Day Four of DALMAC is always tough for me. I don’t want to be done, especially this year as it was the best DALMACs ever, but I’m glad for the day because the ride is epically beautiful. Some of the best scenery Michigan has to offer.
And so, with a semi-heavy heart, we rolled out of Boyne City high school for Mackinaw City, just 73 short miles away…
The morning was crisp and the forecast called for a windy, partly cloudy, cool ride. The second mile of the ride begins a miles-long climb out of Boyne City that culminates in a mile-long descent later on. We never made up the We enjoyed sunshine for much of the first 40 miles but the cloud cover increased as we headed north to our destination. There was lighthearted banter, periods of fast, periods of slow, and a lot of “up”.
We go off-course to do a series of rollers commonly known as the 7 Sisters along the shore of Walloon Lake, then pick it up again the Walloon Lake Country Club. The next big “this is so freaking incredible” sight is the Harbor Springs tour of the bay. Utterly gorgeous, and my favorite mile of the year.
After Harbor Springs, there’s a long climb out… followed by another climb… and another… and one more, still… but with all of that climbing comes a payoff; we call it The Chute, where we hit our top speed of the day, north of 40-mph. The Chute drops us onto South Lake Shore Drive, and it’s exactly what you’d expect from an epic road name like that along Lake Michigan’s coast that we call “The Tunnel of Trees”. It’s world famous.
We stop at Goodhart for a wonderful lunch before pounding out the last 30-ish miles to Mackinaw City. This year, that last hour and change was brutal, with a nasty headwind out of the northeast. Still, it’s a sight to behold.
We had two DALMAC rookies in our group this year, and they were both given the honor of leading the group home on the last mile. I captured them in the third photo, before drifting to the back to watch them take it to the finish line.
My wife, who has supported me on seven DALMACs and, as I wrote in a previous post, each one was always a self-centered affair for me. This year, as we approached the finish and my wife cheering us in, I pointed to the right to clear the lane and pulled my bike off onto the gravel shoulder. Once I hit grass, at full speed, I unclipped my left foot and skidded my bike to a stop just as I passed my wife. I unclipped the other foot and placed my bike on the ground to turn around to embrace her and plant the biggest kiss I thought she’d be able to stand after 74 hard miles. I hugged her tightly and thanked her for being there and told her, specifically, exactly how grateful I was.
Later, she said it was one of the sexier things I’ve done… especially the skid.
And so it was, another DALMAC in the books. We loaded up the bikes, along with Matt and Jonathan, and headed home. It was a perfectly awesome tour and weekend. 4 days, 372 miles, and a pile of fantastic memories.
Sure wish I could sleep in a tent better and have enough energy to ride 4 days, I miss riding the Dalmac so much.
That’s the trick, isn’t it? Either that or buy a camper and have Denise SAG you… that works, too! Still, there’s having to train to ride three centuries and 75 miles in four days, too…
Both our vehicles are to small for towing. Maybe next year???