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A Man, A Kid, His Bike And A Quest


August 2012

I had nothing going on this morning.  Nowhere to be for three hours and I’d never gone on a bike quest in my state. Matt likes to say about his long Sunday rides when asked where he’s going, “I’m going to walk out the door in the morning, find out which way the wind is blowing and I’ll head into it”. The only time I’d ever done that was down in the mountains of Georgia and North Carolina… That was not to be the case after today. I was going on a quest – to climb, to assault my legs, to get them to a point where I could say, “shut up legs”!  I’ve never done that, gone on a ride without a set route that to follow. I knew where I wanted to go, but it was a highly irregular path and my only plan was to ride more than 50.  I also decided before i left… No average speed, no lap times, calorie counts or worrying about how many ounces of water I’d consumed… I was just going for a ride. I did track the ride with Endomondo, but the sound was off.

Now if you know your geography, and that I live in southeastern Michigan, you know there are no mountains to climb. So how does one climb when there are no mountains?  How can one assault one’s legs on what amounts to just a bit more than rollers?  One goes to where the hills are concentrated and as they come up, one climbs those hills three gears higher than one would normally climb them. Instead of slowing going up a hill, one picks up speed. I actually got the idea from the way I run. I attack the hills and let gravity pull me downhill to recover from the effort… This way, while everyone is suffering up the hills, I’m picking up the pace – and smiling.  I figured why can’t I do that on my bike?

So off I went, to climb the hills that gave me fits in the last 20 miles of the Tour des Lacs – twice.

Chilly Start- Low 60’s

I hit every hill I could find on the way out to The Preserve golf community on Old-23 and I climbed every one of them three gears higher than I felt comfortable with.  On some I’d hit the crest with a nice head of steam, on others I misjudged and was in too high a gear so I did what I could to muscle through.

Then there were the sweet descents. Often I was too gassed to really fly down the hills but I didn’t care. I had the satisfaction of the climbs that stretched a smile across my face as I descended.

I turned around when I started getting tired, stopping by the running club for a quick bite before heading home… I shut the tracking software down at 50 miles and took it easy for the last mile and some, happily wiped out.

In the end I climbed 1,300 feet… Not much unless you consider that we’re close to pancake flat where I live… Final total for the last 7 days: 249.5 miles – not too shabby, well I’m happy with it.

After getting home, showering and getting a bite to eat, we headed back down to hang out at the running club – for a dip in the lake. The cool nights have chilled the water but it sure felt good on my legs.



  1. elisariva says:

    Sounds like a great day. What I would do for a few pancake flat rides though!

    • bgddyjim says:

      It’s kind of funny how that works, isn’t it? Two months ago I’d have checked myself for a fever if I’d written that post, but there it is… I got used to flat so now I look for hills, you’re used to hills so you wish for flat.

      I was glad for the ride though, it was a lot of fun.

  2. aaronwest says:

    We call those hill jams, and they are great training. Some people here will train this way in rolling hills, then go to the mountains for a race. Keep it up and you’ll get stronger quick.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thanks man… I’m going to make that a regular thing, I had a blast. Can’t wait to come back down next summer.

      Good luck in France, trip of a lifetime… It doesn’t get any better than that.

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