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.