride team. We are raffling off the beautiful quilt. The quilt is a historical replica of the quilt “Trip Around the World” created by Laura May Clark in 1932. The fabrics used in this quilt were made with the support of the Michigan State University Museum. Lowell artisan Barb Dey Porter made this reproduction. Raffle tickets are $2.00 each or 3 for $5.00.

The drawing will take place will take place at Jake’s Music Festival in Grand Rapids on April 14th. You do not need to be present to win. All proceeds from the raffle will be donated to the West Michigan chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Contact Tom or Mary Scheidel for tickets.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Need A Reason To Register?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Team West Mich Rules @ the Inside-Out 'Cross Race!

So - yesterday was the 2nd installment of the "Inside-Out" 'cross race series in Greenville. 'Twas a hoot and it must be said that the members of our team that were there kinda rocked it!

Check it out:

In the C's Patti Bills was 1st wmn, Kirsten Dykstra was right behind her in 2nd and Coach Did was 4th overall.

In the B's Kaat Tahy was 2nd wmn, I was 6th overall and Did was 8th.

There's another one set for 3/11 - consider doin' it!

A great way to get warmed up for the DuneCross race in April too!

You guys rock, I mentioned that, right?

Coach MC

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Hey Team!
Registration for the 2012 Ride to Cure season is only 13 days away!!!!! That's earlier than ever and that means that we can shift our fund-raising into the big ring that much sooner! (Can you say "Van Andel"?)

We've been talkin' ever since the season closed last year about where to ride in 2012 - now it's time to REALLY get that conversation started!

As promised - here's my quick take on the 5 options from the perspective of someone that's attended and ridden 'em all................

Burlington VT (July 12-15) - Nice venue - I'd rank the century route 3rd in difficulty after DV and Tahoe. There are a few long-ish climbs and one severe lil' one where lotsa riders walk. (It kinda surprises you right before BreakPoint 2). Road surfaces and traffic are pretty good, weather has been awesome, hotel is fine if nothing special. KInd of early in the season from both an fitness and fund raising point of view but a very nice (and under-appreciated) Ride.

LaCrosse WI (Aug 16-19) - My least favorite Ride but there's gotta be one, y'know? We've had 2 VERY successful events there now after all. 2nd easiest century route (after Tucson) and all the climbing (and there's not much) is on the century route - right before the turn-around. Roads are okay - a bit narrow - and there was quite a bit of traffic last year. Weather was iffy in '11, fine in '10. Riding along the Big Muddy (the Mississippi River) is kind of cool. The town is nothing exceptional - just another Midwest blue-collar college burg. (TONS of saloons!) The main hotel is fine - a Marriot I think - but we fill it and then some and I've heard mixed reviews on some of the other ones. Main virtue is that it's an easy drive (so you can choose a lower $ goal) but one HUGE downside (possibly) is that it conflicts w/ ODRAM this year. (Boo!)

Lake Tahoe (Sept 7-10) - The leading contender for our team according to the "grapevine". This is a "piggyback" Ride - we're part of the "Tour de Tahoe"...a ride w/ 2000+ riders. That's kinda cool in a way. 36 or 72 mile options ONLY - no century option. The route is somewhat challenging w/ a steep switch-back climb about 15 miles in that'll have riders off their bikes (some of 'em) and a l-o-n-g climb on the backside w/ about 20 to go that'll remind you of Starr Pass in Whitefish or Jubilee. The good news is that from the top of that one it's downhill all the way into town! I'd rank this the 2nd toughest route (after DV) due to the climbs but it's flat-out gorgeous - especially the 1st half of the ride! You are hardly ever out of sight of the lake. Traffic can be heavy - the road for the 1st half is narrow and twisty. The hotel is great - an Embassy Suites - and the town is cool as long as you stay on the CA side of Stateline Rd. Weather was kinda cool and wet in '11, perfect in '10.

Death Valley (Oct 18-21) - What can I say? Many of you know more than enough about the Valley's charms and challenges so this is mostly for those that haven't made the trip. This is easily the toughest Ride - plenty of ups and downs on the route (including the infamous Jubilee Pass climb if you do the full 103 miles) and the weather ranges from very hot to brutally dang hot. Despite that - and the fairly spartan accommodations and dining - this Ride draws many of us back every year like moths to a flame. I daresay that there will ALWAYS be a West Mi presence at this the most iconic of JDRF Rides. There's something intense and special about the surroundings, the desert sky.......I dunno, it just kinda gets to you. (It just kinda might put'cha in the Med Tent too!)


Tucson AZ (Nov 15-19) - Man - late November can be a bee-yoo-ti-ful time to be in the desert southwest! This is a HUGE ride - we piggy-back again, this time on the "el Tour de Tucson" w/ it's 9000 riders. The route is the 2nd easiest - w/ one short steep-ish climb and a few moderate longer ones. There are also 2 "hike-a-bike" sections, which is kinda weirdly cool. The crowds and multiple distance options make this Ride a bit more challenging from a logistical standpoint - ya gotta listen @ dinner! The weather has been perfect all 3 years we've done it and the hotel is far and away the sweetest place we've ever stayed. I'm talking Off The Hook Cool! The food's a notch above as well. One drawback is that it';s late enough in the season that you'd hafta keep training into November here @ home to be ready.......but that's what cyclo-cross season is for!

So - I know I promised to be brief......and I tried, I really did. There's a lot to talk about, y'know?

Please don't hesitate to get ahold of me if you have other questions or if I skipped anything.....I'm here if you need me!

Let;s get this party started, huh? Last time I checked our friends and loved ones were still stuck dealing with the completely crappy deal that is Type 1 Diabetes so we gotta get to work!

I hope to hear from you - please start discussing where you plan to ride (and even why) here on the blog or on the Team FaceBook page - keep recruiting new riders and be sure to think about joining us for the Ultimate Cycling Challenge next month!

You guys ROCK - I mentioned that, right?

Coach Mike

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ultimate Cycle Challenge 2012!!!

Hey Team!

Well - it's that time again - the time when we show the world that we are SO awesome that we can take on Type 1 AND the Big C at the same time!

For those of you that haven't joined us in the past....the U.C.C. is a 24 hour Team Relay Indoor Ride to raise $ for Livestrong, that Lance guy's cancer initiative. Teams (like ours) will have a member riding continuously for the entire 24 hours. It's a TON of fun - they have live entertainment, lotsa snacks and distractions and all sorts of stuff going on.

I've always spent the entire 24 hours there (except last year when Kaat and I ran over to GR to do a 'cross race and then came back to finish)'s a blast in a weird kinda way!

Also a fantastic chance to get some miles in, see your team mates and spread the word about our team!

So - here are the details:

Date - Feb 24/25 from 8pm-8pm

Place - Ridgepoint Church in Zeeland. (Super easy access from 1-96)

How to register - Go to, chose "Join a Team", find "JDRF West Mi" from the team menu and sign up!

Then - contact me ( and we'll assign you a time slot.

After that - we'll see you there!

Questions? Check the website, e-mail me or stop in the shop!

Now that it's 2012 we're gonna be ramping up our plans for the season - stay tuned!

You guys rock - I told you that, right?

Coach MC

Feb 13 Update: the following folks have signed up for the following times:

8pm - LTP
9pm - Jason S
10pm - JD
11pm - Sarah S
Midnight - Lindsay S
1am - Kaat
2am- Kaat
3am - Kaat
4am -
5am -
6am - Walt F
7am - Walt F
8am - Tom M
9am - Roy L
10am - J2
11am - Mary G (from Chicago)
Noon -
1pm -
2pm - Linda C
3pm -
4pm - Dane D
5pm - Kirsten D
6pm -
7pm -

I'll update this every coupla days. (Note - this is ONLY for the JDRF team.....there's also a Velo City team)

Okay - by popular demand here's the Velo City team schedule as well - since there IS a certain amount of "overlap" and we'll be set up side-by-side:

8pm -
9pm - JD
10pm - Jason S
11pm - Lindsay S
Midnight - Mary G
1am - Sarah S
4am - Kaat
5am - Kaat
6am -
7am -
8am - John W
9am - John W
10am -
11am - J2
noon - Pea
1pm - Pea
2pm -
3pm - Linda C
4pm - Kirsten D
5pm -
6pm - Melissa W
7pm - Melissa W