6/24/09 – Feelin’ Hot, Hot, Hot!

PedalGR, meeting at 6:30pm on Wednesday, 6/10/2009 at Founder’s Brewing Company, 235 Grandville Ave SW.


Now that I have your attention, if you’ve stepped outside the last few days, you’ve discovered that the summer temperatures have arrived with the summer solstice.  Bill Steffen mentioned on his blog today that we usually get two days of 90+ degree weather in June.  Wednesday is expected to be one of them. 

To fight the heat wave, we’ll be riding to FREE ICE CREAM!!! at the Cone Shoppe at Michigan and Fuller courtesy of the Rapid Wheelmen Bicycle Club.  We’ll also be riding a short route to avoid keeping you all out in the heat for too long.  That means we’ll get back to the cold beers faster.

Here’s how the free ice cream will work. When we arrive at The Cone Shoppe, I will give each rider $2. That $2 will get you a small hard scoop cone, or a large soft serve in Vanilla, Chocolate, or Swirl. While you may bring your own money and purchase something more expensive, it’s better if most people order the basic cones so we can get in and out in a timely fashion. I have arranged with The Cone Shoppe to have an extra staff person to help with our orders.

The Route:

View PedalGR route 6/24/09 in a larger map

Need to Know:

  • This is a no-drop ride. Nobody in the group will be left behind.
  • Ride is about 12 miles and will take about 2 hours (PedalGR is not a race).
  • It’s going to be HOT!!  90+ degrees.  Please bring WATER!
  • HELMETS ARE REQUIRED on Rapid Wheelmen Club rides. (The insurance company’s lawyers insist)  Please email or comment in advance if you need to borrow one.

A few highlights include:

  • Blues on the Mall ride-by
  • Riverside Park neighborhood and Riverside Middle School
  • FREE ICE CREAM at the Cone Shoppe
  • Coldbrook Creek mural project (keep your eye out for this one)

Ride Safe and see you Wednesday!

P.S. I finished the Lumberjack 100 in 12:09:24.  About 10 hours of that was out on the trail.  The first place rider finished in 6:48:06.  Crazy!

Are You Hardcore Enough For These Races?!?

IMG_0307 (by fotoman311)Two fantastic endurance cycling events this weekend will draw riders from all over the US (and even the World) to West Michigan. The National 24 Hour Challenge will be held in Middleville, MI, just SE of Grand Rapids in Barry County, and the Lumberjack 100 will test the mental and physical strength of mountain bikers at the Big M ski area in Manistee National Forest west of Cadillac.

National 24 Hour Challenge

Started in 1983 by local bicycle racing supporters Diane and Skip Obermeyer, the National 24 Hour Challenge is in its 27th year, and is the largest event of its kind in the country.  While it is a “race” of sorts, for most participants it is more of a personal challenge.  They set a goal for how many miles they want to ride, or they try to beat their personal best.  The idea is to ride as many miles as you can from 8am on Saturday morning to 8am on Sunday morning.  Riders will complete a 126.7 mile loop of rolling hills around Barry County.  Once that is complete, they will do as many laps around a 23.7 mile loop.  And once nightfall sets in, they will continue on a 7 mile loop until 8am hits.  Once riders complete the first two loops, they are allowed to sleep whenever/however much they want.

The record for this event is 502.6 miles, set in 2007 by Chris Ragsdale, a Grand Haven native who lives and trains in Seattle, WA.  I’ve heard rumors of another experienced rider intent on beating that record, but the ability to do that relies in part on luck, weather, and having a good team of cyclists to help pull you along.

Good luck to all the National 24 Hour Challenge participants this weekend!!


A recent interview on WGVU with Rapid Wheelmen member Joel Bierling, who has ridden over 400 miles each of the past two years.

2008 photos (in 2008 I was the official event photographer and took over 1,400 photos of the riders in an attempt to capture each individual who participated)

DSC_3777 (by davisrc19)
by davisrc19

Lumberjack 100

This is the one I am attempting this year.   The Lumberjack 100 is a race to see who can survive 100 miles of singletrack the fastest.  The fastest riders will complete this task in around 7 hours!  I am just hoping to finish my third lap by the 10 hour cutoff time and get to the end in one piece.

Riders must complete four laps of both an 8 mile loop and a 17 mile loop with a brutally steep climb up to the top of an old downhill ski hill at the beginning of the 8 mile loop.

Good luck to all of the riders participating in this awesome weekend, particularly my Rapid Wheelmen Race Team cohorts!  And if you’re going to Founder’s Fest on Saturday, dance a bit to Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe for me!  I’ll be totally exhausted!  It’s going to be AWESOME!!!


Local endurance cyclist Danielle Musto’s 2008 Ride Report

Lumberjack 100 map (pdf, follow the tiny arrows)


Of course, these races pale in comparison to the efforts put forth by participants in the Race Across America (RAAM), which started on Wednesday, 6/17, with the first racers finishing the 3,022 mile grueling course just over 8 days later on 6/26.  Amazing!


Or there is the 2,745 mile Tour Divide, which started on June 12th and has riders racing unsupported (they carry all their gear on their bicycles) from Banff, Alberta to Antelope Wells, NM.  The fastest riders in this race should finish in around 20 days.  INSANE!

Link:  You can follow the riders at this link, and even track them live, here.  As you can see, last year’s winner, Matthew Lee has a commanding lead and is approaching the Grand Tetons (which is a LOOOONG way from Banff, Alberta).

Millennium Park – More Fantastic Every Year

IMG_2547 (by fotoman311)
Tuesday marked the opening of Phase 1 of the Fred Meijer Millennium Trail that will eventually connect Johnson Park to John Ball Park.

Words can’t really describe how great this new trail is, so I will just agree with Fred Meijer and say, “It’s beautiful, absolutely beautiful.”  And it starts less than 2 1/2 miles from Fulton and Monroe!

Millennium Park Trail 061309Now, onto the good stuff.

First a map of the new trail, as best as I could draw it up from memory.  Thanks to Microsoft for the aerial imagery.  I started my trip at the west end of the new trail.  I also drew in the location of the fantastic viewing deck that you can see in the above photo. To view a larger version, click any photo to visit Flickr. Once at Flickr, click the “All sizes” icon and select “Large” or “Original”. My complete set of photos may be found by clicking here.

Click for LOTS of photos!

NBL Midwest Regional at GRBMX track

I rode by the GRBMX track yesterday to check out the track and also look around where the new Mtn Bike Park and pump track are to be constructed. The track is located just SE of US-131 and Burton in some old little league field they have leased from the city.

While there, I ran into Paul Maycroft, one of the guys responsible for building and running the track.  It turns out that this weekend BMX racers from all over Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois will be converging on Grand Rapids for a NBL (National Bike League) regional event.

Sounds pretty awesome, and I would recommend heading over there sometime this weekend and checking out the track if you haven’t been.  There should be lots of racing to watch.

The schedule of events can be found on the NBL website.

6/10/09 – The 2009 Blandford Edition

PedalGR, meeting at 6:30pm on Wednesday, 6/10/2009 at Founder’s Brewing Company, 235 Grandville Ave SW.

National Bike Month is over.  I hope you had a chance to ride your bike at the Mayor’s Ride, Bike to Work Week, or the Ride of Silence.  If not, just grab a friend and get out and ride! While not great for the beach, this cooler weather is great bicycling weather.

This week’s PedalGR ride will include a trip to Blandford Nature Center.  We will make a quick stop at the wetland observation tower and then head over to their 50 acre farm where staff member Nick Cunigan will tell us about their Youth Farm Team and the Mixed Greens on-site urban agriculture programs they run at six local elementary schools.  We’ll also be riding through three cool old cemeteries and visiting one of the best lookouts over the downtown skyline.  You NEED to be at this ride!

Here is the route:

View PedalGR route 6/10/09 in a larger map

Need to Know:

  • This is a no-drop ride. Nobody in the group will be left behind.
  • Ride is about 16 miles and will take about 2-2 1/2 hours (PedalGR is not a race).
  • Water is highly recommended.
  • HELMETS ARE REQUIRED on Rapid Wheelmen Club rides. (The insurance company’s lawyers insist)

A few highlights include:

Ride Safe and see you Wednesday!

P.S. If you come out on Wednesday, be sure to wish me luck at the Lumberjack 100. I’ll be attempting to ride 100 miles of hilly singletrack on my mtn bike on June 20th. My goal is just to finish, but secretly I’m hoping I don’t take longer than 12 1/2 hours. What the heck was I thinking when I signed up for THAT?!

P.P.S. If you want to volunteer for the National 24 Hour Challenge in Middleville, also on June 20-21, email Pete Steve at n24hc @at@ charter.net. Their volunteers are always well taken care of and have a great time.