Monday, October 17, 2016

Last Team Ride before Amelia Island

It was a little soggy yesterday. All right, it was down right wet outside. It rained hard most of the night and morning, but by 10:00 a.m. the rain seemed to have stopped. We were hosting the final team ride before the JDRF Amelia Island Ride at our house. We had a 11:00 roll out time and things were looking good. 15 people showed up and we decided to do the sorter loop of 34 miles. (There was also a 45 mile option that get nixed because of the weather.) This is a really fun loop. We head out over the Rouge River, do a few short climbs before heading up Post Drive and then taking 9 Mile Road out to the apple orchards in Alpine Township. All was going according to plan. There was a little spray coming off the wet pavement, but the temperature was in the mid-60's, so we were good. And then...

Riding in northwestern Kent County on a sloppy day.
Then it started to rain, lightly at first, but getting harder as we rode. When we got to Sparta, the halfway point in the ride, we were drenched. Since we were as far north and west as the route was taking us there was also no way to shorten it. We were in for the whole 34 wet miles. We worked our way east on 12 Mile Road and hooked up with the White Pine Trail to travel home. About three miles from the finish the rain let up (of course). As we got into the house people were peeling off layers of soaked riding clothes. It was like a big locker room for awhile as we all put on dry clothes and then ate many snacks. Being the last ride of the season we were tasked with emptying the team snack box.

I also rode on Saturday. Just a quick 22 mile solo ride south on the WPT to Grand Rapids and back. I was concerned that we might get rained out on Sunday and I wanted to be sure I got another ride in. Our bikes leave for Amelia Island on Thursday and our bodies leave the following Thursday. Then on October 29, we mount up with 750 other cyclists for the largest JDRF ride ever. I'm really looking forward to it.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Sometimes we ride just for fun

Sometimes we ride for fun, and sometimes we ride to train (which can also be fun).

Tom, Mary and LTP sporting fun glasses at the start of the Glow Ride.
On Friday night we had a strictly fun ride. Organized by the She Rides Her Own Way group, the Glow Ride left from Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids at sunset and traveled about 5 miles in a slow roll through the city. About 50 people participated and everyone had their bikes festooned with lights. When we've taken part in these types of rides in the past we've been frustrated by the pace. This time we brought our mountain bikes, but lights all over them, and just had a good time. Fellow JDRF rider Linda joined Mary and I and brought light-up glasses for us. Quite a few people commented on them. There was lots of friendly banter and some cool looking bicycle decorations. After the ride we had dinner at the Grand Rapids Brewing Company. A pretty fun night.

Mary leads a group on Sunday's team ride.
Sunday brought us a team training ride on a chilly, but sunny, morning. We left from a park along the Grand River near Lamont and rode to Spring Lake. It was a 35 mile, fairly flat, route. We stayed in a pace line most of the way and had an average speed of almost 15 miles an hour.  It was good to be out with the team, but it couldn't have been more different from the Friday night ride.

I've noticed that cyclists come in various levels of seriousness about the sport. On our JDRF team there are some very serious riders. Even those who are more into the social aspects of the team make sure to ride predictably, call out hazards and follow the rules of the road. On Friday's ride people were all over the place, some didn't wear helmets, and a few were jumping curbs and dodging in and out of the group. Not that there's anything wrong with this behavior, it's just such a radical difference from what we do as a team. I suppose that is pretty true of most sports. The people who are training for a competition or an event will be more focused than those who just participate for the fun of it.

I remember when I used to play a lot of basketball. We'd be having some good competitive games and then there would be a couple of guys who were just goofing around. This was very frustrating to me. I have always been quite competitive and if we were on the court the object was to win. I didn't like playing just "for the fun of it". As I've aged and gotten into cycling I've noticed that I'm not as competitive anymore. (Although my wife might argue that point.) I like riding with the team and doing things the "correct" way. But I don't need to race. I don't need to win. I don't need to lead. I enjoy just being a member of the team. I think that means I'm finally maturing.

19 days until the JDRF ride at Amelia Island.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

By the Numbers

1,000 - the number of miles Tom has ridden this year
36 - the number of miles Tom rode on Monday
12 - the number of miles Mary rode today
4,166 - dollars raised by Mary
834 - dollars needed by Mary to make her goal (click here to donate)
4,439 - dollars raised by Tom
561 - dollars needed by Tom to make his goal (click here to donate)
21 - days until we leave for Amelia Island
23 - days until our 12th JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes
1 - as in Type 1, the thing we are going to cure