Sunday, June 10, 2012

2012 Tour de Cure Post-Ride Report

There is no doubt about it. 100 miles on roads - even when the temperature is in the mid-90's - is way better than 100 miles in the driveway. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of photos from yesterday's ride save for the one above at the starting line. I took that one right about 7:00 a.m. just before the pre-event announcements. As you can tell, we had an absolutely perfect day for a ride. And the ADA Michigan folks running the event put together a fantastic group of volunteers who made this, once again, one of the best supported group rides I've ever done. 

This is my fifth year doing the Michigan Tour de Cure. All told, we've now raised over $10,000 to stop diabetes. I say "we" because I'm just the one jumping up and down all over social media, with increasingly crazy stunts, to draw attention to the cause. I'm also the one on the bike, but that's the fun part. The credit goes to all the folks who've supported the campaigns over the last five years. Many of you give every year. Many say it is because you feel inspired yourselves and an equal number say you donate on behalf of a loved one or friend. I am honored by your contributions. I'll see your inspiration and raise you by a factor of 10. I started riding to change my own life. Today I am thrilled to ride with the idea that it just might help to change others' lives too. 

About the Ride
Last week we heard that Radio-Shack Nissan ProTour riders Matthew Busche (that's Boo-Shay) and Ben King would be leading out the 100 mile route. Nissan is one of the co-sponsors of the Tour de Cure, and as we are near Farmington Hills where Nissan has its North American Engineering headquarters, the Nissan brass arrange for celebrity guests. Last year's event was off the charts. Truly, a one-of-a-kind fan experience. This year would be a little bit different, because I knew the two former U.S. Road Race Champions would not be noodling around. Indeed, as we rolled out and the lead group formed, we settled into a double paceline behind the Nissan Leaf pace vehicle and maintained 22-23 mph or so through the first 25 miles. As we blew by the first rest stop at mile 12, we heard that the pros would only be making one stop. That's when I decided that I'd be pursuing a different experience. 

As we approached stop 2 at 25 miles, I peeled off to tweet progress, fill a bottle, and eat a bit. I've long since learned that eating more than you think you need to be eating on a long hot day is the key to feeling good throughout. Drinking too, of course, but I personally find it easier and more pleasant to drink than to be constantly fueling. I cannot imagine how old it must get to be shoving food down the gullet for a big three-week stage race like a grand tour. My face hurts just thinking about it. I stopped at all the stops - 6  in all - and still maintained a pace just above 20 mph on road. A good day, all in all. 

So after mile 25, I said goodbye to the view of the RadioShack pro's freakishly narrow backsides, and made a day of riding with other folks who I recognized from previous Tours de Cure. The 100 mile route goes through two large state recreation areas - Waterloo and Pinckeney - and the infamous little village of Hell, Michigan, where there is a rest stop at Hell's Handbasket. The volunteers here tend to have the best sense of humor, as you might surmise. They ring the cowbell as you roll up and say "Welcome to Hell!" The stop is at mile 79, and yesterday it was 89 degrees on its way to 95 at the finish. So Hell was living up to its reputation. Although it was quite a bit harder to get there than I've been led to believe.

I felt great all day, climbed well through the rolling hills, and rolled in to the finish at 1:54 p.m. after rolling out at 7:17. Five hours, 23 minutes. I'd say 20 minutes or so of that time was in rest stops, maybe a bit more because my friend Steve met me at the halfway point in Grass Lake and we chatted a bit longer than I otherwise would have lingered. The watermelon was nice and cold there, too. Just about half the time it took me to ride the driveway century for #100MoN. 

Thanks again for the support! $3000 was an amazing number to reach (and surpass!) Thanks to Fat Cyclist for the link and re-post. Thanks to ADA Michigan and especially to all the volunteers who helped out yesterday for a wonderful event. We'll do it all again next year!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tour de Cure Pre-Ride Report & Effusive Gratitude!

Stop it. Now. Don't make me come down there.
We did it!! Thanks to the nearly forty individuals who gave, the three academic departments who hosted me this Spring, and to folks like Fatty who spread the word about our campaign...we reached our goal!

Sure, it involved some hare-brained stunts. But It is truly inspiring to receive all the support. Here's what this means to me. As I am riding along tomorrow, every mile that goes by counts for $30 dollars raised to help stop diabetes. And I must tell you, that support truly matters out there on the road. I think about that, and I know I have to keep going. I think about all of you who gave, and I want to honor your contribution. So thank you. I'll be saying thank you - sublingually - all day tomorrow too. 


We shove off at 7:00 a.m. Eastern, at which point you can watch my twitter feed for updates. I'll update at the various rest stops along the way. Might be some cool shots because the late breaking news is that we'll have two special guest riders along with us on this ride: Matthew Busche, your 2011 U.S. National Road Road Champion, and Ben King, your 2010 U.S. National Road Race Champion. Both are planning to ride the full century route, so we'll see if the pace they set is manageable for this, uh, Masters 40+ rider. If not, well, I'll try to snap a few photos early. 

And just because I've had a few folks ask, it is not too late to contribute to the campaign. My donation page will remain active throughout the ride tomorrow and all donations made through early July will still count towards this year's campaign. So don't feel like you missed out if you planned to donate but haven't yet had the chance. 

Thanks for the support! I'll have a ride report for you Sunday, and maybe I might see you out on the road tomorrow. If so, grab my wheel or for heaven's sake let me grab yours.

Monday, June 4, 2012

100 Miles of Nowhere, 3000 Laps to Nowhere Division: Ride Report

The 3000 2,702 Laps to Nowhere, A Fool's Errand
So last Saturday, as I had previously announced, I undertook to ride 100 miles on my bicycle. In my driveway. My circle driveway that constitutes a course of 1/30th of a mile per lap. I'd hereby like to confirm what all of you are thinking: I am an idiot. 

But I'm also lucky enough to have the greatest bunch of friends, family, and colleagues an idiot like me could ever ask to have. And so, instead of having to go around telling everybody "Hey, I rode a 100 miles in my driveway last weekend!" - because I'm also, oddly, proud of that idiotic stunt - I can instead say "Hey, I raised over $800 for the American Diabetes Association in one day this weekend!" And THEN proceed to tell everybody how I'm an idiot. 

I could also just show them the footage from the 3000 Laps to Nowhere LapCam®: 


Yep. That was just three laps. In all, I completed 2,702 laps in the driveway on Saturday. Originally, of course, the plan was to do 3,000 laps. But as a storm rolled in late in the day and made a tight (and therefore, sloooooooow) course even more tricky, I finished the last 10 miles on the trainer in the house. 100 miles without leaving the yard. And as you might guess, I learned a few things along the way that I feel compelled to share.

Things I Learned Riding 2,702 Laps In My Driveway
1. You can't go very fast when you are always - and I mean always - turning.  In fact, I could not average much more than 10mph. This fact set in early in the ride. Like, about four minutes in. Doing the math in my head, I quickly ascertained I was in for a long day. 10.5 hours in the saddle long. Also, turning all the time means you have to pay attention (because *not* turning is a bad idea) and it means that your arms get a workout. Triceps, in particular. Who knew?

2. The GPS doesn't process such a small loop very well. Here's one attempt with my iPhone and Strava. The red blotchy stain is my route. In retrospect, a red blotchy stain is not a terribly inaccurate representation. 

3. A tight course has its advantages. For one, I had a cheering section consisting of my wife and daughter throughout the day. They'd come out on the porch, check to see if I was still riding around in circles like a crazy man, ring a cowbell, and then go back inside. It was nice. I also had the occasional companion join me. Spencer is used to racing in a pack and holds his line well. But he's a lousy drafting partner.

4. 100 miles in a small circle is harder than 100 miles worth of a "normal" century or even, say, 150 miles riding across Michigan. Somewhere just beyond mile 11 or so I began to wish Fatty had called this event "spend 6ish hours on your bike without getting very far" instead of the oh-so-specific 100 mile designation...I'm sure Twin Six could come up with a killer t-shirt for that. 

Gratitude trumps Attitude
By the end of the ride, I was downright grumpy. But at mile 80, I saw that folks following my "pledge break" tweets had donated a bunch of money to fight diabetes while I was out riding in circles all day. I got happy again, really fast. And I am left humbled by all the support and eager to ride in the actual Tour de Cure ride - another 100 mile event - this coming Saturday.
You can still contribute to my Tour de Cure Campaign for 2012 here, if you missed the hilarity last weekend. Currently, we've raised $2,181! Amazing! I'm thinking that $3,000 would be a great total, but I'd settle for $2,702. Heh.  We made it to $3000!!! Hurray!!

Finally, thanks to Elden for his brilliant idea and for allowing others like me to enter his event and then use the crazy outcome to make more good in the world. Allez Fatty!

Friday, June 1, 2012

3000 laps of nowhere

Tomorrow - Saturday June 2, 2012 - I'm going to do something flat out crazy. I'm going to ride a 100 miles on my bike. Now that, by itself, is enough to qualify for some as crazy. But for me that's just a fun day in the saddle these days. It wasn't always that way, mind you, I used to be more like:

That was 6 years and almost 80 pounds ago. That was a body with all the risk factors associated with Type II diabetes in the red zone. I made some changes to that body, though, and my primary tool for doing that was a bike. Ok several bikes. You know how it goes...

Anyway. Tomorrow I'm going to ride 100 miles on my bike on a very small course for an event dreamed up by the brilliant and inspiring Elden Nelson, aka Fatty, of the Fat Cyclist blog, book, and burgeoning media empire. The event is called 100 Miles of Nowhere and the aim, as the title implies, is to ride 100 miles on the shortest possible tolerable course. Going absolutely nowhere on a stationary trainer is one option. But I think I've found a course that has all the charm of a flywheel with an added degree of dizziness. Here, I made a route map on Strava you can check out:

         That little red dot you see there is the course. It's my circle driveway. 1/30th of a mile per lap. No really. Ok, here...

The red circle. 3000 times. That's what I'm doing. Why? Well...payback of sorts. I've read Fatty's blog for many years now and have admired his work as a writer, as an advocate for cancer caregivers and patients, and as a cyclist. The 100MON is a fundraiser, in fact, and so my "entry fee" was a donation too. But I'm also doing this for another reason. 

I've also raised money as I've made the changes that have made me more healthy in the last six years. My event is the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure. Last year, for instance, my friends and colleagues donated more than $2000 to support diabetes research and programming. Over the last 5 years, I've raised almost $10,000 for the ADA. It's been pretty great. I even got to ride with Chris Horner last year.
me and Chris Horner of Team RadioShack
And I am truly grateful for all that my friends and family have done to support the ADA fundraising, not to mention my own riding. I'll ride another 100 miles in the Tour de Cure a week from tomorrow, June 9th. I'd appreciate it if you would donate to my campaign. And as a ridiculous show of good faith for just how much I appreciate it, I'm going to ride 3000 laps in my driveway tomorrow.

What's so magical about 3000? Well...that's how much I'd like to raise. Now don't fret. I've already got us nearly halfway there. See my fundraising page here. I've been asked to do some talks this year related to research connected with improving public health, and I've donated the honoraria I've received to this and other worthy causes. So we have just about $1700 to go to hit $3000! I'd really appreciate your help.

Watch this space tomorrow - ok maybe Sunday -  for an update. :) Should be a blast!