Friday, July 30, 2010

On the lighter side

From the comic "In the Bleachers" by Steve Moore.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Cautionary Tale

Today, Jeff Hill and I went out for a lunch time ride. We decided to ride Kent Trails, leaving from the new trail head off Butterworth and heading toward Millennium Park. Now we understood that Kent Trails is a multi-use trail. We saw walkers, cyclists, mountain bikers and dog walkers. About two miles down the trail is where the story becomes "interesting". There was a family, mom and two kids about 8 or 10 years old, walking toward us on their left side of the trail. Since we were riding on our right side we were coming face to face with them. So as we approached Jeff and I moved to our left so we could pass by safely. Just as we were side by side with them the little boy turned and ran across the trail. Right in front of me! I had literally no time to stop or even swerve. The right side of my handlebars hit him in the back and knocked him to the ground. I went flying off my bike to the left, landing mostly on my left hip judging from the road rash there.
If our coach Mike Clark was telling this story this is where the cautionary part would come in. "That's why I don't ride on bike trails. You never know what people are going to do." Mike has a point, but that's not the point I'm trying to make here. When I fell I could feel my knee hit the pavement, then my hip, then my shoulder and then my head. Except it wasn't my head that hit the trail - it was my helmet! It was my first experience in a fall where my helmet actually made contact with the ground. I'm here to say that my red Bike helmet kept my noggin safe today and I am grateful. It was a bizarre experience to feel the pavement digging in to my skin as I skidded to a stop, but to have my head beautifully cushioned. I like my head. I'm really glad it's okay.
So the moral of this little tale? Always wear your helmet. Whether you're on the road, riding through the neighborhood, or on a "safe" multi-use trail. I can't say that the helmet saved my life today, but I do know I wouldn't be writing this right now if I hadn't been wearing a helmet.
Ride On. Ride Safe.

P.S. The little boy was fine. Shook up by the experience, but walked away under his own power.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Good news

This past week wasn't a great one for riding, but it was great for fundraising.
First the bike news. I only got 25 miles in. 16 on Tuesday night with Mary. We rode up to Rockford via the White Pine Trail. Then on Sunday morning I put in 9 miles on the mountain bike. Along with 7 other JDRF team members we attacked Luton Park. But from the bumps, bruises, cuts and falls I'd say Luton fought back pretty well. Nothing serious and it was an absolutely fabulous morning to ride.
In fundraising news we passed a major threshold. We have now raised over $8,500. That means two of the three Scheidels are paid up to go to Death Valley. We just need $3,500 more to send the last one. We have until we leave in October to raise the money so we aren't worried. Still, if you haven't donated yet, don't delay. Just click on one of the "Donate to..." links on the left.
And thanks for your support.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Best Week Ever (at least this year)

I put in 142 miles on the bike this week. Starting on Tuesday with a ride into downtown Grand Rapids and then 20 miles in GR and then home. That was 43 miles. Thursday brought 8 miles on the mountain bike out at Luton Park. Saturday was the Holland Hundred which was the Holland 69 for me. Capped off the week with a team ride of 22 miles in the Muskegon area.

Tom and Ian halfway thru their second metric century of the summer.

The Holland Hundred was a great ride this year. The weather was warm and windy, but not as warm and windy as Death Valley, so we felt good. There were a lot of our JDRF team mates out on the route. There was a group that did the full hundred that left at 7:00 a.m. Our group doing the metric century left about 8:30. A few people split off at the halfway point and ended up riding a 52 mile route. Even with the different distances we kept seeing each other at rest stops, along the route and at the finish line.

The Pink Peloton rolls south of Muskegon.

We were not expecting a great turnout for the Sunday team ride because of all the miles ridden on Saturday. But as the above photo shows a good chunk of the team made it up to Muskegon to do a short, flat, stretch out the legs ride. The short route was 22 miles with an option to do 40. But a large storm blew in off Lake Michigan, so the long option was discarded as we hauled back to the starting point before the rain hit. We would have made it if not for the flat I suffered about 3 miles before the end. Right after I got it changed the skies opened up and I started having flashbacks to Killington. Very similar weather, except it was about 20 degrees warmer.

We head back to Death Valley in just a shade under 3 months.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

There's Something About Thursday

Tonight was another great Thursday night ride. It seems like all summer long, every Thursday evening ride has been excellent and memorable. Tonight was no exception. Tom Miller and I left the road bikes in the garage and headed to Luton Park near Rockford for some trail riding. Today was a hot, humid and cloudy day in west Michigan. But at about 5:00 a breeze came up, blew away the clouds and dropped the humidity. This provided for excellent riding conditions. Apparently several other people thought so as well. The parking area at Luton was packed. Tom and I did the main Blue loop twice, the easy Green loop once, the significantly harder Orange loop once and the crazy Black loop once. In total we road about 8 fun filled miles.
I've ridden my road bike past Luton Park several times, always thinking that I should come back on my ancient mountain bike and give the trails a try. Seriously, I have a Raliegh M50. It's the biggest mountain bike Raliegh made, it has no suspension and it's at least 20 years old. And I had a blast riding it. Although I have to admit, every time I ride the Raliegh I really appreciate how smooth my Cannondale is.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Team Ride Video

We had a great ride last Saturday and here's the proof.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Saturday team ride

We had an excellent team ride on Saturday. 21 of us got away from the holiday weekend barbecue long enough to get in a ride around the Holland area. Depending on time constraints (which there were understandably a lot of) people did somewhere between 38 and 46 miles. Ian and I ended up with a shade over 39 miles. We finished in time to get to New Holland and watch the World Cup match. With Ian, bike riding is a definite second place to soccer.
I also shot some video on the ride. Watch for edited version coming soon.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thursday's the night

This is the third Thursday evening in a row that I've been out for a ride. And the third Thursday in a row that it's been glorious. Maybe there is just something about Thursday evening. Tonight I rode toward the JDRF office as Mary was riding her bike home from there. We met up on Grand River Avenue. Rather than just turning around (for me, Mary could have kept going straight) we decided to tool around the new little park on Grand River. There is an extensive paved nature trail that we zipped along on. We also climbed to the top of an old silo that has been converted into a lookout tower. We then headed home via the curvy, relatively quiet street. We eventually merged onto Northland Drive, right near Plainfield. That last mile before we turned into our neighborhood was a bit harrowing. Cars going too fast and getting too close. But we survived and I logged just over 20 miles.
One small technical issue. At one point as I was riding down Pettis my bike computer suddenly said I was doing 0.0 miles per hour. I was pretty sure I was going quite a bit faster than that. A quick check of the hardware revealed that the sensor on my front wheel had come loose and slid out of position. A quick re-tightening and I was once again blazing along.