This year we opted to stay in Boyne City instead of Petosky, where we stayed last year. The ride starts and ends in Boyne City, so we would be able to just ride to the start, and our hotel was really close to the finish. Again, Kent, Valerie, and Austin were meeting us up there, along with couples Maria and Bill, and Mindy and Eric. Its been really cool that Eric started working with Kent, because I met Mindy and Eric in 2011 at Muncie, and its been really fun to have more mutual friends with them and I can see them more often this way. Also, Stephanie and Brian, who babysat me through this event last year were returning, and Kristel who has been a friend for a long time, with a different group of friends. Our hotel wasn't anything special, but Ryan debuted his new wheels here.
We checked into our hotel and walked around downtown Boyne City for a bit. We got our packets picked up and walked over the Kent and Valerie's hotel for our carbo loading dinner with Austin, Bill, and Maria. They had a fabulous rental condo on Lake Charlevoix, and Bill and Maria had a unit there too. We all pitched in and contributed to a super yummy meal with pasta, meat sauce, tomato and mozzarella salad, bread, and brownies for dessert. We ate on the beach, and it was just absolutely fantastic to just be hanging out with friends. I didn't even care if I rode the next day or not. It was just so perfect!!! This is the view from the beach outside Valerie's condo
The next morning we got up and got ready to roll. We couldn't find Mindy and Eric before our group rolled out. There was a huge group of Wolverines here, it was a major ride for the club. I definitely stuck out in my pink gear and TT bike. Kristel saw the first wave of Wolverines head out and thought she missed us, when really we didn't start until about the third group, so I didn't get to see her before. The ladies:
Bill and Maria
We got started, and from the beginning I was off. I was uncomfortable. I had a huge bandage on my arm and my wrists hurt every time I had to shift, which was a lot. I couldn't hang out in aero, which was more comfortable with my wrists, since I was constantly falling off the back. The decision point for the 50k vs the 100k was pretty early, about 17 miles. Initially I wished it was further along, but by the first rest stop, I was a disaster. I was so frustrated. I hurt, and I hated that I couldn't keep up at all. Ryan was hanging back with me, and I was letting it bother me. Valerie was ready to call the SAG people to get me because I was in tears when she asked me how I was doing. I hated it. I didn't want to ride anymore but I didn't want to quit and fail again. Valerie was worried about me riding on my own after the turn off point for my ride. I was not. I was eager to be by myself and not stress about pacelines or other riders too close to me. I train so much by myself that I just needed to not worry about other people and try to enjoy the scenery. I assured everyone that I was OK, had a working cell phone, and my cue sheet with SAG contact info. I was able to push hard for the next couple miles until we separated. I said my goodbyes, which really really sucked for me. I didn't like that I wasn't able to ride with my friends, but I knew that it was the best decision, and I could at least finish the ride, even it if wasn't the distance I wanted to do. I was listening to my body and my doctor.
It was pretty lonely out there, but quiet and I did see a few others out there. Most of the people doing the shorter route were starting later in the morning, but there was only a really short section that I was doing that wasn't part of the route that everyone did at the end. There was a rest stop that should have been at mile 90 or so was at mile 25ish for me. I stopped, had a sandwich, and talked with a few of the other riders. My wrists and arm really hurt, and I just needed a break from being uncomfortable. One of the guys who stopped was a nurse, and tried to provide me some assurance that if I needed anything he could help me on the remainder of the ride. Really, what I wanted was a Tylenol 3 to be waiting for me at the finish, and he couldn't prescribe me one, and I left my pain only pills at home. I had been fine without them for over a week, but that was just doing indoor riding with no road vibration or bike handling. I left the stop a little behind him, and talked with a few girls that rode up. I thought about riding with them, but the funny thing was that even though I wasn't fast enough to hang with my friends (who are way hardcore cyclists), I was still stronger than most of the people that showed up to do the shorter route.
"The Wall" was the big hill that I still was able to do with the shorter route. It is an 18% grade hill that is preceded by a long gradual uphill. It is at mile 98 or something of the 160k route, so the very end. I made it up last year, not quite with ease, but I was determined to be strong and not walk. It was Valerie's goal to make it up "the wall" this year, as she didn't the first year, and had a mechanical last year that caused her limited use of her gears, so this was going to be her year to do it. I should have tried to get back later in the day to see her do it in hindsight. This year, I was able to do it easier than last year, because I was obviously more fresh, and experiencing a different kind of pain this time around. I passed the male nurse going up the steepest part, which I am sure was irritating to him. He made sure to pass me like I was going backwards on the downhill though. I'm small, so I don't go down very fast!!!!
I stopped to take a picture of these awesome mowers. I want one, but I doubt I would be able to mow the lawn any straighter.
I finished up with an average 16.6mph, which is fabulous for me! It was one of the faster rides I did outside this year. I was very pleased since I went over 35 miles and had 1600ft of elevation!
After the ride, I did a 3 mile run, with a 8min/mi average. It was pretty flat where I ran, and I just ran along the lake. It was really nice, and I had a ton of time to burn. I ran past some of the girls I passed on the route, and they asked if I ever got tired. Well, it was a strange feeling to finish a ride and still have very fresh legs. It was mostly my arms that couldn't take it. Ryan was texting me updates about his location so I could be there at the finish. I enjoyed checking out Boyne City and did a lot of window shopping before heading to watch everyone finish up.
Ryan at the end, above, and with me, below
Valerie and Kent
Austin, Kent, and Valerie
Kristel and I
Mindy and Eric
Mindy and I
We hung out at the finish area a while once everyone finished up. Kristel actually met up with Eric and Mindy on the course, despite doing different routes. Eric and Mindy did the full 200k, while everyone else did the 160k. Valerie was victorious going up the wall, and Kent has the video of it. It doesn't quite do the steepness justice, though.
We enjoyed some awesome ice cream, got some pop from a gas station, and then we had dinner out at a restaurant right in Boyne with the same crew from last night, plus Mindy and Eric. My burger was huge, and I could barely put a dent in it. The group convinced Eric and Mindy to crash in Kent and Valerie's condo, since they had stayed pretty far away the night before, and it was just too late for them to drive back. We had a good breakfast with them before heading back to Canton.
It was really a fabulous weekend. I am so glad I rode. It was really such a blessing that I was out there able to be riding in the first place. I had a bit of fear going in, and although I struggled with the beginning, I had a strong finish and a great time overall. We decided that we all need to do this again, but skip the ride! However, I don't think this group of people would be capable of going on a vacation like this and not riding.
Also, the kids had a fabulous time with their Nana and Papa, and we had a small birthday party for Keira once we returned to Canton with her cousins. I have so much to be thankful for!