So - the plan was to get back into my habit of posting about the day's events each night....it really was. (I usta do that, really, you can look it up!)
As you might know - I kinda failed miserably at that. By the time I got back to my room - after a 14-16 hour day of hat-switching and bike-wrenchin' and what-all.....I was lucky to stay awake long enough to brush my teeth.
Imma gonna try harder from now on - you'll see.
But - anyway - all I can do at this point is try and fill you in on what was truly a stellar Ride to Cure weekend here in Burlington. The bar's been res-et yet again - higher than ever - and by any indications this is gonna be one All Time Show Stopper of a season! Drag up a chair (it's gonna take a few minutes) and lemme tell you why........
Tuesday - The crew assembled and rolled east. I picked up Tom Miller & New Main Guy Andy Grow @ Tom's and then we picked up Patti "Pea" Bills in GR on our way. It's about a 15 hour drive from the 616 to here.....no way 'round that but after the usual amount of road food, gas stops, GPS consults (there's no straightforward way to get here - think Holland to Kazoo for 800 miles) and a fantastic moonrise over Lake Charles we were here.
"Here" is the Burlington Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center...right offa the highway and about 5 miles from awesome downtown Burlington. Nothing special about it (unless we're here) but perfectly fine as home base for a week.
Wednesday - We were glad to find out that we only had about 30 bikes to assemble. That took some of the pressure off. We didn't have access to the "real" Bike Room until later that day so we set up shop in the loading dock. 2 selling points behind that decision (there was also a big tent set-up outside) were the MGR's promise of "no scheduled shipments" and "You won't be in the way".
We were totally in the way! Hotel staff threaded their way through us every few minutes en route to the dumpster, recycling, kitchen and Lord-Knows-What-Else.....muttering under their breath or spilling beer from returnables. It got old pretty dang quick. And as for shipments..I guess he was "right" about that, unless you count the 2 each FedEx and UPS trucks backing into the dock.
Fortunately it was only for a few hours then we set up for real. With the 4 of us and virtually no interruptions from riders we had things pretty much well in hand by dinnertime, which felt great.
One set-back was the discovery that our go-to Mex joint down on the waterfront was gone...(sniff) but the discovery of a great lil' BBQ joint (mostly) fixed that.
Oh - and a stop @ Ben & Jerry's.
Thursday - Always a kick-ass day 'cuz the riders show up! It's so cool to see the faces, shake the hands and hug the folks that you haven't seen "since the last one"! One of the coolest things about this ride was that over half of the riders (88 outta 170) were first time riders so that was a hoot too! We did our thing....made folks feel welcome, tweaked some bikes, built the few that showed up on planes, etc and pretty soon it was time for the Welcoming Reception. Over paella, roast turkey and alla the fixin's I had the high honor of officially kicking off the 2013 Ride to Cure Season. The folks seemed ready and everything seemed to point towards a great weekend.
Friday - I was up early for the Coach's Ride @ 6am. The 12 of us rolled outta town, along the lake and here and there. (Sometimes a tad more "here and there" than the tip sheet called for perhaps but - hey - we all made it back, right?) Right after that was breakfast, Coach Meeting, Rider Meeting and then the Tune Up Ride. The Bike Room was swamped from 9:30-on so I never got back into my kit but the ride went fine and was uneventful. (Our fav kind!) I worked in the Bike Room until the seminars started @ 2:30. I led the Bike Fit one then teamed up w/ Ian for the "Everything You Wanted to Know About Cycling) one. By then it was almost 5:00 and I had to met w/ Aly about the program for dinner. For whatever reasons (mostly 'cuz she was gonna speak for the first time ever is my theory) she was extra-serious about making sure it rocked.
Kinda made me nervous, not gonna lie.
Soon enough 'twas dinner time. My role was to talk about Mile 23 and - most important - introduce the brand new "Promise" jersey. Not to mention award it! In addition I presented the Green and Yellow jerseys and kinda wrapped up the night. (For those of you wondering - the Promise jersey honors Rose Weisner, a lovely person and rider from Seattle who passed away from a brain tumor late last year. She came to Tahoe to do one more ride and upon receiving the Spirit Award Jersey asked us to keep riding after she was gone...to help her fulfill the promise she had made to her daughter to ride until there was a cure. (Damn - I have goosebumps again!) The jersey features a huge rose right above the heart and is given to whichever non T1D rider, coach, staff or volunteer who most personifies Rose's request.
Many of you know the story of Rose's visit to the Bike Room on the last day of the Ride last year...and what she said to me. Suffice to say I was well aware that presenting that jersey and talking about what it meant was gonna be a difficult thing to do.
But it's done now and it went well. I couldn't tell you what I said but I guess it was okay 'cuz people were alternately laughing and crying and.....well.....that was Rose. The winners were Tom and Nancy McManus who were here as volunteers. That's them on the new "Goosebumps Video", talking about the loss of their son Scott and their love for JDRF. (What?!?!? Haven't seen it yet!?!??! Go watch it right now. Seriously - go ahead, I'll wait) After doing that as well as talking about Mile 23...I was kinda wrung dry. I dunno if you can read the words on the sign in the picture I put up on the FB page but they go like this:
"I wish you could have been there for the sun and the rain and the long hard hills.
For the sound of a thousand conversations scattered along the road.
For the people laughing and crying and remembering at the end.
But mostly.....I wish you could have been there."
See what I mean...?
It was a great evening and a perfect setting for the 1st Ride of the year but......dang!
Saturday - Ride Day dawned crisp and clear. About 58 degrees w/ a high forecast in the mid 80's. In short - kinda perfect. So - off we rolled, 170 strong.
Bound for Middlebury.
Bound for 100 miles or 30.
Bound for glory.
There's really not much to say about the Ride. (not 'cuz I have an editor - I obviously don't!) It was pretty much perfect. The weather. The riders making smart decisions, the coaches working hard. The crew kicking butt. The medical staff and tech support bored (just as we want 'em!).
I spent the whole day 'tween the hotel and Breakpoint 2...keeping my VT record intact. (1 Killington and 4 Burlington's & I've never seen the last 1/3 of the route).
I saw tons of BikeFace, I saw people that didn't know each other 2 days ago riding together as if they had done som since they took the training wheels off. In short - I saw alla the stuff we had talked about last night - love, rage, passion, commitment, determination.....
(Dang! Goosebumps again, is it cold in here?!?)
I saw the Ride to Cure in all of its glory.
We had the last riders in by 5:15 - a mark of success by any measure - and then
twas time to celebrate!
I was lucky enough to get to present the Spirit Jersey(s) that night (one of my All Time Favorite Things to do) and I'm pleased as can be to report that our Teammate From Up North Lisa Boldray was one of the recipients! How cool is that!?!?!? Wasn't me pulling rank either - so don't go there! #1- I don't have any rank, or not that much and #2 - I didn't hafta. By the time I brought her name up she'd already been mentioned 2-3 times! Her co-winner was a young lady that is likely gonna be the first person ever to graduate from the Naval Academy w/ T1D next year!
2 worthy winners indeed!
After that the evening continued w/ a higher-than-usual number of glowing comments and thank yous. This was a HUGE success!
Sunday - for those of you who have battled through my blatherscribble before this is where you'd expect me to attempt to wax poetic about the whole "The circus has left town" thing. Not gonna lie - it's always gonna feel that way but this weekend was so powerful and so awesome that it's different and easier somehow. We had tons of visitors down here as we packed up the bikes. We had 'em all done by lunchtime!!!!! That's a record for sure. After lunch we packed up the gear, loaded the JDRF trailer and our van. We were done by 2:30 and will be home tomorrow night - 12 hours ahead of schedule.
There's more...so much more. And 3 weeks from now I'll be tellin' you about La Crosse and - hopefully - about how....somehow...the Ride there exceeded this one.
I hope so anyway.
But it ain't gonna be easy!
Thanks for reading alla this.....I tried to be succinct, I really did.
But mostly.......I wish you could have been here.........
Sunday, July 28, 2013
So - the plan was to get back into my habit of posting about the day's events each night....it really was. (I usta do that, really, you can look it up!)
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Last Sunday's ride from Chris-n-Kim Monk's place in Ada was one for the books! Check it out:
A huge turnout! Had to've been one of the biggest ever. Great to see!
A perfect route - courtesy of Coach "D-is-for-diabolical" Did. ("Perfect" as in "perfect training for Nashville" that is, not "perfect" in the "Perfect for a relaxing ride in the country" perhaps)
A fantastic, delicious, refreshing post-ride party around and in the pool! (Many many MANY thanks to the Monks for their heapin' helpin' of hospitality. (Name that TV reference and win a prize!)
Imma gonna try and list the attendance...apologies in advance if my sun-baked brain misses someone.
The first loop was Kaat, Ross, Kirsten, Did, Peter, Sarah, all 3 Scheidels, Kim, LTP, Cindy, Scott and myself.
For the 2nd loop we lost a few but added all 4 Clarks, Becky, Pea, Chris, Linda, Michelle, Nick & Paul C!
The heat was high. The hills were many. And yet - BikeFace was had and fun was too! That route was just what we need to be ready for NV and Death Valley - so no hatin' on Coach Did...he was watchin' out for y'all!
And besides - alla that work made those burgers and brats taste that much better, no?
(and that pool..............daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang!)
Okay - the road to a cure for Type 1 lies ahead of us, not behind! So - here's what's comin' up fast!
Saturday 7/20 - the Holland Hundred. You oughta have the details on this by now but there's a blog post AND a FaceBook invite out there.
Sunday 7/28 - Team Ride. (Details to come asap)
Sunday 8/3 - 12 Hours of Pando
Sunday 8/4 - Team Ride. Tour de Taco from our house in Holland.
Saturday 8/10 ODRAM
Sunday 8/11 - MARDO
Keep rockin' and rollin' you guys - you're the best there ever was!
Saturday, July 13, 2013
2157 Grand Valley Dr. NE, Ada, MI 49301
Loop 1 ROLLOUT time: 9 am SHARP, 30 miles,
Loop 2 ROLLOUT: NOON, 30 or 20ish miles.
POOL & FOOD TIME will start at roughly 3pm.
A dish to pass
A suit to swim in, 'cause there's a POOL!
Yer family, to ride with us or hang out with us.
Expect... hills! And a pool!
Monday, July 8, 2013
"ODRAM" is the One Day Ride Across Michigan...the coolest century-and-a-half you'll ever ride! It runs from Montague to Bay City, is about as flat as a ride that long can be AND is a benefit for several of your team mates!
Is that a win / win / win or what?
Seriously - this ride is highly recommended. The route is easy and smooth, the mid-way lunch and post-ride cookout are yummy (word is there are even more food stops this year!) and the organization is first rate. You'll see plenty of your teammates that day - either rolling or running the ride.
Date - 8/10
Cost - $30 (pre-reg deal still good for registered JDRF riders)
More Info - www.odram.com
Whassat? What's MARDO? I'm so glad you asked! MARDO is something a few of us dreamed up a few years ago. Basically - we stay in Bay City after ODRAM and ride back the next day. It should be noted that MARDO is completely unsupported - we follow the road markings in reverse, stop @ gas stations and are on our own. However - there's no better way to get 300+ miles in a weekend, find out why MC has been called the "Brad Pitt of Morley" and have a lotta fun!
Date - 8/11 (duh)
Cost - whatever you spend on food and chamois butter
More Info - get ahold of MC, Kaat or Derek.
As promised - this is the start of a veritable avalanche of info on a few extra special events comin' our way here in the next few weeks. The Coolness just keeps on a-rollin'!
The Holland Hundred is one of the largest and longest running tours in West Michigan - if not the state. It offers loops of 18, 36, 67 or 100 miles, a pancake breakfast and several other food stops. The route pretty much shows you the best of Allegan County (the "Holland" part of the ride's name is a bit of a misnomer) and there will likely be 1500-1800 riders from all over the Midwest.
In short - it's a great ride.
Ready for the cool part? As a registered JDRF rider you ride for free! Not only that - but ride the HH (for free, remember) and you'll be entered (along w/ other JDRF riders) in a drawing to win a $300 donation to your Ride Account!
All courtesy of our good friends at the Macatawa Cycling Club.
There will be some paperwork - we'll try and have that w/ us @ the Team Ride on 7/14. There will also be an e-mail soon covering any other last-minute logistics and the details of how to hook up w/ the rest of the team the morning of the ride. We'll be treating the HH as an extra team training ride.
Date - 7/20
Time - around 7:30am
Cost - NONE, remember?!?!?
More info - http://macatawa.cc/holland-hundred
I sure hope to see you there!
You guys rock, but you know that, right?
Friday, July 5, 2013
Okay....so I'm back in the 616 after another trip out East to do the Hope Ride. Once again I'm still blown away, inspired, humbled and awestruck from the events of the 5 days and I kinda wanted to share it w/ y'all...since you couldn't all be there.
Background for those of you what needs it: The Ho2W Ride is the brainchild of JDRF coach and father of 2 boys w/ T1D Scott Kasper. Along w/ his fellow S. Jersey Coach Mike Chadwick they created this relay-style marathon ride to draw attention to JDRF and T1D research. (You can hide a post on 2012's ride in the blog archives if yawanna). This year's ride started @ Camp Joselin, a camp for T1D kids in Western MA and ended @ Camp Nejeta in Northern NJ. The total distance was 216 miles w/ about 14K of climbing.
Friday - Dr Professor Patti "Pea" Bills and I hit the road in the AM. It's 740 miles, 3 tanks of gas and $60 in tolls 'tween here and there. We arrived @ Scott's house in Mt Laurel NJ and hit the hay.
Saturday - After a diner breakfast we got to work. 'Twas our job (Pea and I) to unpack and assemble any bikes shipped in by team members. Truth be told - not a lotta heavy lifting - only 9 to get ready. That afternoon we did a nice lil' ride w/ the few other members of the squad that had arrived. Afterwards we hung out, talked logistics and ate way too many brats from Scott's grill.
Sunday - Kind of a crazy day. The logistics of getting 29 riders from literally all across the US of A, about 10 crew, 6 vans, 2 motorcycles, 29 bikes and alla the other crap we needed up to MA is no small task! Our van headed North via Newark Airport where we grabbed up 5 other riders. The others went via NYC (dodging the Gay Pride Parade which was blocking access to the original rendezvous point) and then North. Then there were the folks that had flown into Boston...or were local.
In a word.....craziness!
Regardless....we somehow all found our way to Camp Joselin for dinner. The kids there were excited to have visitors (that's a huge understatement!)and we feasted on lasagna, salad and garlic bread whilst being "entertained" by the kids. (My ears are still ringing). After we did our lil' presentation...telling the campers that we were riding to remind them that T1D doesn't haft ahold you back (about 2/3s of the riders are T1 - including 13 year old white jersey winner from Tucson Ethan Ericksen of Salt Lake City) and a brief team meeting we piled back in the vans for the brief drive to our hotel. Final sorting of gear and efforts to be hydrated ensued - interrupted for some by near-compulsive weather report checking. (It wasn't looking good but - strangely - looking at it every 5 minutes didn't change that. Weird huh?) Bed time came soon enough...a 4am wake up call will do that.
Monday - Ride Day. Finally. We kitted up (there's something kinda weird about pulling on a pair of bibs @ 4:00am knowing that you're gonna be in them until at least midnight) and headed to the lobby for breakfast. The plan was to drive back to the camp for a 6am roll out. We actually almost made it. After the mandatory flurry of tire-pumping, bottle-filling and last second adjustments we were off.....following 2 Harleys and bound for NJ and hope.
The route was broken up into roughly 20-25 mile "stages" - w/ all 3 teams rotating. Unlike last year where we had "A", "B" and "C" teams based on riding ability this time we were "1", "2" and "3" and the effort was made to mix the stronger and weaker riders evenly so all the teams would benefit from the experience of the more experienced riders. I was "road captain" of Team 1)
Just like last year all 29 of us did the 1st stage, then our team kept rolling while the others climbing into their respective vans to leapfrog ahead. Pea and I rode my tandem for that initial 50 miles.
It was wet....a steady drizzle combined w/ wet roads ensured that we were soaked and grimy pretty much right away. (It became a running joke all day that Team 2 stayed suspiciously clean all day...they missed almost alla the rain). During our transfer up to the transition point where we'd get back on the road after "taking the baton" from Team 3 the skies darkened up and then opened up! Thunder, lightning, flooded roads, low-visibility...the whole enchilada! Kinda ugly, actually. We waited in the van and they trickled in in small groups (and a few in the van). Some were visibly shaken by the challenge of negotiating long fast descents on narrow roads in those conditions. (I don't blame them).
We hung out for a few, giving the worst of it a chance to move through, then saddled up. Our leg started w/ a 4 mile climb - kinda rude on cold legs I thought! After that we got it together (Pea and I were on single bikes now) and made good time. Our team rode together really well all day I thought)
Soon enough we were rolling into lunch (after a slight "directional snafu") - 109 miles in and w/ the weather starting to co-operate. Lunch was courtesy of the local JDRF Chapter and was pretty dang awesome. Then we loaded up and off we went.
For our next stage we were joined by last year's team mate Annie S. She's Scott's sis-in-law and was signed up for this year before a family tragedy derailed those plans. She met us for 1 stage and rode w/ me on the tandem and had a blast. The highlight of this leg was crossing the Hudson River into NY on a cool old bridge about 1.5 miles long and about 300' above the water. The bike lane was metal plate and mesh.....awesome!
A couple hours later we were pulling into the final transition area - 23 miles from the finish line @ Camp Nejeta. The plan was for all of us to ride together from here. The other 2 teams finally pulled in (Team 2 in their vans and still oddly crisp kits) and Team 3 rolling in - once again kinda shattered. Their leg had some serious hills (they all did!) and a few of their number were feeling it. Ethan was low......way low and it showed on his usually beaming face. There was talk of leap-frogging a few riders ahead Ride to Cure style but he wasn't into that at ALL. I offered up the tandem and that proved to be the perfect solution..
By now 'twas about 8:00pm - we had almost 2 hours of riding to do (& lots more climbing - including the steepest bit by far) so we fitted up the lights and rolled out. As daylight waned the fireflies and headlights kept us company as we rolled - as one - towards the camp. After a final stop @ the outskirts of the camp to re-group we rolled in to a thunderous welcome. There was a last sharp left and steep climb into the camp proper (and you HAD to make in in front of alla those people!) and up top we found the campers from Cabin #7 waiting to greet us. We wasted no time parking our bikes and heading into the dining hall where a veritable feast of BBQ chicken, pulled pork, ribs, mac-n-cheese and cornbread was quickly decimated.
Then back in the vans and off to the hotel.....desperate by now for a shower and to get that kit off!
1:00am found many of us - w/ glazed eyes and wet hair (ok - I said "most") hanging around the lobby...completely spent but unwilling/able to let the day end.
But end it did.
Tuesday - came soon enough, since we were expected back @ the camp for breakfast. Once again the kids entertained us w/ songs, we did our thing, posed for pics and sharing many hugs, handshakes and high fives. All to soon it was time......time to load up and commence the involved process of wrappin' it up. I found myself offering to drive a van back so after a stop @ the Newark Airport Pea and I headed back to Mt Laurel. We got there about 1:30, grabbed some lunch, re-packed the bikes, loaded the van and headed this-a-way about 7pm, arriving back in the 616 about 8am Wed.
This whole experience was an exercise in love & hope & dreams...and as such was essentially a small scale JDRF Ride. I have other stories to tell and yarns to spin but Imma gonna save 'em for the next ride, okay?
I sure hope to ride w/ you soon......we got T1D ass to kick!