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.