Friday, September 30, 2011

A little publicity

We received some nice publicity from one of our sponsors. XS Energy Drinks have been with us since almost the beginning of the West Michigan Ride Team. They have helped us raise tens of thousands of dollars to help find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. I was interviewed by one of their writers not to long ago and the story was posted this week. It details how XS became involved with JDRF and talks about our ride in Death Valley.
Here's the link. Check it out. And if you want any of the best energy drink on the market, just let me know.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The countdown...

Yesterday we had several instances where we said things like; "Three weeks from right now we'll be having breakfast in Death Valley." "Three weeks from right now we'll be riding toward Badwater." "Three weeks from right now we'll be done with climbing Jubilee Pass and on our way back." Do you get the idea that our big JDRF ride is in three weeks? Actually it's only 20 days from today. We leave from the airport in Grand Rapids on October 13th. Our flight takes us to Las Vegas where we board a bus for Death Valley. That night we have dinner under the stars and catch up with all the people we haven't seen since last year. On Friday morning, October 14th, there is a "rules of the road" meeting and then a short training ride. Friday afternoon we get acclimated to the desert climate and then have another outdoor dinner where the leading fundraisers are recognized. The West Michigan team has an after dinner get together during which we prepare our helmets for the big ride. It's also a chance for everyone to go around and talk about why they are participating in the ride. This is truly one of the highlights of the weekend.
Saturday, October 15th starts early. We are at breakfast at 5:00 a.m. and geared up and at the starting line by 6:30 a.m. The ride starts at (or just before) sunrise and then it's 105 miles of riding across the desert. With a little luck, and minimal wind, the ride takes about 10 hours. The scene at the finish line is one of overflowing emotion. Completing a century ride is an incredible feat in it's own. Completing a century in Death Valley takes it to another level. And doing it for a great cause... let's just say the tears are flowing faster than the beer.
This will be my sixth ride JDRF ride in Death Valley. It amazes me how our team has grown since 2005. It's also incredible to think about how much money we've raised to help find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. Thanks to all who ride and those who support us. 20 days and counting.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A month to go

We are getting down to crunch time from a training and fund raising standpoint. In just 4 weeks we will be in Death Valley participating in the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes. This will be my 7th JDRF ride, the 6th in the desert. 

One mile from the finish line of the 2010 Death Valley Ride             

This week was not as good mileage-wise as last week. I did get out three times; 16 miles with Ian on Tuesday, 19 miles on Wine Wednesday with a bunch of JDRF team mates, and 20 miles on my own on Saturday. A 55 mile week. Not great, but not bad. Just as importantly we are closing in on our family goal of $12,000. Mary, Ian and I are each at about $3,000. That means we each need to raise $1,000 in the next month. We have a few of our regular donors that haven't sent in their checks yet. If you're one of those people, thank you in advance for your generous donation. If you'd like to donate right now just click on the "Donate to..." links on the left side of this page. Thanks. BTW, the high temperature in Death Valley today was 108 degrees.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What a week that was

We did end up doing the Pub Crawl this past Saturday and had a great time. The weather was perfect, we had good friends to ride with, and a tasty beverage or two was consumed. I think my final mileage was around 44, which put me just under 150 for the week. That may be my best week ever. I've been watching my Mileage Tracker over on the left side of this page and for most of the spring and early summer it hardly seemed to move. Now it's clicking up 100 miles a week. I was worried that I wouldn't be ready for Death Valley. Now, not so much.
This afternoon Ian and I got out for a quick 16 mile ride. The sun is setting much earlier these days compared to the middle of summer. I'm writing this shortly after 7:30 p.m. and the gloaming has definitely started. A couple of months ago we were still out riding part 9:00 p.m. without lights. The nip in the air also says that fall is fast approaching. We'll need warmer clothes to ride in, at least until we get to Death Valley. 32 days away.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

And now 1100

So this is a 100 mile (exactly) week. And it's only Thursday. On Monday Ian and I rode with a bunch of our JDRF team mates. We rode to Townsend Park, the team ride start point, which is about 7 miles away. The team ride was a pretty laid back affair, no maps and a small group. We rode out to the Wabasis Lake area for a round trip of about 36 miles. So that means Ian and I ended up with a shade over 50 miles.

On Wednesday Mary and I went over to Linda Thompson-Poeder's house right after work and rode 20-ish miles in the Calendonia area. We rode on Parmalee Street, which is very hilly and hard according to the locals. But apparently we rode the "opposite" direction, which made it easier. However, since we did a loop, if we went the easy way on Parmalee we had to climb on different roads.  So any way you cut it we had a fair amount of climbing yesterday.

Today I rode from Mary's shop, Connie's Cakes, back to our house. A little over 28 miles along various rail trails through Grand Rapids. The ride was flat but I was heading into a 15-20 mph wind the entire way. And the week isn't done. There is a Pub Crawl JDRF fund raiser ride on Saturday. So this should be my biggest mileage week of the summer.

Friday, September 2, 2011


This afternoon I did a little more bicycle commuting, riding over to GRTV in Grand Rapids for an editing session. I won't talk about the pedestrian who didn't understand the concept of "on your left". (That means move to your right sweetheart.) I won't mention the pick up truck driver pulling a trailer who was making a right turn on red who looked right at me and then turned in front of me while I had the green light. I also won't say anything about the car that almost t-boned me as he blasted through a stop sign. I want to talk about the fact that I rolled over 1000 miles on the way home tonight. Last year I hit 1000 miles on August 3rd, so I'm about a month behind, which I'll blame on our crappy weather this spring. We still have six weeks until Death Valley so there's plenty of time to get in more miles.

I'll be riding my bicycle through Death Valley to help find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. Please help support the cause by donating via this link.

Riding through the city - on trails

Yesterday I took Mary to the cake shop and then rode my bike home. It was a 28 mile ride that was almost completely flat. It was also interesting because it took me over several Grand Rapids area bike trails. I started by going west on the M6 trail. I then turned north on Kent Trails. We've ridden Kent Tails a lot, especially when we used to live on the west side. It's been cool to watch how that trail has been improved over the years. It now connects with Millennium Park and has a nice new trailhead area off of Butterworth.
When Kent Trails ended I picked my way across the west side of Grand Rapids. Although there isn't a clear bike route through there yet, the streets aren't real busy until you get near 131. I took Seward north to Leonard to cross the Grand River. Then it was a fairly familiar route home, north through Riverside Park, back across the river on North Park Street, then north on the White Pine Trail to home.
It was great to be able to ride safely all the way from the south side of Grand Rapids to Rockford, mostly on bike trails. If I'd stayed on the White Pine I could have gone all the way to Sand Lake. Plans are also underway to link the WPT with the Musketawa Trail in Marne and to finish paving the gravel sections of the WPT. So within the next year or two you'll be able to ride a paved trail from Cadillac to Grand Rapids and then over to Muskegon. That is going to be fun.