Friday, December 2, 2011

The Big Thank You

Now that we have entered December the end of the year is fast approaching. 2011 was a great year for riding the ol' bicycle. It was also a great year for raising money for our favorite charity. The Death Valley ride raised over 1.2 million dollars. The entire JDRF ride program brought in over five million dollars. Team Scheidel accounted for $12,000 of that total thanks to the generous support of our many donors. What follows is a list of the people and organizations that donated their time, talent and treasure to the cause this past year. Because of all of you we are closer to finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

Thank you...
Christine Behrens
James Burnett
Craig DeFeyler
Craig Geitzen
Clay Grueber
Richard Hensen
Jeffrey King
Mary Koziol
Mark and Jane Longstreet
David Lubben
Becky Machuta
Jacquelyn McCarty
Brenda Merrifield
Linda Milanowski
Dennis and Kim Moline
Nicole Nellis
Ken Oughton (Diamond Cutters Athletic Club)
Timothy Payne
Hanna Reierson
Mark Ritsema
Tom and Florence Scheidel
The Gordon Group
Michael and Nancy Walenta
PJ's Sound and Backline
West Side Distributing
Frames Unlimited
Jim Hayes (Tru-Vue Inc.)
X-Cel Chemical Specialties Company
Michelle and Kevin Bassett
Steve and Katie Clark
Tim and Colleen Colleran
Roy Dodman
Peggy Essenberg
Michael Gordon
Troy Gundy
Pam Hanson
Peter Jacob
Karen Kleinheksel
Macatawa Cycling Club
David Pasciak
Barb Porter
Kim Summers
Third Coast Cycling
Connie's Cakes
Tom and Kim Vogel
Kathy Magnuson
Joe and Mary Powell
Glen Russell
Paul and Brenda Schab
Henry Wieten
Bill and Ginger Young
Tim Holtkamp

And additional thanks to all the performers at Jake's Music Festival, all the people that attended JMF, all the folks who bought a can of XS, and finally, to everyone who kept us in their thoughts and prayers.

"Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph; a beginning, a struggle and a victory." -Ghandi

Monday, November 7, 2011

Death Valley 2011 Video

There has been a lot written about this year's Ride to Cure Diabetes in Death Valley. Look at Facebook and you'll see hundreds, if not thousands, of photos. I had a small video camera with me and shot a bunch of video before, during and after the ride. I put together a short video that we showed at the West Michigan team wrap up party this past Saturday night. It was fun reliving all the memories and sharing a few laughs with my team mates. The video is available right here and also on YouTube.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Death Valley Ride Recap

Ride day started with an incredible sunrise and proceeded to become an incredible day all the way around. This year's JDRF ride was quite different. The weather people were forecasting record high temperatures. The ride organizers were very concerned about sending riders out in heat that might approach 120 degrees so they changed the course. Normally we ride 52 miles out to Jubilee Pass and then 52 miles back. The turn around point is a six mile climb at a 6% grade. Last year the temperature hit 111 degrees on that climb and 1/3 of all the riders needed to be sagged back to the starting line. The organizers didn't want a repeat of that carnage so they changed the course. We rode toward Badwater, the lowest spot in the Western Hemisphere, and then past it to a point 25 miles from the Furnace Creek Ranch. Here we turned around and came back. That made for a 50 mile loop. If someone wanted to do a full century ride in that heat they could ride the course twice. This kept everyone reasonably close to the Ranch and had the added benefit of allowing us to see our team mates frequently. When our group gets stretched out over a full 100 miles you often don't see people after the start until the finish line.

Tom, Mary and Ian at the finish line.

Having suffered through the heat last year, and getting sagged in, our little Team Scheidel was smarter this time around. Mary completed the whole course and ended up with 50 miles. Ian and I decided to go for the metric century and rode out to the first water stop. It was a bit farther than we remembered on the first loop so we ended up with 72 miles, 10 miles more than a metric. One of the best parts of the whole day happened on our way back. Golden Canyon is about three miles from the finish line. It became an unofficial oasis for our team members. As the group of West Michigan riders that included Ian and me approached the parking area of Golden Canyon we saw several of our team mates waiting for us. There was another group riding a few minutes behind us. We waited for them and then our group of over 15 cyclists from the West Michigan team all rode across the finish line together.

Cliff proposes to Nicole at Mile 25.

The most unique thing that happened during the ride was two of our team mates getting engaged. As the ride started a buzz began going through the team that Cliff was going to pop the question at the Mile 25 turn around point. Most of our team managed to get to that point at the same time as Nicole and Cliff. We got everyone together for a "group photo" but before we could assemble Cliff dropped to one knee and gave Nicole an engagement ring. She was surprised and the crowd went wild. Nicole even cut a hole in her cycling glove so that her new bling would show through.

The West Michigan Ride Team in our new team jerseys.

It is an honor to participate in this event each year. To do it with the team from West Michigan makes it all the more special. These are some of the coolest and most committed people I have ever met. We have riders who have Type 1 diabetes, riders who are the parents of children with Type 1, and riders who have no family connection to the disease. Yet we are all united in one purpose, to put an end to Type 1 diabetes. Thank you to my team mates for making this weekend another of the great experiences of my life.

More photos and stories about the rest of the weekend are coming in the days ahead. Keep watching this blog.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thanks for your support

In just a couple of hours we will be getting on an airplane to fly to Las Vegas on the first leg of this year's Death Valley Experience. From LV we take a shuttle bus to DV, a 2 1/2 hour ride. We'll be traveling with 34 other riders from the West Michigan team. Tomorrow we'll have a tune-up ride and enjoy some desert relaxation. Saturday will start early, we'll be out of bed by 5:00 a.m. and riding at sunrise. Nine to eleven hours later we'll be done.

The big news however is not the laundry list of events stated above. It's that we have made our family goal of raising $12,000. We went over late last night and Team Scheidel wants to thank everyone who contributed to the cause. Especially the folks who made those late night pledges. Thanks again and watch this space early next week for all the details.

If you are a Twitter user you can follow the Death Valley ride at #bikeface.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

WGVU-FM interview

In case you missed it I was on the WGVU-FM Morning Show with Shelley Irwin yesterday talking about the JDRF Ride for a Cure. You can find the interview at the WGVU web site or by clicking right here.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Grand Rapids Urban Adventure Race

Saturday was a great warm up for the Death Valley Ride. One of our fellow JDRF team members, Linda Thompson-Poeder, competed with me in the Grand Rapids Urban Adventure Race. Blue Monkey Adventure was our official team sponsor. This event takes place on the streets of Grand Rapids and is part adventure racing and part The Amazing Race TV show. The weather was perfect and the competition was friendly, yet intense.

The competitors assemble to hear instructions before the start of the race.
The course had a biking portion and a running portion. There were check points and challenges scattered all over the city. The object was to get to as many checkpoints as possible and get back to the start/finish line in four hours. Since Linda and I have a lot more experience riding as opposed to running we decided to do the bike portion first. This turned out to be a good plan since they were more points available on the bike portion and we got all but two of them.
Tom makes his way to a checkpoint suspended over a creek.
Linda studies the map and directions while on the bike portion.
We finished the biking in two and a half hours, which only left an hour and a half to do as much of running portion as possible. The run course took us to several ArtPrize venues and included challenges related to the art.We knew we couldn't get all the points so we concentrated on getting ones that didn't take us too far from the finish line. With 20 minutes left we were on top of Belknap Hill, a mile and a half from the finish line at Founder's Brewing. We knew we could make it if we only went after easy to find check points that were on our route back. Luckily we found two more as we ran and/or fast walked back to the finish line.

The Blue Monkey Adventure team on the Blue Bridge counting monkeys.
At the end we had completed 40 of a possible 51 check points and finished in 3 hours 58 minutes and 20 seconds. We had time to spare. Best of all we finished 27th out of 192 teams in the co-ed division and 64th out of 330 teams overall. If they had a masters division we would have done even better, considering that our combined age is 100. It was a fantastic day and a great way to stay in shape for Death Valley.

Linda and Tom, happy to be done!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Countdown Continues

In one day our bikes leave for Death Valley. In seven days our bodies leave for Death Valley. (Our minds left long ago.) In nine days we will be riding our bikes through Death Valley. After an entire season of training and fund raising it's a little hard to believe that THE ride is just around the corner. There will be 37 of us from West Michigan cycling through the desert next Saturday. 350 riders from around the USA and other countries will join us. Personally I have ridden almost 1,300 miles this summer in preparation for riding 105 miles on October 15th. Those have been a combination of solo rides, small group rides and epic excursions, everything from 2 miles on my mountain bike to 68 miles in the Allegrina 100. We've ridden in the heat, the rain, and the wind to get ready. And as a team we are ready.
Yesterday we received word that the Death Valley Ride for a Cure has already topped one million dollars in donations, and we haven't even ridden yet. Again on a personal note Team Scheidel is less than $800 from our family goal of $12,000. If you have already donated this year thank you very much. If you'd still like to donate click on one of the "Donate to..." links on the left side of this page. Pick your favorite Scheidel and help them go over the top.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Final Team Ride

This past Saturday was our final team ride of the season. The ride took place in Holland, leaving from Coach Mike Clark's house. There were two loops, an early morning "It's really cold out" 35 mile loop and a noon "It's sort of cold out" 41 mile loop. Many members of our team did one or both portions in anticipation of much warmer temperatures in Death Valley. We figured that the next time we all ride together it would be 50 to 60 degrees warmer.

The team assembles between loops one and two. Notice the many layers of clothing. 50 degrees at the start of loop 2 and quite windy.

John Jasker, Mike Clark and other team members at approximately the halfway point of loop 2.

The West Michigan Team rolls through West Michigan. Cliff Lewis is sporting the new team jersey.

Friday, September 30, 2011

A little publicity

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

Monday, September 26, 2011

The countdown...

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

Monday, September 19, 2011

A month to go

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What a week that was

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

Thursday, September 8, 2011

And now 1100

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

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

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

Friday, September 2, 2011


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

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

Riding through the city - on trails

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Health and goodness

Rolling with the West Michigan Ride Team
We've reached that point of the season where I'm really starting to feel good on the bike. I've got almost 1000 miles under my wheels and a month and a half to go until the ride in Death Valley. But in today's post I want to talk not about riding, but about nutrition and energy and preparing to ride.

One of things I've noticed about long distance cycling is how in tune you get with your body. You learn what aches and pains you can ignore and which ones might be serious. You learn what you need to eat to perform well on a long ride. You learn about proper hydration and nutrition. When it comes to hydration there's good old water and also sports drinks and energy drinks. Our team has been fortunate to have XS Energy Drinks as a sponsor for several years. XS, unlike so many energy drinks, tastes great and doesn't make you feel jittery. They contain no sugar and low caffeine. They are great before or after a ride. Now we are making XS Energy Drinks available for on-line purchases. Click on THIS LINK or on the side bar link to go to a page I set up for this purpose. This new site will make it easy for you to get any flavor of XS you want. Best of all, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes. You can also get what I use for hydration during the ride, Nutrilite Sports Drinks (like Gatorade, but not as sweet and no artificial colors).

Thanks for your support of the JDRF Ride for a Cure.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Let's start off by saying that I am NOT a sprinter. I'm a decent long distance cyclist, but racing isn't really in my skill set. Nevertheless I rode in my first cycling race this past Wednesday at Grattan Raceway. One of the local bike clubs, the Rapid Wheelmen, organizes races there every week throughout the summer. During the month of August they've added a "C" classification to the normal "A" and "B" races. The "C" race was three laps on the 1.8 mile course. That's only 5.4 miles. How hard could that be? Plenty hard.
Wednesday was JDRF night so there a lot of our team mates were there to ride or help out. The night started with a tandem race. Possibly a first ever at Grattan. Two of the three tandems were ridden by JDRFers. Next came the "C" race. I stayed with the pack until the start on the final lap. I don't know what our average speed was, but when I got dropped I was doing 21 mph. Even though I was beaten by almost everyone (including my 16 year old son Ian) I didn't finish in last place. A small non-victory.
The "A" and "B" races got going next. Those guys and gals are really fast. We had four JDRF riders in the "B" group. Unfortunately there was a crash early on in the 16 lap race that took out three of our riders. Luckily no one was seriously injured and the bikes are all repairable.
Even with the crash and my lousy finish it was a great experience. I can now cross "Bike Race" off my bucket list.

Great sunset at the end of a great night at Grattan raceway.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Perfect day to ride

We spent a lot of time in the car over the past few days so it felt great to put some miles under the skinny tires. Mary and I drove to Washington DC on Saturday to bring out a load of our daughter Colleen's stuff. She starting a teaching job there this fall. We spent Sunday seeing the sites in DC and then returned home on Monday. That's a lot of time behind the wheel. So today we went out for a ride on one of my favorite loops. We went up Post Drive to Pine Island and took that to House Road. House is like a roller coaster for bikes. It has rolling hills, lots of turns and is just a blast to ride. We did a short jog on 10 Mile to Jewell, which turns into 11 Mile, which turns into Edgerton. Again, more twists and turns and hills. We crossed US131 on 12 Mile and then went north on Summit to 12 Mile and took the White Pine Trail home. It was a 21 mile loop and we knocked it out in a little over 90 minutes. The weather was perfect, not too hot, not too windy, just right.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

7 Mile Hill Training

I didn't have a lot of time to ride tonight so I decided to do a couple of repeats on 7 Mile hill. Normally when we ride up 7 Mile we turn when we get to the top, south on Chauncey or north on Courtland. Tonight I decided to take 7 Mile to it's end. That's only about two more miles but it also sports two more rolling hills. Then at the end of the road I turned around and road back. I did this twice. The second time was a little easier because I was warmed up and I knew I wasn't going to do it a third time. The real interesting part came when I got home. I decided to use MapMyRide to find out just how big those hills are and how much climbing I did in my 12 mile jaunt. Anyone who's ridden up 7 Mile hill with us knows that it's pretty steep. According to MapMyRide it's a Category 5 climb. Granted, Cat 5 is the lowest grade of climbing on a professional bike race, but it is a climb worthy of having a professional bike race category. Here's a link to the elevation profile with the Category 5 explanation.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How fast I'm not

I took a late and long lunch today. That was so I could ride my bike, of course. I rode north on the White Pine Trail to Indian Lakes Road and returned home the same way. 23 miles in just under an hour and a half. The wind was swirly so it seemed to be in my face no matter which way I turned. It was a nice ride and since it was the middle of the day the trail was relatively empty.
So I'm cruising north on the trail between Belmont and Rockford.  It's a slight uphill grade and I was feeling good about myself as I was doing about 18-19 mph. Suddenly a voice behind me says "On your left" and a fully kitted cyclist passes me with ease. We nodded to each other and he pulled away like I was Aunt Gladys on a Sofa King. To make matters worse he was older than me. Actually that should give me hope. Maybe I can be fast like him when I get to be his age.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A week of variety

It's always fun when we ride with the Hayes family, our friends from Chicago. We were at their cottage on Lake Paw Paw on Sunday and the second generation is now joining us for rides. Our son Ian and their son Ed both came along for our 30 mile "big loop" around the lake. We called it the big loop because if we stay close to the shoreline it's only 11 miles around the lake. The boys more than kept up with us. A lot of the time they were the ones setting the pace of our six person peleton. The weather was great and we had excellent food, drink and boating post ride.

Mary, Susan and Ian ride past farm field north of Lake Paw Paw.

Susan and Elvin during a quick stop at about mile 20.

On Wednesday evening Ian and I did a sprint ride on the White Pine Trail to the ballpark and back. 14 miles in about 50 minutes. Nothing really to report on that one, just getting some miles in. On Thursday morning I needed to go to the bank so I did that on my bike. Only 2 miles there and back. The mileage of each successive ride this week has gotten considerably shorter. Ian and I had planned on riding this morning, but it's raining. I'll finish a ride in the rain, but I won't start one if I don't have to. I still have lingering bad memories of Killington in 2009.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Good day, good week

I got out this morning for a short 18 mile ride. Short but not easy. I started out going east on Cannonsburg Road and then turned south on Pettis. Anyone who rides in this area knows about the loop I was about to take. Pettis to Knapp to Eqypt Valley. Some of the rolly-est hills in the Grand Rapids area. This route really works on your climbing skills. You are either going up or going down, there are almost no flat stretches. Egypt Valley ends at Belding Road and I headed east to Blakley then turned south. This took me to 7 Mile and I was able to descend 7 Mile Hill, clocking in at 39.5 MPH. A great way to start the day.

Today's ride gives me 85 miles for the week. This is where I like my training to be this time of year, 80 to 100 miles a week. Now I need to start looking at serious mileage on the weekends, like metric centuries and 75 milers. Only 11 weeks until Death Valley.

Congratulations to all the JDRF folks who rode in Burlington, Vermont today at 2011's first Ride For A Cure.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Today's Team Ride

We had a good training ride today. We were out on the west coast of Michigan again, riding in the Hamilton area. Our JDRF team started with a 30 mile loop at about 10:00 this morning. The weather was great, mid 70's temperatures, slightly overcast and very little wind. I hooked up with the lead group for the second half of that loop and we cruised at about 18-20 MPH. We rolled back in to Cliff and Nic's place and picked up additional people for loop 2, although some folks did leave after loop 1. The group left a bit before Mary was ready so we had to play catch up. Unfortunately we missed a couple of turns and never did catch the rest of our team. Since we had other things to do today we cut loop 2 short and ended up with 49 miles total for the day.

In other news here's a link to our friend Patti Bills blog. Talkin' Bike Face!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


This has been the hottest week in Michigan in a very long time. Today is our fifth consecutive day with temperatures over 90 degrees, plus we also have the high humidity Michigan summers are known for. However, I'm not complaining. After the crummy spring we had I'll take the heat. I've managed to get out for three rides so far this week. They've been short, but sweaty.
On Sunday Mary and I rode to her bother David's house south of Lowell for a family get together. It was a touch over 18 miles and pretty easy until we got to Ada. Then we climbed up Buttrick Road and the rolling hills of 36th Street. The kids also came with the car, so we got an air conditioned ride home.
I decided to do an early morning ride on Tuesday before things got too hot. Before work I took the WPT north to Rockford and back. Just 12 miles but I did it in about 40 minutes which gives me an 18 MPH average. And the temperature was only 82 degrees.
Last night was our Wine Wednesday Ride. Only Cindy from our JDRF team made it over. Everyone else must have been scared off by the thermometer reading of 97 degrees at 6:30 p.m. The three of us rode a 17 mile loop north and west of home, finishing off with a descent on 7 Mile hill. Most of the route was in the shade and that did help some.
That gives me 47 miles for the week, 637 miles for the season, and 8,465 miles on my bike. Hopefully I can get out once more before our team ride on Sunday.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Beautiful Day

A beautiful summer day like this inspires me to write about cycling. The Tour De France is on TV every morning. I'm starting to get some good miles in on the bike. And Death Valley is just three months away. We had a good team ride over the weekend. There were two loops that left from Sarah Andro's house in Ada on Sunday. The early morning group did not include us, Ian and I showed up for the noon loop. Which also means we showed up for the heat. It was in the high 80's and very humid on Sunday. The route was 38 miles long and basically took us from Ada to Alto and back. It was fairly hilly and that broke our larger group into several smaller groups. Once we finished we had a cookout with wonderful food provided by our hostess. Several team mates also brought yummy treats. Despite the heat, humidity and hills we had a great time.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

We've had a pretty good Independence Day weekend. Yesterday we went to our friend's Tim and Linda Frybler's cottage on Fine Lake. We did some swimming, the kids went tubing, we ate a lot and at night saw a great fireworks display around the lake.

Today Mary and I got on our bikes and rode north on the White Pine Trail all the way to Sand Lake and back, 36 miles in all. Sand Lake has a small town Fourth of July celebration with a carnival, demolition derby and fireworks at dusk. We didn't have lights so we decided not to ride the trail home in the dark. But now that we're home Jake has some friends over and they are setting off fireworks in the backyard.

Happy 235th birthday, America!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Century Week

Technically a century week is not a real cycling term. Riding 100 miles in a week is just a way of tracking how my training is going. This week was the first time this year I've put in 100 miles. It started on Sunday with the Allegrina 100. I rode two of the three loops for a total of 65 miles. On Thursday I did a little bicycle commuting and ended up with 31 miles. This morning I got out before the weather got real hot (although it was already very humid) and put in 15 miles. Since the first two rides were relatively flat I decide to go for some hills today. I rode south on Grand River Avenue to Knapp then north on Pettis. That's a very rolling hills kind of route. I finished with a long climb up Blakely and returned home blazing down 7 Mile hill at 39 miles per hour. When you add it all up I rode 111 miles this week. Which is good, since we only have 15 weeks until Death Valley.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bike Commuting

Last night Mary and I went to the Not Your Average Speaker Series at Wealthy Theatre. This month featured a discussion on Grand Rapids as a Cycling City. The conversation ranged from bike lanes to bike friendly employers to educating the public on bike safety. One topic that came up often was bike commuting. Today I needed to pick something up from one of my vendors. They are located about 13 miles away from my office. Inspired by last night speeches, instead of driving I rode my bike there. Luckily what I had to pick up fit easily into my jersey back pocket. Even though it was all city or suburban riding I still made it there in a little less than an hour. The trip would have taken 20 minutes by car and used half a gallon of gas. Although I've probably eaten at least $2.00 worth of food since I got home, so the cost thing is a wash.
More than once while I was riding to my vendor's place I thought "Technically, I'm working right now." So I guess that means I got paid to ride my bike. I hope this doesn't mess up my amateur status.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Viva Italia!

Our friend and fellow JDRF rider Heather Allegrina-Bowe hosted a special ride this past Sunday in memory of her father. The Allegrina 100 consisted of three loops through the Saugatuck area near Lake Michigan. We arrived in time to join the group for the second and third loops. It was a mixed group of JDRF riders and friends of Heather. It was also a fairly fast group. we were averaging 18 - 20 mph for most of the day. That's a bit faster than I've been riding lately and the distance was also my maximum do far this year. I ended up with 65 miles, or the Allegrina 100 Kilometers. My first metric century of the season. Mary and Ian were along as well. They did the second loop with the main group but cut short the third loop and finished with 50 miles each. Since their goal for the day was 50 miles they felt pretty good about their accomplishment. It was almost the most miles those two have ridden this year.

A large group of cyclists on loop 2 of the Allegrina 100

Heather and Tom at the end of the ride.

Friday, June 24, 2011

More Rides

There are a lot of great organized cycling events in West Michigan. I just posted an article on about some of them. Rather than repost everything here I'll just provide the link. So click HERE to read the story.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

That's More Like It

It's been a long wet Spring, but the weather has finally dried out enough for me to get some miles in. On Father's Day Mary, Ian and I rode from my parent's house in Lowell back to our house in Rockford. It was 21 miles featuring a fair number of hills. Last night our JDRF team mates Scott and Linda Poeder came over and we got in 16 miles between rain storms. Because of the sketchy weather we stayed pretty close to Rockford so we'd have cover in case it started raining hard. We not only got the whole ride in, but it also stayed nice long enough for us to enjoy some wine on the patio.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Back in the USA

We haven't done a lot of bike riding in the past week because we've been out of the country. Mary and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this past Tuesday. We like to go somewhere special for the big anniversaries, so for #25 we went to Costa Rica. We spent four days in a fantastic condo right on Jaco beach along the Pacific Ocean. We went zip-lining, hiking, surfing and swimming. We saw a lot of locals riding bikes but we didn't have a chance to get out, too many other fun activities that we can't do in Michigan.
The weather was warm and the mornings were beautiful. Because Costa Rica is just entering their rainy season there was some rain every afternoon or evening. But the rain only hampered us once. It cut short our zip-lining adventure. So we got to hike down the side of a mountain during a thunderstorm. That was exciting.
We also saw lots of jungle animals like monkeys, toucans, scarlet macaws, iguanas, lizards and even a coatimundi. It was a great trip and a place we would visit again.

High above Jaco on our way to the zip line tour. Time out for a little anniversary smooch.

Monday, June 6, 2011

1, 2, 3 rides

Last week was a good early season riding week for me. I rode three times and logged a total of 65 miles.

1. Sunday 5/29 - As usual we celebrated the Memorial Day weekend with our friends the Hayes. This year may have been our 28th in a row. We started the day with a 15 mile ride around Lake Paw Paw. Because it was Memorial Day we had to dodge a few raindrops, but the 6 of us, thankfully, avoided the lightning.

2. Thursday 6/2 - I took off south on the White Pine Trail for a solo ride on Thursday night. My plan was to ride to Riverside Park in Grand Rapids and return. It turns out the park has been renamed. It's now called In-the-River Park. Lots of flooding, the kind we normally see in the early spring after the snow melt. The high water forced all the cyclists, runners and strollers onto the only dry pathway. Needless to say it was very crowded, so I crossed the Ann Street bridge and returned home via Turner Ave. and West River Drive for a 20 mile total.

3. Saturday 6/4 - This was the day of the 100 Grand which Ian and I rode in last year. We had some intentions of riding again but didn't get out of bed in time. So I ended up going solo again in the late morning. I headed west through Belmont and out 9 Mile Road. I turned north on Peach Ridge and quickly realized I was on part of the 100 Grand route, but going the wrong way. I got to wave at probably a hundred cyclists on our slightly overlapping circuits. I came back home along 13 mile riding through Sparta before picking my way south. I ended up with 30 miles against a steady west wind and some healthy climbs.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Happy Memorial Day Weekend

I haven't been writing a lot lately because we haven't been riding a lot. The weather has just not cooperated this spring. The hard core members of our team have been riding, but they also ride when it's 10 degrees and snowing outside. Hopefully we'll be able to get some miles in this weekend.

There are two fun things to report. Last Sunday we did have a beautiful day and got in a 30 mile ride with the JDRF team. We rode in the north Muskegon area. Our route took us past Muskegon Lake, Duck Lake, Lake Michigan and several other bodies of water. The wind coming off the big lake was amazing, the temperature dropped  about 10 degrees. It felt like someone had opened a large refrigerator door. But that was refreshing since we were about 20 miles into the route and a 75 degree day.

The other fun thing is that on that ride I rolled over 8000 miles on my Cannondale. That bike has served me well over the last few years and I anticipate putting several more thousand miles under its tires.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Are we in Seattle?

I'm not one to complain about the weather (not much anyway), but this rain is really putting a cramp in my riding. We had the rainiest April on record and May seems to be headed for a record as well. The pattern has been one sunny (but usually cold) day followed by three or four days of rain. The rivers here are still at the early spring snow melt levels, very high. And don't even get me started on the wind. Come on Mother Nature. It's May in Michigan. Give us some partly cloudy skies and 70 degrees. Please.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

This week's rides

Yes, rides! As in more than one. The weather has hopefully finally changed in Michigan. More seasonable temperatures and less rain. In April we had over twice the rain we normally have for the month. Admittedly, my garden looks great, but I don't ride in the cold rain if I can help it.
Friday I got out in the early evening for a little 15 miler. I rode the White Pine Trail down to Whitecaps Park, through Comstock Park and back. Today I did my hill training route. Only 11 miles but I climbed 7 hills. I told Mary about it and said it was a good work out. She replied "That's nice. I ride for fun."

Happy Mother's Day to my mom, my wife and all the other mothers I've had the pleasure of knowing.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Winds of Spring

 This has been a cold, wet and windy spring. The weather has really hampered our ability to get out and ride. Well, maybe not our ability to ride, but definitely our desire to ride. I was talking to Coach Mike Clark during our team ride on Sunday and mentioned that I hadn't gotten a lot of miles in. He said "I've got the miles, I just haven't enjoyed very many of them."
Mary approaching the top of a hill
Sunday was a comparatively decent day. Temperatures were in the low 60's, it was sunny, and quite windy. We had a great turn out of almost 30 riders. Our route started in Johnson Park near the flood stage Grand River. Our group rode a 15 mile semi-looped route. It was a good ride but it seemed like we had a head wind 75% of the time and a cross wind 20% of the time. I'm really looking forward to some more season appropriate conditions.

Ian on his new bike

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Sunday Ride

Yesterday was a pretty nice day compared to the weather we've been having for the last couple weeks. So after attending Mass and going to my mother-in-law's for Easter dinner I got out on my bike for a ride. I rode past Rockford High School and turned north on Courtland Road. I took that to 12 Mile where I turned west to connect with the White Pine Trail. I then rode south on the WPT to complete my 16 mile loop.Just a typical solo training ride, a few climbs, a few sprints, and a couple of 30 mph downhills.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jake's Music Festival on Saturday

It is upon us. The musical event of the year. Jake's Music Festival takes place this Saturday, April 16th at Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids. This 7th annual celebration of local music starts at 3:00 p.m. and runs until 11:00 p.m. Performers include A.B! and Coconut Brown, Igby Iris, Chance Jones, Poor 'Ol Jim, The Fainting Generals, Karisa Wilson, Ritsu and many more. Click here for the full lineup.
The festival is organizer by West Michigan Ride Team members Tom and Mary Scheidel along with Clay Grueber and Todd Herring. Because of the generosity of sponsors Frames Unlimited, The Gordon Group, and Magic Hat #9 this will be a free show. Donations to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation will be cheerfully accepted. There is also a silent auction with items from the GR Symphony, Art Museum, Public Museum, Whitecaps, Grand River Grocery, and over a dozen more local businesses.
So please stop by on Saturday. See one or two bands or stay all day. It's promises to be a great day of great music.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Team Scheidel's first outing

We had great weather in west Michigan this weekend so Saturday was our first official road bike ride. Tom, Mary and Ian all got out for a little 12 mile ride up to Rockford and back along the White Pine Trail. It's become something of a tradition to have our first ride along the WPT. Ian also logged a couple of firsts. It was his first ride on his new (still unnamed) Cannondale bike and his first flat ever. He rode all last season without a flat and this year he got one 4 miles into the first ride. I'm sure that's some kind of bike karma.

On a separate, unrelated note. I've moved JDRF ride video to the bottom of the page. Please be sure to check it out. It's new and improved for 2011.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Mountain biking in Moab

It's hard to believe I haven't posted here yet about our trip to Moab, Utah. Ian and I went there as part of a Blue Monkey Adventure excursion. I've posted a story and photos there and on Facebook and I Twittered during the trip, but alas I failed to actually mention something on my blog that deals with cycling. Let's make amends.

Tom and Ian at Uranium Arch near Moab.

We went hiking in Arches National Park, found dinosaur tracks and native petroglyphs, and did some bouldering and rock scrambling. One of the highlights of the trip was the half day "intermediate" ride we did called the Blue Buffalo. Our guide was from Rim Tours and he did a great job. He gave us lots of pointers on navigating over the unfamiliar terrain. Riding in Moab is nothing like riding in Michigan. We climbed from the valley floor to the canyon rim over boulder strewn dirt, sand and slickrock. The views from on top were incredible.

The view from the canyon rim. We rode up to this point.

After some snacks we started our descent. As hard as the ride up was physically, coming down was that hard mentally. We had to pay close attention every second. Those rocks and boulders that were easy to avoid going up now came upon us very quickly as we were going down. It was an exhilarating ride down the mountain. When the ride was finished so were we. I can't imagine how tough an "advanced" ride must be. Ian and I had lunch and then went back to the Red Cliffs Lodge and watched basketball (Final Four) for the rest of the evening. We didn't even have the energy to go to dinner. Thank goodness for jerky and granola bars.

Ian and our guide heading out across the slickrock.

Thanks to Bill our guide for all the help and the really cool Cannondale bikes we got to ride. I have something new on my wish list now.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Heading to Moab

Thursday morning Ian and I are heading to Moab, Utah as part of the Blue Monkey Adventure group. It's a four day adventure trip that will find us mountain biking, hiking in Arches National Park and visiting Canyonlands National Park. Blue Monkey Adventure is a new adventure travel company in which I'm a partner. We'll be posting photos and videos over on the Blue Monkey Facebook page. Check it out and see some of the other exciting trips we have planned.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ian's New Bike

Since Ian outgrew the bike he rode last year we had to go get him a new one. That meant a trip to our favorite bike shop VeloCity Cycles in Holland. Mike Clark hooked Ian up with a Cannondale Synapse. Ian selected the black and yellow color scheme. It is one sharp looking bike. It's also a 61 frame, the biggest one Cannondale makes. Ian doesn't turn 16 until June, but he's already almost 6'1" and wears a size 13 shoe. Hopefully this bike will last him a little longer than a year.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Registration Day

Today is the day we have been waiting for all winter. I'd love to say it's the first warm, sunny, snowless day of the year and we rode 30 miles on our bikes. But that day is probably a few weeks away. Today is the day we got to register for the 2011 JDRF Ride! Yippee!

The national JDRF staff did a great job redesigning the web site and making it very easy to register. Mary, Ian and I are all signed up and heading back to Death Valley. This will be Ian's 2nd ride and the 7th ride for Mary and myself. A lot has changed since 2005, but diabetes is still with us, so we continue to ride.

This seems like a good time to give any new readers a once over on this web site. I'll be providing commentary over the next several months about how our training and fundraising is going. I'll post photos and videos of West Michigan team rides and other fun, cycling related stuff. The left side of the page has links for donating, links for sharing this page with friends, links to our friends pages, a mileage tracker and slide shows from previous year's rides. We also welcome your comments, so let me know what you're thinking.

This year Mary, Ian and I have each committed to raising $4,000, that's $12,000 for our family, to help find a cure for diabetes. You can help by clicking HERE to donate to Tom, HERE to donate to Mary, or HERE to donate to Ian. You can also click on the links to the left. Thanks for your support.

222 days until we ride in Death Valley.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bike Rush Hour

The Netherlands has a huge cycling culture. 33% of all traffic is bicycles. This video is of rush hour in the country's 4th largest city. The video was sped up so that 8 minutes of action goes by in 2 minutes.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Buying a new bike

Well we are buying a new bike it's not for me, it's for my my son Ian. Last year he rode a bike we borrowed from the Milanowski family. Ian has grown at least 4 inches since last spring and that bike no longer fits him. So today we went over to VeloCity Cycles in Holland and talked to our coach Mike Clark. We got Ian all measured up and ended up ordering a Cannondale Synapse. (Yes, it's the Team bike.) It will probably be the middle of next week before it comes in, but once it does we'll post pictures of little Contador on his new ride.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Getting Ready

On Groundhog's Day we experienced a snowstorm unlike anything in these parts for over 30 years. 12" to 24" of snow fell, depending on where you were located. It took the better part of two days to dig everyone out. But today we are having our fourth consecutive plus 40 degree day. Yesterday the high temperature soared over 50. So that means thoughts are turning toward cycling outdoors.
There are many of our team mates who ride their bikes all winter long. Some even have studded snow tires. I'm not one of those folks. But the sunny skies and relatively balmy temps have got me itching to get back in the saddle. Plus it's almost time to sign up for this year's JDRF Ride. We have a team get together at New Holland Brewing Company on February 27th to discuss where our team is going this year. The early favorite is Death Valley, but Tuscon is gaining momentum. Then on March 7th we can officially sign up.
If you've ever though about riding with a great group of people and for a great cause now would be an excellent time to join us. You can get more details on our team by clicking here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The history of the bicycle

Here's a link to a great article from Wired Magazine about the first bicycle. It was made of wood and didn't have pedals, a chain or brakes. But the basic concept was in place, all the back in 1818.

 Not exactly the carbon fiber we ride around on today is it?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Latest video

At the top of this page there is a video from JDRF that promotes the Ride program. At first glance it may look similar to what was there before, but this is an updated version for this year. My company, The Scheidel Group, created this video from the footage we shot for the documentary More Than 100 Miles: Riding to Cure Diabetes. This has been a fun project to work on and I really like the fact that we are a small part of helping to spread the word about finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

Saturday, January 15, 2011