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Daily Archives: August 3, 2015

Michigan Mountain Mayhem – Boyne City, Michigan. Recap, Review and Rehash… Part Deux – The Conclusion

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Had I given up, I never would have seen this...

We rolled out from the rest area and I was absolutely pumped.  Hydrated, fed and in the group… 

The scenery, when I had time to actually look, was absolutely stellar.  The climbs were intense and the descents were a blast, with only one that required brakes because of choppy pavement.  All but one or two were straight shots where I tucked, hit escape velocity, and just let gravity do the work.  My top speed was a non-earth-shattering 42 mph.  Still, 42 is all kinds of fun.

A dozen or so miles into it I noticed that Chuck,  normally a mountain goat of epic proportions, was struggling up some of the hills…  Then I noticed he had three gears left on his cassette.  Turned out,  his rear derailleur was smoked – specifically his barrel adjuster wouldn’t thread.  At the next rest stop we got it tightened down enough that he had up to is last two gears.  Then he shifted on a downhill and lost a gear going back up… 

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We rolled on, climb after descent, descent after climb over some of the most beautiful roads I’ve ever ridden on under blue skies, with only a minor wind…  It was a perfect bike ride. 

Then Chuck’s derailleur started slipping again.  Then the wind picked up… and at 50 miles so did the climbs.  See, Kentucky was cool because that was mostly rollers.  We could let the speed from a down help us with the up.  In northern Michigan,  the hills are steeper, a lot longer and further in between.  One of the funniest parts of the ride were the optical illusion climbs, there were maybe four or five.  I was cruising, thinking we were on flat ground, only to run out of gears in the big ring…  I’d look at the computer and see a whopping 14 mph staring back at me.

Then we hit Brutus road.  Seriously, dude.  Brutus Road.  The guys were talking about it on the run up.  Then we turned and looked at the hill.  “Underwhelming” is a great word for it.  Then we started up the hill.  Rather than just hammer up the exceptionally steep but short hill I stayed with the guys.  Halfway up I was all good.  I put my head down for the last twenty pedal strokes, just looking maybe ten feet in front of me.  I kept grinding…  And grinding…  Then I looked up and what should have been ten feet to the summit, stretched out forever.  And ever.  I have no idea how long that hill was, but it looked like a quarter-mile from the bottom and we climbed for better than ten minutes and it passed 15% in more than a couple of spots.  Brutus was right.  I have no idea how Chuck made it up without his granny gear.  I’ve got some big respect for that guy after that.  I spent so much time in my granny gear, I was about to ask for a walker.

Just shy of the top I started cramping up.  Guessing,  that was at around mile 68.  From there it was almost entirely downhill for almost ten miles.  Then a rest stop, refill of the bottles (one Heed, one Gatorade), a banana half, half a PB&J and a pickle.  Oh, and a Hammer apple and cinnamon gel (it tastes like frickin’ apple pie, best gel ever). 

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Dude, that's steeper than it looks...

Then came mile 82…  We started up the hill and quickly worked down to the little ring, call it mid-way through the cassette.  Out of the corner of my eye, way up and to the right, I saw cyclists creeping up a hill… a biggun’.  A right turn and we were down to 8 mph, in the granny gear, out of the saddle.  My legs, thankfully, stopped cramping about halfway up and just kinda went numb.  I could still feel the cramps in my quads, they just didn’t hurt.  The sensation was mildly disconcerting, but I’ll take that over full-on cramps any day of the week.  Later, after the ride, I found out that Phill actually got down to two miles an hour, without stopping or falling over. 

We finally crested and I was cooked.  Smoked, stick a fork in me.  Fortunately,  it was downhill again and I had some time to regroup.  Six or seven smaller rollers and I was close enough to smell the food at the finish.  Nine miles to go…  And one. Last. Climb.  It sucked but I hammered it out, and then the two mile descent back into Boyne City.  35 mph to start, dropping to an easy 30 as we rolled into town. Too bad a cop wasn’t there to zap us for speeding. 

Coolest thing was Mrs. Bgddy at the finish line whooping it up as we rolled in. 

Our average was 16.7 mph over the full 105.3 miles…  For guys who can throw down a 20 on more reasonable terrain.

The lunch/dinner was awesome cycling fare – pizza, salad, brats, and fruit.  I ate a lot, my friends were a bit more reasonable.  After lunch, we mounted our bikes and rolled out to the high school a little more than a mile away. 

We helped my friends pack up, showered and headed home.  Best time evah.

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