Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In with the New, Remembering the Old

As 2009 comes to a close many of us are prone to remember the year, or years, past. We are no different. 2009 marks five years that we have been participating in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Ride for a Cure. In that time Mary and I have collected over $35,000 in donations and the West Michigan team has accounted for almost $1,000,000 in research funds. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our effort.

Mary, age 4, on her first bike

While the long distance riding for a cause is a relatively new chapter in our lives, we've been riding bikes for a long time. Mary rode around Grandville on a daily basis when she was in high school. Her big trip was riding out to Holland with her friend Linda (Oegema) Milanowski. I grew up on a farm five miles north of Lowell. I would ride my 3 speed POS into town to play basketball for several hours and then ride home. (Which really was up hill all the way.)

When we got married we both had Schwinn 10 speeds. We'd pull the kids behind them in a Burley. Our biggest trip was probably the 8 mile ride around Mackinac Island. Colleen was on her own bike, I had a junior tandem with Jake, and Mary had Ian on the back in a kid carrier. Now we've moved up to fancy road bikes, mine is a black Cannondale SR500 and Mary rides a white Bianchi Brava. The 10 mile rides that used to knock us out for the rest of the weekend are now what we do for a warm-up. I've completed seven century rides plus a whole lot of 50 mile plus rides, including several metric centuries. The amazing thing to me is that I completed my first century ride on my 48th birthday. So much for slowing down as you get older.

Once again, thanks to everyone who has supported us either financially or with their thoughts and prayers. 2010 is going to be a great year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas greetings

By popular request this photo is back from last Christmas. It's our family rendered as Christmas Cookies.

From More Than 100 Miles...
Tom, looking like Mr. Bill. Mary, in a sparkly dress. Colleen, in her denim student-teacher jumper. Jake, dressed as Teddy Roosevelt. And Ian, in the Rockford orange and black.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A tough year

Our JDRF West Michigan Ride community lost another member last week. Don Milanowski passed away on the morning of November 21st of a sudden heart attack. Don rode with our team in Whitefish in 2007 and Death Valley in 2008. But more than a fellow rider he was a good friend. Mary and Don's wife Linda have been friends since high school. We are greatly saddened by this loss. I posted a longer message on our team blog which you can read by clicking here.

Don was the third JDRF person to pass away this year. In April, Bill Andro passed away due to diabetes complications. Bill was a former JDRF West Michigan board member. He was also the father of Ride Team members Sarah and Rob Andro. Then in July another former board member and Ride Team member, Rod Stephens, passed away due to cancer. These men will all be greatly missed for the contributions they brought to our program as well as the joy they brought into our lives.

Ride in Peace Bill, Rod and Don.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Party and Ride

I can not get over what beautiful weather we have been having this November. Last night was our Ride Team End-of-the-Season Party at Rosewood Pointe in Holland. It was such a nice evening we sat around a campfire outside and even played horseshoes on the beach. Last year we were shoveling snow at the same party. The big announcement at the party was that the West Michigan Team raised over $200,000 this year for diabetes research. That gives us over one million dollars in our five years of riding.
Speaking of riding Mary and I took a little trip on the White Pine Trail this afternoon. Our JDRF teammate Linda Thompson-Poeder joined us. We rode 20 miles, taking the trail from our house up to Russell Road and back. We would have gone farther, but we ran out of daylight. That is the major difficulty in getting mileage in this time of year. Even if it's warm the sun sets by 5:30.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Best day in a month

What a fantastic day. Over 70 degrees and sunny. In November! So we had to ride. Mary and I got on our seldom used road bikes and ripped off 17 miles this afternoon. We rode the infamous Pettis/Egypt Valley/Cannonsburg loop. Lots of hills. It's a variety of rollers mixed with extended climbs. I'm not really sure why we wanted to punish ourselves, but it felt really good. I mean seriously, we should have done an easy ride on the White Pine Trail. Although I'm sure the WPT was over-run with walkers, strollers and roller bladers today. So it was great fun to be out on a beautiful day working our way through the hills. We did see a few other riders doing the same thing. Smiles all around.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Leaves be damned

It was such a nice day yesterday and we've spent so much time lately raking leaves that we said "to heck with it" and went for a bike ride instead. Mary, Ian and I got out our trail bikes for some Sunday afternoon fun. First we rode to the home of one of Ian's friends and dropped him off. That friend's neighborhood is on top of the Childsdale hill. Our neighborhood is at the bottom, so we started with a nice little climb. Then we took the express downhill and hopped over to Rouge River Park and did the nature trail loop. It was a little muddy with quite a bit of standing water, thanks to all the rain we've had recently. But it was great fun. The Rouge River was also running high and fast because of the rain. It would have been a fun day to be out kayaking as well.
11 1/2 months until Death Valley 2010!

Friday, October 30, 2009

A rare ride

It has been tough getting out to ride this October. We've had lots of rain. And when it hasn't rained I've had to rake leaves. We have lots of trees at our house and they drop lots of leaves. I once read that a mature Maple tree has 250,000 leaves. Of the 30+ trees on our lot, nine of them are Maple trees. So I get to rake a lot. But Wednesday was a beautiful sunny day so I jumped on my bike at lunch time and rode a quick 16 miles. I traveled north on the White Pine Trail through Rockford and then returned home. I rolled over many crunchy leaves as I dodged a plethora of walkers. Question: Why don't walkers feel the need to follow the same trail etiquette at cyclists? Regardless it was a great ride and it felt wonderful to be outside on my bike again.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Film wins another award

We just got word that our documentary "More Than 100 Miles: Riding to Cure Diabetes" won a Silver Screen Award at the 2009 Nevada Film Festival. No prize money comes with that, although I do get a free VIP pass to the festival and banquet on November 21st. Anyone want to donate a plane ticket to Las Vegas?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Death Valley Days

From Death Valley Ride 2008
Even though Mary and I aren't heading to Death Valley this year, 11 members of the West Michigan team are. The majority of our team fought the cold and rain in Killington, Vermont back in August. Our teammates will be fighting 102 degree temperatures and relentless sun this weekend. Our thoughts and prayers will be with them as they ride 105 miles in one of the most desolate areas on the planet. Having completed four century rides in Death Valley I know what kind of pain they are about to endure. But hat pain will help ease the pain of all those suffering with Type 1 diabetes. To my teammates I say have a great ride, I wish I was going with you.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

ACC (and we ain't talkin' college basketball)

A foggy morning at the start of the ACC

The Apple Cider Century was a great ride this past Sunday. The weather was gorgeous. It didn't rain and temperatures ranged from cool in the morning to pleasantly warm in the afternoon. Mary and I rode with a bunch of our JDRF Ride team mates. She did the metric century (61 miles) with Brian and Heather, while I completed the full 100 miles with Mike, Linda, Cathy, and John.

Mike and Cathy on the tandem, Linda chasing them

It felt great to get a century ride in this year. I was very disappointed after Killington having ridden only 62 miles. I know nobody else felt that way, but I tend to be my own harshest critic. Not only did I complete my seventh century ride on Sunday, I did it in my best time ever, just a shade over 8 hours. That was probably my last big ride of the season. Our Death Valley team mates leave for their ride in just a little over two weeks. I wish them warm sunny skies and minimal winds.

Tom and Mary after their respective century rides

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Over 6000

Today I rolled over 6000 miles on my Cannondale. The computer showed 6017.5 at the end of today's 24 mile ride on the White Pine Trail. That's in just a little over 4 years. But considering I don't put many miles on that bike from November through March that's a pretty good number.
September has turned into the nicest month of our summer. Warm and dry during the day, not to mention sunny, then cooling off at night. Unfortunately, it's also dark by 8:30, so it's getting hard to get those post work/dinner rides in. We are registered to ride in the Apple Cider Century next Sunday. My plan is to do the full century since I don't have one yet this year. I'm hoping next Sunday is as nice as this Sunday.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Great day for a ride

Even though our JDRF ride is completed we still have team members who will be riding in Death Valley in October. So we are still participating in team rides. Today's was a nice 42 mile ride with several rolling hills. The ride started from Townsend Park and we were running late. By the time we arrived the team had already taken off. Fortunately they left a tip sheet and route map for us. I took a quick look, recognized the route so Mary and I took off north up Ramsdell Road. The route called for a loop that ended at 9 Mile Road, so we figured we'd ride the route backwards at that point and meet up with the team instead of trying to catch them. When we got to 9 Mile I took a closer look at the tip sheet and realized the team had started south on Ramsdell. We had ridden 4 miles in the wrong direction. So we turned around and backtracked the route eventually meeting up with the team on Honey Creek. So we turned around and rode the second half of the route with our buddies. They all ended up doing 45 miles, we only managed 42. It was a perfect day to be out, much better than the last time we all got together for a ride.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Jake's Music Festival on 09/19/09

Photo by Kevin Owens

Jake's Music Festival takes place in just 8 days. This is our fifth annual celebration of local music. We have a great line up of bands featuring everything from family friendly groups at 5:00 to some of the hottest bands in the area. You can find a full listing of bands at our festival blog.

Thanks to our main sponsors Frames Unlimited and Magic Hat #9. Because of them 100% of all ticket sales goes directly to our local chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. And those tickets are only $8 this year. We'll also be having a silent auction and adult beverages at the newly renovated Wealthy Theatre concession stand.

Some come early and stay all night, or just drop in to check out one or two bands. Either way you'll have a great time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Waiting for the return of my Cannondale

The ride in Killington did some very bad things to my road bike. It's in the shop getting four new brake pads, a new chain and a new cassette. Parts had to be ordered so I've been without my black and red beauty for almost a week. Luckily the old (as in heavy) mountain bike is still working, so I took that out over the weekend.

Abandoned gas station along the Kal-Haven Trail.

Mary and I and our son Ian, along with our friend Susan, rode the Kal-Haven Trail on Sunday. We started on the South Haven end and did about 15 miles. It's a flat gravel trail that was quite popular on Labor day weekend. It was great to get out on a perfect riding day. My Cannondale should be ready tomorrow, so I'll have it in time for this Sunday's team ride. Even though we are done with Vermont we still have about 10 West Michigan Riders heading for Death Valley. Ahh... heat.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Rain, rain go away

We are back from a very wet, very cold ride. The good news is that the Killington Ride to Cure Diabetes raised over 1.3 million dollars. There were over 330 riders assembled in the Green Mountains of Vermont for this epic event. The route was very interesting and quite beautiful.

The bad news is it rained. A lot. And it was very cold. On Saturday we were picking up the remnants of tropical storm Danny and two storm fronts from the Midwest. It rained all day and it was cold. The high temperature maybe hit 54. Not exactly the best riding conditions. To top it off the ride started with a very steep, dangerously slick 4 mile long downhill. Then we crossed a busy intersection and went down for another 8 miles. The wind from that descent along with the wetness increased the feeling of cold. By the time we got to the first break point I was chilled to the bone. The cold, wet, wind and lack of pedaling conspired to give me a very bad day.

Frozen Tom and cheery Mary at the Metric Century turnaround.

By the second break point I was violently shaking. I wanted to turn around, but thought that if I could just pedal harder and get my heart rate up I'd be able to get my core temperature up. Didn't work. I just kept getting colder. I can't remember ever feeling so bad on a bike. Even when I ended up in the med tent after the '07 Death Valley Ride I didn't feel as bad.

The third rest stop was the turn around point for the metric century ride (100 kilometers or 62 miles). Mary was with me and we decided to head back. I was actually happy, knowing there would be some climbing on the way back, thinking I would finally get warm. With about 23 miles to go I was in very bad shape, probably close to hypothermia. Our coach, Mike Clark, happened upon us and traded me his jacket for my vest. That one small act probably enabled me to finish the ride under my own power instead of in the SAG wagon.

Finishing early in the day does have it's rewards. We were able to watch most of our team mates cross the finish line. It was great to see so many do so well under pretty rotten conditions. But at the same time, I felt a bit of emptiness. 62 miles on a bad day is a pretty decent accomplishment. But my goal was to do the full 100. As people that I've trained with all summer crossed the line, beaming at their just completed century, I didn't feel like I was fully sharing their joy.

Watching out for Vermont wildlife on one of the final climbs of the day.

I know that given what was happening to my body, the wisest thing to do was to cut my ride short. But what bothers me is that I was able to stop when I was having bad day. My son has bad days with diabetes and he doesn't have the option of stopping. He can't say "I'm tired of diabetes. I won't deal with it anymore today." So my Killington experience was not everything I had hoped for.

This was my fifth JDRF ride. It was the first time I didn't complete the century. I will be riding again next year and the year after and every year until we find a cure. Thanks again to all my team mates out there on the road and to all our sponsors and donors. And thanks most of all to the young man who inspires me to do this crazy ride thing. Love you Jake.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Killington here we come!

We have finished six months of training in preparation for this Saturday. That's over 1000 miles in the saddle and over $6,000 raised. It's all for one purpose, to find a cure for diabetes.

Twelve years ago, on September 19, 1997, we were told that our then six year old son Jake had Type 1 diabetes. We were, like most parents, completely unprepared for that diagnosis. The following year was a blur as we learned the procedures we would need to follow in order to keep our son alive. The carefree days of Jake's childhood had suddenly turned into a life and death struggle. One of the most insidious aspects of diabetes is that on the outside the diabetic looks fine. But without daily insulin injections that person will die. Even with proper care the diabetic may develop complications that can lead to blindness, kidney failure and amputation.

We have never been the type of people who sit back and say "Why us?" when we get thrown life's curve balls. We are more likely to say "How do we fix it?" So when Jake was diagnosed, we set out to fix the problem. Neither Mary or I are doctors so we aren't going to find the cure on our own, but we can help raise money and awareness so that the doctors who will find the cure will have the resources to accomplish that goal. Therefore, we ride our bikes through the desert or the mountains in order to raise money to fund research. The donations of our family, friends and people we don't even know have already helped immeasurably.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us this year and in past years. Whether you are a rider, a researcher, or a financial supporter remember this - we will be known as the people who cured diabetes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bye Bye Bikes

We dropped our bikes off at VeloCity Cycles in Holland last night. Today they get loaded in the bike trailer and start the trip to Vermont. Coach Mike and Jeremy will be driving them through Canada to save time. That could make for an interesting exchange with the border guard. "Anything to declare?" "Just these 40 expensive road bikes." "How long will you be in Canada?" "Just a few hours." "Step out of the vehicle, please."
Then at midnight on Wednesday the majority of the team will follow in a charter bus. With any luck we'll probably get the same customs agent. "Anything to declare?" "Yeah, some guys stole all our bikes. Have you seen them?" "Step out of the bus, please."

Monday, August 24, 2009

WGVU-FM interview

Here is a link to the interview I did on WGVU-FM last Friday. Thanks to Shelly Irwin of the Morning Show for supporting our ride. There is also a link in the link list on the left.
Tom, Mary, Susan and Elvin at Lake Michigan halfway through our 39 mile ride.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Coming soon

Or should I say leaving soon? Our bikes leave Tuesday, we have to drop them off tomorrow. And we leave Wednesday at midnight. More on the trip later. Today was our last ride before Killington. We missed the team ride because we were visiting our friends down on Lake Paw Paw. Susan and Elvin have a cottage there and we rode with them today. It was a 39 mile ride from their cottage over to St. Joseph on Lake Michigan. It was a little cool but a great day to ride. That gives me 1064 miles for this season. A little less than last year, but we are also doing the JDRF ride 6 weeks earlier. So I'll probably get more miles in post-ride. I'll have more thoughts on the Killington ride before we leave.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

1000 ! ! !

One of my goals for this ride season was to put in 1000 miles before we left for Killington. Yesterday I did a little 16 mile route that included a fair number of rolling hills and a pretty stiff westerly wind. At the halfway point of the ride I rolled over 1000 miles for the year. We board the bus for Vermont a week from tonight so I'm not sure how many more miles I'll get in, but it's nice to know I hit one goal. The next goal is to raise at least $3000 for diabetes research and I'm only about $500 short of that. Goal number three is to complete the entire route in Killington. I'm sure the miles I've already put in, especially the ones on the hills, will help toward this last goal.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tune in Friday morning

This Friday I will be on the WGVU-FM Morning Show with Shelly Irwin talking about the Ride to Cure Diabetes. This live interview will start right after the 9:00 a.m. news, so about 9:05. Interviews usually take about 15-20 minutes. So tune in to 88.5 FM on Friday morning for many stories about this great event.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

It's not the heat, it's the... okay it is the heat

Wow, it was a scorcher today. So what did we do? Rode bikes of course. Scott and Linda Poeder from our ride team met us at our house this morning and we took off south on the White Pine Trail heading to Grand Rapids. Once we got downtown we made our way across the West Side to John Ball Park and started on the newly repaved Kent Trails. We took that all the way to Byron Center where we stopped for a lovely Subway lunch. It was sunny and hot, 85 to 90 degrees, the whole way there. However when we started heading back north we found lots of puddles in the road, especially where Kent Trails runs along the Grand River. Apparently there was a pretty substantial rain storm near us. We never got wet, unless you count the puddle spray off the trail.
When we arrived back home in Rockford we had put 54 miles under our wheels. Or a bit better than half the distance we'll be riding in 13 days. It's amazing how quick this is coming up on us.

If you haven't donated yet there is still time. Click on the "Donate to Tom" or "Donate to Mary" links on the left and follow the simple directions. Thanks for your support.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Weekend photos

Tom and Elvin at the start of the 6 x 46. The day started cool and rainy and ended up warm and sunny.

From Team Ride 080909
The West Michigan Ride Team on Sunday, somewhere west of Sparta. For me the weekend added up to 96 miles of riding in two days.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What a Weekend!

Saturday started out rainy. Okay, that's a bit of an understatement. The weather radar showed heavy (the orange and red kind) rain showers and thunderstorms from Michigan stretching west to the middle of Iowa. My first thought was that we were going to have to cancel the 6 x 46. But when I spoke with co-coordinator Elvin Hayes he said that the Chicago and Detroit folks were already on the way. So we decided to meet at Vitalie's as planned but then wait inside the bar to see if the storm would pass. Upon arriving and seeing everyone huddled under umbrellas and minivan lift gates, Elvin dubbed the ride the 2 x 0, two bars, no miles. So 17 of us, clad in spandex, entered Vitalie's when they opened at 11:00 a.m. and proceeded to start drinking beer. We got them to put the Weather Channel up on one of the big sports screens. We watched the storm for about two hours and then figured we had a small window of opportunity to ride. We saddled up and hoped to get to Rockford before the rain dumped on us again. To our surprise it didn't rain another drop all day. The 6 x 46 was a rousing success. Six bars (7 if we count the two hours in Vitalie's before the start) and 46 miles along the White Pine Trail. It turned into a beautiful day to ride and we picked up friends along the way who were doing the more traditional motor vehicle style pub crawl. Derek even made some new friends at The Corner Bar in Rockford, but that's a story for another time.

Today we had a team ride from Cindy Ally's house in Cedar Springs. Part of the route was on the same White Pine Trail we had ridden the day before, but for some reason it looked very different. It was very hot, very humid and we had sustained westerly winds of about 20 mph. I completed 50 miles in about 4 1/2 hours, including rest stops. That would be a nine hour century ride if I can maintain the pace, which would be my best time ever. Three weeks until Killington and I almost feel ready.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Now on IMDB

Great news. The documentary is now listed on the Internet Movie DataBase (IMDB). You can click on this link to see our listing. IMDB is a very extensive web site that lists movies and TV shows from all over the world. These are usually the big budget, well promoted type of films. So it's great when the little guy gets noticed. I've spent so much time working on this film over the past year that it's kind of hard to believe that in just three weeks I'll be doing another JDRF ride in Killington. It seems like we just got back from Death Valley. Of course watching and editing hours of footage over the last several months may have something to do with that.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Another Weekend Ride

I'm a little late getting this posted, but Mary and I had an interesting ride on Sunday. We rode to Spring Lake for my nephew's birthday party. It's 31 miles and relatively flat once we get away from the river valleys. So I'm thinking an easy two hours. The problem was the route is straight west. On Sunday the wind was from the west at about 20 mph. So our easy two hour ride became a strenuous 2 1/2 hour ride. But what's a little wind to a couple of Death Valley veterans?

This weekend is chock full of riding opportunities. Saturday is our 6 x 46 Ride. 6 bars in 46 miles along the White Pine Trail. Last year we did the 5 x 55 Ride along the Musketawa Trail. Join us for a very silly, totally fun riding experience. Roll out is 11:00 a.m. from behind Vitalies in Comstock park. On Sunday we have a team ride in Cedar Springs. That's going to be a bit more serious and in the 60 to 70 mile range. It will also probably take less time than the Saturday ride. These are good long miles, because Killington is three weeks from this Saturday. Yowza!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ride photos

From Team Ride 072509
Mary and her future daughter-in-law at the pool party after last Saturday's team ride. Anna has a bit of a crush on our son Ian. Hey, in 30 years the seven year age difference won't seem like a big deal. More ride photos are available by clicking this link.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Two nights, two rides

I had a great ride yesterday. I started after dinner, going west on Post Drive and hooking up with 9 Mile Road. 9 Mile was great, in a little over 6 miles I saw exactly one car and two bicycles. I then turned north on Fruit Ridge. My plan was to take it to 12 Mile Road, turn east and then head home via the White Pine Trail. I forgot that 12 Mile doesn't go through so I had to turn north at Alpine and come across on 13 Mile, where I picked up the WPT. When I finished the loop I had put 34 miles under my tires. I rode past lots of farm fields and apple orchards. A great way to spend an evening.

Tonight Mary took a short ride with team mate Linda Poeder through the Ada area. They rode along Grand River Avenue to Roselle Park and took the trails through there. They then rode into Ada and back to their starting point, Mary's office. I'd give more details, but I wasn't invited to go on this one. :(

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Metric Century

In cycling terms a Century Ride is a bicycle ride of 100 miles in a single day. A noteworthy accomplishment to be sure. A Metric Century is a ride of 100 kilometers, which works out to about 63 miles. Yesterday our team ride was 65 miles, a little better than a metric. We rode a loop from Montague up to Silver Lake and back, making sure to climb every hill in a four county area. To make things even more fun, the northwesterly wind that we were riding into all morning became a southwesterly wind in the afternoon for our return trip. So we pretty much had a head wind all day. It was a tough but necessary ride. We are only five weeks away from the Killington ride and we need to be putting in major miles and getting in hill work. Yesterday we got both.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The 6 x 46 Ride

This will be one of the most fun days of the summer. The 6 x 46 Ride on the White Pine Trail takes place August 8th.
Last year the 5 x 55 was on the Musketawa Trail. This year's ride will be better because we are stopping at more bars (6) and riding less miles (46).
This is a very unofficial, non-supported ride. However, there are plenty of refreshment stops along the way. We will start in Comstock Park behind Vitalie's at 11:00 a.m. Support stops will include The Corner Bar in Rockford, The Cedar Pub in Cedar Springs, the Sand Bar in Sand Lake, as well as three additional establishments.
So join us for good times with good friends.
Official Ride T-shirts are available at

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just riding

We've been putting in a lot of 20ish mile rides lately. Last Thursday Mary and I went riding with Linda Poeder from our team. We went around the west side of Grand Rapids. Leaving from John Ball Park, riding over to Millennium Park and then to Johnson Park, more or less following Kent Trails. I say more or less because a large portion of the trail is being resurfaced. In fact many of the trails around Millennium Park look brand new.

Tonight we rode up to Rockford and past the Blues on the River show. That was a bit of a mistake, since we weren't going to the show. So we spent a lot of time avoiding the throngs of people on the White Pine Trail. On the way back we completely skirted the concert area.

Last Saturday marked the 6 week point until the ride. Need to put in more miles and raise more money with only a month and a half to get it done.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Documentary info

A lot of the posts lately have been about training for this year's Ride to Cure Diabetes. This blog is also about the documentary "More Than 100 Miles". So here's the directors statement from the on-line press kit for the film.

We have been involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundations Ride For A Cure since 2005. In 2008 I decided to create a documentary detailing the ride. This event draws cyclists from all over the country to five different ride sites. Some of the riders are parents of diabetic children, some have diabetes themselves, and some have no personal connection to the disease but ride to support a great cause. This film follows the team from West Michigan as they train for and participate in rides in Asheville, North Carolina and Death Valley, California. Along the way we hear from the various riders and find out why they do what they do. The film also features amazing cycling footage and beautiful scenery. But the most important part is the emotion displayed by the participants. This ride is truly "More than 100 miles", it is helping to find a cure for diabetes.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A great day to ride

It was absolutely perfect to be out riding today. We had a team ride in Holland that left from Coach Mike's house. The route was basically half the Holland Hundred in reverse. We rode through Saugatuck, past Hutchens Lake, then Fennville and New Richmond. We had about 30 riders out on the roads. I did the shorter of the two routes, knocking out 43 miles. That gives me my first 100 mile week. The Killington ride takes place 7 weeks from yesterday, so it feels good to finally be getting some serious miles in.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Remembering Rod Stephens

Rod and Diana Stephens at the Whitefish JDRF Ride in 2007

The JDRF family lost an important member recently. Rod Stephens, former JDRF board member and Ride Team member in 2005 and 2007, passed away on July 3rd after a long battle with cancer. Rod worked for Herman Miller and was instrumental in that company becoming a sponsor of the West Michigan Ride Team. Rod was a great guy and will be missed by all who knew him.
I first met Rod when we served on the JDRF Board together, shortly after our sons had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Our families got together a number of times over the years and it was fun to watch the kids grow up. Rod didn't ride with us in 2006 because of his cancer, but he recovered and rode in the Whitefish, Montana ride in 2007. Even when the cancer returned last year Rod maintained a positive attitude. I will miss Rod and our families prayers go out to his family.
A memorial service will be held this evening at Fellowship Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jake's Music Festival

While we are preparing for the ride in August (20 miles for Mary yesterday, 16 miles for Tom today) we are also preparing for a great evening and our major fundraiser. I'm talking about Jake's Music Festival. This is an evening of music featuring independent bands from West Michigan who donate their time to the JDRF cause. This year marks our fifth annual event. The show happens on September 19, 2009 at Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids. We just confirmed all the bands and we have a dynamite line-up. There is a link to our Music Fest blog on the left or you can just click here for more information.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Beautiful Sunday Ride

Today was a great day to ride. Warm, sunny and only a little breezy. Mary and I rode all the way into Grand Rapids and went to the Fulton Street ARTisans Market. Lots of really cool artsy things there and we saw our friend Karen Schuler, who makes really nice purses. We rode the WPT south past the ball park and crossed the river at North Park. Then we rode thru Riverside Park and turned east on Knapp. We took Knapp all the way to Diamond and turned south. Crossing Michigan St. was a little dicey, but not bad on a Sunday afternoon. We next turned east on Fountain and in two blocks found ourselves at the market. For the route home we basically took Fulton down to Monroe then hooked back up with the trail in Riverside Park and backtracked home. Urban riding is very different than riding the nice quiet country roads we usually frequent. I'm not sure I would want to do this on a weekday with normal traffic. Although some good news on that front. Monroe is almost done being repaved and they've added a bike lane from Leonard St. to Ann St.
I also rolled over 500 miles for this year's training. Not nearly enough considering how soon the big ride is, but I'll be putting in lots of miles over the next six weeks.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Getting back into it

We have not done a lot of riding lately because of work and vacation. However, vacation is done, see the family photo from Olympic National Park in Washington. And work, while busy, is not the all consuming beast it was before we left on our trip. So now it's about the ride. The Ride to Cure Diabetes. We leave in about 7 weeks and I have to admit I don't feel ready. But I intend to get a lot of miles in between now and then.
Yesterday I rode the WPT south around Whitecaps park. Today Mary and I went north on the trail all the way to Cedar Spring and back. We were on a scouting mission for the 6 x 46. More on that ride later.
Also, the first JDRF ride of the year took place last weekend in Sonoma. A couple of first time riders we know from Tennessee took part. You can read about their story by clicking here. There are also photos of the ride posted here. I have to admit I like the new green and blue jerseys.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy, Happy

Happy Father's Day. Happy first day of summer. Happy happy joy joy.
We went out to Lowell to visit my parents this afternoon and took our bikes along. The kids drove the car home and Mary and I rode home. It was a nice 17 mile ride with a few hills, but more down than up. We took Lincoln Lake Road north to 3 Mile west to Alden Nash. Then we went across the south side of Murray Lake and hooked with 5 Mile. As we got closer to home and 5 Mile becomes Cannonsburg we turned north on Blakely and then west on 7 Mile. We got to go down the infamous 7 Mile Hill. Mary hit 39.8 miles per hour and I managed 42.2 mph. Big fast fun!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ride photos

Here's one shot of the West Michigan Ride Team as we buzz around Hutchins Lake on our 48 mile ride this past Sunday. You can see more photos at our Google photo site. Just click HERE.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Feelin' Good

I had an unintentional athletic layoff. Between Jake's graduation open house and traveling for work, I didn't ride my bike, play basketball or work out at the gym for a week and a half. I was concerned that the 50 mile team ride yesterday was going to be very tough. But an amazing thing happened. I felt good. Really good. I kept a great pace. My back didn't hurt (which has been a problem this year). And I finished with a little energy (not much) to spare. I was quite surprised, then I figured it out. By taking that time off I actually gave my body a chance to heal. Imagine that. Not getting beat upon on the basketball court by 20 somethings and chasing crazy Melanie through forests on our mountain bikes gave me a chance to recuperate. Now it's time to go out and start beating on my body again. Killington is only 11 weeks away.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

This one goes to 11

Mary played bike commuter today. Actually she didn't play it, she did it. She rode her bike the 11 miles to work early this morning, traveling mostly on Grand River Drive. And then she returned home this evening, via Bianchi bicycle, another 11 miles.
I went out to the Owasippe Scout Reservation near White Lake for some mountain bike riding. I met up with Ride teammates Derek, Amy, and Melanie. We did an 11 mile loop. (again with the 11) It was a great route and a fairly tough ride. Melanie was cranking full speed on the down hills. I was using a little more caution, being my first time at this particular spot. We all had a great time on a very beautiful day.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Festival Show Times

The screening times for the Festival Film Competition have been announced. Since our documentary was one of the award winners it will be shown all three days of Festival. All showings take place at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Show times may vary slightly.
Friday, June 5 - 7:35 p.m.
Saturday, June 6 - 3:35 p.m.
Sunday, June 7 - 3:35 p.m.
So this is an excellent opportunity to see the film if you haven't had the chance yet, or if you'd like to see it again. Plus, like everything else at Festival, it's free admission. For more information check out

Thursday, May 28, 2009

GR Festival Winner

We just got word that the documentary won an award in the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts Film Competition. That means it will be shown each day of the Festival. The exact schedule hasn't come out yet but the Festival dates are June 5, 6 & 7 in downtown Grand Rapids. The screenings take place in the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A new loop

I had a great ride at lunch today. Started by going west on Rogue River Drive to Post Road. It's a nice mile long climb up Post to where you cross over the highway. Then north on Pine Island for a short way to House St. That road is like a roller coaster, lots of rolling hills. Then west on 10 Mile for just a little bit to Jewel. North there until it makes a turn and becomes 11 Mile which also makes a big turn and becomes Edgerton. I turned east on 13 Mile and took that to the White Pine Trail which brought me home. Just a shade over 20 miles in length with an average speed of 16 miles an hour.
There was very little traffic and I only saw 4 other bicyclists on the whole route. Of course the fact that it looked like it was going to storm at any second probably kept people inside. I did get sprinkled on a couple of times, which felt good as I was dealing with 94% humidity.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Muskegon Film Festival Info

Our documentary, "More Than 100 Miles: Riding to Cure Diabetes", will be showing this weekend at the Muskegon Film Festival. Follow this link to their web site for detailed information. On the top of the page click on "Schedule", then on "Saturday's Schedule" on the next page. The doc is showing as part of Documentary Session #2. That runs from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. in the Starboard Theatre, one of the two viewing rooms at the Harbor Theatre. And the fun doesn't stop after the movie is over.
Join us for the after-party at the Muskegon Film Festival Beer Garden, located right next to Harbor Theatre. It is strictly cash only and you must have a valid ID with you. The Beer Garden is open Saturday and Sunday during the Festival until 10:00 p.m.
So please join us on Saturday to watch the film and tip back a few.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Puttin' in the miles

Wednesday was the Ride of Silence. This is a memorial ride for all the cyclists who have been killed or injured by motor vehicles. The ride takes place at sites across the country. The Grand Rapids event started at Riverside Park, worked it's way through downtown to John Ball Park and then back. It was a very solemn ride complete with bagpipers playing "Amazing Grace". There were seven of us from the West Michigan Ride Team participating, plus I saw several other riders I know. After the 12 slow miles I sprinted the 8 miles back home for a 20 mile day.
Thursday I did a quick lunchtime ride with my neighbor Craig. We just went to 12 Mile Road and back along the White Pine Trail. It was absolutely perfect cycling weather. Sunny, warm and only slightly windy. We did an easy 15 miles.
Today Mary rode her bike to work. I have some errands to run this morning and I'm going to do those on my bike. Mary gets home from work early today because of the holiday weekend. We then pack up and head to Canton, Michigan for Ian's soccer tournament. That means no riding for a couple of days but we'll be okay.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Great Team Ride

We had a fantastic West Michigan Team ride on Sunday out in Grand Haven. There were 35 riders on a beautiful sunny day. It was a little cool but not too windy so all in all a great ride. There were two routes, 26 miles and 38 miles. While both were relatively flat, 38 miles is the most I've ridden this year. It felt good.
It's amazing the number of people who showed up for a training ride. Our first couple of years we didn't have this many people on the entire team. The kind of turnout we had Sunday speaks volumes about the commitment of this group of cyclists.
There are more photos posted on our Google photo site. Click here to follow the link.

Friday, May 15, 2009


We just got word that the documentary has been accepted by the Muskegon Film Festival!!!!!
The dates of the festival are May 30 and 31. The location is the Harbor Theatre in Muskegon. The final schedule has not been released yet, but when it is I'll post the show times here. If you'd like more information on the Muskegon Film Festival click here.
I'm very excited that the film was accepted. We've gotten a lot of very positive feedback so far. But most of the people who have seen it are either involved with cycling or JDRF. Not exactly an unbiased crowd. The film festivals accept movies based on how good of films they are, regardless of the subject matter. It feels great knowing that people outside of our team and friends also see how special this group is.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The reviews are coming in

The documentary is starting to make the rounds of people outside of West Michigan and the response so far has been very positive.

"This is so inspirational. Very well done. You've captured with video what is so difficult to capture with words. I'm brought back to my first RTC in '03 and why I'm with this program. Thanks for doing this. Very nice. Great work."
-Tim St. Clair, JDRF Ride National Head Coach

"That was absolutely unbelievable and I've already watched it three times. I'm still blown away by how you were able to capture the "goose bump" effect on video. Amazing job, just amazing."
- Alyson Levine, Development Coordinator, JDRF Ride Department

We also just got a nice write-up in the media arts industry magazine Michigan Vue. Check out the May/June 2009 issue and the "Behind the Scenes" section.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

This week's rides

This was a good week. I got out four times, none of them real long but the total was almost 60 miles. On Friday Mary went with me and we rode south on the White Pine Trail all the way to the south end of Riverside Park. Although lately it should just be called River Park. At the beginning of the week most of the park was underwater, thanks to the overflowing Grand River. By Friday the water had receded enough to let us ride the bike path, with only one tire cleaning spot.
With the sun staying up longer we'll be able to get in some longer rides after work. Also, soccer season is about half done, so that will open up weekends in another few weeks. Mary is even talking about riding her bike to work occasionally this summer. Love the warm weather. Let's ride.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Cinco De Mayo

I've gotten two rides in already this week. Sunday evening I took the White Pine Trail south to the ballpark. In a couple of places the river had encroached upon the trail. In one spot the water was deep enough that my shoes got wet on the down stroke. It was a nice easy 15 mile ride. Yesterday was a different story. Only 10 miles, but all hills and sprints. We have quite a few good sized hills where we live. A couple years ago I mapped out a 10 mile route that incorporated five climbs of various lengths and grades. You were either going up hill or down hill, there was very little flat terrain. Yesterday I modified the route a little, dropping one of the hills but adding some sprints. It was a good work out.
Today Mary and I are celebrating Cinco De Mayo by taking the day off and enjoying the sunshine. Back on the bike tomorrow.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Reason

We are always aware of the reason we participate in the Ride to Cure Diabetes. But sometimes that reason is brought into sharp focus. Today was one of those days. We went to a memorial service for Bill Andro who passed away last Thursday due to complications of diabetes.

Bill Andro and family

When I first starting serving on the local JDRF Board of Directors Bill Andro was already a fixture. He dealt with his own Type 1 diabetes for over 30 years and was a great advocate for JDRF. Bill had a great sense of humor and was a joy to be around. Later I met his children, Sarah and Rob, who became friends and riding buddies. Sarah was part of the first West Michigan Ride Team to tackle Death Valley in 2005. Rob joined us in 2006. They were riding not only for their dad, but also Sarah's daughter Sophie, who was diagnosed with Type 1 at 2 1/2 years old.

The Andro family has been an inspiration to the entire Ride Team. We all have our personal reasons for doing this ride. This week we got another lesson in the importance of what we are doing. Insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors improve the lives of those with diabetes, but that's not a cure. Until we find a cure a person with Type 1 has increased risk of complications including loss of eyesight, nerve damage and amputation. Plus a life expectancy of 15 years less than a non-diabetic. Bill Andro was only 62 years old when he passed away last Thursday from diabetes.

Please remember Bill, his wife Phyllis and Rob and Sarah in your prayers. And help us in any way you can to find a cure for this disease. It truly is a matter of life and death.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

April Showers, you betcha

We've had a LOT of rain in west Michigan the past few days. Hard rain. Driving rain. Rain accompanied with thunder and lightning. The good news is that makes the lawn green and the flowers bloom. The bad news is it makes it hard to get out and ride. Now I'll ride in the rain; see last Sunday's team ride as exhibit A. But I will not ride in a thunderstorm or when it's raining sideways. But between rainstorms I did manage to get out a couple of times, once Friday morning and then again tonight. 34 miles altogether. So the mileage is coming slow right now, but with the weather improving so will the riding.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What a week!

This past week had so much going on that it has taken until today to write a recap.
Let's start with the riding. I rode 13 miles by myself on Wednesday. Took the White Pine Trail south, going completely around the ballpark using the new Comstock Park spur. On Friday Mary and I rode about 15 miles, taking the WPT north to Rockford and back, including the Childsdale hill on the return. Sunday was a 29 mile team ride in Grandville. It was cold and wet, but we had 25 team members there, so it was great.
From the movie standpoint everything went very well. On Wednesday I was on the WGVU Morning Show promoting our premiere. Thursday night was the world premiere at Celebration Cinemas. The dapper dude in the photo is what I look like when I dress as "The Director". We had almost 200 people attend the premiere and over half of those showed up to Boston's for the after party. Our initial showing of the documentary was a huge success. Now we are sending it out to other JDRF folks and entering it in film festivals. As we get dates for other showings I'll post them here.
Finally, I've added a new widget to the left side bar, it's my Training Tracker. This will update frequently with the amount of miles I've ridden this season. Even though 116 doesn't sound like a lot I feel that I'm ahead of where I was last year at this time. Which is good, since this year's ride is seven weeks earlier.
Hope you had a great week, too. Ride On!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tonight's the Night

I know that's the title to a Rod Stewart song, but I'm thinking of the premiere of our movie. Tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Celebration Cinemas North in Grand Rapids we will show the documentary for the first time. I'm a little excited about this. I've worked on this film for over a year, so it's very hard for me to be objective. I vacillate between loving it and hating it. The few people who have seen it so far have really liked it, but seeing your work on the big screen with a theatre full of people is a bit nerve wracking.
I'm fortunate to have worked with a great crew of people on this film. I'm not going to try and mention everyone here (you can see their names in the credits tonight) but a few people's contributions really stand out. First, Todd Herring who wrote a couple of awesome songs for the film. He also lined up some great area musicians to perform, including Karisa Wilson. Second, Karen Kleinheksel did a phenomenal job editing the documentary. We spent many hours over the winter going through the hours of footage to come up with the final edit. Karen also created all the graphics in the film. And, as they say, last but not least, my wife Mary. She has put up with being my private focus group. I've run many things past her, more than she probably wanted, but she always appeared to enjoy it.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the making of "More Than 100 Miles", especially all the members of the West Michigan Ride Team. Without you, there would be no movie.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

This morning I was interviewed about the film by Shelly Irwin on the WGVU-FM morning show. You can hear the interview in it's entirety by clicking here, or on the link on our link list to the left.

We've been hearing a lot of positive feedback from the people who have had a preview screening. Our hope is to sell out the theatre (250 seats). With that in mind it would be advisable to arrive early. The documentary starts at 7:00 p.m. Ticket sales begin in the lobby at 6:00 p.m. There will be a special table set up for documentary tickets. You will not be able to buy them at the regular Celebration Cinemas box office. So come early, enjoy the show, and join us at Boston's afterwards.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Official Reminder Announcement

Just a quick reminder that this Thursday night, April 16th, is the world premiere of a locally produced documentary. “More Than 100 Miles: Riding to Cure Diabetes” will be shown at 7:00 p.m. at Celebration Cinemas North on East Beltline in Grand Rapids. The film follows a team of cyclists from West Michigan as they participate in 100 mile rides in Asheville, North Carolina and Death Valley, California. The film was produced by Tom Scheidel, edited by Karen Kleinheksel, with original music featuring Todd Herring and Karisa Wilson. The cost is only $5.00 for the 45 minute long documentary. Proceeds will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. There will be an after party at Boston’s, which is just a short walk from the theatre. Come support a great film and a great cause. See you Thursday night.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Coming down to the wire

We ran another test today at Celebration Cinemas. The documentary looks GREAT on the big screen. And it sounds wonderful as well. Local musician Todd Herring wrote some original music for the film. If you don't have tears in your eyes after you hear "As We Rode Along" then you have a heart of stone. Another local singer/songwriter, Karisa Wilson, also provided vocals on the songs. Several area musicians lent their talents as well. Todd is talking about releasing the tracks after the premiere, so listen to a local radio station (WYCE 88.1 FM) near you. Or if you don't want to wait, click on the link to the left.

We are putting the finishing touches on the documentary today and tomorrow. It's all little stuff. Change a shot, add some music, fix a misspelling. By Thursday evening we should be done. Then we send it off to have copies made. DVD's will be available the night of the premiere. In fact, let me give you the cost structure for the evening.
Ticket to see the film: $5.00
Ticket to see the film, plus popcorn and pop special: $10.00
DVD of the film: $15.00
Post party at Bostons: Cash bar, complimentary appetizers

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hill Training

This year the majority of the West Michigan team will be riding in Killington, Vermont. While we don't know the exact route yet, a quick review of the area topo maps is eye opening. Killington itself sits in a valley nestled among the Green Mountains. It is surrounded by several peaks topping out at 2,500 to 3,500 feet. Nearby is the second tallest mountain in Vermont, the 4,241 foot Killington Peak. Now I don't know how many of these mountains we'll ride up, but based on previous JDRF rides I'd say we're in for a very "hilly" day.
With that in mind I started my hill training yesterday. I started out by climbing the 7 Mile hill. Not real long, but very steep and only a mile from the start, so I wasn't really warmed up. Then rode to Meyers Lake over the rolling hills near Rockford. Went west on 12 Mile and hooked up with the White Pine Trail. I got off the trail to finish my ride by climbing Childsdale hill. Not as steep as 7 Mile but much longer. A little over 20 miles in total. It was a nice ride on what looks to be the last decent day around here for about a week.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Movie Update

It's hard to believe that a year's worth of work is almost complete. This week we are adding music, doing audio fixes, and color correcting the shots. Very time consuming and not really that much fun, but stuff that has to be done. Tomorrow I am taking a preliminary copy over to Celebration Cinemas for testing purposes. Once that's done we put the finishing touches on the film and get ready for the premiere.

In other news, I'll be on the Shelly Irwin Morning Show on WGVU-FM (88.5) on April 15th (the day before the premiere) to talk about the documentary. The scheduled start time is 9:06 a.m. Also, watch for announcements in local magazines and papers and, of course, FaceBook.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hydration is important

After four century rides in Death Valley, the need for proper hydration while cycling is obvious. This is a great article from the blog le-grimpeur that talks about hydrating while on the Tour de France. Enjoy.


The organizers of professional cycling races, particularly the Tour de France, have always had some strange ideas about water. Restrictions on water consumption by the riders has been one way race organizers for Grand Tours have tried, even in recent times, to keep the races tough, as a test of the survival skills of the riders. As if the long stages, broken roads, heat, cold, furious attacks, terrifying descents, and interminable climbs were not enough, tyrants like Henri Desgrange and his successors have imposed rules on drink bottles (as well as many other trifling regulations).

Until at least the 1960s, riders as well had strange attitudes to water, believing that too much would bloat the stomach and lead to impaired performance. Mammoth stages on just a handful of bottles were not uncommon, before physiology and science caught up and the benefits of regular hydration were realized. Still, and in a tradition that continues today, riders took limited refreshments from spectators on the side of the road - another way the cycling has managed to include its supporters in the action.

Cafe 7

Beer is always the right choice.

With the restrictions on bottles in place, even as seemingly recent as the 1970s, the café raid was a common occurrence. Domestiques would organize themselves for a mass raid on a designated outlet and its shelves stripped of almost any liquid beverage available: mineral water, sodas, beer, even Champagne. Then the domestiques, their pockets stuffed with all manner of bottles of different shapes and sizes, would chase down the peloton to share their booty.

Cafe 2

Jersey pockets never go out of style.

For the seemingly helpless café owner, it would be all good fun. A few lost profits, perhaps a backhander from the race organizers to compensate, but a chance to rub shoulders with the riders, and have a story to tell local patrons afterwards. The raids added colour to the race, levity, and a sense of keeping the race firmly rooted to the towns through which it passed.

Cafe 3

Keep your bottle opener handy.

For the domestiques, being a capable ‘water carrier’ was a valuable skill, even better if one remembered one’s bottle opener, or had another ingenious method of getting the cap off if the opener had been forgotten. Important, too, was the ability to source a team leader’s favourite beverage, perhaps even a little Champagne - which never did the riders any harm in decades past - to dull the pain of an impending climb.

Cafe 5

Do not try this on your next group ride.

The rules have eased now on water, with the realization that dehydration actually exists and could be hazardous to the health of riders. Motorbikes ply the peloton with their sponsor’s wares, and team cars are always ready to provide refreshment - although there’s little Champagne to be seen, during the race at least. Domestiques are still valued, though, for their ability to carry bottles from the team car to their leader, but no longer do they need to remember their bottle openers.

Cafe 4

Something a bit stronger than sodas.

But restrictions still exist, most notably on final climbs in stages in the Tour, for example, where team cars cannot give bottles to riders - as much to prevent cars from hampering the action and giving tows as forcing the riders to climb unaided. But spectators continue to provide a ready source of refreshment. Frankie Andreu gives an insight into the mind set of the riders in one of his diary entries from the 1999 Tour in the Pyrenees.

“The grupetto was a big one today. Many riders are tired and the first chance they get to sit up, they do. Christian [Vandevelde] was making deals all day in the last group. Guys were so hot and desperate for water, they were begging Christian for water and the promised to buy him a beer in Paris. He has about a case of beer waiting for him at the finish.

“Prudencio [Indurain], while riding in the group, spotted a two-litre bottle of Orangina sitting on a picnic table. When he spotted it he yelled out, ‘Who wants some Orangina?’ Of course, everyone wanted some; so Prudencio in one swoop swung over into the gravel and grabbed it off the picnic table. It was a party.”

Cafe 8

No team loyalty when a rider needs water.

All screen grab pictures from Stars and Water Carriers, the movie of the 1974 Giro d’Italia.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another beautiful day

Temperatures in Michigan topped 70 degrees today so Mary and I got out on our bikes after work and went for a short ride. We took the White Pine Trail south to WhiteCaps Park. The paved part of the trail now extends into downtown Comstock Park. There is a short bit on street riding to get to North Park Street which connects with the riverside spur of the WPT. This made for an enjoyable 13 mile ride this evening. It's great getting out this early in the season since our big JDRF ride is six weeks earlier this year than last. We need to get the miles in now so we'll be ready for Killington in August.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ides of March

What a great weekend! Sunny and almost 60 degrees in Michigan in the middle of March. I was a good doobie on Saturday and cleaned up the yard. We had lots of sticks and leaves and literally hundreds on pine cones on the ground. After all the hard work I was able to take a little bike ride today. Just a 15 mile spin up to Rockford and back along the White Pine Trail. On the way back I passed my friend Michael Walenta and we rode together for a few miles. We even helped anothre cyclist change a flat. It was truly great to be out on the Cannondale instead of the mountain bike.

In movie news we are moving closer to completion. This week we are adding graphics and narration. Next week will be music and credits. And then we'll be done. Woohoo! Remember the premiere is April 16th and there will be DVD's of the finished documentary available for purchase. The cost will be $15 and proceeds, of course, go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


We are pleased to announce the World Premiere of "More Than 100 Miles: Riding to Cure Diabetes". This exciting event will take place on Thursday, April 16, 2009 at Celebration Cinemas North in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We are planning on a 7:00 p.m. start time, with an after-party to be announced later. Tickets will be available in advance and at the door. Ticket prices and other surprises will be announced soon.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Big announcement coming soon

We have been diligently working on the film over the last couple of weeks and now have a rough cut of the full movie. The next step is to add in narration, music, sound effects, graphics and all the stuff that makes it pretty. This is a very time consuming process but the finished film is going to look fantastic.
Before we get to the big announcement we have a small, but exciting announcement. Todd Herring of Craic Wisely will be composing some original music for the documentary. We're very excited to have someone of Todd's talent working on this project.
The big announcement is going to be the date of the premiere. We are still working out the details but I can tell you that it will be in April at Celebration Cinemas North in Grand Rapids. So watch this space as we hope to have the official announcement within the next week.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Saturday was a great day

Last night we showed the trailer for "More Than 100 Miles" at the Grand Rapids Bicycle Film Festival. It was very well received by the over 200 people in attendance. In fact several people told me it was the best film of the night. And it looks we'll be showing the completed film at next year's film festival, among other places.

But before we got to the Wealthy Theatre last night the sun came out, the temperature hit 50 degrees and the road was calling. So I pulled out my mountain bike and did a quick 5 miles along the Rouge River to Belmont and back. It felt great to be outside riding again. Earlier in the week I did 5 miles on a stationary bike in the gym. That was just exercise for the sake of exercise. Yesterday's 5 miles was pure joy. The warm sun, the cool air, the spray off my tires from the snow melt, all wonderful. Now I know that within a week we'll be back to sub 30 degrees and more snow, but it sure was fun to get on the road in February in Michigan.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Film Festival Update

The trailer for the ride documentary "More Than 100 Miles" will be the first film shown at the Grand Rapids Bicycle Film Festival on Saturday at the Wealthy Theatre. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the films start 7:30 p.m. That means don't be late, it's only 4 and a half minutes long. Check the film out on the big screen and see if it looks better than on YouTube.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Press Coverage

There is a great article in today's Grand Rapids Press, and on MLive, about the Grand Rapids Bicycle Film Festival. The trailer for "More Than 100 Miles" will be shown and I was interviewed by the Press writer for being a local film maker participating in the Festival.
The best part though was to see one of my photos of our team in Death Valley printed big as life in the GR Press.
The Film Festival takes place on Saturday, February 7 at Wealthy Theatre, doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more info click here.
To read the full article on MLive click here.
Hope to see everyone next weekend at the festival.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Killington here we come!

We are officially registered for the JDRF ride in Killington, Vermont. The ride takes place on August 29, 2009. That is 6 weeks earlier than the last four years when we've ridden in Death Valley. So that moves up our training and fund raising deadlines. Once the weather warms up (and it will warm up someday, right?), we'll be doing longer rides earlier in the season. To prepare for that Mary is riding her trainer this winter and I'm working out at the gym. From a fund raising stand point the on-line donation pages are up and running. If you'd like to donate to me click here. If you'd like to donate to Mary click here. We also have links on the left side of this page. Thanks in advance for helping us fund the search for a cure to diabetes.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Watching paint dry...

...also known as video editing. We have been working on editing the documentary pretty extensively this week. It is a long slow process, as we have hours and hours of riding footage to go through, plus many excellent interviews. Right now we are concentrating on the Asheville Ride. It's amazing watching that event again and seeing all the West Michigan riders. They are nervous at the start, working hard during the ride, and emotional at the end. We've already built quite a bit of the training/fundraising section and next we move on to the Death Valley Ride. We are still on schedule to have a world premiere before spring. So keep a eye on this blog for more details as they become available.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Baby it's cold outside

This recent cold snap of sub-zero temperatures has made outdoor training non-existent. I know there are several members of our ride team who cycle outside regardless of the weather conditions. We have a name for those people. Insane. We have been getting our fitness work done inside however. I went to the gym last night and played basketball and lifted weights. I do that at least 2 or 3 times a week in the winter months. It's quite a workout shooting hoops with guys 20 and 30 years younger than ones self. Mary was on her trainer again last night. She logged 5 more miles on her indoor ride to Vermont. Actually our son Ian was jumping on her trainer over the weekend. At 13 he's the right height for Mary's bike, but he wears my cycling shoes. The kid is like a puppy. When he grows into his feet, watch out!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Grand Rapids Bicycle Film Festival

The trailer for our documentary will be shown at the Grand Rapids Bicycle Film Festival on February 7. The festival takes place at Wealthy Theatre from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The event is a fund raiser for the Western Michigan Mountain Bike Association. If you're on Facebook (and who isn't these days?) here's a link to more info about the evening. It sounds like a great time with several bike related films. So please stop on down and get a chance to see the "More Than 100 Miles" trailer on the big screen.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Training & movies

Mary got on her new trainer for the first time yesterday. She set it up in front of the TV in the basement and rode about five miles while watching the cycling movie Breaking Away. We watched this 1979 bike classic during our first JDRF trip to Death Valley. On the bus ride from the Las Vegas airport to Death Valley Coach Mike popped in the DVD of the movie. The rest of the weekend had a sort of Italian feel. It was capped off near the end of the ride when a female tourist from Genoa asked Joe Schmieder for directions. Watch the movie and you'll understand the reference. Also, it stars a very young Dennis Quaid in a supporting role.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Welcome to 2009

Mary used some of her Christmas money to buy a trainer from VeloCity in Holland. She bought it yesterday and I set it up in the basement today. Her goal is to ride 745 miles on the trainer this winter. That is the distance between our house and Killington, Vermont. Then once the weather gets nice she plans on riding 745 miles outdoors. In other words, to Killington and back before we ever get there for the actual ride. Mike Clark talked to her about watching these real cool race DVD's while she trained. Mary commented that she'd probably be watching "The Sound of Music". I personally rode for 15 minutes at the gym on Saturday morning. Yuck.
Good luck to Mary, the trainer is not my idea of a good time.