Saturday, October 25, 2014

JDRF Ride #10 is in the books

One week ago today the sun came up over the Funeral Mountains in Death Valley and 300 cyclists headed out on the Ride to Cure Diabetes. 38 of those riders were affiliated with our West Michigan team. This was the tenth year for our team. Our first rides were in Death Valley and Ashville, North Carolina in 2005. With a few exceptions we were a fairly novice group of cyclists. But the experiences of that first year propelled us to grow as a team and as riders. When all the numbers are counted up at the end of this year the West Michigan team will have raised over $1,600,000 for diabetes research.

The official West Michigan team photo
Ride day was beautiful. In the seven times I've been to Death Valley it was the best weather we've ever had. The morning started cool and temperatures stayed below 90 until mid-afternoon. Temps did top out at around 100 out near Jubilee Pass. There was very little wind and that was a godsend. Normally we fight a strong headwind for the second half of the ride, but not this year.

Ian at Badwater Basin. 282 feet below sea level.

Our plan as a family was to do the entire 100 miles, including the climb up to the top of Jubilee Pass. Ian and I started out riding with a faster group and Mary was riding with a fast group so we got separated early on. Our group arrived at the Badwater Basin break point in a very good time. Just as we were getting ready to pull out for the next leg of the ride another group of our team mates rolled in and told us that Mary had been in a crash at the 8 mile mark. We got a hold of one of the volunteers (Thanks very much to all the volunteers.) and radioed back to where the crash had been. It seems that a teenage girl rider had stopped on the course and then turned right in front of Mary on a downhill. Mary couldn't avoid her and crashed into the girl. Luckily they both only suffered minor scraps and bruises. Although Mary cut her lip and bled for quite awhile. After she was bandaged up she got back on her bike (which was fine) and continued the ride. Since I knew she was coming but didn't know how bad she was injured I decided to wait at Badwater and told Ian to ride on. I knew this would mean I probably wouldn't complete the entire 100 miles, but I've gotten the century in Death Valley before. Ian still hadn't finished a century here and this was his third try. He took off with our original group and I waited for a hour for Mary to show up at Badwater.

Mary leading the pace line after her crash.
 Mary rolled into the break point banged up but determined to continue the ride. It turns out that a couple miles after the crash she also had a flat tire. This put us way behind schedule. There was no way we could make to cut-off time to do the whole 100 miles, so we decided to go for the metric century, which is 100 kilometers, or about 63 miles. We had a group of about a dozen riders that were all going the same distance. In a ride like this, with many different ability levels, the group would break up into smaller groups and then we would reconstitute at the next break point.

Our group on the way from Badwater to the finish line.

Our head coach, Mike Clark, calls the last mile of the Death Valley ride "the best mile in cycling". You've ridden many, many miles through the desert. It's very hot, you're very tired. The sea level sign is at the turn to head back down to Furnace Creek Ranch and the finish line. However, you have to ride about a two mile climb before you get to that point. Once you're at the sign, you take a photo with your riding partners and then coast the last mile into the ranch and cross the finish line to the cheers of the staff, volunteers and fellow riders. This was my seventh time riding that "best mile" and I teared up again as we crossed the finish line.

Megan, Jeremy, Tom, Linda, Mary and Sarah at the sea level sign. One mile to go.

By "only" riding a metric century we finished in the mid afternoon instead of close to sunset. For the first time ever I had a chance to quickly run back to the room and shower before returning to the finish line to cheer on our team mates who had ridden longer distances. One of the West Michigan traditions is that we stay at the finish line and cheer for all the riders as they come across. It's always one of the more emotional moments of the weekend. One of those riders was our son Ian. He completed his first century in Death Valley. He got a century in Nashville last year and had one other on a non-JDRF ride. But this was his first one in Death Valley and a great accomplishment

Ian crossing the finish line of his first Death valley century ride.

As powerful as riding in Death Valley is, the true purpose is to raise money to fund research into Type One diabetes. In that respect this ride was a huge success. The Death Valley Ride for a Cure raised over $900,000. The JDRF ride program for 2014 is on track to raise over five million dollars. Thank you once again to everyone who donated to the cause. Great strides are being made and soon we WILL have a cure, thanks in part to the dedication of the people I had the honor of riding with last weekend.

Team Scheidel - safe, sound and smiling

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Thank you to our donors

We leave for Death Valley in 36 hours. To say we are all pretty excited would be an understatement. We've been training and fundraising since early spring and now the time of the ride is almost upon us. The best news is that Team Scheidel has exceeded our goal. As of tonight we are at $12,141. Thank you to everyone who has helped out with a donation to the cause. In no particular order here are the people who have helped us get one step closer to finding a cure for diabetes.

Tom and Mary wearing jerseys from sponsor XS Energy Drinks
Dan Ayers                   
Tom & Florence Scheidel                                 
David Pasciak                   
Allison Wheeler                   
Daniel Dillon                   
Christine Behrens                   
Mike Oele                   
Paula Briggs                   
Henry & Mari Wieten                   
John Despres                   
Kim Summers                   
Dennis & Kim Moline                                       
Pam Hanson                   
Tru Vue                    
Susanne Aldridge                                       
Patrick Scheidel                                       
Bill & Ginger Young                                       
Michelle Bassett                   
Pam Murray                   
Kim Summers                   
Anne Goetz                   
Linda Milanowski                                                        
Kim Monks                   
Catrina Chambers                   
Mary Koziol                   
Miriam Wyatt                   
Stacey Woock                   
Lake Michigan Credit Union                   
Anna Kirvan                   
Sally Story                   
Kimberely Markoff                   
Karen Sterling                   
Leo Isaguirre                   
Jacquelyn McCarty                   
Roy Dodman                   
Therese Kent                   
Michelle DeVries                   
William Totten                   
Debra Shaffer                   
Derek Dykstra                   
Stonecrest Productions                   
X- Cel Chemical Specialties                   
Chris Radford  

And all the people who made cash donations at Jake's Music Festival. We don't have your names but thanks for helping out anonymously.                

We roll at sun up on Saturday morning. Thanks again.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The stretch run

We are in the final countdown for this year's JDRF Death Valley ride. Our bikes leave tomorrow. We get on a plane to head for DV a week from tomorrow. A week from Saturday we'll be riding 105 miles in predicted 102 degree heat. After over 1,200 miles of training and almost $12,000 of fundraising it's almost time to ride. I am very excited.

My first JDRF ride was in Death Valley in 2005. It was also my first ever century ride and happened on my 48th birthday. October 18, 2014 will be the tenth annual ride I've done with JDRF. Death Valley seems like a great place to commemorate a decade of riding for the cure. There will be about 35 of us from West Michigan out in the desert. 10 years ago there were 14. We've gone from a confused little group of mostly casual riders to one of the top teams in all of JDRF. Since 2005 we've raised over 1.5 million dollars for diabetes research. That is exhilirating and humbling at the same time.

I'm going to try and get a little more riding in on my mountain bike before we go to Death Valley. I have done two rides on my road bike this week. Sunday was a 30 mile team ride in the Cannonsburg area. Quite cold and windy with over 1,100 feet of climbing, but at least it didn't rain. Yesterday I did a quick solo ride on the White Pine Trail south to the ballpark. It was one of the best average speeds I've had in awhile, 15.6 mph. Now that's not going to win many races, but I've been hovering in the 14 mph range for most of the summer, so it was good to see that better time. Of course, it might also be because of the new bibs and sunglasses I got from 3rd Coast Cycles.

10 days until ride number 10.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A 100 mile week

According to Map My Ride I rode 100 miles last week. That's right where I need to be at this point in my training. I rode three times last week. I already wrote about the first two rides in my most recent post. Saturday I took part in the Cog to the Fly ride. It's a 14 mile ride from Brewery Vivant (a red rooster for a logo) in Grand Rapids to Rockford Brewing (a fishing fly logo). I started by riding from our house to Brewery Vivant. Before the official ride start we had Vivant's version of the offical beer of the ride. About 150 cyclists on a great variety of bikes headed through downtown GR and up the White Pine Trail to Rockford. Once at their beer tent we had RBC's version of the official beer. I then rode home for a total of 31 miles and a very happy belly.

Today I took a quick after work ride of 17 miles. It's getting more difficult to get those types of rides in. The sun sets about 7:30 which only gives me about an hour and a half of cycling time. That means we need to do longer rides on the weekends. But I do have almost 1,200 miles in so far this year and only two and a half weeks until the Death Valley ride, so a few less riding opportunities shouldn't be a big deal.

Finally, we got some good news this week. We are almost at our team goal. Mary, Ian and I each have personal fundraising goals of $4,000. That makes $12,000 for the family. As of today I am at $4,009. Mary is at $3,759 and Ian is at$3,848. That means we only need $393 to make the goal. You can help us reach that by clicking on Mary or Ian's name on the left side of this page.

17 days until we ride in Death Valley.