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 Riders......you 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