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Cycling Sabbatical Day Three: Saving the Best for Last

May 2018
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Wednesday was to be our final hoorah in Boyne City, the last day of our cycling sabbatical to Boyne City, Michigan. We’d originally planned on a 40 miler on Monday and 100k’s for Tuesday and Wednesday. We were, all three of us, spent after Tuesday, though so when Chuck announced he’d come up with a good 40 miler for our last day, I was a little bummed and a lot relieved. I figured I’d be hurtin’ for certain so, with a heavy heart, I said, “Cool with me”.

We rolled out early so we’d make it back for our checkout from the campground, but with the understanding (between Chuck and I) that we’d go for a bit of an adventure and go off-route for a bit. We left Mike out of the loop, or more correctly we didn’t exactly explain what was going to happen, because Mike has, historically, freaked out when we deviate from a planned route unless he knows exactly where he is. Let’s say he vociferously sticks to routes and cue sheets.

Mike and I are flatlanders. I like to climb when the opportunity presents itself, but where we live, the opportunity doesn’t present itself much. Chuck, who travels extensively, is a mountain goat, no two ways about it.

It was chilly out, about 45° (7 C), too cold to go without arm warmers. We did, however, opt to forego the knee warmers because the trick was just staying warm for the first ten miles – unlike the day before, we weren’t shedding the arm warmers after the first climb, though.

The wind was mild all day and the sun was amazing… and we hit every hill that we’d missed the previous two days. Scofield Road (East Jordan), Old State Road… and we went off-route and got a little bit lost. Not bad enough that we couldn’t find our way back with the help of Google Maps, but bad enough that we had to turn around and go back the way we cam – which also meant we got to go down Old State Road which was spectacular.

We saved the Wall for last, just north of East Jordan. It’s a three-mile climb to it, then something like a quarter-mile, topping out at 18%. It’s a monster of a hill and one I walked the first time I did it. I had the Trek (and its triple) this time, though. It was some effort (I re-split both of my thumbs gripping onto the hoods) but I muscled up that sucker. I was about half-way up, thinking, “man, this sucks! I’m gonna walk”. Then, “What are you thinking?! Get your ass up that hill”… and so I did.

The last ten miles were over a bunch of rollers, some quite steep, but the major work was done. We rolled into Boyne City and stopped at a bakery down by the water for a coffee and a white chocolate and raspberry scone. We had a passerby snap one last picture of our motley crew…

We ended up with sixty-one and a half miles in just over 4 hours and over 3,000 feet of up. If I remember correctly top speed was right around 45 miles per hour.

It was a perfect cycling sabbatical. Good friends, good weather, good times and great laughs.


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