The Rapid Wheelmen is a bicycle club based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Club strives to promote fun, safe cycling for all through rides, races, tours, and advocacy.
We welcome riders of all ages and offer rides for all levels - from beginners to experienced cyclists. If you enjoy cycling, want to develop good riding skills, or are looking for a fun and healthy group activity, then become a member today!
Time Trial Results
Cooler weather greeted the cycling enthusiasts this Monday night. With heavier air, times were slightly slower for the top tier riders by about 20 seconds. Marcus Haw in his first night out this year came in first, exclaiming "the wind....", which was not severe at 8-12 mph, but slightly gusty. It did not deter several riders with room to improve yet this year in marking their best times of the year. Kim Westdorp, Jeff Petersen, Edwin Choi, Eric "I hate hot weather" Hansen, Dave "Tennis Shoe" Tomasik, Jill Martinek, and Heather Wiersma all had season best times. Good to see their conditioning still improving. I was particularly impressed with Edwin Choi. For someone that just 2 years ago could not break 43 minutes no matter what he did, he showed with some work, a plan, and some improvement in positioning and technique he WAS capable of breaking the 40 minute barrier. I'm sure he'll remember this night for a long time. He certainly deserved it.
The real story in August is the Points Contest race to the finish. The last night to score points will be August 24th. The last night of the Time Trials will be August 31st, and right after the riders are done that night, we'll award the top 3 cash prizes for Burton, Merckx, Men, and Women classes. (If you're wondering what that means about a little shindig at the Gravel Bottom Brewery - you guessed it - you'll have to wait till 2021 at least for that. So sorry!) In the Women's points contest Tarra DaPrato pretty well has 1st place locked up. But what a contest between Jill Martinek and Heather Wiersma! A very similar situation for 3rd place in the Men's contest between Roger Bonga and Shane Wiersma, and same situation for 3rd in the Merckx class between Chuck Damon and Joe Vago. It's about this time most cyclists would be making effigies of their competitors out of old Clement tubulars, tying them to an Italian wine bottle, and burning them while citing lines from Breaking Away or Quicksilver - all in hopes of placating the cycling gods to their favor. OR - just keep showing up and riding hard!
(PS - Any lines quoted from American Flyer have the reverse juju - so don't try it!)
Time Trials Coordinator
Not exactly the perfect night with a slightly gusty West wind, but still perfect enough for not 1, not 2, but 7 ALL TIME Personal Records! Let's break it down:
Women's class saw Tarra DaPrato accept my challenge from last week and bested her previous all time best of 36:41 in 2018 with an improvement of 18 seconds for a 36:23. I'd be watching out for her the rest of the year. A new bike on Monday that "didn't feel right" to her still carried her to new heights. Just wait till she gets comfortable. You know she's thinking of new goals when she asks me what Marie Dersham's Women's record was set in 2016. I tell her "34:53". She knows that's maybe too far off, but I remind her about breaking the magical 36:00 minute mark, as you need to do about 25 mph to do it. It's good goal for anyone. Tarra also has a commanding lead in the points contest. I can't see her losing it. It would be a nice feather in her cap after taking 2nd place for the last 2 years.
The Merckx class had no less than 3 brand new riders tonight. Welcome! Still, Jason Carpenter is not very cooperative in giving up his top spot with a nice 38:21. Not his season best though! Close behind was newcomer James Hildreth at 38:58. Our regular rider, Chuck Damon, did have his all time best ride at 40:40. After kind-of hitting the wall and going backwards, it was a really nice comeback. Maybe my advice about resting once in awhile instead of riding EVERY day is helping. Then there's Jack Wright with his best ever 44:03 time. Last year Jack won a top 3 prize in the points contest. So with his strong performance he has to be in the hunt - right? No sir! Only good enough for last place this week and 5th overall in the points contest. He deserves better!! He's just a victim of very stiff competition this year. Still, kudos on the best ever ride.
The Men's class saw 4 riders with their best ever rides: Dave Hietikko (2nd place - 32:31), Ed Gilde (3rd place - 36:11), Shane Wiersma (6th place 37:05), and Mike Gordon (9th place - 40:10). Dave Hietikko had been musing all year about breaking the 33 minute barrier. Last Monday he smashed it. Shane Wiersma told me he thinks he found the secret: Don't ride so hard on the weekend. There's that "proper rest" theme coming up again! I've been harping on that since the end of June. Two other riders had season best times with Roger Bonga (5th place - 37:02) and "Do it again" Dave Ryskamp repeating his best time from last week (7th place - 37:59). What are the chances of that happening? The Men's points contest still has two clear leaders with Ralph Buckingham in 1st and Dave Hietikko in 2nd. The real contest is still for 3rd between Roger Bonga and Shane Wiersma, separated by only 2 points. And this week Roger clipped Shane by a mere 3 seconds! If Shane had been 4 seconds faster, they would have been tied in the points contest now. That's a rivalry to watch! No money for 4th place!!
We had more Hand Cyclists out on one day than I ever remember. Steve Chapman is recruiting a team of riders, and is asking about bringing quite few in two weeks as part of some large gathering in Grand Rapids. That would be awesome to see. Hand Cyclists have it good on Grand River now with a clean wide shoulder, and they are taking advantage of it.
The Burton class points contest has gotten quite interesting. Our early season leader, Nikki Macedo, has been absent lately, and it didn't take but a couple of rides for Patti Bills to tie her. Patti also had her season best ride at 45:46. Not far behind was "looks as fast as lightening" Judy Crankshaw with her season best 47:34.
I just have to mention both John Crankshaw (Cyclocross) and Dave Tomasik (Vintage) for keeping a Time Trial tradition alive: "Race what you bring. We'll time anything"
And lastly, how is Ralph Buckingham doing on his assault on the Men's Amateur record? He's trying every week. It's definitely a 100% effort each week. He's analyzing where he can pick up some more speed. He's learning the nuances of the course, wind, temperature. Clothing - bike - wattage. Everything. Came so close 2 weeks ago, within 5 seconds. Like Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier - he's trying to beat that demon in the sky. But yet it eludes him. Try riding 1st instead of last. No luck yet. Killing the competition at Grattan each week. Still no luck. What to do -- ??
I was talking to Tarra DaPrato about what works for her and she suggested some tips which I agree Ralph should try in the remaining 5 weeks of time trials:
1. Take some time off, or a lighter schedule before the all out attempt (there's that rest properly theme again)
2. Go later in the order so:
a. A west wind will die off better for the return
b. More rabbits to chase down the road
On the night Ralph almost broke the record, it was a fluke he was caught in too much traffic in the last 1/4 mile. He should try going near last again several times. One of them will be golden.
Dave Durkee, Time Trials Coordinator, Rapid Wheelmen Bicycle Club