Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dalmac 2009 Day 4

One on the best things about Dalmac is the opportunity to make it your own Dalmac. You don't like sleeping in a Tent? Get a hotel. You can't ride the whole distance?, start and end when you want. You can bring your family for your private SAG. You don't like the camp food, eat wherever you want. You can ride by yourself, or with a large group. In 2007 Aaron and I customized our experience and ended our Dalmac in Cross Village. I am so glad we did because I was spent. This year, I was determined to finish and I did not let the chance to suck down a cold beer a few hours early stop me from making it to Mackinaw. Now that Aaron and I were on the same page, we could begin our last day of the Dalmac.

Today, was our day to connect with the 5 Day riders. It was also our day to pay our line dues. I love standing in line. I learn a lot about people. At breakfast a woman in front of me likes the 4 day east ride better than the 4 day west ride. I assumed by the size of her container of chamois cream, the west was more difficult than the east ride.

The best part of today was the fact that we took it easy and enjoyed northern Michigan. Wallon Lake was amazing in the morning light, the Sun was just just beginning to warm the air that we were riding in. When we got to Harbor Springs. The five day survivors had formed a line around the Port-o-potty's I got the chance to wait in line for what seemed like a fair bit. I learned that the some of my line buddy's had made it the 9 miles to Harbor Springs safely.
We rode to Mackinaw city without any issues. We we passing a lot more people than normal. Arron wasn't saying much as usual. I keep asking him the same question to see if I could annoy him. When that didn't work, I just asked the same question different every time. after two hours I gave up, Aaron is just un-flappable.
A thousand bags in waiting is what we found in Mackinaw City. We averaged 14.7 mph. We rode for 4 hours and fifty four minutes. This Dalmac is the one I will remember. I want to thank every one that made my trip possible. And the list is long. Aaron, Jen, Greg, Andy, Dr. C. I am grateful for everything this year, Dick, Tony, Tim thanks for the pick-up, Thank you, Dad for the Inspiration, and last but not least, Bill and Mimi for the hospitality and the best view on lake Michigan!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

2009 Dalmac Day 3

My first Dalmac was in 2001, I was surprised I finished that one. I remember the morning we left Lake City, the temperature was just over freezing. This year it was much closer to 50 when we rolled out of Lake City. Aaron woke me up at 6:10. I know because he told me, and it didn't feel like 6:10. I had not heard one tent zipper yet! I crawled out of my tent to find Aaron ready to go with his tent down and gear packed up. I knew a early start would be good for our 91 mile day . It was very quiet as we walked into the school. I was surprised to see that a line had not formed yet. I found some coffee and started to drink it. After about 20 minutes, I realized that they were late getting breakfast ready. I went for my second cup. By now Tony and Kerry had sat down. Aaron was telling me he had been up since 4:30 A.M. packing up. Just then, I looked at the clock on the wall and noticed it was 6:05. I asked Aaron what time he had, "it's 6:50. he said" I said "thanks for waking me up at 5:20 Aaron, fix your watch."

Tony, Aaron and I left Lake City at around 7:20. It was cold, foggy and dark. I turned on my frog LED and let it blink all morning. It is very hilly in Missaukee county. I took it easy knowing that the "Wall" was in our Future. We caught up with Dick south of Kalkaska. I never got to thank Dick for getting a flat. It was the best flat I never had. Greg and Andy flew by us while we were having a Flat Luau on the side of the road.

My absolute favorite stop on Dalmac is Dockside on the Clam River. Torch Lake is known by people that have never seen it as the third most beautiful lake in the world. Once you have seen Torch Lake it becomes your number one. Greg, Andy, Aaron and Dick enjoyed our lunch. and headed out knowing we had 40 miles to go. Aaron and I were quickly dropped before we reached Bellaire. We caught up with Dick in Bellaire. The hills become much longer and higher as we approach Lake Charlevoix.

Aaron and I got addicted to Cliff Blocks during our summer training rides. Aaron liked to keep them in his back pocket. On one of our downhill runs I noticed they were about to fall out. When I mentioned this to Aaron he was not concerned. On the very next downhill Aaron informed me his blocks had been dispersed across the road, he sounded gitty when he told me that the blocks bounced. He said they were sucked from his pocket because of the incredible speed he had achieved just moments before.

As we rode into East Jordon, I knew what was ahead. I keep pointing and saying. "their it is, Aaron" Aaron had told me he was not going to ride into Mackinaw City. I said "I am riding to Mackinaw with or with out you." Then after the dramatic pause I said "your going to finish with me!" As we approached the "Wall" Aaron told me he planned on walking up the "Wall" I had been thinking the same thing. We stopped short of the steepest part of the wall. I wanted to make the wall. I have rode up twice and walked up twice. I decided I would rather ride up than walk this year. It felt good to make it. What no one knows is the fact that I had the Seven built for the Dalmac and the "Wall". The Seven was built with a drive line that could take a 190# dude mashing the pedals up hill. The Seven was as stiff as any Klein mountain bike I have owned.

I love Boyne City! I was looking forward to our stop. We took the Boyne Mountain Shuttle into town. Greg and I had a beer on the deck of the BRI and Aaron had something lighter. We enjoyed fish tacos at the Red Mesa. I knew that this was going to be my best Delmac with one day to go.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dalmac 2009 Day 2

Any experienced Dalmac rider knows the weather forecast. I had been paying close attention to the NOAA web site for a week. Flying in from D.C. limited my choice of gear for the ride. I knew it was going to be cold the morning of our second day. Unfortunately, I could not bring my very comfortable North Face sleeping bag. My plan was to borrow one from my friend Aaron. When we got to Vestaburg, I remembered 24 hours to late to ask for that sleeping bag.

Aaron and I often refer to our 2007 Dalmac because of the painful and memorable experience it gave us. On the third day of our 2007 ride, Aaron walked over to my camp chair with a OMG! look on his face. He asked me how good of friends we were? I was like "what do you want?" Arron then told me a story that we still laugh about today. He colorfully described something he witnessed in the bathroom only minutes before. A man asked another "how good of friends are we?" The other man said "I think we are very good friends, why?" The man then asked if his friend would look at something for him? Arron thought those two men must have been real good friends if one was willing to give the other the weather report from Uranus, if you know what I mean! Anytime, I want to get Aaron to laugh I ask him "How good of friends are we?

This year, when I asked Aaron If he had a sleeping bag for me he said he had something better and handed me a blanket. Two days later, I found out it was his only blanket. Aaron did something for me most of my friends would have said "you are going to Freeze tonight!" The next time Aaron asks me "How good of friends are we?" I will reply, the best!

It got down to 43 degrees and when we started our ride it was about 47. I was telling Aaron how cold I was and I needed to warm up inside. the Coffee was good and I was looking forward to the ride. We ate breakfast with Tony and we talked about riding together. As we were getting ready to leave, our friend Dick from Day 1 rode up. No one wanted to wait for Greg and Andy because of the punishment from yesterday. I have ridden with Greg a lot, It doesn't matter who else is on the tandem Greg is always fast.

We rode all morning at a good 16mph average and I think Greg and Andy caught us at about 40 miles out. We stopped for lunch in Lake George. It was 11 am and we were feeling good with 40 miles to go. Because today was going to be a 90 mile day I didn't want to go over 16mph in the afternoon. We all agreed to stop in Falmouth for Ice cream. Aaron was complaining a little. As the hills got bigger I got slower. The group got split up on Forward.

The best thing about the ride today was the light and variable wind. In 2001, 2002, and 2007 wind was always a factor. Aaron and I stuck together and were the last in our group to roll into Falmouth. We found Tony and Dick resting and eating Ice Cream Bars. I was surprised how tired everyone looked. I had been saving my energy all day. I was looking forward to the last 10 miles. We rested a little more for our push into Lake City.

Aaron was tired, and I could tell I was pulling him into camp. I pushed hard to see if I could drop him. No chance, he was stuck like glue. It was great to have a tent service this year. The worst part about the service is how it separated our group. I didn't get the time to talk with Greg as much as I wanted to. The air mattress made me forget about talking to anyone.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dalmac 2009 Day 1

I left the Dalmac staging area with Aaron around 8am, we met up with Greg and Andy on the tandem. As Aaron found out, The first day of Dalmac is typically fast, but chasing a tandem is painful.
When Aaron and I rode the Dalmac in 2007, we went our own pace.
This year we had a full-on mini peloton to draft.

With-in minutes of starting our ride Aaron lost his cycle computer wire to his front wheel. He had no idea we were cruising at 19mph.
My blog has followed our training for the season. Aaron has been good for a 16mph average for about 22 miles. This would explain why he was tired after lunch in Perrinton, MI.

We rolled into Vestaburg, MI at 1:30p.m. We were on our bikes for 4hours and 30 minutes. We averaged 15.7 mph for the day.