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) and....well......it'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 www.ultimatecyclechallenge.com, chose "Join a Team", find "JDRF West Mi" from the team menu and sign up!

Then - contact me (mike@velo-citycycles.com) 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