Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Making a change

After four years of riding in Death Valley as part of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Ride for a Cure we've decided to make a change. Next year we will be participating in a new JDRF ride in Killington, Vermont. (What is it with these morbid place names?) Because of that, we can't really have our ride blog called "Death Valley Ride", so we started a new blog called "More Than 100 Miles..."

"More Than 100 Miles..." has multiple meanings. First, these events are much more than just 100 miles of bicycle riding. They are a major fund raiser for JDRF. Our West Michigan team raised over a quarter of a million bucks last year. Plus there is the emotional component of spending a whole year fundraising, training, and getting to know some very motivated people. Not to mention the kids and adults with diabetes who are constantly in our thoughts.

Also, it's the name of a documentary, "More than 100 Miles: Riding to Cure Diabetes" we are currently producing. Our plan is to release it early in 2009 and enter it in several film festivals.

If you followed this blog, you'll notice that the new one is a little different. Tom will be the main writer with Mary adding occasional, attributed commentary. We are going to drop the weekly mileage updates in favor of more thorough descriptions of the ride season activities. We'll also keep you up to date on the documentary of the same name. Thanks to everyone who followed us the last few years and we hope you'll join us on our new site.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Party time

The ride season comes to it's official close this Saturday night when we have our end of the year party at Rosewood Pointe in Holland. Actually it's the end of the 2008 year but the start of the 2009 season. As well as celebrating a very successful year we'll be discussing the plan for next season. We have even invited some new folks interested in riding with us in '09. Right now the guest list is over 100 people so it should be a great time. Watch this space because there is supposed to be an announcement at the party about how much money our ride team raised for diabetes research. That is exciting.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

This week's totals

So we had a few nice days this week, but lots of work, so Tom was only able to get out for a quick ride late Thursday afternoon. It was just a buzz up the White Pine Trail to Rockford and back, but it felt good to be on the bike again. It was the first ride since Death Valley. Today it is snowing. Some of our ride team members are riding today. We wish them well.

This week's ride totals:
11/6 - 12 miles; WPT north to Rockford
Total: 12 miles (Tom)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thanks to our donors

We have many people to thank for helping us out financially this year. From the sponsors of Jake's Music Festival to on-line donors to people who bought XS Energy Drinks. Thanks to all of you we raised over $8,200 to fund diabetes research.

Michelle Bassett
Chris Behrens
Dave & Rebecca Behrens
Jack Clark
Judy Clowney
Tim & Colleen Colleran
The Corner Bar
Jeff & Marcia DeBoer
Dawn Dempsey
Roy Dodman & Denise Marinacci
Derek Dykstra
Emily Fisher
The Garchow Family
Craig Geitzen
Reg & Ann Goetz
Julie Gross
Jim & Connie Hennip
June & Karen Hennip
Larry & Amy Hewitt/XL Chemical
Tim Holtkamp
Tim Jackson
Karen Kleinheksel
Mary Ellen Koziol
Marc & Jane Longstreet
Brian & Darolyn Mogg
Dennis & Kim Moline
The Morgan Family
My-Anne Muir
Mike & Jean Oele
Dave & Sharon Pasciak
Janice Pierson
Joe & Mary Powell
Elita Rice-Lenters
Don & Janet Rutgers
Steve & Karen Sayler
Tom & Florence Scheidel
The Schmutz Family
David & Jennifer Shane
Mike Silverstein
Henry & Mary Stoklas
Kim Summers
Michael & Nancy Walenta
West Side Beer Distributing
Hank & Mari Wieten
Scott & Melanie Williamson
Bill & Ginger Young

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ride photos

The photos of the ride have been posted. Click here to see the Ride Day photos. Click here to see the photos from the training ride, hike and dinner.

Here we are at Zabriski Point on the training ride. 14 miles on Friday to tune up our bikes, legs and butts.

On top of Jubilee Pass after a six mile climb. We rode to the bottom of the climb together, but then Tom pulled away. We rode the second half of the ride with different groups, but both finished the full 105 miles.

The West Michigan Ride Team - Death Valley Group. 40 riders out of 300 total. Without a doubt the most inspirational team in the desert.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Home again

We got home about 11:00 last night after 3 days in Death Valley and 2 days in Las Vegas. The Death Valley Ride was fantastic. The weather was hot, over 95 degrees with about 10 % humidity. But the good news is there was very little wind and even some cloud cover mid-afternoon. We both finished the entire 105 miles. In fact most of our West Michigan team hit or exceeded their goals on the ride. We'll be posting more thoughts and photos later on, once all the brain function has returned. Right now we'll just post the weekly update.

This week's ride totals:
10/17 - 14 miles; warm up ride to Golden Canyon and Zabriske Point
10/18 - 105 miles; Death Valley Ride
Total: 119 miles

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Over on the team blog http://jdrfwestmichiganride.blogspot.com/ there is lots of excitement building over the upcoming ride in Death Valley. For some people this will be their first ride in the desert. For others it will be our 4th go round. For everyone it will be a life altering experience. Participating in the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes does give one a feeling of accomplishment. There's also the concept of "If I can do this, I can do anything." And most importantly, the knowledge that with dedicated people like this on our side we will definitely find a cure for diabetes.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Counting down

We are almost to the point of counting the hours until we leave for Death Valley. At 7:00 a.m. on Thursday most of our 40 person team will be boarding a jet at Gerald Ford Airport and heading for Las Vegas. One plane change, a bus ride and a "supply" stop later, we'll be in Death Valley. Then next Saturday we do the ride. 105 miles in the desert. Six months of training and fundraising is down to the final hours.
This has been a beautiful weekend in west Michigan so we took advantage and hopped on the mountain bikes. Our son Ian even went with us. We rode the Rouge River Nature Trail which is a little dirt path between our house and the White Pine Trail. A really fun jaunt on the mountain bike for a grand total of 5 miles. We'll be doing considerably more than that soon.

This week's Ride Totals:
10/12 - 5 miles; Rouge River Nature Trail

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Photos from the final team ride of '08

Mary climbing to the top of one of several hills we rode on Sunday.

Team mate Maggie cresting another hill.

The team taking a short break somewhere along the 42 mile route.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The last ride

Today marked the last team ride of the 2008 season. In a little less than two weeks 40 of us will be in Death Valley riding for the cure. Today's ride was a 42 mile loop through some very familiar territory. We started by Lake Bella Vista headed south on Blakely and then Eqypt Valley, east on Vergennes and then north on Parnell. We finished up by going past Wabasis Lake and then working our way back over to Bella Vista. It was quite cool in the morning, but it was sunny and not windy so all in all a great day. The team is more than ready.
Also, we have achieved our fundraising goal for this year. Mary and Tom have each raised over $4000. However additional donations are still welcome as every dollar we earn goes directly to help fund finding a cure, Thanks to everyone who supported us this year and stay tuned to the blog for more updates.

This week's ride totals:
10/5 - 42 miles; big loop described above
Total: 42 miles

Friday, October 03, 2008

Corner Bar Fundraiser on October 6

On Monday night, October 6, the place to be is The Corner Bar in Rockford, Michigan. It's our final fund raiser of the 2008 ride season. The Corner is donating 15% of all food receipts between 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. that day. This will be a great chance to talk to members of the bike team who are just itching to get out to Death Valley. Our bikes leave on Tuesday and we fly out the following Thursday with the ride happening on October 18th.
So come on up to Rockford. Have a hot dog or a wet burrito and send the team off. You can print and bring the coupon below or we'll have some at the restaurant. See you Monday.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Apple Cider Century Photos

Tom, Susan, Chan, Mary, Eddie and Elvin gettign ready to start the ACC '08. Thanks for taking the picture, Clark.

Eddie, Chan, Clark and Elvin at the first rest stop. Check out the Sparty jerseys.

Mary completing 103 miles in the 2008 ACC.

Tom after his 5th century ride, Mary after her 4th.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The best week ever

year in a row we completed the full 100 miles. That means Tom has now done 5 century rides and Mary has done 4. In three weeks we'll each add one to that total when we complete the Today was a great day to ride. Cool. Sunny. Only light winds. So we went down to Three Oaks, Michigan and participated in our fourth consecutive Apple Cider Century ride. And for the 2ndJDRF ride in Death Valley. The only disappointing part of the ride today was that we didn't see any of our fellow JDRF riders. Of course with 5000 people it is possible they were there and we missed them. We did ride with our friends from Chicago, Susan and Elvin and their son Eddie. Also Chan from Indiana and Clark from the Detroit area. We were quite a far flung group that got together for a fun ride today. Actually Susan, Elvin and Clark have ridden with us every year in the ACC. We'll have some photos up later in the week.

This week's ride totals:
9/23 - 26.6 miles; WPT, Indian Lakes, Edgerton, Post loop (Tom)
9/25 - 15 miles; WPT north
9/28 - 103 miles; Apple Cider Century
Total: 144.6 miles (Tom)
Total: 118 miles (Mary)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

More miles

15 more miles went under the tires tonight. It's getting more difficult to get evening rides in now that the sun is setting around 7:30. We did pick up some nifty rear tail lights from Ted over at VeloCity, so now the cars can see us better when it gets dusky out. This Sunday we will be riding in the Apple Cider Century with both our 5 x 55 friends and some of the WM Ride Team.
We leave for Death Valley three weeks from today.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Today's loop

It was a beautiful day today so Tom got out on his bike this afternoon for what was going to be a short ride. 26 and a half miles later the short ride ended. I went north on the WPT to Indian Lakes Road, turned east and then followed Edgerton south. A couple of side streets connected me with Pine Island and then Post Drive for the buzz home. A nice loop on a great day.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Miles to go before I sleep...

Tom got in 4 rides this week, trying to make up for the wet weather last week. We will actually be riding in Death Valley four weeks from yesterday. Thanks to everyone who has donated to our effort so far. We'll be running another list of contributors later this week. If you'd still like to donate, you still can. The easiest way is to click one of the "Donate" links to the left.

This week's ride totals:
9/17 - 36.5 miles; WPT north to Sand Lake and back (Tom)
9/18 - 17 miles; Seven Mile hill to Cannon Trail and back
9/19 - 11.8 miles; running errands on the bike (Tom)
9/21 - 15.6 miles; Courtland, Keis, Blakely, 7 Mile loop (Tom)
Total: 80.9 miles (Tom)
Total: 17 miles (Mary)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Death Valley Memory

One month from today the West Michigan Ride Team will once again be on top of Zabriski Point as in the above photo from the 2007 ride. October 17 is our training ride day. It's a 10 mile, get reacquainted with your bike, ride from the Furnace Creek Ranch to Zabriski Point and back. The 5 miles there are all up hill, but that makes the 5 miles back all down hill. Then we relax, carb up and get a good nights sleep so we can be ready for the sunrise start on October 18.
In other news, Tom rode the White Pine Trail to Sand Lake and back today, a 36.5 mile round trip.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A rainy week

I think we received more ran this week than in all of July and August combined. The wetness really limited our riding, we only got out once. However the weather people are predicting sunshine for this week so we'll hit it hard.

This week's ride totals:
9/11 - 24.8 miles, Rockford to GR and back
Total: 24.8 miles

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nice ride, except for the flat

We took the White Pine Trail from our house south past the ball park. We then rode the trail thru Riverside Park and picked our way past the construction on Monroe to end up in downtown Grand Rapids. I guess we decided to do a little urban riding tonight. We came home via the west side. It should have been a quick trip back with the nice southerly breeze. But Tom ran over something and got a cut in his brand new red front tire and a punctured tube. Bummer. The good news is that it was almost a 25 mile ride.

Also, photos of Jake's Music Festival have been posted. Click here to go there.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

What a show!

Jake's Music Festival was great last night. We had more people in attendance, more bands and made more money than any other year. Thanks to everyone who helped out or attended the show. The final numbers aren't in yet, but it looks like we'll clear between $2,500 and $3,000. Special thanks to our sponsors Frames Unlimited and Magic Hat #9 Beer. We'll be posting the photos soon.

There was also some riding done today. Tom rode the back roads from our house going north and west to the corner of 13 Mile and Alpine. He then headed back east and south on different roads to return home for a 26.5 mile loop.

This week's ride totals:
9/1 - 33 miles, Lake Paw Paw to Benton Harbor and back
9/3 -13 miles, Rockford east loop (Tom)
9/7 - 26.5 miles, home to Alpine & 13 Mile loop (Tom)
Total: 72.5 miles (Tom)
Total: 33 miles (Mary)