Saturday, September 21, 2019

Saratoga Spring Ride Report

Mary and I getting ready to start our 15th JDRF ride.
The ride was great. Getting to Saratoga Springs was anything but. I don't want to go into a lot of detail, but because of weather in Chicago we missed our connection and ended up spending over 10 hours in O'Hare airport. We finally checked into our hotel room shortly before midnight, so we lost our entire Thursday prep day.

On Friday morning we had the rules of the road meeting. There were almost 400 riders at this JDRF ride and 30 of them were from our Michigan team. We then did a quick shakedown ride to make sure the bikes were in good shape after their trip. In the afternoon a group of us went into the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains for a short hike. We hiked around Lake Bonita, a 2.5 mile jaunt. The scenery was beautiful. There was one spot where we stopped and sat on a big rock that sloped into the lake.

Saturday morning dawned cloudy with the threat of light rain. Mary and I decided on different goals for the day. I was going to try for the century (100 miles) and Mary wanted to try the metric century (100 kilometers). We ended up getting separated right after the start line. The group I was riding with was moving a little faster, so I would see Mary's group rolling into the break points as my group was rolling out. Our group kept adding riders, and as we left break point 3 (about 42 miles in) there were 10 of us. We also decided that we needed a team name. Because of things that happened Thursday (while I was in the airport) we became Team Grandpa Shots.

Team Grandpa Shots at Break Point 3
The route was very hilly. That shouldn't be a surprise since we were riding on the southern edge of the Adirondacks. There was over 4000 feet of climbing. Normally I'm a pretty decent climber, but in the second half of the ride I could hardly climb at all. I developed pain on the top of my calves on both legs. The entire Grandpa Shots team passed me on every climb. On the downhills I was doing great. In fact I was coasting past people who were already pedaling at the bottom of the hills. But then we'd start going up again and I would slow to a pace that barely kept me upright. I'm not sure what was happening, but I stayed with the team and moved closer to my goal.

We finished as a group about 10 hours after we started. Another century ride in the books. Mary had a finished her metric century two hours earlier and was waiting for me, already showered and changed. The Michigan team did very well. We had six people that set personal distance records. But most importantly, the ride raised $1.5 million for diabetes research.

This marked the 15th year and 15th ride for Mary and me. Thank you to everyone that has donated this year and for the past decade and a half. Because of you, we will one day soon be able to celebrate the end of Type 1 diabetes.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Last Ride Before Saratoga Springs

Yesterday afternoon I did a 25 mile solo ride on the White Pine Trail, traveling north to 17 Mile Road in Cedar Springs before turning around. Since my new Cannondale Topstone is on it's way to Saratoga Springs (as I will be tomorrow) I had to ride my 15 year old Cannondale SR500. It is amazing how quickly I have adapted to my new bike. I knew that my old bike was, well, old, but I didn't realize how much better the new bike is. On the first stop on the old bike I really noticed the lack of disc brakes. I had to work a lot harder to stop the bike. Speaking of working harder, the old bike just isn't as smooth as the new bike. 15 years and over 15,000 miles probably have a lot to do with that. I'm really looking forward to being on the new Cannondale this weekend.

That's right, this weekend is what we've been training for all year. We registered back in January, did a some perfunctionary indoor training in February and March, and then got outside in April. It's been a hit or miss year for riding because of the weather. I've only got 900 miles in so far and my goal was to be well over 1,000 before we headed out to New York. Oh well, I still feel pretty good and think I'll be able to ride the full century.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to support our ride this year. If you'd like to make a donation to help find a cure for Type 1 diabetes please click here.