The Assenmacher 100, commonly referred to as the A-100 now, was held yesterday to much fanfare and only the most hardcore of hardcore cyclists. The weather report for Sunday was terrible a whole week out. I can’t remember a weather forecast that sure of itself for a full week out in Michigan. The weather can change in ten minutes here, as we’re effectively a peninsula State. And change it did, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
The namesake to our ride retired from the main work party of putting the ride on a couple of years ago and my wife took up the title of ride director. As I’ve taken a new path in our marriage, this meant a lot of work for me over the weekend. Enough I actually didn’t feel like writing. Now, I’ve hit stretches where I didn’t have much to write about, but this was different. I simply had the “want to” worked right out of me. So, my apologies.
We worked until 11pm, about two hours past my bedtime, on Friday, till 6 Saturday, and I the rest of the day after the ride Sunday till 5:30.
When my wife and I finally crashed after Saturday’s marathon work session getting ready, the weather report was dismal. Thunderstorms in the morning, rain during the day, and more thunderstorms in the afternoon. Chucker and I talked about doing the 34-mile route in the rain and extending it if a miracle happened and the weather turned nice.
When we woke up in the morning, the forecast had the rain stopping at 6am, until 11am or noon. It’d be a wet start, but if we kept it to the 100k distance, we might escape the rain! It was a miracle! I readied the Trek as my wife headed off to the start/finish to set up. I packed my tools that could rust in my saddle bag in a Ziploc plastic bag, put my foldable rain vest in kit to go pile, pumped tires, filled water bottles, showered, shaved and got dressed.
It started raining at 6:30… a half-hour after it was supposed to have stopped. My heart sank. I started loading my car in the rain. I pulled out of the driveway and hit the windshield wipers.
However, as I headed west, the sky was unmistakably clearing up. I mile west of my house, the rain slowed. A mile later, it stopped. We were going to have a ride!
I knew, with the forecast still showing more thunderstorms at 1pm that I was going to stick to the 100k route and let that be known. I wanted to be back and under a tent eating Coney dogs when the rain hit! There were mentions of trying the 100-miler, but that would require a straight-up five hour 100-mile ride… no stops for a 20-mph average, or two stops if 22 was maintained.
We rolled out on wet roads, and I mean wet, at 8am. The roads were wet, but it wasn’t raining. I’ll trade eating a rooster tail or two for no rain, though.
The wet road says it all… along with the dirt tracks up Eli’s & Greg’s backsides.
The Trek was great all morning long. Perfect, really. It’s ready to go for DALMAC in a few weeks. I took the photos above at 25-mph. We had an awesome group. We reached the 35-mile mark and the turnoff for the 100k ride but only Dave and I turned. Out of everyone, just the two of us. Now, under normal circumstances, Dave would absolutely hammer me into the ground. I’d be a quivering, cramped heap on the side of the road. Fortunately, he’s not in full race shape because he’s been working too much… so we were actually pretty fairly matched up (for the most part – his turns up front were a lot longer than mine, but I took my lumps, too).
We kept the pace between 20 & 24 and hammered for home.
In Lennon, with a 21+mph average, I started cramping. Having ridden the tandem so much, I climb most hills in the saddle on my single bike out of habit, now. The first time I realized I was doing this, on a short incline into town, I got out of the saddle to amble up the little hill and my legs protested mightily. So much that I immediately announced to Dave I was cramping up and would be slowing it up. I grabbed a gel out of my back pocket and fired it down.
I didn’t back down but I did get dropped on the way in. I caught him at a long stoplight right before the finish, though, and finished with a bit of a pep in my step, crossing the finish line to cheers and a massive smile from my wife, who panted a massively awesome kiss on me. Now that’s how to finish a ride!
64 miles in 3h:05m
I drove home after having some lunch and showered up, then headed back to volunteer for the rest of the day. We didn’t see another drop of rain till we’d been home for an hour. The 100-milers never saw a drop of rain. I still have a tinge of guilt for not riding the full distance.
Yup ended up with a nice ride, I didn’t sleep to well Saturday night thinking about what was coming, but I was going to ride whatever weather.
You made your decision and stuck with your gut. Life’s too short for regrets 🙂
Great post! You started off with “no way I could write anything” but ended up with an absorbing and exciting tale that had me gripped to the end. Perfect!