Kalamazoo Bicycle Club Newsletter
June 2007

Vicksburg Old Car Ride Set for June 10

KBC’s special weekend ride series will continue on Sunday, June 10, when the Old Car Ride will leave from Vicksburg High School at 9:00 AM. Doug Kirk – and possibly others – will lead the approximately 60 mile loop. Average speed in the past on this ride has been in the 18-19 mph range.

The Vicksburg Old Car ride is named because it falls on the same day as the Old Car Festival in Vicksburg. Plan for increased traffic – and increased travel time – around Vicksburg on that day.

President’s Letter, June 2007

At a time when my jaw drops at the sight of yet another increase in the price of gasoline, I am happy that I have the choice of riding my bicycle. Our ability to ride around town safely was enhanced in May by the actions of several KBC members. Zolton Cohen worked to help organize a Bike to Work day event, a first of its kind, in May. Jim Kindle gave an on-air bike safety pitch to the listeners of WKZO radio. The Bike Camp committee and volunteers have worked very hard to produce this year’s Bike Camp. Thank you all.

The Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study has recently completed a master plan for Kalamazoo area transportation projects through the year 2030. The Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study is a planning organization that is intended to generate coordination between the Michigan Department of Transportation, the City of Kalamazoo, the City of Portage, and the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. The master plan contains elements that concern bicycling and hence concern the mission of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. These elements include the non-motorized review of present bicycle facilities and future plans for bicycle facilities in Kalamazoo County. The plan can be found online and there is an online comment card that can be filled out. Many of the potential areas for projects are on routes that the KBC uses for rides, especially around the Gull Lake area and in other growth areas around Kalamazoo County. Many of you are aware that traffic concerns have led to a new Friday night route; rebuilt roads with the ability to accommodate both vehicular and bicycle traffic may allow for a future return to the Tour de Gull route. Please take time to review these documents and provide input on this plan.

August 11, 2007 is the date of the WMU/KBC BTR race. Please save the date. The entire day will be devoted to women’s and men’s bike races in a criterium format. The race will be part of the points challenge series, so expect a good turn out. I can (almost) guarantee that the weather will be better in August than it was at the end of September last year. There is a need for folks interested in racing (anyone may purchase a day-of Category 4 (women’s) or Category 5 (men’s) race license), volunteers, and spectators.

Please keep the rubber side down!

Mike Boersma

Monthly Meeting Minutes, May 2007

KBC’s regular monthly meeting was held Tuesday, May 9th, 2007 at 7:00 pm at the Kalamazoo YMCA located on Maple Street. KBC President Mike Boersma led the meeting. Other members present were: Mike Berry, Paul Bruneau, Zolton Cohen, Brad Fry, Chris Haddock, Jelania Haile, David Jones, Tom Keizer, Jim Kindle, Mike Krischer, Victor Manske, Elaine Nagel, Dick Nivala, Terry O’Connor, and Victor Vanfleet.

Tom Keizer began with the Treasurer’s report

  • Savings account balance $2,078
  • Checking account balance $2,878
  • CD $12,598
  • Expenses this month $230

President Mike Boersma reported that the KCRC/MDOT will eventually install a concrete retaining wall to stop the sand erosion on 12th Street between Milham/Texas Drive and Parkview.

Team KBC member Brad Fry reported that Team KBC/Little Caesar’s has 17 riders on the roster this year, and that the team has already done some racing. Steve Barnes, in particular has scored well on races in Fort Custer.

KalTour Director Mike Krischer reported that the Kal Tour brochures are ready to be printed, contacts are being made and routes have been adjusted for 2007.

Kudos to our Bike Camp Committee, pre-registration was up to 35 this year! News is spreading: KBC was contacted by The League of Michigan Bicyclists requesting information on our successful Bike Camp format.

The Tuesday Night Time Trial series has started for 2007 (details in the Ride Schedule).

Meeting was adjourned at 7:35 pm. Next meeting will be June 12th 2007 at 7PM.

Respectfully submitted Chris Haddock,
KBC Secretary

KBC Statistics

Active subscriptions


June Birthdays

Scott Ashford * Austin Brooks * Kevin Cleary * Suzanne Cooper * Caitlin Freer * Tahni Gauthier * Heather Halseth * Heidi Halseth * Richard James-Jura * Garrett Jones * Colette Krueger * Paul Marquardt * Jessica Munson * Richard Neumann * Cheryl Olson * Joan Orman * Jeffrey Pregenzer * Jenny Putt * Chad Seabold * Sally Van Sweden

New Members

Larry Baumgart * Joe Gasperson * Heather Haydo * Jasris Jasnie * Michelle Kagey * Gregory Keitel * Dawne Kennedy * Keatsee Lai * Daniel Lambert * Matthew Nelson * Patrick Norris * Therese Norris * Nowell O’Connell * Paige Peterman * Lynda Pioch * Jennifer Schmitz-Weber * Alison Seabold * Chad Seabold * Eric Watts * Allison Kelaher Young

June Expiring memberships

Kathryn Breese * Norman Carlson * Suzanne Cooper * Kristal Ehrhardt Family * Jeffery M. Harrison Sr. * David Hiebert * Mike & Sherry Higgins * Henry Kalkman Family * Lisa Kaplan * Charlotte & Gene Kemp * Michael Krischer * Colette Krueger * Mostyn Lumbard * Bob Paksi * John Peterson * Dave Pierce * Peter Post & Holly Nibert * Patricia Sweet * Daniel Victor

Renewed memberships

Paul Banner * Zolton Cohen Family * Joseph & Julie Dill * Jonathan Evans And Monica Tory * Jamie Clark * David Mitchell Family * Amy Elman * Kevin Cleary * Alan Sylvester * Jeffrey Pregenzer Family * Justin Pruis * Scott Ashford * Jim Curtis * Douglas Freeland * Gary Brooks Family * Jeff Dubbeld

Bike Camp Off to a Good Start

KBC’s Bike Camp Committee reports that Bike Camp 2007 is off to a fast start. Approximately 45 people have chosen to become Campers this year.

Bike Camp began with an informational and orientation meeting at KVCC on Tuesday evening, May 15. Jim Kindle gave the keynote speech on group riding protocol, the different types of bicycles available for riding, and what the subsequent Saturday educational and training programs would include. Text of the speech is available on KBC’s website.

The first Saturday Bike Camp session, at the Portage YMCA on May 19, was Bike Fit day. And thanks to volunteers Doug Kirk, Greg Lawford, Brad Fry, Paul Wells and Richard Neumann, each Bike Camper was analyzed for proper fit and position on his or her bike. Their expertise and efficiency helped get the Campers set up correctly so they could ride comfortably.

Following Bike Fit, riders set off in four groups for their first training rides – 5-7-10 or 15 miles - led by Bike Camp Committee members and KBC volunteers. Social Directors and Committee members Renee Mitchell and Jelania Haile had snacks and water waiting when the bikers arrived back at the Y.

The next Bike Camp sessions, over the next 4 Saturdays, will focus on training techniques and basic riding skills, hydration and nutrition during bicycling, clothing and accessories that help with comfort and safety, and bike maintenance and fixing a flat tire.

Bike Camp could use volunteers to help lead the training rides. Please get in touch with Jelania Haile if you would like to assist: jjhaile@sbcglobal.net, or 345-1274.

Ride Captain’s Report

Dear KBC Friends:

The current riding season is now in full swing. All the rides seem to be going well, and this is the second year KBC has hosted Bike Camp--a great way to introduce, or re-introduce people to our great sport and pastime. Welcome new KBC riders, and thanks to all who are helping with camp!

A few things to note:

  1. All June evening rides, with the exception of Wednesday's Hammerfest, start at 6:15.
  2. On many evenings, multiple-paced rides are offered to suit people of varying interests and abilities--check the KBC website for a listing. Mondays and Wednesdays both offer rides suitable for those just getting started in cycling.
  3. Remember when trying to choose a ride for the first time that its advertised "average" speed will be the average on your bike computer at the end of the ride. The ride will likely move at higher speeds on flat sections, slower speeds up hills.
  4. This is the time of year when our club also hosts several special rides.

Which brings me to an important point: I cannot personally lead several of these special rides this year, and therefore am looking for some volunteers. Ride leaders are needed for the following:

  • Sunday, June 10th. Vicksburg Old Car Ride
  • Sunday, July 8th. Ride to South Haven and Back
  • Sunday, August 12th. Annual Ride Around Kalamazoo (100 miles)

Are you interested in helping lead one of these rides? If you are, plase email me at hkj@jasnetworks.net. I'd be happy to fill you in on the details of what's required.

In the meantime, happy riding, and be safe!

Special Announcement Re: Friday Night Ride

Due to lack of strong interest in the new Friday night route, and because the County Road Commission will soon begin road work along the new route, the Friday night ride will be resuming the old Tour de Gull route, effective immediately. We leave from Galesburg High School parking lot promptly at 6:15 p.m. and head north. There is more car traffic on this northern route, so it is particularly important to exercise care, and observe the no- more-than-two-abreast rule. Come out and enjoy this old KBC favorite!

Knute Jacobson,
KBC Ride Captain

June Ride Schedule


The Monday Ride at Texas Drive Park will consist of 4 ride groups, which should provide a pace to suit riders of all abilities:

  • 15-20 mile group at 12-15 mph, led informally by a number of riders
  • 25-30 mile (Recovery and paceline) group at 17-18 mph, led by Zolton Cohen and Doug Kirk
  • 25-30 mile group at 20-22 mph, led by Joan Orman
  • 25-30 mile group at 22+ mph, led informally by a number of riders

The 15-20 mile group is generally recommended for new riders.
The 25-30 mile groups will typically ride the same route in the early part of the season. KBC recommends the 17-18 mph Recovery and paceline group for more experienced riders who are new to the club, those wishing for an easy spin on flat roads, or anyone interested in learning how to ride in a rotating paceline. Participation in the paceline in this group is not mandatory. This ride is very steady and consistent, and one of the club’s most popular ride groups.
The 20-22 mph group is recommended for more experienced riders who want to ride faster, and on hillier terrain.
All riders who want to push the pace can do so in the 22+ mph group.


The Tuesday Night Time Trial series is up and running for 2007, with the Barnes Family and Team KBC/Little Caesar’s managing the time trial again this year. The ten mile route will be the same as in years past. Start location is at the Pavilion Township Hall at the corner of Q Ave and 28th Street. The TNTT runs on the first and third Tuesday of the month. Sign-in time for the TNTT is 6:15. The start takes place at 6:30.


The Wednesday ride meets at the Kal-Haven Trail Parking lot on 10th Street. Remember that if you drive to the trailhead and park in the parking lot you must display a Kal Haven Trail parking pass on your dashboard. Parking passes are issued with the purchase of a seasonal or daily trail pass. Those passes are available for purchase at local bike shops, Gazelle Sports, and at the trailhead itself when a staff member is attending the caboose.

KBC plans to offer 5 ride groups:

  • 13 – 15 mph group, led informally by a number of riders
  • 30 mile group at 19-20 mph (the Quarter-Fast Ride), led by Jim Eckert, Ron Gauthier, and others
  • 30 mile group at 22+ mph (The Half-Fast Ride), led by Zolton Cohen
  • 46 mile group at 23+ mph (as yet unnamed), led by Doug Kirk
  • 46 mile group at 24+ mph (the regular Hammerfest), led by Jeff Hamilton and others

The 13-15 mph group decides the route at the ride start. The 30 mile groups typically ride the same route. The 19-20 mph Quarter Fast group will try to be steady at the pace indicated. The 22+ Half-Fast group will likely break up into smaller groups.
The regular Wednesday night Hammerfest starts at the Kal-Haven Trailhead Parking lot at 6 PM throughout the summer. The pace of the ride is typically greater than 24+ mph and the route goes to Bloomingdale and back (about 46 miles). Since the route is well known to most of the regular riders, no maps are available for this ride. This group is typically large (more than 15 riders) and consists of racers and other experienced riders. Typically, there is no designated ride leader. The group usually fragments into smaller groups and the riders often times do not finish together. This ride is hard and is not suitable for inexperienced riders. Some riders can expect to be dropped from the main group.
This year, a new Hammerfest-like group has formed, as yet unnamed, and will be led by Doug Kirk. This group will cover the same route as the regular Hammerfest, but at a pace a mile or so per hour slower. The emphasis in this group will be working together in single and double pacelines to share the workload, following KBC riding rules.
Riders in the two Hammerfests will be asked to restrict their gearing to 75 inches (39x14 or 53x19) in the early season in order to produce riding speeds 1-3 mph below those attained during mid-season.


Women’s Morning Ride – Would you like to meet other women in cycling? Join Renee Mitchell and Jelania Haile for a women’s-only ride on Thursday mornings. Meet at Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC- south-west parking lot by the tennis courts) at 10AM. The pace will be 15-16 mph with a distance of 20-25 miles.

The Thursday Night Ride, led by Elaine Naegele, is a nice and easy social ride and has a loyal following. It starts at the Texas Drive Park at the regular KBC ride start times. Riders of all riding abilities are welcome. The pace is typically 15-17 mph and distance is 20-25 miles.


Notice: The Friday ride now meets in the parking lot at the new high school, 1/2 mile east of Galesburg, at the corner of 37th Street and M-96.

Due to road construction and lack of interest in establishing a new, southern route, the Tour de Gull route, which goes from Galesburg up and around Gull Lake, has been resurrected.

The pace of the main group varies depending on who shows up, but is usually in the 20-22 mph range. Members interested in riding the route at a 17-18 mph pace are encouraged to attend this ride and get the ball rolling on a new group.

KBC’s Special Weekend Rides

Mark your long-range calendars for some special weekend rides this summer. Several rides are being planned for the summer months.

  • Sunday, June 10, The 9th annual Old Car Festival Ride (about 60 miles) from Vicksburg High School, 9:00 AM, led by Doug Kirk and others
  • July 8, The 10th annual ride to South Haven with a stop at the beach (100 miles)
  • KalTour – the Kalamazoo Scenic Bicycle Tour (formerly FlowerFest Bicycle Tour), Sunday, July 22
  • August 12, The 10th annual Ride Around Kalamazoo County (100 miles)
  • The 36th KBC Anniversary Ride (16-40 mile routes)
  • The 4th Fall Ride (~40 miles)

The dates for some of these rides are not firmly established for 2007 yet. If you have comments about the above-mentioned rides or have suggestions for other rides, contact Ride Captain Knute Jacobson at hkj@jasnetworks.com.

Impromptu weekend rides can happen anytime the weather is suitable and someone is willing to organize them. If you’re interested in being informed of these impromptu rides, send KBC Ride Captain Knute Jacobson an email to get on the impromptu ride contact list: hkj@jasnetworks.com.

Editor’s Letter

Back in the Day…

I was out a few days ago, a weekend day, on my bike. Just a mild day. Not too hot, not too cool. Hardly a wind; overcast but no chance of a shower. In short, perfect riding weather.

Within what seemed like a few minutes I was 15 miles away from my house – and I had no recollection of how I had arrived there. The roads I’ve ridden for the last 11 years are now so familiar that I can pretty much put myself on autopilot and wind up where I want to go without really have to think about it much. That’s great. It’s also a bit frightening.

I recall, when I first started biking seriously, that riding 18 miles was about the limit of what I thought humanly possible. I had an 18 mile road route and rode it on my mountain bike as fast as I could go. Many times I struggled to even get up one last steep hill by my house before I could collapse on the floor or on the steps of my front porch. When I got back from one of these endurance tests I was wasted for a few days afterward.

Not so today. These days, 18 miles is almost too short a ride to bother with. The nearly 10 miles from home out to the Monday night ride is a good warm up. Funny how your perspective changes once you’re familiar enough with an activity (and in good enough condition) to just enjoy it and not think and worry about it so much. You understand it on a completely different level.

Having worked on and with Bike Camp for two years now, I’m thrilled to see so many people so enthusiastic about getting into this sport. Right now the Bike Camp participants are working on the miles they need to build cycling muscle memory. And one day they’ll look back on their early struggles and efforts the way I do mine – as building blocks toward a comfort level with this activity. They’ll discover, as I have, that it’s comforting to have that comfort level.

Not that I have nothing left to learn or to shoot for. But I’m happy with how cycling is integrated into my life now – so completely that it’s now “normal” to ride 3-4 times a week. And “not normal” to not ride. It didn’t used to be like this, and now it is. For betterment.

And speaking of the past…

I’ve followed, with a mixture of disgust, incredulity, amazement, amusement, and skepticism, the ongoing ventures of Floyd Landis – winner of last year’s Tour de France (for now anyway). He’s currently on the witness stand, testifying about – among many seemingly unrelated items – his alleged doping during last year’s TDF.

Frankly, I don’t know what or who to believe anymore. My feelings about Floyd change daily with what I read on the news. On one hand I’d love to believe he never doped. He sounds like a very straightforward, honest person. On the other hand, many other cyclists are now admitting that they did dope. And if they did, then others felt they had to do it as well in order to be competitive. It’s very confusing. And we’re not even talking about the science behind it…

All I can say is this: Back when I was a kid, tooling cluelessly and helmetlessly around my neighborhood on my Huffy, we had never heard of “dope.” Unless, that is, someone called you that. There was no EPO around. No human growth hormone. And certainly no “synthetic testosterone.” – Unless you cleaned your plate!

Zolton Cohen,
KBC Newsletter Editor

Letter from Sherry Gordon, Michigan Blind Athletic Association Sports Education Camp

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, May 9-11, several members of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club provided a great deal of assistance with the Michigan Blind Athletic Association's Sports Education Camp and the tandem biking event.

Wednesday evening highlighted first year athletes, ranging in age from 13 to 18 years. Friday evening highlighted a bike race with the athletes having a blast! I think the captains had a great time, too!

The tandem cycling event was held at the WMU Parkview campus and this year's weather was great! By far, the tandem biking competition was the most popular event of the entire camp!

Thanks again to all KBC members who assisted us in this great event!

Sherry Gordon,
Tandem Coordinator

KBC Member Bike Racing Results

Compiled courtesy of Joe Kucharski

Fisk Knob Time Trial (Road), 03/25/07

  • Josh Tarrant, 1st Overall, 38:43
  • Kathy Kirk, 2nd Overall, 46:24
  • Chris Barnes, 6th Fixed, 49:52
  • Stephen Barnes, 8th 19 and Under, 58:19
  • Jamie Clark, 4th 35-39, 45:33
  • John Meyers, 18th 40-44, 49:25
  • Doug Kirk, 8th 55+, 48:09

Yankee Springs Time Trial (MTB), 04/23/07

  • John Meyers, 5th Elite, 45:21
  • Mike Jones, 5th Expert 40-49, 50:23
  • Mike Birmann, 7th Expert 40-49, 50:43
  • Stephen Barnes, 4th Sport 15-18, 1:00:59
  • Christopher Bloch, 14th Sport 45-49, 1:00:23
  • Cindy Gippert, 1st Sport 40+, 1:03:28

Trans Iowa (MTB), 04/28/07

  • Joe Kucharski, 1st Singlespeed, 26:04:00

Willow Time Trial (Road), 04/28/07

  • Josh Tarrant, 1st Overall, 27:24
  • Zach McBride, 3rd Men 17-18, 32:59
  • Kathy Kirk, 3rd Cat 1-3, 33:24
  • Mike Birmann, 10th Cat 5, 32:48
  • Taylor Birmann, 4th Cat 3, 30:25
  • Doug Kirk, 11th Cat 5, 32:50
  • Doug & Kathy Kirk, 1st Mixed Tandem, 30:38

Cone Azalia (Road), 05/06/07

  • Brad Fry, 4th Cat 4, 1:23:21

Fort Custer Cross Country (MTB), 05/06/07

  • John Meyers, 5th Elite, 2:31:27
  • Bill Gallaher, 11th Elite, 2:40:47
  • Mike Jones, 3rd Expert 40-49, 1:58:03
  • Alan Dahl, 13th Expert 40-49, 2:08:09
  • Cindy Gippert, 2nd Sport 40+, 1:39:05
  • Stephen Barnes, 3rd Sport 15-18, 1:32:14
  • Darryl Dolby, 3rd Sport 40-44, 1:25:07

Kensington Valley (Road), 05/20/07

  • Zach McBride, 10th Cat 3, 2:20:36
  • Andrew Florian, 23rd Cat 3, 2:21:25
  • Cheryl Olson, 6th Cat 1-3, 2:27:16
  • Mike Birmann, 1st Cat 5 35+, 561 Points

Fort Custer Last Stand Duathlon, 05/20/07

  • John Meyers, 1st Overall, 1:30:06
  • Richard Neumann, 2nd 40-44, 1:41:38

Trans Iowa Race

By Joe Kucharski

My Trans Iowa experience began two years ago. Todd Scott, Alex Dolpp, and Joe Partridge represented Michigan in the first Trans Iowa race. Todd finished fourth overall and first in the single speed division, with Joe and Alex accounting for two of the remaining seven finishers. After talking to Todd about the race, I wanted to give it a try. Last year, Trans Iowa filled up before I could get my registration in. As a result, I was an internet spectator. I followed the pre-race activities on-line and listened to updates during the race. Due to rainy weather conditions, no one completed the 300 mile race. This year, I was determined to compete in the race and use it as a fundraiser for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Following shoulder surgery in August 2006, I started my training program. I had not competed in an individual endurance event of this length or in an event that was self- supported that required navigation. I used double-century training programs as a guide and developed my own training program. My plan included many rides in excess of four hours. In December, the weather cooperated and I found it easy to get my mileage in: however, when winter finally arrived in January, I found the long rides outside and on the trainer nearly unbearable. If not for my determination to complete the race, I am not sure how many of the rides I would have skipped. Mike and Taylor Birmann joined me on some of my training rides, which helped to motivate me.

I am a rider who likes to be prepared, but this race had so many unknowns for me. Thoughts of what tires, wheels, gearing, equipment, food, water, lights, and training kept me up at night during the long winter months. I read all the web pages and prior stories that I could find. I asked Joe, Todd, Mike, and other riders for advice. As the race grew nearer, I began to use trial and error testing for a majority of my concerns. By the end of March, I had a list of all my equipment and felt good about everything except my gearing. In April, another rider had written that the neat thing about the single speed category is that whatever gear you choose you will be wrong. With that in mind, I made my final gearing decision of 32 x 15. I planned to carry a 100 ounce Camelback, pump, first aid kit, medication, sunscreen, chamois cream, light, 3 batteries, back-up light, cell phone, emergency blanket, valve stem converter, 2 tubes, patch kit, tools, tire levers, chain pieces, 4 water bottles, plus energy gel and bars. I’m guessing the weight of the gear was over 12 pounds!

My step-father Tom was my support crew. On our way to Decorah, Iowa, I was amazed at the elevation changes and started thinking about my gearing again. We made it to Decorah early in the afternoon and checked into the hotel. Tom and I drove to the start of the race, and I went for an hour pre-ride. Once again I thought about my gearing, the hills around Decorah are impressive. After the ride I got a shower and organized my gear. I had forgotten a back-up rear light and antacids, which we went to find. I was able to get the antacids at Wal-Mart, but couldn’t find a light. At 5:30, we met up with about 40 others for dinner at Mabe’s Pizza in Decorah. The food and conversation were great. It was good to finally meet some of the people I had read about and talked to on-line while preparing for the race.

After the mandatory pre-race meeting, final packing, and my attempts to block out Tom’s snoring, I was able to fall asleep at 12:30. Normally this would not be a big deal, but this race started at 4:00 AM. As my four alarms started blasting at 2:30, I was worried about my lack of sleep and felt tired. When we arrived at the start at 3:30, there were only a few people there. The temperature was cool, in the 40s, so I stayed in the warm van until 3:45. I rode about one mile and lined up with the other nuts (I mean riders!). I was surprised at the lack of gear the majority of the expected front runners were carrying. Most had only 2 water bottles and minimal gear, including the single speed favorite, Chris Plesko. I started wondering if I had too much gear, but what could I do now?

After a half mile neutral start, we encountered some significant climbs right away, and the group quickly separated. Off the front were Ira Ryan, Brian Hannon, and Chris Plesko.I was in a group of six chasers. Our group included Team Polska (3 Polish riders), their friend, Joe from Minnesota, and myself. At one point Marcin from Team Polska said “we have a good group, including a crazy single speeder.” I replied “I had to join you because I am Polish.” We continued for about an hour, and then we came to the leaders on a hill. They were unsure if they had missed a turn on the cue sheets, so we stopped with them. As the remaining riders climbed the hill towards us, we decided we were on course and started riding again. I looked back down the hill and was caught up in the beautiful site of all the lights heading up the curved hillside. We dropped Chris, and I realized I was the single speed leader of the race. Ira and Brian went off the front again, and the remaining six of us continued our chase.

When we arrived at the first convenience store in Postville, I bought a small bottle of water and filled my camelback. Everyone else was eating food, drinking Gatorade, and taking their time. I realized I had brought too much food and supplies, as the stops were going to be more leisurely than I had anticipated. Aaron Millberger rolled into the parking lot and said he had been trying to catch us for over an hour. We left Postville without him. Team Polska’s plan was to take it easy on the hills, and pick it up on the flats, rollers, and downhill sections. I went off the front on the climbs and dropped to the back on the other sections. I was never able to recover, as I was working on all sections of the course. I wasn’t sure if I could keep the pace up for more than few more hours and still be able to finish the race.

The beautiful scenery impressed me throughout the ride. At one point we passed some cows standing in the gravel road, probably a typical Iowa sight! Somewhere between Wadena and Stanley, Team Polska separated from Joe and me. Aaron caught us about a half hour after were dropped. The three of us continued as a group until Independence. I enjoyed the scenery and the conversation, but not the dogs. The dogs were everywhere, barking and chasing us down the road about every half mile.

The pitting was something new for me. Often the group in front would leave when we arrived, so I always knew we were close. As we rolled into Independence, Team Polska stopped at a gas station for supplies, where Joe and Aaron joined them. I told them I was going to head out of town, go to the bathroom, and stretch my legs. Plus that way I knew I was in 3rd place overall. The pace over the first 120 miles began to bother my right knee, and I thought some stretching would help. As I ws going to the bathroom, Team Polska went by. I decided to ride with them for awhile. I assumed they would drop me again and I would get picked up by Joe and Aaron.

At the stop, I had put water in one of my bottles to use if my camelback went dry. Good thinking - since my camelback went dry about 10 miles outside of Brandon. Our plan was to check in and refuel after we got our second set of cue sheets. As we made the final turn to the checkpoint, we passed the race leaders, Ira and Brian, heading back into town for supplies. Race promoter Guitar Ted greeted us at the checkpoint and complimented our blistering pace. I felt great. I called my wife, Cheryl, to tell her I felt great and was having a good time.

After a couple minutes of organizing our cue sheets we noticed that Ira and Brian were headed in a different direction than the race. Team Polska decided to leave quickly and take over as race leaders. I looked at the cue sheets and noted the next town was 10 miles away. I decided to go with them, but knew I was making a mistake – I hadn’t taken the time to fill my water. We were on a trail similar to the Kal-Haven trail; even though I felt at home, I knew there would be no place to get water. About half way to La Porte City, one of the Team Polska riders gave me a bottle of water - what a ride saver! Soon after that, we were caught by Ira and Brian. We would later learn that they were going to get some food when we passed them. They returned quicker than they wanted to when they were informed that we were on the course in front of them. Ira told Guitar Ted we were “Polish bastards.” In La Porte City, we were all able to refuel and take a considerable break. We continued as a group for a couple hours. I was actually leading the race when we came through the first B Level road, which is a dirt road that is not maintained. Finally my bigger tires helped! All the others in the group were on geared cyclocross bikes with skinny tires.

The four Polish riders (Team Polska plus me) were dropped again somewhere around mile 160 by Ira and Brian. At that point we were heading mostly west into a stiff headwind, probably about 25 miles per hour. Since I had to stand on all the climbs, the wind was just killing me and my knees. I started taking Aleve and tried to draft as much as possible. We pitted again for a long time in Dike. I dined on a pork tenderloin, nutter butters, and chocolate milk. My Polish counterparts ate double cheeseburgers and ordered one more each.

At about the same time, Aaron rolled into the station. He said he was not staying long, just needed water and would be on his way. I too was ready to hit the road again, so I left with Aaron. I enjoyed talking and riding with Aaron. His pace, cadence and riding style reminded me of Mike Birmann. I felt very comfortable riding with him. I would ride the remaining 125 miles with Aaron. We saw Ira and Brian leaving Dike when we stopped, and we left Team Polska behind. This sequence continued until we were outside of Janesville where we saw Brian. He was dropping out of the race, he said his knees were bothering him from being on a new bike. I knew how he felt; my knees were very painful and starting to swell. I told myself that if it got much worse before we made the 225 mile mark, I would have to pull out. I was leading the singlespeed category, and I didn’t know if I could actually quit. All of those old sayings started ringing in my head, like “quitters never win and winners never quit.”

At the stop in Janesville, with about 120 miles to go, Aaron and I were told that we were about 10 minutes behind Ira and about 5 minutes in front of Team Polska. As we were loading our gear and getting ready for the night ride, Team Polska pulled in. They dropped one rider and the remaining two chased us to the next town.

After Janesville, the night sky opened up with bright stars and the moon. We saw many farmers with raging bonfires enjoying the night with their families, but their dogs were chasing us. At least in the daylight, we could see the dogs coming. At night they were able to sneak up on us. To make things more challenging, we had to make it through two bottom- bracket-deep water crossings. As a result, my feet were soaked and cold. With about 80 miles to go, my knees were done. Every crank made me think about stopping. I started using mostly my left leg on the climbs. I told Aaron that he may have to go on alone, and I would try to stay on with Team Polska when they caught me.

Then things really got bad….about 5 minutes after we decided Aaron would go on, we realized we had made a wrong turn! While we re-traced our route, we lost about half an hour to the race leader, Ira, and we didn’t know if Team Polska had passed us. We rode as fast as we could to get back on course, sometimes over 20 MPH on the flats. Once we were back on course, we checked for tire tracks in the road and at the second water crossing. It appeared that only Ira was in front of us.

We continued our talks and rode though the night at a much slower pace. We arrived in Decorah in what we thought was 2nd and 3rd place. As I expected, we finished on some killer hills. I knew that the sadistic organizers would have it no other way. When I crossed the finish line I was relieved to be done, but surprised to see Marcin, the remaining member of Team Polska. He had indeed passed us when we went off course and finished in 2nd place. I felt bad for Aaron – he would have been driven to catch Marcin and battle for 2nd place. But on the other hand, had we known there were two riders ahead of us, I would have ridden the last 4 hours alone.

I finished 4th overall and 1st in the single speed category with a time of 26 hours 4 minutes. I rode 333 miles on gravel roads, hitting a top speed of 42 MPH and a low speed of 3 MPH on some of the later climbs (not including the two I walked). My bike, tires, and gearing worked perfectly; my tireless planning paid off. I learned how far I could push both my mind and my body during the race.

I have always believed that the cyclical action of turning pedals helps me to relax and think. As I pedaled around Iowa, I realized how fortunate I am. I competed in the race as an individual, but make no mistake, it was a team effort. My sponsor, Team Active, assisted with the biking equipment needed for the race. Mike and Taylor Birmann provided company on many of my long training rides. Friends and family helped me achieve my goal of raising $1,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. My pains during the race were nothing compared to the suffering I have witnessed at the hands of cancer. Finally, I am thankful for my family, especially my wife Cheryl. Their love, support, and understanding made the goal of completing this race a reality. The best part of the race was coming home to an impromptu party of friends and family all too excited to hear me recount my story of this crazy race, Trans Iowa.

7th Annual W Ride Well Attended

In the early morning hours on Saturday, May 7, longtime KBC member Rick Whaley traveled from his home in Dexter – where he had relocated several years ago after his Pfizer job moved there – to Vicksburg in order to lead the ride he started; the legendary W Ride.

About 17 people showed up on the chilly and overcast day, most wearing tights, long sleeved jerseys, and headbands. Rain was not in the forecast, though the skies overhead were threatening throughout the ride.

As always, the W Ride started with Whaley handing out “maps” of the arrow-straight route. Maps in previous years consisted of lengths of red and black licorice, spaghetti, and a sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper with a straight line drawn on it. This year’s version was a lollipop. “Eat the candy,” Whaley said, “and what you have left is your map.”

The pace headed west was between 20-22 mph, primarily due to a wind from the east. As the riders negotiated the turnaround point, at the Kalamazoo/Van Buren County line, the going suddenly got much tougher and a paceline formed heading back to Vicksburg High School. Some of the riders stopped for a break at the convenience store in Vicksburg; others took a breather at their cars at the high school’s parking lot. After fueling and watering up they then headed east on W toward the Calhoun County line.

Two riders – one of whom had noticed a flat tire during the break and had to change tubes – worked to chase the group east toward Calhoun County. However, before they reached that milestone they observed the large group storming back to the west, and decided to turn and join them. It turned out to be a wise decision. Shortly thereafter, a line of motorcyclists several miles long, heading west on W Avenue, passed the W Ride bicyclists, treating them to a cacophony of barely-muffled exhaust noise and fumes. Crossing the continual line of motorcycles would have been impossible.

Just as the last riders reached the Vicksburg High School parking lot, some light sprinkles started to fall. No one got wet though, and not one rider got lost. Another successful W Ride is in the books. Thanks Rick, for leading this great KBC tradition!

Ride of Silence

Many KBC riders gave up their regular Wednesday night riding activities in order to participate in the Ride of Silence on May 16. Despite unseasonably cool weather, close to 80 riders turned out to commemorate bicyclists who had died or had been injured in auto/bike accidents.

The Ride of Silence started and ended in a parking lot behind Waldo Stadium on Oliver Street. The route consisted of 12 miles of city riding: down Oakland Drive hill, through downtown Kalamazoo on West Michigan, south on South Westnedge, Crosstown to Bronson, Whites to Oakland, and then Angling Road before looping back onto Oakland. The pace was 12 miles per hour.

Riders on the Ride of Silence were encouraged to remain silent for the duration of the ride – a recommendation that was taken seriously by most of the participants.

Thanks go to Mark Rose, of the Chain Gang Bicycle Club for organizing this event.

National Bike to Work Day Celebrated in Kalamazoo

On Friday, May 18, the City of Kalamazoo joined other cities and towns across America in celebrating National Bike to Work Day. Bike to Work Day is the “endcap” of National Bike to Work Week, which occurs each year during May – National Bike Month.

KBC partnered with Allied Capital Corporation, a development corporation that owns and manages shopping malls and other commercial enterprises, in order to mount the “Bike to Work Day/Taste of Campus Pointe Mall” event.

Restaurant vendors from Campus Pointe Mall, at the corner of West Michigan and Howard Streets on the west end of WMU’s campus, donated free samples of their wares (pitas and pizza) to hungry bike commuters. Safe Kids Worldwide gave away free bike helmets to kids and assisted with proper helmet fitting. KBC had its photo display board up, literature about the club, and volunteers staffing the table to answer questions about bicycling in its many manifestations.

Breakaway Bicycles loaned a “typical” commuter type bike for display, highlighted by its racks, lights, heavy duty tires, durable frame and simple drivetrain.

Ryan Sibert and Matt Hollander, of Kalamazoo Bike Works, WMU’s new bicycle co-op, set up shop on the sidewalk in front of the Campus Pointe Mall and did simple bike repairs, lubed chains, and adjusted derailleurs and brakes.

Paul Pancella, representing the Kalamazoo River Valley Trailway project, had maps and brochures available to those interested in the big Kalamazoo-to-Battle Creek trailway.

The highlight of the event was a ribbon cutting ceremony over the newly-built bike lanes on West Michigan Avenue. City dignitaries, including Commissioners David Anderson and Sean McCann; Kalamazoo County Transportation Authority Chair Dick Atwell; Jon Start, head of Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study; and City Traffic Engineer Shahid Abbas helped Kalamazoo Vice Mayor (and dedicated cyclist) Bobby Hopewell cut the ribbon to signify that the lanes are now “open for the business of bike commuting,” near WMU’s campus.

Maureen Daniel, Executive Coordinator at Allied Capital Corporation, was pleased by the turnout of maybe 60-70 people over the course of the two hour event. She says, “I think we can expand our efforts for next year, and collaborate again. I appreciate KBC’s time, effort, connections and suggestions!”

Xterra Fort Custer Last Stand Race

Kevin Biek, organizer of the inaugural Xterra Point Series Race in Fort Custer, writes:

Dear Sponsors (editor’s note: KBC donated some money to help fund this event),

What a great day for a race!! This would never have happened without your help and support. Thank you for helping us have one of the MOST SUCCESSFUL 1st Year Xterra Point Series Events since the Xterra inception. We had over 180 registrations and 153 finishers. There were a few DNF’s and for some reason quite a few “no shows” for what turned out to be perfect race weather. This far and away exceeded our expectations. Looks like the Fort Custer LAST STAND is here to stay.

Race results are at: www.eliteendeavors.com/results/laststand/laststand_res.cfm . KBC’s Megan James won the womens triathlon; John Meyers won the overall duathlon.


Shop Notes

Alfred E Bike

320 East Michigan, Kalamazoo, (269) 349-9423

Billy’s Bike Shop

63 East Battle Creek Street, Galesburg, 665-5202

Breakaway Bicycles

185 Romence at Westnedge, Portage, (269) 324-5555, www.breakawaybicycles.com

Custer Cyclery

104 North Augusta, Augusta, 731-3492

Gazelle Sports

214 South Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, (269) 342-5996,

Announcements: FREE GU from Gazelle!!!

Visit Gazelle Sports and buy two 6-packs of GU energy gel and get a 6-pack FREE! ($15 value)

Choose from Vanilla and Chocolate 6-packs accompanied by a FREE Strawberry/Banana 6-pack or pick up Lemon Lime and Expresso Love 6-packs accompanied by a FREE Strawberry/Banana 6-pack.

And.... BIG NEWS! Gazelle has Gone Global! You can now purchase Gazelle Sports products online. Click on our Web site above to check it out! (More vendors to come....)


4813 West Milham, Portage

Announcements: Prosport - Corner of 12th and Milham across from Wedel's. Open 10-6 Daily, 9-4 Sat. Nineteen years serving Kalamazoo bicyclists. Guaranteed two day service. Friendly and knowledgeable. Ride over soon.

Team Active

22 W Michigan, Battle Creek, 1-800-841-9494

Village Cyclery

US 131 in Schoolcraft, 679-4242

About the PedalPress

The KBC PedalPress comes out on or around the first of each month.

If you have an article or a notice that you want to go into the PedalPress, please email it to the newsletter editor by the 20th of the month before its intended publication.

For example, if you’d like an article to be published in the March edition (distributed on or around the first of March), have it to the newsletter editor (contact information is in the “Contacts” section at the end of this newsletter) by the 20th of February.

On Bicycle Safety

Important: Riding a bicycle is an inherently dangerous activity. There are risks of injury or death. You could ride over something and fall, or get hit by an automobile or strike or be struck by another bicyclist. There are many other dangers to bicycling as well.

While nothing can eliminate all risks associating with bicycle riding, to minimize the danger, make sure you and your bicycle are in good riding condition. Know the rules of the road and also of the group you’re riding with, and ride in a manner consistent with the protocols of that group. Always wear a bike helmet, use bike lights if riding in the dawn, dusk or dark, and consider purchasing and riding with additional safety equipment such as reflectors and rear view mirrors.

KBC Contact Information

KBC Officers

President Mike Boersma 269-720-1409
Vice President Jim Kindle 269-382-8053
Secretary Chris Haddock 269-624-5418
Treasurer Tom Keizer 269-382-4737

Other Important KBC Folks

Database Manager Paul Bruneau 269-343-6016
Newsletter Editor Zolton Cohen 269-344-0200
Ride Captain Knute Jacobson 269-629-0093
Social Director Jelania Haile 269-345-1274
Social Director Renee Mitchell
Safety and Education Chair Victor VanFleet 269-375-7691
Web Site Bob Paksi

KAL Tour

Director Michael Krischer
Director "Super" Dave Bishop 269-679-4522