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.