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)

Friday, September 05, 2008

One day until Jake's Music Festival

The headline says it all. To see the full schedule of bands please go to www.jakesmusicfestival.blogspot.com. Doors open at 5:30, music from 6:00 to midnight. Tickets will be available at the door, but come early to get a good seat.

1 day until Jake's Music Festival

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Quick ride, quick post

Tom got out this morning for quick, but tough ride. 13 miles with several hills. Started east on 7 Mile, which means a very big up hill one mile into the ride. Then went south on Chauncey, east on Cannonsburg and then north on Egypt Valley, for more serious climbing. Finished off by riding west on Belding Road, south on Courtland Dr. and then west (and downhill) on 7 Mile. A nice quick loop before the rain started. Still waiting for that rain.

3 days until Jake's Music Festival

Monday, September 01, 2008

Happy Labor Day

We missed the team ride yesterday because we were out of town visiting our friends Elvin and Susan Hayes at their cottage. So this morning we did a real nice ride from Lake Paw Paw all the way to the Lake Michigan shore north of Benton Harbor and then back through Coloma. It was 33 miles in all on an absolutely beautiful day to be riding. No wind and only a few low rolling hills. We spent the rest of the day tubing on the lake, playing volleyball and enjoying food and drink. A great way to spend a holiday weekend.

5 days until Jake's Music Festival

Sunday, August 31, 2008

This week's rides

Not a lot of riding this week, but just enough to keep the legs loose. On Tuesday Tom rode south on the White Pine Trail to past Whitecaps Park and back, for a total of 14 miles. On Thursday we took Ian to soccer practice and did oecause ur usual Algoma area loop. This week was a bit different because Tom was having some flat tire issues and needed to stop at local Rockford bike shop Speed Merchants to get a new rim tape put on. He then rode north as Mary rode south and we met up on 12 Mile Road and continued our ride together.

This week's ride totals:
8/26 - 14 miles; WPT south (Tom)
8/28 - 22.8 miles; Algoma area loop
Total: 36.8 miles (Tom)
Total: 22.8 miles (Mary)

6 days until Jake's Music Festival

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Jake's Music Festival is coming soon

Our major fund-raiser to support the ride across Death Valley is coming up on September 6. That will be the 4th annual Jake's Music Festival at Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids. There will be great music including Mid-Life Crisis, Truckstop Cobras, the Waxies and Karisa Wilson among others. For a full line-up go to www.jakesmusicfestival.blogspot.com. You can also hear some of the music at www.myspace.com/jakesmusicfestival. The show starts at 6:00 p.m. and the fun doesn't stop until midnight. There's even going to be a silent auction. So come early and stay late, it's the most fun you can have in Grand Rapids for only $10.

Oh, and Tom rode 14 miles today.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The week that was

This was a very busy week so we didn't get a lot of riding in. We have another small home improvement project going on. Mary took Colleen back to college (Fire up Chips!). And our friend Roy is here from Seattle. We did get a couple of rides in and hope to do better once the boys are back in school and on a regular schedule next week.

This week's ride totals:
8/19 - 14 miles - Algoma loop (Mary)
8/19 - 22.6 miles - Algoma loop to home (Tom)
8/21 - 25.4 miles - WPT to Cedar Springs and back (Tom)

Total: 14 miles (Mary)
Total: 48 miles (Tom)

13 days until Jake's Music Festival

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Morning Ride

It was a beautiful Saturday morning, so before it got too hot Tom hopped on his Cannondale and headed for the White Pine Trail. He took the trail all the way to Cedar Springs and back for a 25.4 mile round trip. The best part is it took just over and hour and a half. At that pace he could finish the Death Valley ride in 7 hours. Except DV has more hills, the Jubilee Pass climb and horrible headwinds. Other than that, piece of cake.

14 days until Jake's Music Festival

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rides and flats

Our plan tonight was to take our son Ian to soccer practice and then ride from Algoma Township Park for an hour and half. Unfortunately Tom had his second flat in as many rides. (One on front of the Dog House saloon on the 5 x 55 last Saturday) And this one was only about 2 miles into the ride. We got the tube changes, but that really cut into our ride time. We put in about 14 miles. Then Tom rode home while Mary drove Ian home. That got Tom's mileage up to 22.6 miles.

18 days until Jake's Music Festival.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

What a great time

The first 5 x 55 Ride yesterday was a rousing success. We had over 30 riders, some from the West Michigan Ride Team, some friends from the Chicago and Detroit areas, and even some folks from Indiana. It was very cool to see almost three dozen spandex clad cyclists taking over the little town bars on a Saturday afternoon. The Musketawa Trail is thankfully straight and flat, because after the second stop it was obvious that this was going to be a long, potentially wobbly, day. We started the ride at noon and finished about 8:30 p.m. The large group broke into several smaller groups. Some rode faster than others and some stopped longer at the bars. Stop #3 in Muskegon, the Dog House Saloon, was our lunch break and all the riders were there together for at least part of the time. The Ravenna Pub (in Ravenna, of course) was Stop #2 and #4. Fenian's in Conklin, Stop #1 and #5, was probably the overall favorite. For pictures of the event click here. As fellow Death Valley rider Derek Dykstra said "It was way, way, WAY fun." And thanks to Jim "Elvin" Hayes of Chicago for helping to organize the event.

This week's ride totals:
8/12 - 16 miles; Algoma Park to Sparta and back
8/16 - 55 miles; The 5 x 55 Ride
Total: 71 miles (Tom and Mary)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Saturday Fun Ride

The 5 x 55 is a completely FLAT ride and only half the distance of a century. Plus there are adult beverages along the way. We will be assembling at the eastern end of the Musketawa Trail near Marne. Click here for a link to the trail web site and then click on the MAPS link. Assemble time is 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 16. Roll out is 12 noon. The sun sets at 8:46 p.m. so we want to start on time. Now you may be asking yourself "Eight and a half hours to do a 55 mile flat ride? What's up with that?" Well, on the way out we will be stopping at Fenian's Irish Pub in Conklin and the Ravenna Pub in Ravenna. The turnaround point is the Dog House Tavern in Muskegon. On the way back we hit the Ravenna Pub and Fenian's again. So bring some cash for food and drink. You may also want to bring a lock. Remember this is a self supported ride. No SAG, no massages, no women with hillbilly teeth. (There's a story there) But it will be big fun. Use the comment area to let us know if you plan on coming. This is NOT an official JDRF event, so feel free to pass the word to other friends and riders.
See you Saturday.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Skipping a week

We didn't do a Sunday night update last week because we were off the grid. After the team ride at Ann O'Conner's last week we left for vacation in North Carolina. We rented a cabin up in the Smokey Mountains. No internet access until we got to Asheville on Friday. There we hooked up with the portion of West Michigan Ride Team that was doing the Asheville ride. There were 24 riders and probably another dozen volunteers and supporters. West Michigan was well represented at the ride. We had the second best fundraiser, Nick Dunn; the top recruiter, Coach Mike Clark; and five people who completed their first century ride. It was a very cool weekend and we shot lots of photos and videos which will be posted soon.
So this update is actually for last week since this was a no-ride week for us. This week will be big though, with the 5x55 coming up on Saturday.

This week's ride totals:
7/29 - 15.6 miles; Algoma-14 Mile area
7/31 - 23.1 miles; Rockford-Sparta airport loop
8/3 - 45 miles; Pullman, Fennville, Saugatuck loop

Total: 83.7 miles (Tom & Mary)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A good week

We had two good rides this week with a great one scheduled for tomorrow. Tuesday we dropped Ian off at soccer practice at Algoma Field and rode from there. We headed west out 14 Mile Road and rode around the farmland in that area. A little over 15 miles in about an hour and 15 minutes.
Then on Thursday Cindy Aley from our team joined us for a 23 mile ride. We left from our house and rode north to Rockford, then west on 12 Mile out to Division. We went by the Sparta Airport and came home via 9 Mile and Post Road.
Tomorrow is one of the best team rides of the year. We leave early from Ann O'Conner's house in Pullman and then when we finish we have a big pool party with all the riders and their families. It promises to be a great finish to a great week.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thanks to our donors

We would like to take a moment to thank the many people who have already donated to our 4th annual Ride to Cure Diabetes.

Michelle Bassett
Chris Behrens
Jack Clark
Dawn Dempsey
Jim & Connie Hennip
Tim Jackson
Mary Ellen Koziol
Marc & Jane Longstreet
Dennis & Kim Moline
Janice Piereson
My-anne Muir
Mike & Jean Oele
Don & Janet Rutgers
Steve & Karen Salyer
George & Tina Schmutz
Chris & Collette Smiley
Henry & Mary Stoklas
Kim Summers
Hank & Mary Weiten

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday night update

We had a good team ride today hosted by Scott and Linda "It's all downhill from here" Poeder. We left from their house in the Caledonia area, traveled past the Steelcase pyramid, then through Middleville and Alaska. It was a 52 mile, very hilly loop on a beautiful, if challenging, day. We had 18 of our fellow team mates there. The half of our team that is riding in Asheville N.C. is just a bit less than 2 weeks from their ride. The Death Valley part of the team has almost 10 weeks of training left.

This week's ride totals:
7/22 - 17.1 miles, WPT north (Tom)
7/24 - 16.6 miles, Cannon Trail to Townsend Park and back (Tom)
7/27 - 52.6 miles, Caledonia, Middleville Alaska loop (Tom)
Total: 86.3 miles (Tom)

Thursday, July 24, 2008


This is a Tom only report, as Mary is in Branson, Missouri with her mother and sister-in-law.
Tonight I did a little 16 miles ride and the odometer on my bike went over 4000 miles. I got my Cannondale just before the 2005 Death Valley Ride. So in a couple months less than three years I've logged 4000 miles, 4 century rides, dozens of rides over 50 miles, and had one crash that left a scar on my butt and broke my camera. And to think I didn't get serious about cycling until I was in my late 40's.
Also, we want to thank XS Energy Drinks for agreeing to be a West Michigan Ride Team sponsor again this year.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Team photo

Here are 17 members of this year's West Michigan Ride Team sporting our new "Pancreas Pink" team jerseys. This was right before yesterday team ride in Montague.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Big weekend

Yesterday we helped out at the JDRF Ride Team booth at the Holland Hundred. Before our shift started we got in 31 miles in a constant rain. Sometimes drizzling, sometimes pouring, but always raining. We rode from Holland to Saugatuck and back. Then we were giving away free Popsicles and helping sell tickets to our post-ride party at New Holland Brewery. It went pretty well for a first time event.
Today we traveled to Montague for a team ride and did a great route designed by fellow team member Derek Dykstra. We started at Nicole Nellis' grand parents house just north of White Lake. We rode past Stony Lake and over to New Era before returning to a pool party and cook-out. It was a 46 mile ride with plenty of hills and even a little wind to keep things interesting.

This week's ride totals:
7/14 - 12 miles; WPT south (Tom)
7/19 - 31 miles; Holland to Saugatuck and back
7/20 - 46 miles; Montague, New Era loop

Total: 89 miles - Tom
Total: 77 miles - Mary

Friday, July 18, 2008

Some people just don't get it

This photo of this year's Tour De France is from Reuters News Service. Apparently this rider didn't get the memo about using a ROAD bike.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Night, BABY!!!!

It's time for another training update. We had a good week, especially Wednesday when we checked out the Muskegon end of the Musketawa Trail. The Ashville part of our team is doing their ride in just 5 weeks. The Death Valley contingent has a little more training time but we are doing pretty good miles already.

This week's ride totals:
7/8 - 20 miles; Rockford and west loop (Tom)
7/9 - 30.3 miles; Muskegon to Ravenna and back

Total: 50.3 miles - Tom
Total: 30.3 miles - Mary

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The 5 x 55 Ride is Coming Soon

This was an idea spawned by a ride on the Musketawa Trail with our friends Elvin and Susan Hayes last summer.
The 5 x 55 Ride takes place Saturday, August 16. We'll ride the Musketawa from Marne to Muskegon, that's the 55, as in miles. The 5 is the number of bar stops along the way. We'll be stopping for a cool beverage at Fenien's Irish Pub in Conklin, the Ravenna Pub, and the Dog House in Muskegon on the way out and then revisitng Ravenna Pub and Fenien's on the way back.
The Musketawa Trail is flat and crosses mostly country roads. The bars are small town quaint and the beer will be cold. We are expecting 20 to 50 riders for this self supported event. In other words, don't plan on a SAG wagon and bring your own cash for food and drinks.
This is a fun ride, not a fund-raiser. However, we are selling t-shirts at http://www.cafepress.com/rideteam and a portion of the proceeds go to support the West Michigan JDRF Ride Team.
So come on down and have a good time on what promises to be a very fun ride. Drop us an email if you'd like more info or plan on attending.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

It's not the heat, it's the humidity

Tom went out for a hard ride tonight. Took the hilly route from our house to downtown Rockford. Then rode the WPT to 13 mile. Took that west to Algoma and then south to 10 Mile and a jog to Herrington, which is a very twisty turny rolly kind of road. Ended up on Pine Island just north of Post Road and headed home. A little over 20 miles. When I wasn't working on hills I was trying to keep my speed in the 18 to 20 MPH range. Trying to get faster and stronger to battle the winds out in DV.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Happy (Summer) Holidays

What a great weekend. Beautiful weather, lots of get togethers and cook outs with friends and family, and even some bike riding. Today we were at our friends Susan and Elvin Hayes' cottage on Lake Paw Paw. We did an 18 mile loop, more or less around the lake.

This week's ride totals:
6/30 - 16.4 miles; Rockford via the WPT (Tom)
7/1 - 27.9 miles; Loop east and north of Rockford
7/6 - 18 miles; Lake Paw Paw loop

Total: 62.3 miles - Tom
Total: 45.9 miles - Mary

On a more somber note, one of our son Jake's friends, Jay Gephart, passed away this week. Jay graduated from Rockford High School this past May and on Wednesday night was struck by a car while riding his moped. Please remember Jay's family in your prayers. And say a prayer for all the cyclists who have been killed or injured while riding.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Back in the saddle

No ride report this past Sunday because there was no riding done last week. This week we are making up for it. Tom rode Monday and we both rode, along with teammates Cindy alley and Chris Radford, on Tuesday. The four of us did a nice loop from our house up past Our Lady of Consolation church, out 11 Mile and back down Ramsdell. almost 28 miles. We are hoping to get some more miles in over the long holiday weekend.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Checking in from Tampa

This post has nothing to do with bike riding. Tom is blogging from Tampa today. I'm in the middle of a week long event. It has been quite hot down here, in the 90's. It really makes you appreciate the lack of humidity in Death Valley. Yesterday it was 93 degrees with about 110% humidity. How I long for the dry air of the desert. Of course there are beaches here and that's a plus. Mary arrives tonight and we're going to spend some time on the beach during my down time. Next week it's back on the bike.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Busy Week

Lots going on at work this week as Tom is getting ready for two big events and a bunch of small ones. We got some riding in, just didn't have time to write about it. On Wednesday Tom took some extra clothes to Ian who was staying overnight at a friend's house. A little 10 mile ride that also saved some gas for the car. On Friday we took Jake and Ian up to Rockford for ice cream and rode out mountain bikes. That meant we could ride on the very cool Rouge River Trail, which isn't paved. Then today we did a team ride from Ada Park to Wabasis Lake and back. After riding our mountain bikes yesterday it felt like we were floating today. A good week this week, although next week Tom is out of town on one of those events so we probably won't get a lot of miles in.

This week's ride totals:
6/18 - 10.7 miles; home to Rockford and back (Tom)
6/20 - 10 miles; to Rockford for ice cream
6/21 - 44.2 miles; Ada Park to Wabasis lake loop

Total: 64.9 miles (Tom)
Total: 54.2 miles (Mary)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Tom spent the day around the house, spending time with the kids, and this evening we went for a ride south on the White Pine Trail, thru Riverside Park and ended up at the 6th Street dam in downtown Grand Rapids. Almost 22 miles for the round trip. On Thursday Tom rode the trail north from Rockford to Sand Lake and back. Nice weather this week so we got a fair amount of riding in.

This week's ride totals:
6/10 - 20.2 miles; WPT north to Rockford
6/12 - 27.2 miles; WPT Rockford to Sand Lake (Tom)
6/15 - 21.9 miles; WPT south to Grand Rapids

Total: 69.3 miles -Tom
Total: 42.1 miles - Mary

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tuesday Night Blues

No, we aren't sad. The headline refers to the fact that the Rogue River Blues Series started back up last night. We did this a few times last year. We ride from our house north on the White Pine Trail to Rockford, watch a little of the free concert right by the dam in downtown Rockford and then ride further north on the trail before heading home. We did a little over 20 miles yesterday.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A Wet Week

Friday was the boys last day of school, so Tom told them that he would buy ice cream at Rocky's in Rockford to anyone who rode their bike up there. Jake decided to hang out with friends but Ian and Colleen went on the ride. It was hot and sunny when they started. By the time they arrived in Rockford however the storm clouds had blown in and the rain had begun. Luckily the intrepid trio found a dry spot in the Rotary Pavilion. They enjoyed ice cream waiting for the rain to subside. About the time they finished the skies brightened and the rain slowed so they headed back down the White Pine Trail for home. That's when the real rain started. It came down in the proverbial buckets. Tom, Colleen and Ian were all drenched. But it was a warm rain and they laughed about being soaked all the way home. So they got in 12 miles, a little ice cream and a great memory. Quite a way to celebrate the last day of school.

This week's ride totals:
6/4 - 18 miles; WPT south to Riverside Park (Tom)
6/6 - 12 miles, WPT north to Rockford (Tom)

Total: 30 miles (Tom)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Mary, on yesterday's team ride, acting sassy!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A Great Team Ride

Today was a superlative day to ride. Not only did we have 28 of our fellow JDRF Ride Team members along for the fun, but the post ride bash was the now traditional Mike Clark Fajita Fiesta. After 44 miles the Mexican spread laid out by our coach tasted mighty good. MC lives in Holland and the ride originated from his place. We rode through Fennville, Douglas and Saugatuck on what is known as the Hutchins Lake Loop. It was big fun and we really feel like we are in mid-season form already and it's only June 1st.

This week's ride totals:
5/26 - 31.9 miles; Lake Paw Paw to Sister Lakes loop
5/29 - 10.2 miles; WPT south (Tom)
6/1 - 44 miles; Hutchins Lake Loop

Total: 86.1 miles - Tom
Total: 75.9 miles - Mary

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Memorial Day edition of the update

This week's update is late because we spent most of the weekend in Canton, Michigan at a soccer tournament with our son Ian. His team won the championship. Then we spent some time at our friends Susan and Elvin's cottage on Lake Paw Paw. We did get some riding in to go with all the driving and watching (soccer that is). On Sunday we rode on a little trail that follows I-275 in Novi. Despite having the highway on one side there was a nice natural area on our other side. So natural, in fact, that Tom was attacked by a red winged blackbird. It swooped down and pecked the top of his helmet, then made a second pass and went for his neck. It's amazing how fast you can ride when you need to get away from something. The entire ride was just short on 11 miles.
Today we rode with Susan and Elvin from their cottage to Sister Lakes and back. It was a beautiful morning for a ride and we put on 30 miles through the rolling countryside of Berrien county. However, since it's Monday, those miles will be reflected in next week's update.

This week's ride totals:
5/25 - 10.9 Miles; I-275 trail Novi

Total: 10.9 miles

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Five months to Death Valley

That's right, 5 months from today, October 18, we will be riding across Death Valley once again. That will make four years in a row. Speaking of riding we got a lot in this week. We hosted the team ride today so Tom went out earlier in the week to check out the route. On Tuesday he road the first half which went west out 7 Mile to Blakely to 9 Mile to Young to 12 Mile. Then on Friday he did the finishing half which was basically 12 Mile to North Division to 9 Mile to Baumhoff to 8 Mile back to Division back to 9 Mile and then home via Post Drive and Rouge River. There were a few other turns in there, but those were the major roads. Almost 40 miles. And just to mix up the training Tom took out his mountain bike on Thursday and did a little four mile loop through Rouge River Park. That makes for an over 80 mile week. A lot of miles for this early in the season.

This week's ride totals:
5/13 - 17.5 miles, western loop (Tom)
5/15 - 4 miles, mountain bike trail (Tom)
5/16 - 20 miles, eastern loop (Tom)
5/18 - 39.9 miles, described above

Total: 81.4 miles (Tom)
Total: 39.9 miles (Mary)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Why do we do this?

Yesterday was a reminder of why we put ourselves through the pain and suffering of riding 105 miles in a single day through the desert of Death Valley.

Tuesday morning started like any other school day, the boys get up, take showers, eat breakfast and are out the door for school by 7:00 a.m. Except yesterday Jake said he didn't feel well and then proceeded to throw up. He tested his blood sugar and was over 400 with small keytones. He had changed his site the night before so we wondered if he hit a bad spot. After giving himself some insulin with his pump he checked his blood sugar an hour later and it was 340. The numbers were going the right direction, so that meant his site was okay. After another hour he was down to 240. He kept monitoring his blood sugar and adjusting his insulin dose all morning and eventually got his blood sugar down to 120 around noon. He then finally went to school.

Luckily Jake doesn't have these episodes often. The frustrating thing is that there seemed to be no reason for this. His site was fine, he had given himself the proper amount of insulin, he wasn't sick. And then BAM, out of the blue, he goes really high. Even though he handled the situation well it served as another reminder of how tenuous the life of a diabetic can be. Do everything right and still have complications.

This is why we ride. To find a cure for diabetes. Things around home can go along "normally" for months, then all of a sudden we get a sobering dose of reality. Jake's life has been drastically affected by this disease, as have the lives of millions of others. So we will ride. We will fund raise. We will find a cure for diabetes.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A quick report

We didn't get a lot of riding in this week. Between cold weather and kid duties the riding took a back seat, which is hard to do on a bike. Tom got out yesterday and did a quick 15 miles on the White Pine Trail. Check out our team photo site for pictures from some of our recent team rides.

This week's ride totals:
5/10 - 15.5 miles; WPT north (Tom)

Total: 15.5 miles -Tom

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Another Sunday night...

Michigan weather in the spring is quite unpredictable. After a couple weeks of great weather in early April things turned ugly in the later part of the month. However, improvements are coming and today was a glorious day. The temperature was in the mid 60's with sunny skies and a light breeze. A great day for a ride. So ride we did, 34 miles in fact, with out West Michigan Ride Team. Today's training ride left from Townsend Park and traveled through Rockford and then past Wabasis Lake. We had a good group of 14 cyclists and just had a fantastic time. It's interesting how we are doing more mileage earlier in the year with each passing season. Four years ago a spring ride would have been 12 to 15 miles on a rail trail. Now they are 30 plus out on the road with hills and everything.

This weeks ride totals:
4/30 - 13.2 miles; WPT south (Tom)
5/4 - 34.4 miles; Townsend Park, Rockford, Wabasis Lake

Total: 47.6 miles - Tom
Total: 34.4 miles - Mary

Sunday, April 20, 2008

It's Sunday Night, do you know where your update is?

We had a great team ride today. 17 members of the West Michigan Ride Team started out at Johnson Park in Grand Rapids and completed a 27 mile loop. The route took us down Butterworth and out Fennesy toward Grand Valley. We crossed M-45 and then turned back east on Leonard and road thru the little village of Tallmadge. South on 8th Avenue and then east on O'Brien before hooking up with Butterworth again and returning to the park. It was very warm today. Quite summer like. It's been a strange spring in Michigan. We either have winter or summer weather. The good news is, the summer type weather lets us ride more.

This week's ride totals:
4/15 - 17 miles; White Pine Trail (WPT) north (Tom)
4/20 - 27.5 miles; Johnson Park loop

Total: 44.5 miles - Tom
Total: 27.5 miles - Mary

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spring is springing

The weather is getting better everyday. Tom went out for a ride at lunch yesterday and put in 17 miles. We have a team ride coming up this Sunday at Johnson Park. Friday night we will be manning an information table about the ride at the Wealthy Theatre. And planning is under way for Jake's Music Festival. This year's event is September 6, also at Wealthy Theatre. There are also new links on the left for donating to the ride and new pictures on the team photo site.
The season is cranking up. Come back often for more news.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Second Sunday Night Update of 2008

Today was our first team ride of the season. It was a beautiful day and we had a great turnout. We had 23 people who started at Ada Park for a flat out and back down Grand River Drive. That's a third of our team! It's even more impressive when you realize that a quarter of our team lives more than 120 miles away. (Chicago is Way-West Michigan.) It was great to put on the spandex and get out with all our riding buddies. Six months to Death Valley.

This weeks ride totals:
4/6- 23 miles; Ada Park, Grand River Dr.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The First Sunday Night Update of 2008

With apologies to our friends who ride all winter we finally got out for a ride this week. Well at least Tom did. It was sunny and 50 degrees on Friday so Tom pumped up the tires on his road bike and headed out for a ten mile lunchtime jaunt. Rode to Belmont and around the neighborhood, just to make sure the bike and body still worked. Both did.
We also officially signed up for this year's Death Valley Ride, which will take place on October 18. Stay tuned for more on our fourth excursion to the desert.

This week's ride totals:
3/14 - 10 miles; Belmont area (Tom)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Stats and Groveling

We started this blog in July of 2005 to track our training for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Ride for the Cure in Death Valley. Since then we have done three rides and this blog has been visited by over 3000 people. Those people came from 42 different countries, 47 states and Washington D.C. The question is why, after 3 1/2 years, have we had no visitors from Kentucky, Mississippi or Vermont? Those are all nice places and we're pretty sure they ride bicycles there. So this is the groveling part. In order to say we've had visitors from every state in the union we are humbly asking for hits from Kentucky, Mississippi and Vermont.
You see, it's February here in Michigan, which means we have 2 feet of snow on the ground and temperatures that flirt with the single digits. There is no riding, so we amuse ourselves with internet stats. Spring can not come to soon.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New stuff added to the blog

We made a couple of additions over on the left side of this page. First, we added a link to YouTube so you can view this year's ride video. Eventually the embedded video we have posted will rotate off the first screen and we wanted to make sure that people would still be able to watch it. So find the "Ride photos & videos" heading and click on "2007 Ride Video".
Second, we added a link to a web site that will help us raise money for the cause and get us all healthier at the same time. The Health Zone offers products like XS Energy Drink (team sponsor), protein bars, and supplements. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to the JDRF West Michigan Ride Team. So look for the "Stay Healthy" heading on the left and click on the Health Zone link.
As always, thanks for your continuing support of the cause.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Winter reflection

There are some of our fellow cyclists who brave the elements and ride in all types of weather. But currently it is 11 degrees and snowing here in West Michigan. Only the insane (and I mean that in a good way) would be out riding today. We are not completely fair weather cyclists. We've had our days of 50 degree temps and rain, not to mention 100 degrees and 40 MPH winds. But for the most part our winter exercise does not involve getting on a bike and heading outdoors. Mary walks and Tom plays basketball and works out at the gym. The whole indoor trainer thing is too much like work (and it's boring). Once the weather breaks we'll be back out there on the roadies getting ready for our fourth ride in Death Valley. Yes, we are in the process of forming the 2008 team and we have committed to ride in DV once again. Remember that "insane" comment from earlier in this post? Yeah, that's us.