Dalmac 2016

A View From the Other Side – The End of My first DALMAC #dalmac2016

Dalmac 2016My final day in the DALMAC was short but so sweet. As I rode through Mackinaw City the sun was rising over the lake. And then there is the great big Weiner at Weinerlicious that grabs everyone’s attention. It was a mild and quiet morning riding through Nicollete Street toward I-75 and the Mackinaw Bridge. Only registered DALMAC riders are allowed to bike across the bridge in the short window that it is open for the riders. I rode up and showed my wristband and was waived onto the biking lane. We are not allowed to stop for pictures so I took one of the early morning over the straits of Mackinaw and one of the best inclines EVER!

Dalmac 2016I have walked the Bridge on Labor Day several times but have never tried to ride a bike over it (but often wondered what it would be like). This time it was me, my bike and the Mighty Mac. It was quick and while not “easy” I think that just the fact that we are on it and so privileged to be able to cross on our bikes, it became much easier to climb that incline and coast to the end.
Dalmac 2016I saw that most people were gathering or stopping at the Rest Area just after the bridge, so I pulled in there and sent a text to my family to meet me there. I sat at a picnic table and struck up a conversation with a seasoned DALMAC rider and his wife. They were so wonderful to talk to and congratulated me on my first DALMAC and told me so many things that I can do to make my next DALMAC easier. I have met some of the sweetest people on this trip.
Dalmac 2016After being picked up we went to the Mystery Spot – only a few miles away and to a gift shop where you can get an awesome view of the Mackinaw Bridge from the Upper Peninsula. And of course I bought some souvenirs too!
RECAP of DALMAC – if you are even REMOTELY interested in riding it – just do it!  You may not be able to do all of the days or all of the routes but the personal achievement is such a boost!  Overall everyone was supportive and will help you in any way that they can. It may just be a “you can do it” when you are slowing down or a hearty “Good Job” at the end of the day. Dalmac 2016Make sure to train for several months ahead of time and weather permitting find some inclines or big hills to tackle. Get your bike tuned up in early spring and then have everything checked again in late July or early August. Even with all of that preparation you could have a mechanical failure or flat. I had a flat the first day. But you and your bike will be in good shape to travel.  I may investigate better lights and reflectors for better visibility to vehicles. I’m certain that the seasoned riders can give many more important tips – but for a rookie – these are what stick out for me. Oh…and buy plenty of padded shorts!!
Dalmac 2016I am already planning on riding next year and how I will train and prepare. The biggest changes that I would/will make would make would be to remember to eat and rest throughout the day. The daily routes are each beautiful in their own special way so taking the time to look and enjoy while riding is so important. DALMAC isn’t a bike race – it’s an end of summer tour – to be experienced and enjoyed. The personal challenge and to be out of the office or away from work – away from the phones and daily problems is a stress reliever on its own. After all, it’s not every trip that you can see a bald eagle soaring above or listen to squirrels chatter as you ride by on your way to the next destination.

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