Archives for category: MI

The route:

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Team Alliance for the Great Lakes:
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Welcome to Indiana!
(Unmarked border…)

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We started our morning riding through beachfront communities with beautiful (for the most part) homes.

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Industry!

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First water stop at Indiana Dunes…

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Yes, I look that miserable. My cold was raging, I had something in my eye, and I hadn’t put the phone in airplane mode, so my real life was encroaching…

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From there, we were mostly on bike paths for the rest of the day. Cathedrals of trees and twig-strewn riding gave way to greenways. Lunch was midway down the Oak Savannah Trail…

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And welcome to Illinois!

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My first glimpse of Chicago…

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Shortly after hitting the Lake Shore Drive path, a slow flat (lots of glass in urban areas) took me out a mile from the meetup point. Fixed, thanks to our crew… And then it was time to hang out until the final 6 miles we’d ride as a group.

Stretching:

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Examining cobwebs:

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No panties under bike shorts!

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Beach fun:

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And then we rode to Northerly Island, a long ribbon of Climate Riders, old and young…
Across the finish line:

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Done!

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You can still sponsored and support the Alliance for the Great Lakes here.

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I started this morning sort of easy: fast enough to get warm (I give myself 15 minutes from a cold start – if I’m still cold, then I’ll put on the windbreaker), slow enough to stay under (but close to) 150 bpm on the heart rate monitor. I felt good, but I knew it was partly because I’d taken care of myself the day before.

But then I saw this and had to STOP!

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Erin brought over the Shetland pony and the goat to meet me:
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Goat selfie!
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After the first water stop, we got to watch a bulldozer rip out some trees. Very sad.
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Shortly thereafter, a few of the “carbon boys,” as I’ve nicknamed the young men on carbon bikes, invited me to join their paceline. So I did, and rode with them all the way to lunch.
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And this is where we had lunch:

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I don’t know why this statue seems like something from a dystopian YA novel, but it does…
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Yarn bomb bike makes me happy every time I see it!
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The first few miles after lunch I took it easy, but a paceline found me and I hopped on, and was immensely grateful to be drafting when we hit headwinds. We got to the fork in the road – right for the 57.7 mile day, straight for the 73.6 mile day. Camp wasn’t even open, and the long route featured a bike museum and a distillery.

Off we went, and even though I was dropped on a climb with a few miles to go?

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The Dewey Cannon:

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Bike Museum!

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Journeyman Distillery

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So… Started easy, rode hard, lunch, rode easy, rode hard, finished easy.

A good day and I’m ready for dinner, a bonfire, s’mores, and some Ravenswood Rye!

One of the (unintended?) consequences of staying in “Beer City USA” is the post-zombie apocalypse feeling the streets have on a Saturday morning. Also, it’s on the western end of the Eastern time zone, so the sun wasn’t up until well after 7, when I went out in search of a good local cup of coffee.

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All the shops were closed, and all the people I saw on the streets were crazed (homeless or runners).

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So, this happened:

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Upon my return to the hotel, I met two members of a bridal party who were embarking on the same quest.

And then I was back at the Spoke Folks for the ride start.

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Here’s where we’re going:

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Here’s who I’m going with:

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Here’s a dog who did not want to take a selfie with me:

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Rousing speeches from a Grand Rapids council person and one of the Climate Ride founders:

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And off we went! I quickly felt the differences between the Sexy Beast and my new bike. The stem is too long, the handlebar tape not cushy enough… But I love the Shimano shifters, even with a slightly damaged lever.

First rest stop:

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Lunch:

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Afternoon water stop… And what water it was! My first glimpse of Lake Michigan:

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Something special is going on here today:

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Yup, gorgeous:

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Annnd we’re done and with 53+ miles on the Garmin? Michigan joins the DONE column!

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After a summer hiatus devoted to work and domesticity, I’m back on the bike and chasing down my last states.

June saw me take out North Dakota, and while I put in serious miles in Minnesota, I didn’t quite log in 50. That one gets its own post.

I’m heading back to the Midwest next weekend for Climate Ride Midwest, and promise some timely posts from Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois.

So, I’m at 36 and change, and will be almost to 40 a week from now.

The states that are still lurking out there:

Oklahoma
South Dakota
Iowa
Wisconsin
Florida
North Carolina
West Virginia
Pennsylvania
Ohio
Nebraska

I’m looking for epic rides in those states that DON’T involve a major fundraising component. I think my friends are all tapped out.

But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

I’m starting to understand why people just decide to ride cross-country. The logistics of my quest are proving more challenging than the riding itself.

On the plus side, I found a team for Saints to Sinners (or more accurately, they found me) and I have another two states (Utah and Nevada) on the schedule. I’m really excited about the event, the cause, the new experience of a relay!

On the minus side, I took too long debating about the Tour de Cure Fargo-Moorhead, and by the time I was ready to commit, the airfare was close to $1000 round-trip. Worse, the only other long rides I can find there conflict with existing rides on my schedule. I’ve found some bike-shop sponsored races, but they don’t have the mileage I need.

On the plus side, I found a few friendlier sites to search for rides on:
bikeride.com was always bookmarked, but their new format is friendlier.
gran fondo guide isn’t as comprehensive, but the focus on long, supported rides has done a lot of the editing for me.

On the minus side, I booked a flight for a Detroit gran fondo before I registered for the event… Which was re-scheduled for 2014. It’s a miracle that I could un-book my flight. It was almost a very expensive lesson.

On the plus side, my flights and hotels are booked for my Pacific Northwest excursions, and if I can just get a response from the ride organizer, I think I’m going to check off Alaska this month, too!

On the minus side, flights to the Midwest are hideously prohibitive. If anyone has frequent flier miles that they’re never going to use and would like to contribute to a good cause? Please let me know which airlines (and which causes you’d like me to ride for).