Friday, December 28, 2012

Winding up 2012

As the year comes to a close it's time to reflect on our 2012 cycling world. In some ways it was an average year and in other it was a great year. From a mileage standpoint it was pretty average. I ended up with 1,386 miles in total. I didn't get a full century (100 miles in a single day) but I did ride at least four metric centuries (100 kilometers or 62 miles). The season started early, we were riding outdoors by mid-March, and continued through November. I even got out once in December. Pretty unusual for a fair weather rider from the northern midwest.

From a fund raising standpoint 2012 was a great year. We raised more money with Jake's Music Festival than ever before. As Team Scheidel, Mary, Ian and I raised over $12,000 to help find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. The entire JDRF Ride Program raised $5,000,000 for the cause. Record numbers all the way around. Thanks to everyone who contributed.

Ian, Mary and Tom during the first big climb of the JDRF Tour de Tahoe.
Riding with the JDRF team at Lake Tahoe was one of the best cycling experiences of my life. The scenery was incredible, the weather was perfect, and the people were friendly. We had an absolutely fantastic time and would do that ride again in a minute. In fact, the team is in discussion about where to ride in 2013. The new Nashville ride and Death Valley are the leading contenders, but Tahoe is getting several votes.

In conclusion, I'd like to thank the many people who have ridden with us over the past eight years. 148 people have been part of the JDRF West Michigan team since 2005. Some rode once and others have ridden every year. We appreciate all of them and the contributions they have made both financially and spiritually to this worthy cause. A special thanks to our coach Mike Clark. He has been with us since the beginning and is, in many ways, the heart and soul of the West Michigan team.

There's nothing like the feeling of standing with a dedicated group of cyclists at the starting line at dawn. You've all trained for months. You've all raised thousands of dollars. You're all even wearing the same jersey. All the time and effort are about to be rewarded. You are going for the greatest bike ride of your life with hundreds of other people that feel exactly like you do. It is awe inspiring. Let's do it again in 2013.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Let's ride December

For those who live in warmer climates, or ride year-round regardless of the weather, going for an outdoor bike ride in December may not seem like a big deal. But usually this time of year Michigan has a fair amount of snow on the ground and temperatures in the 20's and 30's. So when the temp's approach 60 it's a great day to get out on the road. Yesterday's ride was short, only about 13 miles to Rockford and back, but nice. It was great to get out. With yesterday's ride I've ridden outdoors in every month in 2012 except January. While overall climate change is probably a bad thing, it sure has made winters in the upper mid-west more bearable.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The second last good day of the year

Two weeks ago I really thought that was going to be the last decent day for riding outside. But yesterday proved I was wrong. It was sunny, temps near 70, and typically breezy. A great day to ride. Since the wind was from the south Mary and I started by heading south on the White Pine Trail. This ended up being a good decision because we were getting gusts in the 20-30 mph range. There were a few occasions where we were struggling to go 9 mph. We rode the trail all the way to Riverside Park and turned back for home just before Ann Street. Heading north was a lot of fun. With minimal effort we were cruising along at 20 mph. We decided to come back via Coit Avenue for a little different route. Plus the trail was getting crowded with people who weren't paying a lot of attention. It's strange that I sometimes feel safer on a road with cars whizzing by then I do on a multi-use trail populated by strollers and dog walkers.

This weekend is the final ride of the JDRF season, taking place in Tuscon, Arizona. Once it's complete we'll know how much the ride program raised for diabetes research this year. It looks like the final number will be over $5,000,000. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the cause.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Last good day of the year

The weather in west Michigan has been pretty great this past week. On Thursday the temperature was in the high 70's and it was sunny, although it was also quite windy. In looking at the weather forecast I was pretty sure that this would be the last good riding day of the year so I left work a little early and got out for a 20 mile ride. I did a counterclockwise variation on a route I've taken many times. I started out by heading north of the White Pine Trail. The high winds had cleared off most of the leaves so my tires only made minimal crunching sounds. The wind was swirling but was mostly from the south. This made riding north quite pleasant. When I got to 12 Mile I turned west and found out the wind had swirled around to that direction. Once I crossed 131 I headed south on Edgerton and followed the twists and turns to Algoma and once again went south. Lake Michigan Credit Union is at the corner of Algoma and 10 Mile so I stopped at the drive thru to get a little banking done before continuing west along 10 Mile. When I do this loop in the clockwise direction I usually turn at House for a winding, climbing section of the route. But with the wind I decided that flatter was better and just rode to Pine Island and headed south to Post Road. Then  it was the big downhill on Post as I cruised through Belmont and then home. It was a great ride on what will most likely be the last 70 degree day for several months. Although with the way our weather has been this year we might be riding in shorts on Christmas Day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Death Valley Memories

This weekend is the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes in Death Valley. Since 2005 we have participated in that ride six times. In 2009 we rode in Vermont and this year we did the ride in Lake Tahoe. Death Valley is the original JDRF ride and annually raises way over one million dollars toward the cure. It is also a special place to those that have been there. It was one of the most difficult and most rewarding rides a cyclist will ever do. 105 miles through the desert on and out and back route. The ride starts at sunrise in relatively cool temperatures (60-70 degrees). 45 miles later you hit the climb up to Jubilee Pass in the heat of the day. It's six miles at a six percent grade, a Category 2 climb for those that follow the Tour de France. Once you summit and get your photo taken you head quickly back down. Then starts the hours long ordeal of getting back to the finish line under cloudless skies with temperatures in the 100's. While all that may sound horrible to the uninitiated, it is a powerful feeling when you complete the ride. Basically, if you can ride in Death Valley, you can do anything!

Ten of our West Michigan teammates will be riding in DV this weekend. Good luck to them and everyone participating in this noble cause. Remember to hydrate. "Drinking!"

Six years of the Death Valley Ride for the Cure. The non-Jubilee Pass photo is from 2011 when they changed the route to eliminate the climb because temperatures were predicted to go over 110 degrees.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lovely fall ride

As fall marches on the nice riding days are getting fewer and fewer. Of course I have team mates who ride all year long, regardless of the weather. Good for them., but it ain't for me. Once the weather turns cold and rainy/snowy the bike hibernates in the garage and I look to indoor sports for fun. But today was a beautiful fall day for riding. Temperatures were in the low 60's, it was mostly sunny, and the wind was only about 20 miles per hour. The wind definitely had an impact on my route choice. It was blowing hard from the southwest, so I headed straight into it down the White Pine Trail toward the ball park. It wasn't too bad until I got to some open stretches south of the ballpark. I was working real hard but then I crossed the Grand River and continued south through Riverside Park. Once I got to Ann Street in Grand Rapids I turned around and headed north with a 20 mph wind at my back. Now that was fun. I was barely pedaling and clipping along at 21 mph. In fact at one point I was matching the wind speed so closely that there was absolutely no wind noise. Usually when you ride there a buffeting noise in your ears from the wind. Even on a perfectly still day you'll hear wind noise as your ears cut through the air. But for a couple miles today it was quiet. I could see the trees moving around quite a bit but there was no noise. It was eerie and fun.

The Death Valley Ride to Cure Diabetes takes place next weekend. Good luck to all the riders, especially our team mates from West Michigan that will be out there.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The nitty gritty on my workout rides

I haven't been riding a lot since we got back from Lake Tahoe. It's a combination of our bikes lagging behind us by a week, the weather turning colder, and the sun setting a lot earlier. The last three rides I was using MapMyRide on my Droid to log my routes. It's very interesting to see my average speed and the amount of climbing on a given route. And since I know that you, as a reader of this blog, are interested in that as well, I have provided links to my last three rides. Okay, it's maybe not all that interesting, but it does save me from having to type out all the details of an individual route.

To see Tom's 10/2 ride - click here.
To see Tom's 9/29 ride - click here.
To see Tom's 9/25 ride - click here.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lake Tahoe by the numbers

The West Michigan team, Lake Tahoe contingent, poses before the tune-up ride.
As great as the JDRF Lake Tahoe ride was from a cycling perspective, it's important we don't lose site of the main reason we were out there. Our mission is to raise money to help find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. And raise money we did. Our little team from West Michigan was the number one fundraising team at the Lake Tahoe ride. We did that by manning the concession stands at VanAndel Arena, sending out a lot of emails and snail mail letters, having music festivals and golf outings and scrap metal drives. Someone may have even done a pop can drive. Ten cents at a time does add up after a while. Our own family group, Team Scheidel, raised quite a bit of money as well. We'd like to thank all of our sponsors and supporters, whether you gave a couple of dollars or a couple thousand, every donation is appreciated and every one gets us that much closer to finding a cure.

JDRF Lake Tahoe Ride to Cure Diabetes - by the numbers:
Team Scheidel - $12,500
The West Michigan Team - $60,500
Total for Lake Tahoe - over $500,000

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Best Ride Ever

The view of Lake Tahoe from the trail behind our hotel.
We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day to ride. The temperatures started in the mid 40's for our 6:30 a.m. start and by the time most of us finished around 3:30 p.m. the temp was in the mid-70's. The sky was dotted with soft, fluffy clouds. And the views were incredible. After the Emerald Bay rest stop we had a little more climbing to do and then had a descent all the way back down to lake level. Lots of us had downhill speeds of over 40 miles per hour. At least one of our team mates went over 50 MPH. After that exhilarating downhill it was a mostly flat ride until the second rest stop. The weather was warming up so we all started shedding our outer layers. The jackets, arm warmers and leg warmers of the starting line were removed, replaced by the warm sun and steady pace. Our team stayed together pretty well on the flat stretches and, just like at home, got split up on the hills.

Mary climbing toward the Emerald Bay switchbacks.

The lunch stop was glorious. It was right on a beach with views of the surrounding mountains. There were sandwiches, chips, fruit and snacks to eat. JDRF medical guy Brock was there giving out mini-massages. It was hard to leave, especially knowing that there was a significant climb right after lunch. We got most of our team together and headed up the hill.

King's Beach, the JDRF Tour de Tahoe lunch stop.

Team West Michigan reassembled and ready for the second half of the ride.

The second half of the ride is most notable for the climb up to Spooner Junction. It's a 1000 foot climb in about 5 miles. This is the highest point on the route, topping out at 7,044 feet. This was one of the more difficult parts of the ride but made us appreciate all the hills we had been climbing during our training. Everyone on the team did a great job getting up the hills. Actually, everyone on our team did a great job all day long. We could really see the benefits of spending the last several months training together and getting to know each other. When it was all over the JDRF Tour de Tahoe raised over $500,000 for diabetes research. Over $50,000 of that came from the West Michigan team. While the ride was great the main reason we are there is to raise money to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. After this weekend we a half a million steps closer to that cure.

Team Scheidel at the finish line. Safe, sound and smiling.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Wow! Wow! Wow!

Yesterday may just have been the most beautiful ride I've ever done. Lake Tahoe is absolutely  gorgeous and we rode around the whole thing. 73 miles and over 4,000 feet of elevation gain. Plus we started at 6,200 feet of elevation, so there were some sections where we were breathing pretty hard. But the weather was perfect and the views were incredible. This is one of those places that words and even pictures can't do justice to. Although I will be posting a bunch of photos in the next few days.
There were 18 of us from West Michigan who participated in this ride, out of 135 JDRF riders overall. There were 1,800 riders in total at the Tour de Tahoe. The JDRF group started first at 6:30 a.m. Then the throng came upon us. As we approached the first climb at about the 10 mile mark it was like picking your way through a grand tour peloton. There were cyclists everywhere, of varying abilities and etiquette. As we started climbing the switchbacks near Emerald Bay the crowd started to thin out. The first rest stop was at an overlook of Emerald Bay. This is known as the prettiest spot on the lake for good reason. You are surrounded by mountains with the lake and bay a thousand feet below you. Huge pine trees and boulders dot the landscape. It was already an epic ride on a great day and we were only about an hour into it.

More on the rest of the ride in the days to come.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Ride day: T minus 1

Great day so far in Lake Tahoe. We had an excellent breakfast at the Embassy Suites where we are staying. Then there was the rules of the road meeting followed by a short tune up ride. Lake Tahoe is beautiful and the tune up ride got me real excited for tomorrow's main event. 72 miles. Over 4,000 feet of vertical climb. And the elevation here is over 6,000 feet, so I am definitely feeling the effects of the thinner air. Luckily I have one more day to get acclimated.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Our next great adventure starts now

We are currently waiting at Gerald Ford Airport in Grand Rapids for leg one of our journey to Lake Tahoe for the JDRF ride. We go to Chicago first, then fly to San Francisco, then another plane to Reno, and finally a bus to Tahoe. If all goes as planned we should be in Tahoe by 3:30 PDT. Tonight we will meet up with all of our West Michigan teammates and get reacquainted with the larger JDRF ride community. Tomorrow morning we have a training ride to check out our bicycles and then an afternoon to explore the area. I'm thinking a ridge line hike above the lake. Then on Sunday we RIDE! The start will probably be cold, less than 45 degrees, with temperatures climbing into the high 70's. We'll have a celebration banquet on Sunday night and then head home on Monday. If you want to follow along with our adventure watch this blog or keep an eye on Facebook.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Leaving soon

This will be the eighth year I've participated in a JDRF ride. This week, the week right before we ride, is always a strange week. Our bikes have already been sent ahead. Our minds have gone on ahead as well, waiting for our bodies to follow in a few days. I would venture to say that for members of our team, this is a low productivity week at our various places of work. We are about to embark upon a great adventure. We have been training for months. We are putting the finishing touches on our fundraising. We are making packing lists and trying on our new JDRF ride jerseys. It is an exciting time. On Friday we fly to Lake Tahoe. On Sunday we ride, and then next Monday we travel back to Michigan. It is an intense weekend, made all the more meaningful by the cause we are there to support. If you have made a donation to JDRF this year, thank you very much. You will be in our thoughts next Sunday as we circumnavigate Lake Tahoe in the name of finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Leaving in one week

We leave for Lake Tahoe one week from today. Our road bikes left last Sunday so we have been riding our mountain bikes. We spent most of this week renting a vacation home with Mary's extended family up near Mackinaw City. We were staying at The Headlands, one of only six designated dark sky parks in the USA. Unfortunately it was close to a full moon the entire week so that washed out most of the stars, except for a spectacular moonset on Wednesday and Thursday early morning.
Mary and I spent a good deal of time riding our mountain bikes on the many trails in the park. We did about eight miles Wednesday and five more on Thursday. The trails were scenic although not real technical. Still it was great, low impact, vacation riding to help keep us tuned up for Tahoe.

The view of Lake Michigan from our Headlands house.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Two weeks and counting

Yesterday was our last team ride before the big JDRF ride in Lake Tahoe. It's 72 very hilly miles around Lake Tahoe, so in preparation, yesterday we rode 72 very hilly miles in West Michigan. It was a good ride with over 25 of our team mates participating in two loops that started on the shores of Barlow Lake. The first loop was just shy of 30 miles and featured the rolling hills of Parmalee Road. 

The team assembles before the start of  30 mile Loop 1.

The second loop was considerably longer. It clocked in at 42 miles, which gave those who did both loops the 72 we needed to match Tahoe. This loop started with a long flat stretch of Patterson Road going north. We may have even had a tail wind considering our group was riding along at 20-23 MPH.  Once we turned east and then south the existence on a southerly wind was confirmed as our speeds dropped by almost 10 miles an hour. We also hit a few more hills and our cohesive group got splintered all to heck.

Our pace-line jamming along at 23 MPH.

Eventually our team ended up in groups of 2s, 3s and 4s as we took various routes back to the cottage at the start/finish. Even though it was a difficult ride I felt good and the reward of swimming in the lake and a big cookout afterwards made it all worthwhile. When it was all done we packed up our bikes for the trip to Lake Tahoe. The bikes leave this week, we leave on September 7th. And on September 9th we conquer one more challenge on our rode to find a cure for diabetes.

The lead pack on the Paul Henry Trail, about 10 miles from the finish.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Busy ride weekend

Saturday was the One Day Ride Across Michigan. It's a 150 mile ride from Montague to Bay City. Since I was one of the organizers I didn't actually ride in it. Instead I drove the route to offer support and take photos. Then, after the ride, I hauled bikes from the finish line back to the start. We had over 260 people who participated and all the proceeds are being donated to JDRF.

On Sunday Mary and I rode from my parent's house north of Lowell back to our house in Rockford. A leisurely 16 miles. Tonight I went out by myself on the White Pine Trail and knocked out a quick 20 miles. Actually I wasn't by myself because I think the entire city of Rockford was out enjoying the trail tonight.

Got to get the miles in because we leave for Lake Tahoe two weeks from Friday.

Riders enjoying a beautiful day during ODRAM.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thank you to our donors

It takes a lot of people to make the Ride to Cure Diabetes a success. Sure Mary, Ian and I are riding the miles, but the real thanks needs to go to the people that are financially supporting our ride. We have a family goal of $12,000. While we are not quite there yet (hint, hint) we did want to thank those people and organizations that have already donated. Because of people like you we will find a cure for diabetes.

Aaron Brown
Chris Radford
Christine Davenport
TruVue, Inc.
Daniel Flynn
David Pasciak
Kim Summers
Leo Isaguirre
Mark Shirey
Mary Jelsma
Michelle Bassett
Mike Klosner
Thomas and Florence Scheidel
Paul Schab
Brian Mogg
Cheryl Cammenga
X-Cel Chemical Specialties Co.
Craig Gietzen
Derek Dykstra
Leo Isaguirre
Rick Wylie
The Scheidel Group
Ruth Haverkamp
Clay Grueber
Glenna Hennip
Henry Wieten
Kerry and Amy Bean
Mary Koziol
Michael Walenta
Stewart Morrisey
Tim Sundt
Christine Behrens
XS Energy Drinks
The Awesome Foundation

Sunday, August 12, 2012

One month to go

Four weeks from today we will be participating in the JDRF Lake Tahoe Ride to Cure Diabetes. We prepared for that by doing a fairly long team ride. 61 miles from Ada to Ionia and back. A few hill climbs and lots of rolling hills. We also had several straight flat stretches where our little peloton was keeping a consistent 18-20 mph pace. With today's ride I am now over 1000 miles for the season. Based on previous year's training numbers I am right on schedule. I've been riding about 1500 miles a year so I'm on pace to do that again. The JDRF rides are quite intense and require that much training to ensure a "safe, sound and smiling" finish.

Our coaches, MC and Derek, strategizing during the ride.
Paul Brown, our host for today's ride, waves to the camera
JD Stone and Mary Scheidel enjoying a beautiful day of riding

Monday, August 6, 2012

Longest ride of the year

Yesterday we had a JDRF West Michigan team ride. There were two loops that started from Long Like Park near Cedar Springs. The first loop (which you can see here thanks to Map My Ride) was 30 miles and we traveled in a clockwise direction. The second loop followed the same basic route but we rode a little farther south and east and we went counter-clockwise. That loop was 42 miles. So taken together we ended up with 72 miles yesterday. Coincidentally, the same distance as the the Lake Tahoe ride. Although we only had about half the climbing we'll have out there. Speaking of climbing, I finally got the chance to ride up Fisk Knob. It's a pretty large hill on Algoma Avenue. While riding north you gain about 100 feet of elevation in less than a mile. Not Tour Du France but not too shabby. Ian, of course, beat everyone to the top. Mary also made it without having to stop. Our bike fitness level is improving. I'm in my late summer training range of riding 60-100 miles each week. Which is where I need to be since we ride in Tahoe in a little less than 5 weeks.

Mary and Coach Mike after the descent from Fisk Knob.
The team makes an ice cream stop in Cedar Springs on loop 2.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

More than 10,000 miles

Tonight was the night. I rolled over 10,000 miles on my Cannondale SR500. This journey started late in 2005. I had been riding my old mountain bike as I prepared for my first JDRF ride in Death Valley. By August of that year it became obvious that riding 100 miles in the desert on a mountain bike, while not impossible, was not in the best interest of my overall health. So in early September I bought the Cannondale. I put about 300 miles on it before we got to Death Valley in mid-October. I completed my first century ride on that bike in Death Valley on my 48th birthday. Many more miles have rolled under those tires since.
Almost to 10,000 miles, along the White Pine Trail
Tonight's ride was kind of special. I rolled over 10,000 on the White Pine Trail. This has been my main training route over the last eight years, so it seems fitting that this milestone was achieved there. I also decided to wear my JDRF jersey from our first ride in 2005. Lots of history on tonight's ride. I rode up to Rockford and then home for a total of 15.5 miles. I hit my goal on the way home.
I rolled over the odometer on my way home from Rockford.
A funny thing happened when the odometer rolled over to 10,000. Apparently that number doesn't exist, too many digits for the little bike computer. So after 9999.9 the next number I saw was 0.0. That was a little disappointing but now I can resell the bike as a "low mileage" vehicle.

To paraphrase the Proclaimers "Oh, I will ride 10,000 miles. Then I will ride 10,000 more."

Monday, July 30, 2012

Riding and watching riding

It's been a great few days in the ol' world of bicycling. On Saturday Mary, Ian and I rode into downtown Grand Rapids to watch a little of the Grand Cycling Classic. We got there in time to see several of our ride team mates who rode in some of the earlier races. We also saw the start of the Pro race. The route was a 1.4 kilometer loop around the VanAndel Arena. The pros did 66 laps.
The pro racers take a corner tight.
When they had 59 laps to go we decided to do a little more riding of our own and rode out to Millenium Park. The city of Grand Rapids has really done a good job the past few years of designating bike lanes and adding multi-use paved trails. We rode back downtown and arrived in time to see the last 5 laps. We were right near the finish line and it was pretty exciting to watch the pros sprint to the finish. After the race ended we did on lap on the track and then headed home. We ended up with 37 miles in total.
Ian and Tom near the finish line of the pro race.
Today I did a quick loop riding past Rockford High School and Luton Park and then coming back along 9 Mile and finishing going down 7 Mile hill. It was just under 14 miles and gives me 9988 miles on my Cannondale. So the next time I ride I will roll over 10,000 miles.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Three ride recap

Saturday I decided to go for a short mountain bike ride. There is a nice trail near our house that follows the Rouge River. The trail connects with the White Pine trail head in Belmont and also passes by some DNR fish ponds. It's a short loop, under 2 miles, but it's a lot of fun to ride. And it's nice that I can just ride to it from the house. I rode a couple of loops in the morning just to break up the road cycling workout regime I've been on lately.

On Sunday there was a scheduled team ride out in the Ada/Lowell/Saranac area. Part of this route follows the Grand River so it is used as a time trial road for a couple of local bike teams. Our plan was to ride a little of that but also climb up out of the river valley and ride some hills. Because I had to work in the afternoon I wasn't able to get the full route in, but did manage almost 19 miles.

Yesterday I took off on the WPT and headed north all the way to 16 Mile Road. I'm been fighting some kind of bug since Sunday so the first part of the ride was more difficult than I was expecting. But once I turned around, and had the advantage of the slight downhill slope going south, I felt a lot better. That is until I got a flat about a mile from home. While I had all the stuff to change the flat I figured that I could walk home in about the same amount of time it would take to change the tire. That way I could change the tire in my garage instead of by the side of the road. So I hoofed home, bike being pushed instead of ridden. I ended up with 23 miles riding and 1 mile walking for yesterdays workout.

Lake Tahoe, site of our JDRF Ride this year. The ride circles the lake and features over 3,100 feet of climbing.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Moving closer to 10,000

I recently downloaded the Map My Ride app for my cell phone. This keeps track of all kinds of detail about my rides; distance, elevation, average speed, graphs comparing speed to elevation, calories burned, speed for each individual mile. In other words, way more information than a cyclist of my ability needs. One really nice feature is that I can link you, the reader, with my ride workout log here. That way if you're really interested in my 18 mile ride today you can get all the info. And since I don't have to give a turn by turn description of the ride I can instead wax poetic about cycling.

My bike
It has been with me for many miles
In 100 degree heat
and driving rainstorms
On mountain tops
and the lowest spot in the western hemisphere
On quick jaunts to the bank
and epic adventures for a worthy cause
My bike

Eh. The real news is that I am only 105 miles from rolling over 10,000 miles on my black and red Cannondale SR500. Should happen before the end of July.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bikes, bikes, everywhere

Saturday was a cycling day. Ian and I started the day by watching stage 13 of the Tour De France. It was an exciting finish along the Mediterranean Sea. After the stage finished we hopped on our own bikes and headed out for a ride. We rode a 22 mile loop that I've ridden many times, but this time we rode in the opposite direction. We started by taking the White Pine Trail through Rockford to 12 Mile Road. We turned west and rode to Algoma Road and then picked our way west and south until we got to the corner of Division and 10 Mile. Going south Division turns into 9 Mile and we took that to Pine Island Road. Then it was a left on Post and a nice downhill after we crossed over 131. We ended up at home after 90 minutes for an average speed of 15 mph on what I consider a moderately hilly course.

Another bike ride going on yesterday was the first JDRF ride of the season in Burlington, Vermont. Many of our West Michigan team mates are there coaching and working in the bike room. We also had a few friends participating in the ride. Congratulations to all the riders and thanks for your contribution to the fight against Type 1 diabetes.

Friday, July 6, 2012

I'm melting...

Temperatures in West Michigan have been pushing 100 degrees all week. As I write this it's 103 outside. I've ridden in Death Valley when it's been that hot and hotter. But there is a huge difference between 10 % humidity (DV) and 60% humidity (WM). However, since I am training to ride in the Lake Tahoe JDRF ride in a little under two months, I need to get out and train. So I went out early in the morning on the White Pine Trail twice this week when the temperature was only about 80.

Do you know who is out on the trail on a holiday morning? The serious athletes. I went out on July 4th and the trail was very busy, but it was all cyclists and runners. No strollers, no roller blades, no soccer moms stopping in the middle of the trail to talk. There were a few people walking their dogs, but they seemed to sense what was happening and they kept Fido to the outside of the trail and on a short leash. Even though there was a lot of trail activity the traffic flow was very smooth. People called out when they were passing. Slower folks moved to the outside of the trail to let the speedier ones by. And this was going from Belmont to Rockford which can be like running a gauntlet on some days.

Today I got up early and headed south on the trail, past the baseball stadium and into Riverside Park. There were very few people out this morning, plus that part of the trail doesn't get the same amount of traffic. Even though I went early I was happy for the shade. When I popped out into the sun things got very warm very quickly. I rode 17 miles today, which gives me 9,800 on my Cannondale. The march to 10,000 continues...

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Ramp it up

Three consecutive days of riding my bike, each ride longer than the last. On Friday I took a short ride, only 6 miles round trip, to my chiropractors office for a massage. After an hour long massage I was glad my ride home was so short because I was pretty sure every muscle in my body had been turned into a wet noodle. Saturday morning was a little bit longer ride. I did the northeastern loop, starting with the climb up 7 Mile hill. I ended up riding through Rockford and stopping briefly at the Farmer's Market. I overheard one farmer say that she had lost her entire cherry and peach crop because of the weird weather this spring. I ended up with 17 moderately hilly miles. Today was the big day. 43 miles on a JDRF team ride. We started at Townsend Park and headed north through Harvard and Podunk. We turned south and skirted Wabasis Lake and Gavin Lake. It was an absolutely gorgeous ride. Not a lot of traffic. Pleasant temperatures. Okay, it got hot toward the end of the ride, but I'm used to training for Death Valley. Plus there was almost no wind until the last five miles. There were 10 of us from the team who made the ride and we kept up a pretty good pace. As usual Ian was leading the pack. Mary was busy making cupcakes today for a wedding so she couldn't join us. 10,000 miles by mid-July is in my sights.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The continuing countdown to 10,000

I took a nice little ride tonight. I headed up Post Drive to Pine Island and then headed west on 9 Mile. I kept picking my way north until I ended up on 12 Mile and started east. I then  turned south on Summit to head home. I avoided the White Pine Trail because it's Tuesday night and the Blues Series takes over the area by the dam in Rockford, including the WPT. I listened for a moment then went home basically by way of Childsdale and it's big hill. In fact there were lots of hills on this little route. But I felt good and moved closer to my mid-summer goal. Let's do the numbers.
23 - miles I rode tonight
507 - miles I've ridden this year
9,7000 - miles I've ridden on my Cannondale
The mid-July roll over to 10,000 is looking good. My baby is gonna get all spiffed up for that occasion.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Two days on the White Pine Trail

White Pine Trail near Belmont
What that headline means is that I rode for two consecutive days on the WPT, not two days continuously. Yesterday I didn't fell like riding. It was 90 something degrees and windy. But I hadn't ridden yet this week and I knew I had to get some miles in. So at 8:00 p.m. I headed north on the WPT for about 17 miles. The temperature, while not pleasant, was tolerable. At that hour of the evening the entire trail was in the shade. One of the advantages of living on the western edge of the Eastern Time Zone is that in the middle of June it is still light enough to ride without lights on your bike at 9:30 p.m.

Tonight I rode with a couple of my JDRF team mates. Cindy and Lindsey started up the trail from Riverside Park in Grand Rapids at 3:30 this afternoon. I didn't get out until 5:00. They rode all the way to Sand Lake and stopped for a beverage. I caught up with them in Sand Lake just as they started heading back. So we all rode together back to Belmont, where I split off the head home. A 36 mile ride for me, about 50 for them. It was much  more pleasant riding tonight. Temperatures were in the 70's and the humidity was considerably lower. Plus having two other riders meant a mini-paceline and some pretty fast speeds on the way south. I would say however, that my next ride will not be on the WPT.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Beautiful morning to ride

I got out early this morning, before the thermometer pushed into the 90's, to do a "fun" loop. It's either the punishment loop or the roller coaster loop depending on your fitness level. I headed east on Cannonsburg, then went south on Pettis and came back north on Egypt Valley. There is a lot of climbing on that route. Normally it's an 18 mile loop, but it was feeling more roller coastery today so I extended the ride. I continued north on Egypt Valley to Belding Road then turned west and headed south on Blakely. Which means I got to ride down 7 Mile hill. Much more fun than riding up it like I did on Tuesday. I hit 40 MPH on the way down. 22 miles in all which gives me just shy of 80 for the week.

Rolled over 9,600 miles today. Less than 400 miles to 10,000 on my Cannondale. At this rate I should hit that in July.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A great week to ride

It has been a great week to ride. I went out three times this week for a total of 55 miles. That's about right for my training for this time of year. Sunday's ride was the long one, 38 miles to Sand lake and back. Tuesday and Thursday were each between 13 and 14 miles but very different routes. Tuesday I rode solo tackling 7 Mile hill at the start and then heading north up Blakely to 9 Mile, then Meyers Lake to Kies, then back to the east and Courtland, past Rockford High School and home. Thursday Ian and I did a sprint ride. We took the White Pine Trail to Comstock Park and back. Pretty much never stopped pedaling except for a couple of short downhills on the West River Drive trail overpass. We ended up with 14 miles in 49 minutes. Not blazing speed, but not bad.

The JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes is a fundraiser. Please help us raise funds by clicking on the Donate to... links on the left.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Summer cycling means ice cream

It was pretty hot today but that didn't stop Mary, Ian and me from going out for a ride. However, with temperatures approaching 90 degrees we decided to ride smart. We picked a route that had no hills and the opportunity for a refreshment stop at the midway point. We traveled north along the White Pine Trail to Sand Lake. It's just short of 19 miles from our house. Our average speed was under 14 miles an hour, probably due to the heat and the almost indiscernible rise in the trail when riding north. When we got to Sand Lake we stopped at Rosie's for ice cream flurries. That's a great treat for a hot day, even if we weren't riding. When we finished the ice cream we headed south. We now had the slight decline of the trail and a fired up Ian. He pulled almost the entire way home at speeds of 18 to 22 mph. It was great fun as we kept our three person pace line together the entire way. Ian is becoming a very strong rider. He also just celebrated his 17th birthday on Friday. I can see him hanging with the elite riders on our team in very short time.

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Perfect Day

The weather was absolutely perfect for a bike ride yesterday. Luckily there was a JDRF team ride scheduled. So Mary and I joined about 25 of our team mates for the afternoon. We left from Eldean Shipyard on the south shore of Lake Macatawa and headed south to what's known as the Hutchens Lake loop. At the New Richmond bridge the team split into two groups. The short route group turned around at that point for what was a 30 mile distance. Our group continued on riding past Fenn Valley Winery and the villages of Saugatuck and Douglas. We ended up with just a shade over 43 miles in two hours and 45 minutes. That's a pretty good pace for a big group of varying abilities.

Mary, Steve and Brenda in New Richmond, about 16 miles into the ride.
After the ride we had a cookout at the shipyard, sat in the hot tub and relaxed in the sun. It was the perfect way to wrap up a great afternoon.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Summer of the 10,000

My road bike is a Cannondale SR500. I purchased it from VeloCity Cycles in Holland as we were training for our first JDRF ride late in the summer of 2005. Currently I have put 9,432 miles on that bike. My plan is to hit 10,000 miles later this summer. Every one of those miles was ridden with the purpose of finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

Casual bike riders in 2005 (upper left) to a dedicated cycling family today.

I've ridden in seven JDRF Rides for the Cure. I've done several other century and metric century rides. I've ridden to the post office to mail a letter. I've ridden with family and friends. I've ridden in 110 degree heat and cold soaking rain. Every time I get on that bike one thought always comes to mind. I'm doing this for Jake and all the other people suffering with Type 1 diabetes. Thousands and thousands of miles with one goal, one purpose, in mind. Find a cure for this disease. Along the way I have met some amazing people. There is nothing like the feeling of being around people who are committed to a worthy cause. They make the journey easier and more enjoyable.

568 miles to go. I'll post when the Cannondale rolls over 10,000. Most likely there will be a party.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A good week

I'm starting to get into my riding groove. I did three rides this week. 16 miles on my own on Monday night. 16 miles with Mary on Friday night. And a 23 mile team ride today. That gives me 55 miles for the week. Not fantastic but pretty good a week before Memorial Day.

On Friday Mary and I rode on the White Pine Trail from our house down to Comstock Park and back. Our plan was to stop at Vitalie's and have a beverage in their open deck area, but that was full. So we came home and had a steak dinner and red wine on our own patio instead. Today we had a team ride that left from Johnson Park. The park is located right along the Grand River situated between southwest Grand Rapids and Grandville. We rode a very nice, rolling loop of 23 miles. A few folks, including Ian, took a little longer route and ended up with 28 miles. The temperature was over 90 degrees when we started, but we had some cloud cover and lots of trees to provide shade along the route. We also had three new team mates along who will be participating in their first JDRF ride this fall.

"10,000" Learn the significance later this week.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Perfect night for a ride

The temperature was just right, mid 70's with no wind. It was after 6:00 p.m., so the heading home traffic was home. Even though it was not a very restful weekend I had plenty of energy. So I chowed a Cliff bar instead of having dinner and jumped on my bike at 6:30 for an hour ride. I kind of did a reverse loop of my normal northeasterly route. I headed north on Kuttshill and turned left to climb the Childsdale hill. It's definitely an easier climb going that direction. I jumped on the White Pine Trail for about a mile and got off as soon as I got into downtown Rockford. When it's nice outside it's downright dangerous to ride a bicycle on the trail through there. I went across town and turned onto 11 Mile at Northland Drive and headed east. Took that all the way to Meyers Lake Road and turned south.Turned back west on Kies and then to Courtland and Kroes past Rockford High School. I ended up pulling into home with 16 miles under my tires. That gives me 200 for the season. I'm looking forward to many more miles in the coming months.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Second team ride of the season

The ride from Ada Park on Sunday was the flat route out to Saranac and back. There was an optional hill climb on the way back if one so desired. I did not desire. We had 27 people from the West Michigan Ride for a Cure team there. The three of us on Team Scheidel really spread out across the course. Ian and I took off with the lead pack. I stayed with them for a little over 8 miles before I got dropped. Ian kept the pace for about 25 miles. I guess we've reached that point where the son is faster then the dad. Of course, when it comes to my speed on a bicycle beating me is not that great of an accomplishment. The large group was spread out all over the route. Mary was between the middle and rear having a great time talking to team mate LTP through most of the ride. Because we all turned around at different points we all ended up with different mileage totals. Ian was our champ with 29 miles, I had 27 miles and Mary completed 25 miles.

Friday, April 27, 2012

First team ride of the season

The 2012 ride season is officially under way. We had our first team ride last Sunday and over 30 people showed up. It was cool, sunny and windy day in Grandville. Our hosts, Steve and Katie Clark, laid out a looping route with 12, 20 and 27 mile options. I went for the 27 mile. I was feeling pretty good until we turned into the wind for the second half of the ride. At about mile 22 I was wishing I had taken the 20 mile route. But I persevered and finished with a pretty decent time considering the wind and the fact that I am really not in mid-summer riding form yet. Our next West Michigan team ride is this Sunday, leaving from Ada Park. It might be the easy and flat route out to Saranac and back. Or we may take to the hills on Snow Avenue. Knowing our coaches I'm betting on hills.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Jake's Music Festival is a great sucess

Delilah DeWylde stands on her stand-up bass during Jake's Music Festival.
As you probably are aware the main point of this blog is not to tell you all about my prodigious cycling ability. (That would be a very short blog.) The true nature is to inform people about what we are doing in the fight against Type 1 diabetes and to raise money for the cause. Our family's major fundraiser is Jake's Music Festival, a benefit concert held at the Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids every April. This was our eighth year and we had 17 different acts performing on stage.The music ran the gamut from Celtic and rock-a-billy to jazz and hip hop. All the performers are local musicians who donate their time to be part of the cause. This year's festival raised over $5,000 for diabetes research. With that and some other early donations we are over halfway to our family goal of $12,000. Thanks to everyone who supported Jake's Music Festival.

If you weren't able to attend but would still like to donate please click on one of the "Donate to..." links on the left.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

First group ride

Last night was my first ride of the season with someone other than family members. Ian and I met up with JDRF team mates Cindy and Linda and Linda's friend Tom. The five of us started at Ada Park and rode to Saranac and back. This is a pretty straight, flat route. In fact, local bicycling clubs use this stretch of Grand River Avenue for time trials. We had a nice little paceline going and finished with an average speed of 16.5 MPH over 28.5 miles. Not blazing by any means, but a healthy pace for this early in the year.

After the ride we discussed how different this spring is from last year. It was very cold and wet during the spring of 2011. I think I only had about 200 miles in by June 1st. I have almost half that already and spring is only two days old. Although those of us who have lived in Michigan most of our lives realize that this warm spell will not last. Even though it has been in the 80's all week we could have snow next week and on into April. That's why it's important to get the miles in now while the sun is shining.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Riding in shorts in March in Michigan

Who'd have thunk it? The unseasonably warm weather in Michigan this year has given us an early start to the riding season. I have ridden in March in the past. But it's been while wearing lots of layers and cursing the wind, cold and gray skies. On Saturday the temperature flirted with 80 degrees. Mary and I went out for a ride in shorts and summer weight jerseys. No arm warmers. No jackets. No wool hats. It was glorious! We did a 22 mile loop to the north and east of our house that took us out near Meyers Lake. On the way back we rode the portion of the Cannon Trail that goes through a wetlands area. We heard some very noisy waterfowl at one point. It appeared to be "duck wrestling".

Saturday was my third ride of the week, giving me 60 miles for the season so far. A far cry better than last spring. In fact it isn't even spring until tomorrow. Another event on tomorrow's calendar is our son Jake's 21st birthday. He was originally diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was six years old. It's sometimes hard to believe that Jake and our family have been dealing with diabetes for 15 years. The reason we ride is the hope that we'll find a cure before another 15 years go by.

Friday, March 16, 2012

New bike shop in town

Some of the offerings at last night's Grand Opening.
Yesterday was the grand opening of Central District Cyclery, a new bike shop in downtown Grand Rapids. The shop is located at 52 Monroe Center, right in the heart of downtown. The shop carries bikes by 616 Bicycle Fabrication, Traitor Cycles and Linus Bikes. Along with bike sales and service they are also offering rental bikes. This will provide a great way for out of town guests to check out the Grand Rapids area without driving all over the place.

The shop is owned by Nate Phelps who is very involved in the mountain biking community. He has served as the president of both the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance and the Michigan Mountain Biking Association.I first met Nate a few years ago and I worked with him on producing a documentary about the Grand Rapids Bike Park. You can see a preview of the film, called Urban Dreams, by clicking here.

Congratulations to Nate and his crew and good luck with the new shop.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rolling with Team Scheidel

Mary, Ian and I went out for our traditional first ride of the season on the White Pine Trail yesterday. That beats our first time out last year by exactly a month. We also went farther this year, logging 20 miles on a beautiful first day of Daylight Savings Time afternoon. It's good to be getting an earlier start to the season since the West Michigan Team this year decided to make Lake Tahoe our main ride. That happens in September, four weeks earlier than Death Valley. As coach Mike Clark points out, that's one less month to train and one less month to fund raise.

When I started the ride yesterday the odometer on my bike computer read 9,195 miles. That means this season I will roll over ten thousand miles on my bike. Those miles include several century rides is Death Valley, numerous metric centuries in Michigan, Indiana and Vermont, and many, many training rides. I had about 300 miles on that bike when I did my first century ride in 2005 as part of the JDRF team. It's amazing to look at the number now and remember all the miles that went into getting there. This is going to be a great season and we are going to raise a whole bunch of money to help find a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

More funny bikes

I don't ride a lot in the winter. I do try and get on the indoor trainer (hate it) and I went out on my mountain bike on one particularly nice Saturday afternoon (48 and sunny). But generally I just wait till the weather warms up. Which means there isn't a lot to post on this blog. But to be fair to my regular readers I like to provide some interesting content during these slow, cold winter months. I found the following cartoon on Enjoy.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Benefits of a Bicycle

This graphic has been on several different blogs but I couldn't find the original source that deserves credit. Never the less, enjoy this homage to two wheeled transportation.