Monday, September 6, 2010

Traverse City Extravaganza Part II

My vacation in Traverse City is reaching its end. I like it here but I am glad I wasn't raised in TC because if I were, any other place I lived from that point on would seem a little, I don't know, ordinary.

As always, Tom and Tammy were the perfect hosts.

Thursday I rode with the Cherry Capital Cycling Club near the VASA trails. Don led the group on unmarked trails. He picked out an amazing route. It is encouraging to ride with an older man who isn't afraid to go down, a couple times actually. It was a leisurely pace until it got dark and we turned on our lights, then they flew, or maybe I am just slow in the dark, either way I struggled to keep up. I missed a turn off and when I got to a straight away I realized I was alone. I accepted the fact that some hunter was going to fine my lost, frozen corpse in November but Don came back and shepherded me towards our group, very kind indeed, typical of everyone I met this weekend.

Renee and Randy came up late Thursday. Friday I wanted to show them where Don had taken us the night before but I knew I would get lost. We rode the normal VASA trail and I got lost, not because I am an idiot because even an idiot couldn't get lost on perhaps the best marked trail ever but because I tend to get lost in my own thoughts. Often I end up back at the trail head and have little or no memory of the previous hour. It's a problem for sure. I made a wrong turn Friday and met back up with them at the truck.

Saturday we did the Logsplitter Challenge. I am legally required to give Diane Ursu credit for this picture; however, somehow through lighting and other tomfoolery, she manipulated this image to imply it was much more pleasant outside than it really was. The weather held out for my previous two rides; however, Saturday looked bad. Right before the race started the sun came out, so quickly and so dramatically that as I walked into the bathroom, someone walked out, looked up, and asked: "How long was I in there?" This was fortunate because the extent of my winter riding gear was a set of foot warmers apparently left in my bag from the Iceman last year. It rained towards the end of the race but by then my tolerance for pain was way up.

I didn't really want to do this race. I planned on subtly talking Renee and Randy out of it but before I could plant this seed, Randy mentioned that Bob was coming up to do the race too. With three people planning on racing I kept my mouth shut. It was a good race, well marked and a fun atmosphere. My goal was to finish in the middle of the pack. I finished 29th out of 58. Mission accomplished I guess. I met Ali and Di at the race. I was kind of star struck actually.

The best part of the weekend was riding with Emilie and her girlfriends. When Em was young we often rode single track on our tandem. She was fearless and loved it but as she got older she lost interest in riding, that's fine, she is her own person. As soon as we got on the trail Sunday, Em said her braces were cold. She must have been smiling. Sweet.

The VASA trail was a little long for three adolescent girls so I took them on a short cut, and got lost. Getting lost with three giddy girls (four if you count Renee) isn't a problem, it's an adventure. We ended up on a road that dead ended at an oil pump. Renee and the girls climbed up. Irresponsible but fun. Most fun has an element of irresponsibility.

Em followed me on the trail. I would give advice but I was careful not to sound like I was telling her what to do. I suggested she look where she wanted to go, not at the sand and roots and rocks. Em thought about this for a minute and said: "That would be a good quote for life, 'look where you want to go, not at the obstacles'." That is exactly what I would have said if I was just a little more clever than I am.

Kevin, my original riding partner from 1990-something and the person who introduced me to mountain biking, happened to be in Traverse City this weekend too. He brought his bike and google Earth maps of the Iceman course. We met Monday and did half the Iceman. For the third ride this weekend, the rain held off until after we were done riding and had the bikes loaded up. An excellent way to end an excellent holiday.


  1. I love that her braces were cold from smiling! Nice to meet you + your friends...still jealous about that prize Renee won at the snowshoe race! :)

  2. What she said! :-D Okay, I'm cheating by referring to Ali's comment.

    I plan to get the Logsplitter photos up, next week, so you'll have proof that you were there. ;-)