This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Michigan Mountain Mayhem

This past weekend I was able to attend the third Michigan Mountain Mayhem.  Now the mountains we have in Michigan are not the big ole impressive kind you find along the continental divides.  They are more like a series of ridges along the western side of the state.  The elevation rarely exceeds 1500 ft but the roads navigating the these "big hills" provide some pretty consistent climbing.  There are 10 climbs which range between 12 and 29 percent grades and the entire 200 kilometer route compiles 10,000 feet of climbing and descents.  It can be brutal.  The second event was held in 2011 and brought nasty cold temperatures and thunderstorms.  It was miserable, there were universal complaints, everybody was cold the after party on the lake shore was a flop (few came) and this year the event sold out 1000 spots in less than a week after registration was open.  We're glutons for punishment I guess.
This year the weather was perfect.  There was little wind, sunshine everywhere, the temps started around 55 and topped 80 degrees in the afternoon.  The event is held in Boyne City near the Boyne Mountain Ski Resort and is one of the better 3 day events I have attended.  Registration opens on Friday in the quaint downtown shopping district of this little lakeside resort town.
There are four designated routes:50,100, 126 and 200 kilometer routes.  The Sag support and rest stops are great and the camaraderie is unlike any other ride.  It's one great granfalloon full of people testing their limits on these continual hills.  I rode the new Hillborne and received encouragement from well meaning people who thought I must be suffering with an antique gas-pipe cruiser.  When I explained the bike to one gentleman who said he "admired my courage,"  he became jealous and wished he'd made the same choice.
Although the hills were challenging, I made no attempt to "attack" the course.  Took my time, rode in comfort and, unlike many of my lycra clad compatriots with their carbon fiber jewels, I rode, not walked, up every hill.  A lot of spandex hamsters passed me early on the 100k course, complimenting me on the pretty bike and asking how old it was.  I passed a lot of them after the lunch stop, while they struggled along or walked the hills and complained of cramping.
I took my time at the rest stops, and had a great time talking to everybody.  I didn't even think of taking the timing chip offered, who needs the distraction, or the extra grams, or the aerodynamic drag?  I did what was comfortable and just survived.  One woman worked like crazy to catch me on a mild ascent and breathlessly asked if I had a screwdriver. 
 I answered: "Yes, do you need some help?"
She said, "I want you to punch out both my tires, this has to stop!"
There were some really remarkable riders out there.  Two younger guys tackled the 50K course on these unicycles, both ss fixies with 36 inch wheels.  Those guys had guts!
Another gentleman (and I regret not getting a photo) and his blind friend took on the course on a tandem.
They are a testimony to true friendship and seeing them together made the trip worthwhile.
A group of us took off together about 8:15, they darted ahead on their much faster bikes, I was relaxing with seagulls at the finish and eating nachos and beer before 3pm.  I figure I was in the saddle around 5 hours total for an average speed of 20KPH/12.5MPH give or take.  That's close enough for me.  After showering and changing I went back to the finish for more food, beer and music.  I whiled away the evening, lying in the shade, listening to people complain about their times, the shoulda, coulda, next year, so on and so on while I watched a cloud formation spread out in thin whisps looking like a sperm whale in the sky before dozing off.
I'm not sure how many were competing, against themselves or others.
I wasn't.  I woke up in the morning without an ache or a pain.
I feel like I won.


  1. It looks like you won to me. Brilliant ride report, and an even more brilliant approach to enjoying an outing on a bicycle. Bravo!

    1. Pondero,
      thanks for the compliments and for reading.