Friday, July 26, 2013

Half century

I've been doing a lot of rides this summer in the 30 to 40 mile range. This was starting to concern me because I didn't want my body to get used to that particular distance. Especially since I'm planning on riding 100 miles in Nashville in September. So I was looking to do a 50 mile ride this weekend. Today I got my chance.

My friend John Despres took up road cycling about a year ago. He has a friend in Chicago who was going to do her first half century today. John was going to give her virtual support by riding 50 miles in Michigan at the same time she was riding 50 miles in Illinois. John invited me to go along. Unfortunately it was raining at our start time. Ever since the JDRF Killington ride in 2009 I am very reticent to start a ride in the rain. Probably the memory of almost getting hypothermia has something to do with that. So John started without me and I caught up with him about an hour later on the White Pine Trail. I rode 10 miles before I saw John and then 20 miles with him. That left me 20 miles to ride on my own to get the half century. John finished his ride in Riverside Park and I continued on to downtown Grand Rapids. From there I rode out to see Mary at Connie's Cakes. She gave me a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. I then rode to East Grand Rapids and around Reeds Lake before heading for home. I pulled in with 50 miles. I made my goal and virtually supported a new rider in Illinois. And the best part is it never rained on us.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Riding not writing

Even though I haven't written a lot lately I have been getting some miles in. Last week I rode 95 miles. 40 on the Sunday team ride, 15 on my own in the middle of the week, and another 40 at the Holland Hundred on Saturday. It was a great day at the Holland Hundred. The weather was a bit cooler and we had almost 30 JDRF team mates taking to the road. I would have loved to do the full century, but we had a wedding to attend so I had to cut the route short. Ian and I rode in a double pace line with about a dozen other cyclists, most from our team. We were buzzing right along at an 18 -20 mph clip. We got to the pancake breakfast after 30 miles. Breakfast was good and afterwards we said goodbye to most of our team mates who continued on the 100 mile route. We took the short route back to the starting line, which was only 10 more miles.

Most of the JDRF contingent before the start of the Holland Hundred
Tonight Mary and I went out for a short 17 mile ride. I'm not saying the Holland Hundred is flat, but we had almost as much climbing in our ride tonight as we did on the 40 mile ride Saturday. And this was a relatively flat route for this area. The hill work is good though, because we'll be doing a lot of that in Nasville this September.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ride those hills

Sunday was a JDRF team ride. It was a hot day and a hilly route. We started near the corner of Pettis and Knapp on the northeast side of the greater Grand Rapids area. This is close to our house and well known for the many, many hills. We started with a 30 mile loop that featured over 800 feet of climbing. The second loop was also 30 miles and basically covered most of the same roads (Pettis, Egypt Valley, Honey Creek) as the first loop but in the opposite direction. We had a family party to attend so we had to cut the second loop short. When the team turned left, we turned right and cut the 30 miles down to 10. Taken together that's 40 miles and almost 1,200 feet of climbing. Our coaches informed us that they weren't trying to be evil, they were just getting us ready for the big JDRF ride in Nashville in September. That one is 100 miles with over 4,000 feet of climbing. Personally I don't mind the hills, but there was a lot of suffering going on this past Sunday.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Busy, busy, busy

July has been a crazy month so far. Lots of traveling along with a little bit of riding thrown in. I figured the best way to break it down was with a list.

July 4 - We we're at our friends Susan and Elvin Hayes' cottage on Lake Paw Paw. Mary, Ian and I rode from there to South Haven. Colleen had rented a beach house there with a bunch of her college friends. We briefly visited her and then rode back to the cottage. The ride was a little over 33 miles long.

July 5 - I rode with Susan and Elvin. We looped past three different lakes on a 17 mile morning ride. A pretty relaxed pace since we had also been playing lots of volleyball at the cottage.

 Mary and I took a couple of pedicab rides while in San Diego. A different type of biking.

July 9 - I was at a conference in San Diego and Mary went along. We rented bikes from the hotel and rode 7  miles along the harbor. It was very flat and very crowded. The bike route and the pedestrian walking route are the same. So it was a slow ride but very beautiful. The weird part was the coaster brakes on the bike. It's been decades since I rode a bike with coaster brakes. I was sure I was going to crash. How embarrassing would that be to crash on a one speed, fat seat, tourist bike.

July 12 - Back home finally and Ian and I got out for a fast, hilly ride from our house. We went out along Cannonsburg Road to Townsend Park. From the park we jumped on the Cannon Trail. It's a pretty trail but difficult to ride. With all the twists and turns, bridges and small hills, it was impossible to maintain a consistent speed. We came home via Blakely and 7 Mile hill which was a very fast finish to our almost 18 mile ride.