Friday, December 27, 2013

Revisiting 2013 - It was a year.

It's that time of year when best of 2013 lists and recaps of important happenings are being published across the internet and traditional media. I would be remiss if I didn't join the fray (plus it's been over a month since I wrote on this blog). So let's review our cycling year...

Since we really don't ride in the winter (remember we live in Michigan) we'll jump right ahead to the spring, in which we really didn't ride either. Spring 2013 was very wet. We had so much rain that the Grand River overflowed it's banks in a once-a-century style flood. When it wasn't raining it was hard to find routes that weren't under water. My personal mileage for the spring was about 500 miles less than it had been in 2012.

We joined the Rapid Wheelmen, a local cycling club, ostensibly so that Ian could be part of their junior race team. He competed in races in Frankenmuth and East Grand Rapids. While he didn't place well in either race his practice time was limited because of (a-hem) senioritis and getting ready to attend college this fall. As a family we participated in a few of the Rapid Wheelmen Time Trials. The Trials are a 15 mile, relatively flat, out and back race against the clock. Every time I did one of these races I confirmed to myself that I am not a racer.

Summer was great for riding. We did many rides with our JDRF team. Ian and I also rode in the Holland Hundred, although we only completed 40 miles because of other family commitments later in the day. There was a huge group of JDRF folks, both past and present, that rode the HH. It was great seeing so many different versions of the JDRF jersey.

August brought the One Day Ride Across Michigan (ODRAM). 147 miles in a single day. I'm one of the organizers so I don't "get" to ride in it. In 2013, we had the largest number of riders since we took over the ODRAM and raised almost $10,000 for JDRF.

What we train for all spring and summer is the big JDRF century ride. This year that ride was in Nashville, Tennessee. It was the first time the JDRF ride program had sponsored a ride in Nashville and it was the largest ride ever, with over 500 participants. The ride was great, leaving from Vanderbilt University and heading out along the Natchez Trace Parkway. At least the first 52 miles were great. At the turnaround point I crashed. Luckily I was the only bicycle involved. Unluckily I broke four ribs, punctured my left lung, suffered a mild concussion and partially tore the hamstring in my left leg. Plus I had a bruise on my left side the size of Rhode Island. The medical personnel on the course and at Vanderbilt Medical Center did a great job. I've had a full recovery but that crash did impact the rest of my cycling year.

In many ways autumn was worse than winter for cycling. During the winter I don't want to ride. In the autumn of 2013 I wanted to ride but couldn't. We had a gorgeous fall in west Michigan. The temperatures were moderate and there was plenty of sunshine. However, I could only sit inside and look out the windows. I was on the mend (and on medication) until mid-November. By the time I was medically able to get back on a bike the snow was starting the fall. I envied my team mates who were able to ride during the great autumn weather. And now we're back to winter. (Sigh)

Even tough I rode over 1,200 miles this year, 2013 was quite a disappointment cycling-wise. I didn't ride as much as I wanted and my longest ride was only 60 miles. I'm healed now and my bike will get fixed over the winter. So I'm hoping for a better year in 2014.

Until then, please enjoy this video recap of the 2013 West Michigan JDRF season.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Diabetes Awareness Month

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. We became aware of diabetes on September 19, 1997. That was the day that our then six year old son Jake was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. This year the JDRF ride in Nashville was on the 16th anniversary of Jake's diagnosis date. Not exactly an anniversary to celebrate, but definitely one to be aware of (to use the word of the month).

Jake on the first day of first grade
At some point when Jake was six we noticed that he seemed to be thinner. We thought he was just getting taller and hadn't put on any weight to go with his increasing height. His mother and I were both thin at that age. He also started wetting the bed again. This hadn't been a problem since he was first potty trained. We tried positive reinforcement. If he went three nights without wetting the bed he'd get a special snack. If he was dry for six nights he got to pick out a movie to rent. This seemed to be working. A couple of months later we found out that frequent urination was one of the warning signs of Type 1.

The thing that finally tipped us off that something wasn't right was a camping trip we took in mid-September. On Sunday, as we were breaking down the campsite, Jake said he was tired and went into the tent to lay down. We took down everything around him. We even carried him out of the tent on his sleeping bag and laid him on the ground. He slept through it all. Then on the way home we stopped four times so he could go to the bathroom. It was only a two hour car ride. On Monday we took him to the doctor.

We explained Jake's behavior to the doctor and asked him run some tests. The doctor asked what type of tests we wanted. We explained that we didn't know, but that something was not right with our son. He was six and should be running and playing and full of energy. Jake was lethargic, thirsty all the time and had to use the bathroom a lot. The doctor gave Jake a physical, took some blood and urine samples, and said he would call us if they found anything. The next morning we got a call. "Jake has sugar in his urine". Questions came rushing into our heads. What does that mean? Does he have diabetes? That can't be right. We don't know anyone with diabetes. We took Jake to the DeVos Children's Hospital and spent all day learning a new way of life. How to check his blood sugar. How to give him shots of insulin. How to figure out how many carbohydrates were in different foods. Learning about keytones and "going low" and diabetic shock. Having conversations with the doctors about the dangers of complications leading to nerve damage, amputation, and blindness. You could say it wasn't exactly the best day our family ever had.

Tom and Jake (now 22) in Chicago, Spring 2013
The first year after Jake's diagnosis was a bit of a blur. There was so much to learn, so much to watch out for, so much time spent worrying about the little guy. Somewhere in that haze we found the local chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). While we hadn't found a cure, we had found a way to help a cure become a reality. JDRF is the largest private funder of Type 1 diabetes research in the world. The people at the local chapter were very helpful and encouraging. Over the next several years we would become very involved with the organization.

We put together a walk team, participated in the Gala and auction, Mary worked at the chapter as the office manager and I served on the board for six years. Then in 2005 the chapter executive director walked into a board meeting and said "I'm riding for a cure in Death Valley this fall. Who's riding with me?" That was the year we started this cycling team with about 20 people. Now almost 100 people have been part of the West Michigan team. We've ridden hundreds of thousands of miles and raised millions of dollars in donations, and we're still riding. And we will keep riding until we find a cure and we have no more need for Diabetes Awareness Month.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

More Photos

I finally got around to adding slideshows of the 2012 Lake Tahoe ride and last month's Nashville ride. You can find those over on the left side of the page, just below the Training Tracker. The slideshows cover the entire weekend of the rides. So there are photos of the training ride, the pre-ride excursions, the helmet decorating party, and the ride itself. Unfortunately I didn't get a lot of photos of the actual ride in Nashville. We were trying to beat the cut-off time on the way out so I figured I would just take pictures on the way back. However the way back was in the back of an ambulance so I didn't get any photos. Mary was kind enough to take a few of me after the crash. I included a couple, but none of the bruising, which still isn't completely gone.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Post crash update

I'm getting a little better every day. I had a follow up appointment with my family physician and the hole in my lung is completely healed. They did see a bit of pneumonia developing so they put me on antibiotics to knock that out. I took the last dose yesterday and I never had any symptoms, so I should be good there. The bruising and swelling has gone down considerably, but my hip and ribs are still quite sore. I'm finally up off the couch and getting some work done, but no heavy lifting.

I got my bike back over the weekend. Because of the accident and the fact that I was going to be spending extra time in Nashville, we sent the bikes home with other team mates. My bike is a little dinged up, but appears to be in fine shape. Not that I'll be riding it any time soon. The doctor said no riding until November. And since I'm not a big fan of riding in the cold I may just be done for the year. If so, that gives me 1,206 miles for the year. Not what I hoped for, but not terrible. Here's hoping for a few warm days before Thanksgiving.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Nashville Ride Recap

My plan had been to post on Facebook, write on this blog, and use Twitter, Vine and Instagram to document this year's ride as it happened. However at 50 miles into the 100 mile ride I had a severe crash resulting in 4 broken ribs, a punctured lung and more than a little road rash. So I'm going to bring everyone up to speed with one massive post. Thanks to everyone who has sent along prayers and recovery wishes. I'm on the mend, but more on that later.

The JDRF West Michigan Cycling Team in front of Parthenon in Nashville.
We arrived in Nashville after a 10 hour drive from Michigan. Our hotel was the Marriott at Vanderbilt University (insert ominous foreshadowing music). 515 riders from all across the country were assembling for the ride.

Opening reception at the Silver Dollar Saloon.
The JDRF staff loaded everyone up on buses and took us all downtown to the Silver Dollar Saloon for the opening reception. It was fun hanging out with all our team mates and reconnecting with other JDRF riders we've met over the years. At the reception it was announced that the Nashville ride had raised $1.5 million. That makes Nashville the largest ride ever in terms of riders and the largest ride ever in dollars earned.

We stared Friday with a Rules of the Road meeting. All the riders and staff assembled in a large tent in the back parking lot of the Holiday Inn, the second event hotel. This is where the ride staff lets the riders know what to expect on Saturday. We then went out for a short tune-up ride to check our bicycles and get a feel for the start of the course. Our team went over to a local park that sports a recreation of the ancient Greek Parthenon. We figured that would be a great place for this year's team photo. (see above)

Tom, Linda and Mary kayaking.
We had some free time on Friday afternoon so a bunch of us went kayaking on the Harpeth River. Mary, Ian and I along with Cindy and her friend Mike, Linda T.P., Jason, and Jerry from Jersey spent a couple of hours  paddling down the very peaceful southern river. Peaceful that is until the rain storm hit. It was a warm day so the few sprinkles were fine. But suddenly there was a line across the water like you'd see when going under the waterfall on an amusement park lazy river ride. Except it wasn't going to be dry at the other end. It rained really hard for about 10 minutes and the only thing louder than the sound of the rain on the river was our laughter.

Ian decorating his helmet with team mate Susanna.
On Friday night we had the traditional pre-ride pasta dinner. On the West Michigan team we also have a Friday night tradition. We get together after dinner and decorate our helmets. With over 500 people dressed in the same jersey and wearing black shorts we need some way to tell who our team mates are from a distance. Also, we use that time to talk about our reasons for participating in the Ride. It's always one of the best parts of the weekend to hear from people with Type 1, parents of people with Type 1 and those who have no family connection to the disease. There were eight of us in that group who were part of our first team in 2005. It was great going around the circle and hearing the stories I know so well and also the stories of our newer members.

Ian, Mary and Tom at the start of the Nashville Ride for a Cure.
Saturday morning dawned rainy. In fact a big thunderstorm rolled through on Friday night, so the ride start was delayed by an hour. This was no big deal except that we needed to be at Break Point #3 by 10:20 a.m. If we didn't make that we would be able to go for the full century ride. That meant a 15 mph pace. Doable but with all the hills we were going to have work hard. Right at the start I met a rider from Tennessee named Justin Gregory. He has Type 1 diabetes and works at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (cue second ominous foreshadowing music). Justin didn't have anyone to ride with so he hooked up with Ian and me. In truth Justin rode with Ian and I did everything I could to hold onto those two. Ian has been riding strong all summer and the hills didn't seem to bother him at all. Since we were trying to make time I decided I'd take photos after we hit the cut off point. We made that and found that several of our team mates, including Mary, also made the cutoff.

Cindy, Mary and Linda on the Natchez Trace
I started off on the next leg of the route right behind Ian and Justin but they quickly dropped me. So I waited for a few of our team mates and rode to the turnaround with them. The first half of the ride had been beautiful. We rode past some gorgeous homes on the outskirts of Nashville before hopping onto the Natchez Trace Parkway. The hills were rolling and plentiful with some spectacular views. The route was 50 miles out and 50 miles back. I was the first of this newest group to arrive at the turnaround. It was just a little downhill to a rest room then back uphill and back toward Nashville. Sounds simple enough but this is where that ominous music kicks in. As I was coming down the hill my front tire slipped off the side of the road. My bike flipped sideways and I went down hard going about 20 mph. I was in a lot of pain but within seconds a couple of fellow riders stopped by. One of them was a medic. They did a quick evaluation and called the ambulance. One of the next riders to show up was DOCTOR Justin Gregory. It seems that our new friend didn't just work at the hospital he's a doctor there. I was in good hands.
Dr. Gregory, the EMTs and head medic Brock working on me.
The various docs, medics and EMT's worked on me as I lay on the ground. My jersey and Under Armor were ripped up pretty bad and had to be cut off. Apparently my helmet cracked when it hit the ground but my head and neck were okay. Once again another good reason to wear a helmet. I should have had a helmet on my ribs. When I got to the emergency room at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (remember the foreshadowing music earlier) I found out that I broke four ribs and punctured my left lung. That meant I wouldn't be leaving for home on Sunday. I did get to go to the trauma ward and have a chest tube put in. I spent the the night under the very attentive care of the staff on trauma. Very attentive. I don't think i slept for more than 45 minutes straight until someone came in to give me medicine, take my vital signs or just to check on me. In truth the care was wonderful the entire time I was there and I really want to thank the entire staff. It's easy to see why Vanderbilt is one of the top teaching hospitals in the country.

I was moved to a private room very early (6:30 a.m.) on Sunday morning. More tests, more tubes, more wires, and more drugs. They kept trying various combinations to keep the pain down without causing me nausea. We ended up with a delightful cocktail of slow release morphine, 800 mg ibuprofen, and oxycodone. Not to mention the bacitracin applied twice a day to my road rash. They also had me breathe into a little device to make sure I was taking deep enough breathes so I didn't develop pneumonia. On Monday morning a different trauma doctor than the one who put the chest tube in said it was time to take it out. Two amazing things about that; how much better I felt as soon as the tube was out and how long that sucker was. I had about 8 inches of plastic tube the width of my index finger inside of my chest. The docs said the lung was 95% mended and should be 100% within the next day or so. After another virtually sleepless night I was released Tuesday morning to make the long drive home. Thanks to my lovely wife Mary for doing all the driving.

I got my 9th JDRF medal in the hospital room instead of at the finish line.
My prognosis is for a full recovery. However until that happens I can't ride my bike or participate in any physical activity that might bump my body for 6 weeks. I can't lift more than 5 pounds or mow the lawn. And I can't drive until I'm off the narcotic pain medication early next week. So I'm looking for volunteers to rake leaves in my lawn over the next few weeks. Any takers? Seriously thank you to all my cycling team mates, friends, and family for their outpouring of prayers and concern. This is the worst sports injury of my life, but I know it could have been a lot worse. I consider myself fortunate to have had this accident at such a well supported ride. And the bottom line is I raised $3,000 for diabetes research, our family raised over $9,000, and the entire Nashville ride raised over $1.5 million. Plus, Ian finished the full 100 miles for his first JDRF century. So despite my mishap this was a very successful ride. Thanks again everyone for your help and concern and donations.

P.S. I have photos of the bruise on my left side. It starts in the middle of my back and runs all the way down to just above my left knee. I'll not be posting that, but if you'd like to see it just let me know and I'll send you an email.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Almost "Go Time"

It's hard to believe that the months of training and fundraising are over and in just a few hours we'll be heading out for the 2013 JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes in Nashville, Tennessee. There are 515 riders, which makes this the largest JDRF ride ever. As of this morning this ride has raised $1.5 million, which is the most money ever raised by a ride. This is an amazing event to be part of. There are about 40 of us here from West Michigan. Some are riding, some are coaching, some are working in the bike room, and some are here as supporters. We will make a good showing tomorrow and when we're done we'll be 100 miles closer to finding a cure for diabetes.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us this year, both financially and emotionally. We hit our $9,000 family goal on Tuesday so we are ready to concentrate on just riding tomorrow. Wish us luck.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

One for the road

Last night I got in what will probably be my last ride before we leave for Nashville. 16 miles at 16 mph along the White Pine Trail traveling from our house north to 12 Mile Road and then home. I saw several other cyclists out on the trail Everyone seemed to be in training mode, that is, riding solo, head down, quick nod as we pass. As usual the tricky part was going through downtown Rockford and avoiding the strollers and dog walkers. I know I've said this before but it would really help to have a white line painted down the middle of the trail. It would be a good visual clue to all the different trail users to stay on your side of the trail unless you are passing, just like you do on the road. I've seen this on other paved trails and I think it does help remind people not to use the entire width of the trail as they saunter along.

Our plan is to leave for Nashville at 7:00 a.m. on Thursday. I hope to post updates and photos both here and on Facebook. So follow along as we ride along. Four days until the JDRF Ride for a Cure in Nashville.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Goal almost met

After last week's big miles this week was a bit of a letdown. Because of a combination of work and weather none of us did any riding. However it was a great week. Tom and Ian both hit their goal of $3,000 and Mary is only $36 away from her goal. She should get that last donation in the next couple of days. (Hint, hint) It is a good feeling knowing that we have met our financial goal and can just concentrate on riding this Saturday. That's right, all the training and fund raising has been leading up to Saturday. We leave for Nashville early Thursday morning. Friday we have meetings, a training ride and a little free time. Then Saturday morning the ride starts. 100 miles and over 4,000 feet of climbing. Then we drive home on Sunday. It's going to be tough trying to concentrate on work for the next three days. I am really looking forward to this year's ride and getting a little bit closer to finding a cure for diabetes.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Big miles for Team Scheidel

We put in some serious mileage over the past week. Over the Labor Day weekend Mary and I went out for a 32 mile ride on Sunday and a 10 mile ride on Monday. Then on Wednesday I did a 22 mile solo ride in the Rockford area. Yesterday there was the odd Saturday team ride. Usually we ride on Sundays, but CycleCross season started today and several of our team mates compete in that. We started from Spring Grove Park in Ottawa County and did two loops totaling 60 miles. That gave me 124 miles for the week. I think it may be alright to start tapering off before the big ride in Nashville in less than two weeks.

Mary went out with two of our team mates today for a century ride. They rode 100 miles along the White Pine Trail and Kent Trails. That's a pretty flat route but still 100 miles is 100 miles. I'd say Mary is ready for Nashville.

Ian has started school at Aquinas College and his bike is in our garage. I asked him if he was going to get any riding in before we left for Nashville. He said "I think I'm strong enough." So I guess he's ready as well.

13 days until the Nashville Ride for a Cure.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Labor Day weekend rides

We had a great time this weekend visiting our friends Susan and Elvin at their cottage on Lake Paw Paw. We ate, we drank, we swam, we played volleyball, we even got a little bike riding in.

On Sunday morning the four of us rode from the cottage north to South Haven and back. It's a pretty flat route, but it does go through some nice farmland and the turnaround point is the park right along Lake Michigan. We ended up with 32 miles for the day.

Susan, Mary and Elvin resting along the channel in South Haven.
On Monday morning Mary and I went out on our own. We rode around Lake Paw Paw and into the little town of Watervliet. It was an easy 10 mile ride and got us warmed up for the afternoon volleyball extravaganza.

JDRF Ride in Nashville in 18 days.

Friday, August 30, 2013

1,000

I rolled over 1,000 miles for this season last night. Mary and I went for a leisurely ride up to Rockford along the White Pine Trail. We decided to go after dinner since before dinner the temperature was still in the high 80's. That was a good call since it cooled off a bit, although the bugs did come out and we needed to turn on our blinky lights for the last few miles. We finished with 15.5 miles, which gives me 83 for this week and 1,004 for this year. I set a goal to have 1,000 miles by the end of August so I'm pleased.

Three weeks from today we will be in Nashville getting ready for the JDRF Ride for a Cure. 100 miles and 4,400 feet of climbing in one day. I think I'm almost ready.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Thank you to our donors

As we approach both the date of the Nashville ride and our $9,000 family fundraising goal, I'd like to take a moment to thank the people and companies that have supported our effort this year. This list isn't complete because if you were one of the many who gave a cash donation at Jake's Music Festival we have no way to track that. But thank you all the same. In no particular order, here is this year's honor roll of donors...so far.

Tru Vue, Inc.
The Gordon Group
Fat Tire Beer
Frame's Unlimited
Roy L. Dodman
X-Cel Chemical
Seaver's Lawn Service
The Holland Hundred
Robert Edveld
Kim Summers
Leo Isaguirre
Brian Mogg
Chris Machuta
Mike & Jean Oele
Paul Weninger
Chris and Paula Briggs
Karen Kleinheksel
Keith Robb
Mary Ellen Kozoil
Walter Bujak
Heather Allegrina-Bowe
Tom & Florence Scheidel
Christine Behrens
Third Coast Cycling
Pam & Ralph Hanson
Dan Ayers
David & Rebecca Behrens
David Darling
Reg & Anne Goetz
Kim & Dennis Moline
PJ's Sound & Backline
Connie's Cakes
The Scheidel Group
Clay Grueber
Amore Trattorie Italiana
Carrettino Italian Market
Spirit Dream
West Michigan Whitecaps
Grand Rapids Children's Museum
Grand Rapids Ballet
Grand Rapids Art Museum
GR Bagel
Founders Brewing Company
Central District Cyclery
XS Energy Drinks
WYCE
and all the people who have given us cash donations to help us move one step closer to finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

You can still contribute to the cause by clicking on the "Donate to..." links on the left side of the page.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Big miles

Some of the team discussing the hills between loops.
We are getting to that point in the season where the miles are starting to rack up, both on the individual rides and overall. Sunday we had a JDRF team ride. We did two loops that left from Long Lake Park which is near Cedar Springs in northern Kent County. The first loop was 32 miles and took us to the high point of the county- Fisk Knob. It's a pretty tough climb, about 100 feet of elevation gain in a half mile. But there would be many more climbs on this day. In fact when we were all done we had an elevation gain of 1,069 feet. Normally that wouldn't bother me but I was not having a good day and struggled mightily, especially on the second loop.

The second loop was 36 miles and took us out to the apple orchards along Fruit Ridge and Peach Ridge Avenues. Notice the word Ridge in the name of the roads. Ridges are at the top of hills and/or mountains. To ride on them you have to ride up to them. Thus it was a long, slow, painful day for me. I did manage to finish both loops under my own power to end up with a 68 mile day. That gives me 987 miles for the year. My intermediate goal is to hit 1,000 miles by the end of August, which I should be able to do on my next ride.

25 days until the Nashville JDRF Ride for a Cure.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

One of those nights

I wanted to go for ride tonight. I got my gear on, filled my water bottle and went to the garage to get my bike. Unfortunately the rear tire was flat. I was getting a late start and this was only going to make me later. Little did I realize how much later. As I removed the rear wheel and started to take off the tire I notice some cracks and wear marks on the tire. In fact the tire was toast. Luckily I had a couple of old tires, not in great shape, but better than the one I just took off my bike. I replaced the tube, put the new old tire on the wheel and started to pump it up. Sure enough, another flat. I knew I had another tube, but it was in my car and Ian had my car. I was about to give up when I realized Ian and I are close to the same size. So I jumped on his bike and rode up to Rockford and back for a 15.7 mile ride. Being close in height and limb length is good, but not being exactly the same was noticeable. Our coach, Mike Clark, does a great job fitting our bikes to our body. Because Ian has longer legs and a shorter torso then me I felt like I was riding sitting almost straight up. After about 10 miles I started feeling fatigue pain in places I wouldn't have on my own bike. While I appreciated having a bike to get out on tonight I will be getting new tires for my steed tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cycle-rrefic weekend

This past weekend was all about cycling. On Friday I rode one of my favorite routes. It's 21 miles long and goes up the hill on Post Road and then follows House and Edgerton up to 13 Mile Road before turning south and heading home via the White Pine Trail. I had an average speed of 15.1 miles an hour with 420 feet of climbing.

Sunday was a Team Scheidel ride. Mary, Ian and I again went up Post Drive but this time we turned left at 9 Mile Road and rode it until the end. We went south on Stage Road to 7 Mile and turned for home. This route goes past lots of apple orchards. Let me tell you there will be plenty of Michigan apples on the store shelves in a few weeks. The route was 25 miles with 413 feet of climbing. This was a leisurely ride because I was pretty beat from what I did on Saturday.

ODRAM riders roll across Michigan

ODRAM. My alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. on Saturday because I had to be in Montague by 5:30 a.m. to set up for the One Day Ride Across Michigan. This is a 144 mile ride from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron across the center of the state. I am one of the organizers of the event so I didn't ride it. However 350 people did. This is the largest contingent since our group picked up the ride in 2010. Saturday was a beautiful day with temperatures in the mid 70s, low humidity and little to no wind. Perfect cycling weather. Everyone who rode had a great time and we raised a lot of money for JDRF. You can see more photos of the event at the ODRAM Facebook page.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tonight's ride

Because hills are fun.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tour de Taco

Our coach Mike Clark holds an annual team ride from his house in Holland. It's called the Tour de Taco because afterward Mike fixes up a whole passel of Mexican food. It's always really good and the ride is always fun. This year we did two loops. The morning loop started at 10:00 a.m. this past Sunday and incorporated parts of the Holland Hundred route. Sixteen of us rode south out of Holland toward Fennville and Hutchens Lake. We went around the south side of the lake and past Fenn Valley Winery. Since it was too early to stop at the tasting room we kept riding toward Saugatuck/Douglas. As we headed north back to Holland we picked up a pretty good head wind. We ended up with 41 miles. Truth be told, a few people (Mary for one) ended up with 44 miles because they missed a turn.

Loop number two headed out at 2:00 p.m. This was a shorter 30-ish mile route that took us in the reverse direction of loop one to Saugatuck and then back up to Holland. We had about 25 people on this route. After finishing with the lead group in the morning I was very happy to be middle to back of the pack in the afternoon. I ended up with 68 miles for the day. Add that to the 31 I did on Friday and I rode 99 miles in three days. So I feel like I'm where I need to be to be ready for the century ride in Nashville in six weeks.

The West Michigan Team enjoying post ride tacos.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Half century

I've been doing a lot of rides this summer in the 30 to 40 mile range. This was starting to concern me because I didn't want my body to get used to that particular distance. Especially since I'm planning on riding 100 miles in Nashville in September. So I was looking to do a 50 mile ride this weekend. Today I got my chance.

My friend John Despres took up road cycling about a year ago. He has a friend in Chicago who was going to do her first half century today. John was going to give her virtual support by riding 50 miles in Michigan at the same time she was riding 50 miles in Illinois. John invited me to go along. Unfortunately it was raining at our start time. Ever since the JDRF Killington ride in 2009 I am very reticent to start a ride in the rain. Probably the memory of almost getting hypothermia has something to do with that. So John started without me and I caught up with him about an hour later on the White Pine Trail. I rode 10 miles before I saw John and then 20 miles with him. That left me 20 miles to ride on my own to get the half century. John finished his ride in Riverside Park and I continued on to downtown Grand Rapids. From there I rode out to see Mary at Connie's Cakes. She gave me a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. I then rode to East Grand Rapids and around Reeds Lake before heading for home. I pulled in with 50 miles. I made my goal and virtually supported a new rider in Illinois. And the best part is it never rained on us.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Riding not writing

Even though I haven't written a lot lately I have been getting some miles in. Last week I rode 95 miles. 40 on the Sunday team ride, 15 on my own in the middle of the week, and another 40 at the Holland Hundred on Saturday. It was a great day at the Holland Hundred. The weather was a bit cooler and we had almost 30 JDRF team mates taking to the road. I would have loved to do the full century, but we had a wedding to attend so I had to cut the route short. Ian and I rode in a double pace line with about a dozen other cyclists, most from our team. We were buzzing right along at an 18 -20 mph clip. We got to the pancake breakfast after 30 miles. Breakfast was good and afterwards we said goodbye to most of our team mates who continued on the 100 mile route. We took the short route back to the starting line, which was only 10 more miles.

Most of the JDRF contingent before the start of the Holland Hundred
Tonight Mary and I went out for a short 17 mile ride. I'm not saying the Holland Hundred is flat, but we had almost as much climbing in our ride tonight as we did on the 40 mile ride Saturday. And this was a relatively flat route for this area. The hill work is good though, because we'll be doing a lot of that in Nasville this September.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ride those hills

Sunday was a JDRF team ride. It was a hot day and a hilly route. We started near the corner of Pettis and Knapp on the northeast side of the greater Grand Rapids area. This is close to our house and well known for the many, many hills. We started with a 30 mile loop that featured over 800 feet of climbing. The second loop was also 30 miles and basically covered most of the same roads (Pettis, Egypt Valley, Honey Creek) as the first loop but in the opposite direction. We had a family party to attend so we had to cut the second loop short. When the team turned left, we turned right and cut the 30 miles down to 10. Taken together that's 40 miles and almost 1,200 feet of climbing. Our coaches informed us that they weren't trying to be evil, they were just getting us ready for the big JDRF ride in Nashville in September. That one is 100 miles with over 4,000 feet of climbing. Personally I don't mind the hills, but there was a lot of suffering going on this past Sunday.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Busy, busy, busy

July has been a crazy month so far. Lots of traveling along with a little bit of riding thrown in. I figured the best way to break it down was with a list.

July 4 - We we're at our friends Susan and Elvin Hayes' cottage on Lake Paw Paw. Mary, Ian and I rode from there to South Haven. Colleen had rented a beach house there with a bunch of her college friends. We briefly visited her and then rode back to the cottage. The ride was a little over 33 miles long.

July 5 - I rode with Susan and Elvin. We looped past three different lakes on a 17 mile morning ride. A pretty relaxed pace since we had also been playing lots of volleyball at the cottage.

 Mary and I took a couple of pedicab rides while in San Diego. A different type of biking.

July 9 - I was at a conference in San Diego and Mary went along. We rented bikes from the hotel and rode 7  miles along the harbor. It was very flat and very crowded. The bike route and the pedestrian walking route are the same. So it was a slow ride but very beautiful. The weird part was the coaster brakes on the bike. It's been decades since I rode a bike with coaster brakes. I was sure I was going to crash. How embarrassing would that be to crash on a one speed, fat seat, tourist bike.

July 12 - Back home finally and Ian and I got out for a fast, hilly ride from our house. We went out along Cannonsburg Road to Townsend Park. From the park we jumped on the Cannon Trail. It's a pretty trail but difficult to ride. With all the twists and turns, bridges and small hills, it was impossible to maintain a consistent speed. We came home via Blakely and 7 Mile hill which was a very fast finish to our almost 18 mile ride.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Le Tour and Le Moi

The Tour de France started this morning. I watched the first stage on television and then went out and rode myself. I went north on the White Pine Trail up to 17 Mile Road in Cedar Springs and then back. That's a total of 25 miles. It was a pretty good ride, I averaged a little over 16 mph. This ride gave me almost 60  miles for the week. I also went out on Thursday between work and a Whitecaps game for a 23 mile ride. That one was only supposed to be 15 or so miles, but I got going and the loop I was on turned out to be a little longer then I thought.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Trail riding and hiking up north

We've been real busy lately with work, volunteer and team stuff. Most of that has meant dealing with large numbers of people. So yesterday Mary and I decided to have a decompression day, get away from people and out into the wilderness. There is a spot on Lake Michigan between Ludington and Manistee that is just perfect for this kind of detoxing. The beach is about 12 miles long, with hardly a soul to be seen. The hiking trails are many, varied and nearly devoid of people. In fact yesterday we did a three mile hike and didn't see anyone until we were on our way back along the beach. We also spent some time just lying on the beach all alone. Not as peaceful as it sounds because of the black flys and the high winds that made us feel like we were being sand blasted. But it was a beautiful day to just be on the beach.

Mary entering the Children of the Corn portion of our mountain bike ride
The highlight of our day was the 11 mile mountain bike ride we went on. There is a trail that loops the entire camping area. But there are also logging roads and unofficial trails that crisscross the main trail. We went off on several of those until one trail went from sand, to mud, to a 2 foot deep pond, to nothing. We went all the way to the end of the this particular trail and found ourselves in the middle of the forest, with the only way out the same way we came in. So back thru the pond, mud and sand until we found a hard packed service road that was big fun to ride on. We were actually a little surprised that we rode 11 miles. It didn't seem that far, but maybe that's because we were having so much fun. Click here for a link to the route.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Four times the fun

It seems like I'm making up for the crapping early spring we had by getting out quite often the past couple of weeks. See below.
Friday 6/14 - 18 miles
Sunday 6/16 - 30 miles
Monday 6/17 - 15 miles
We4dnesday 6/19 -18 miles

Friday morning was a quick jaunt on the 20 mile loop for Sunday's team ride, except that I rode it in the opposite direction just to keep things interesting. I went north on the White Pine Trail to 12 Mile Road, took that out to Edgerton and went south via House/Pine Island/Post. More detail in reverse in the Sunday description.

Sunday was Father's Day and we had our annual JDRF post Lumberjack team ride. Our coaches Mike and Derek and team mate Kaat all rode 100 miles of dirt trails on Saturday. They were moving a little slow on Sunday. Our team ride was a very hilly 30 mile route. It was supposed to be 40, but since it took the group 2 and 1/2 hours to go 20 miles we figured it would be best to cut the route short. This is a great loop. We crossed the Rouge River three times, rode past Meyers Lake and the Luton Park mountain bike trails. The roads were all twisty, turny, and hilly. We started by riding out of our neighborhood north on Packer and then hooking up with Post Drive for a big climb. Then we followed Pine Island to House, which follows US-131 and is a really fun road to ride. We worked our way north and west until we ended up at the sports park on Algoma and 13 Mile for an extended break. We even met a guy who was traveling by bike from Milwaukee to Syracuse. We then took 13 Mile to Summit, followed the Rouge River for a bit and turned east on 12 Mile. We rode this until we hit Meyers Lake Road and it was time to head home. We rode down Kies and past Luton Park and finished the ride by screaming down 7 Mile hill. Several of us had speeds in the 40 mph range.

Monday was the Rapid Wheelmen Time Trail in Ada. A 15 mile race against the clock. No team mates, no drafting, just you going as fast as you can. The 30 miles the day before must have taken a little out of our legs because Mary, Ian and I all had slower times than the last time we did the race. Of course Ian and I did play 18 holes of golf Monday morning, so that may have had something to do with it.

Tonight Mary needed to pick up a prescription at the Knapp's Corner Meijer. Rather than drive there we decided to ride our bikes. It was a beautiful night for a ride and we got in 18 very pleasant miles. That makes 81 miles in six days time. That feels good.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

That's more like it

Riding along on a beautiful Sunday.
I've gone out on three rides in the last four days for a total of 80 miles. That brings my seasonal mileage up to 289, not great but improving. On Saturday morning I did a solo ride of 14 miles. It was just a quick ride because I didn't want to overdo it before our team ride on Sunday. The team ride left from Elden's Shipyard in Holland. This is an annual event for us that usually draws a good crowd because of the pool and cookout after the ride. There were loops of 19, 30 and 42 miles. Mary did the 30 mile loop and Ian and I did the 42. Our loop took us through New Richmond, Fennville and Douglas before returning to the south shore of Lake Macatawa. The group stayed together for most of the ride at a 17-18 mph pace. This particular loop also has a fair amount of hills. I didn't ride Monday but tonight Ian and I went for a sprint ride down to the ballpark and back. 14 miles at and 18-20 mph pace, which is pretty good since it was just the two of us swapping off the lead. I think I'll be able to get out once or twice more before our next team ride, which is this Sunday from our house. That route is going to be 40 miles with over 1,000 feet of climbing. He he he.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hill training

Yesterday I went out on my hill training route. It's 10 miles long with six climbs of varying difficulty. I've done this route many times, but this time I decided to map it with Map My Ride and post the result below. There is 330 feet of climbing on this route. That doesn't sound like much but if you extrapolate that over a century ride you'd have 3,300 feet of climbing, or more than the JDRF Death Valley ride. There is also one Category 5 climb on the route. That's the easiest of the climb ratings, but it is rated. This year our JDRF ride will take place in Nashville, Tennessee in late September. That ride has over 4,000 feet of climbing, so I'm likely to have lots more hill training in my future.


Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyRide

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Urban Cycling

Every Memorial Day since the mid-eighties we get together with our friends Susan and "Elvin" Hayes. We used to go camping in Manistee National Forest, then we started hanging out at their cottage on Lake PawPaw. This year, because of crazy schedules, we visited them at their home near Lincoln Park in Chicago. On Sunday Elvin, Mary and I rode the Lake Shore Trail north up to Evanston. The very well used paved trail follows the shore of Lake Michigan through most of Chicago. Traveling north the trail jogs inland for a few miles along surface streets. However it is well marked with signage and bike lanes (or at least sharrows). When we got to Evanston we rode around Northwestern University's campus and past some gorgeous homes. On the way back we stopped at a little beach bar for a snack and a beer. It would have been great had the sun been out and the temperature wasn't dropping. Sunday was one of those rides that started in the mid 60's and just a bit overcast and ended with temps in the 50's with rain starting. Luckily we got back in before it rained hard or we got frozen. In all we put in 30 miles of dodging pedestrians, other cyclists, and sand blown over the trail. It was a very different experience than our usually Memorial Day rides on the other side of Lake Michigan.

Tom and Mary in front of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Let's Race

Mary competing in her first time trial
This past week started with the Rapids Wheelmen Time Trials out in Ada. Ian and I have raced there once before and this time Mary joined us. This is a 15 mile out and back, fairly flat course along Grand River Avenue. The riders start individually every 30 seconds. The idea is to ride against the clock and not the other people on the course. Which is a good thing since I was getting passed regularly by 20 somethings on time trial bikes. But the good news is I improved my time over the first week by three and a half minutes. Ian's time was about the same and Mary finished is less than an hour. She was very happy about that since she was thinking she was a "slow" rider. Her average speed was 15.6 mph. While not blazing, that's far from slow. The complete results are at this link.

On Saturday Ian and I traveled over to the other side of the state for the Tour de Frankenmuth. This was Ian's first ride with the Rapid Wheelmen Junior Team. The race was on a 16 mile loop that started in the downtown of the delightfully German themed town. The Juniors did one loop and the Category 1 and 2 riders did 5 loops. The top riders were competing for prize money, the juniors were competing for medals. Ian finished 8th in his age group, getting beat out at the line for 7th place. It was a great learning experience for him and he said he really enjoyed it.

Ian approaching during his first Junior Team race.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

This week's training

This was a good week for training. I rode three times for a total of 51 miles. That's a good place to be for the middle of May. I'd like to have more total miles under my belt, but my fitness level seems pretty good considering the lack of saddle time this spring.

On Tuesday Ian and I did a 14 mile ride out to the east of our house. We started by climbing Seven Mile hill. We rode past Luton Park which was full of people on mountain bikes and then finished by riding past Rockford High School. Ian's last day at RHS is this Wednesday and then he graduates on June 4.

Thursday was a solo ride for me down near Allegan. I was working in the area and had a couple of hours between events, so I took my bike along and got a 17 mile ride in. I had hoped to do a loop ride but I was unfamiliar with the area so I ended up doing an out and back.

Mary and I rode the White Pine Trail on Saturday evening. We went north as far as Russell Road and then turned around. On the way home we stopped at the Rockford Brewing Company for a sandwich and a beer. It was excellent and we arrived home slightly before 9:00 p.m. with exactly 20 miles. We have finally hit that point of the year where it stays light in Michigan until late in the evening. It makes after work rides much easier to complete.

Monday, May 6, 2013

First time trial

We tried something new tonight. Ian and I rode in our first time trial. The Rapid Wheelmen Cycling Club holds a 15 mile time trial every Monday night. It starts at Ada Park and runs along Grand River Drive toward Lowell. It's a pretty flat route with a few mild rollers. We rode out seven and a half miles, turn around and head back. It took me about 55 minutes (we'll have the official times on Wednesday), Ian did it in about 48 minutes. He started 30 seconds behind me and caught me at mile 3. There were about 70 riders in all but only 3 (including Ian) passed me. Of course I was one of the last six to start. Oh well, my plan was just to get a base line time so I can see how much I improve over the course of the season.

Ian after his first time trial.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Second ride of the season

Today I rode outside for the second time this season. Mary, Ian and I took the White Pine Trail north thru Rockford to Russell Road then turned around and rode home. That's 20 miles, or one mile more than last Sunday's ride. By this time last year I had ridden over 200 miles. This very wet cold spring has really put my training behind schedule. Plus the Nashville ride is in early September. Looks like I'm going to have to start hammering it.

On a related note my bike has developed a shifting problem. As in, it doesn't. I rode all day today in the big ring, which means my 27 speed bike is essentially a 9 speed. I used to ride a 10 speed in college so this isn't too bad, but it's amazing how much I miss those other 18 gears. I'm taking it in to Grand Rapids Bicycle Company tomorrow so they can take a look.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The season starts

JDRF West Michigan - first team ride
Spring has been a long time coming. By this time last year we had been riding outside for over a month. Sunday was our first JDRF team ride of the season. We had a good sized group that showed up to the Clark's house in Grandville. Because of all the rain and subsequent flooding getting to their house took a little rerouting, but luckily the bike route itself was nice and dry.

To go off topic for just a bit, we've had over 9 inches of rain this April. We set a record for the month on April 18th. All the rivers in the area are over flood stage. In fact the Grand River crested yesterday at record high levels. I posted some photos over on Facebook.

Back to the bike stuff. This was the first team ride of the year and, for some of us, the first ride period. I did a few indoor trainer rides over the winter, but this was my first time riding outdoors. It was a sunny, if a bit cool, day.  There were three routes that ran south of Grandville with loops of 12, 19 or 27 miles. I chose the 19 mile option and Mary did the 12. Ian was on his way back from a percussion competition in Ohio so he didn't ride with us. It felt good to be out on the road again. I'm looking forward to putting many more miles under my tires as we prepare for the JDRF ride in Nashville this September.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Jake's Music Festival takes place tonight

In order to raise money to support our ride we participate in lots of fund raising opportunities. Tonight is one of the biggest. Jake's Music Festival takes place at Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids, featuring some of the best bands the local music scene has to offer. This is our ninth year and promises to be one of the best show yet. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. with music starting at 7:00 p.m. See the full schedule below.

Nick Stevenson playing at JMF 2012
7:00PM     Grand ‘Piper’ Entrance
7:05PM     Last Call Band                       
7:45PM     Lynn Thompson
8:00PM     The Nick Stevenson Band                 
8:45PM     Otis Blueswell Jr.
9:00PM     Simien The Whale                   
9:45PM     Jared Wekenman 
10:00PM   Igby Iris                        

Check out the event web site or Facebook page for more info.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Starting the 2013 Season

Yesterday was the first day to register for the 2013 JDRF rides. Team Scheidel and a large portion of the West Michigan team have registered for the brand new ride in Nashville, Tennessee. Now before anyone says anything about us taking it easy this year, let me tell you a little bit about the route. First off it looks like a very pretty route. The starting line will be near Vanderbilt University and a good portion of the route will follow the Natchez Trace, a scenic parkway closed to commercial traffic. So that's the good part. The route also has over 4,400 feet of elevation gain. That's a lot of climbing. To put it in perspective, Death Valley and Lake Tahoe each have about 2,700 feet of climbing. Looks like we are in for lots of hill training this spring and summer. The ride takes place on September 21, 2013. So we have nine months of training and fund raising ahead.

Speaking of fund raising we would love to have your support in our endeavor. On the left are links that allow you to donate to Tom, Mary or Ian. Please take a moment to make a contribution. No amount is too small (or too large) and every donation puts us that much closer to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes.

Thank you for your support.