This just up on Cycling Michigan: Alpena Community College 65 Mile Loop around Hubbard Lake – One of my favorite “up north” towns – the sweet smell of cedar is so prevalent up there, it’s simply amazing. This is also the first post on my Northeast Lower Peninsula page.
I figured it was time to take care of the northeastern coast of the lower peninsula. Where the west coast is modernized and expensive, the much of Michigan’s “up north” east coast, from Tawas to Alpena, looks as though time for got to bring it along – and my friends, that is a very good thing. I vacationed with my parents extensively along the east coast and was amazed – amazed – at how it still looked how I remembered it all those years ago after visiting Oscoda this last fall.
Sadly, I have not ridden this route yet – I pulled it from routes near Alpena (a childhood stomping ground 40 years ago – my grandparents on my mom’s side lived there) on Ride With GPS. I’ll be hitting it, hopefully, later this summer. If you find yourself in Michigan’s up north east coast, enjoy the land that time…
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The last few weeks has been a bit rough in Michigan. It’s been cold, then seasonable, then cold again… I just haven’t had a drive to get outside to ride. I start thinking about how cold it’ll be and I just cave to the trainer. Then, my superstar daughter had a big Metro’s swim meet Wednesday, a glorious day by all standards. I wouldn’t have missed that, so I didn’t get home till 6 that evening. Trainer again.
As luck would have it, I had to check up on a job we’ve got only 13 minutes from my house, so I was home early, even though I technically didn’t miss any work time. It was decent out, call it the mid-40’s (7 C), but I still envisioned being cold so I hesitated. I was just about to jump on the trainer when the thought struck me; riding the trainer is freaking nuts. I suited up, changed my rear wheel, and headed out the door.
I was glad to be outside within a tenth of a mile. Wind at my back, 23-mph spinning easy… then a crosswind for a couple of miles at 20 followed by another leg of tailwind. I was alone, with an out-the-door target speed of 17-mph, figuring I’d lose some when I had the wind, which wasn’t light, in my face. The goal, after my interval session the day before, was just to enjoy a nice ride on my Trek.
My first mile into the wind was a little ugly – it was one of those headwinds that won’t allow you to coast or soft-pedal downhill. I checked my clock as I rounded the corner, doing some quick math… 3:10 per mile, ten or twelve miles to go… I chose twelve miles with the bonus lap, knowing I’d be cutting it close, but not caring. I was feeling it, and it was glorious.
The rest of the ride wasn’t exactly grin-inducing, but it sure wasn’t bad, either. The two mile stretch into the wind in the last four had me questioning my fitness a little bit, but I managed to power through it and pulled into the driveway with an 18.4-mph average. A little over my target speed, but not my target intensity – which means good things for the season.
Now, back to the Title; my pitch for ditching the trainer. I’ve been pushing hard gears on the trainer all winter long and it’s obviously going to mean a fun spring. However, I tend to wake up a little on the sore side. Sometimes, I’m so sore it wakes me up and I can’t fall back to sleep without taking a Motrin first. Until this morning. I woke up with a spring in my step. No pain, no soreness, no tightness. I felt like my joints had all been lubed up while I slept… I rode harder and for twenty minutes longer outside yesterday. Oh, and I spent the whole rest of my evening last night with a smile on my face, thinking about how lucky I am to be me.
I never feel that good after a trainer ride.
Whatever it is, and I’m not even going to bother with a guess, “Thank you, sir. May I have another?” Well, maybe not today. It’s currently snowing. We’re a hearty people.