Tuesday night I was able to sign in and get my maps, the jersey I ordered and sign the waiver. When the organizers of DALMAC start signing everyone in… they have the process down to a well oiled machine. I was done and out of there in 15 minutes.
Wednesday morning – more people could sign in and those who had already signed in could start riding. Lansing was overcast and misty and though we have always called the Lansing area “the flatlands”… trust me, there are a ton of inclines on this route. It turned out to be a lovely morning ride through farms and pastoral green lands of mid-Michigan.
Riders were very nice and let me know when they were passing on the left. Or they would shout a hearty “Good Morning” and other than a few groups who appeared to be racing who were in a hurry, everyone was in a great mood. I enjoyed the fresh air and my constant steady speed which was certainly not going to break any records. The SAG vans went back and forth checking on us for our own safety and to lend a hand if needed.
Our first real stop was in Dewitt where you are awarded great places to rest and eat after coming up a big hill. I didn’t feel like stopping so I pressed on. The next rest stop was shortly after Dewitt, so I continued on. The next rest stop was about 18 miles further down the road at great hosts Liquid Ag. About 4 miles before that stop, my front tire went flat. One of the SAG vans (support vans) stopped and helped me pump up the tire. While we hoped it would hold, it didn’t take too long before it began to lose air again. Just before the rest stop at Liquid Ag, a bike repair van turned into the parking lot! Well I rolled right up to Mobile Bike Repair and Diane Ruggles “the Bike Lady” and she did a wonderful job repairing my front tire. Look at that great smile! You can tell at that break that everyone was getting a little winded and needed a break. We had ridden about 28 miles at this point.
I had a break and some chocolate milk and once the bike was repaired, went on my way. The clouds went away and the sun came out and it heated up quickly. There was a strong headwind giving us even more to challenge us. A rider from Dayton OH rode up and asked why I was riding alone. He stuck with me for several miles and chatted with me. He said it is best to have a riding buddy to support and pace yourself. I think he is right. I also met a terrific young girl, Lana from Lansing who stuck with me for most of the rest of the day. Like me she was going slow and steady. She needed to walk up hills due to asthma and I was happy to be off of the “seat” for each time.
As time went on the wind was stronger and the inclines seemed steeper or maybe it was just my energy draining. We went into Maple Rapids and had our choice of great places to eat. We stopped for water but still didn’t feel hungry so didn’t eat. That may not have been a great idea.
We were well into 4-5 hours by this time. After Perrington we were under 20 miles from Ithaca and I began to hit a wall. We pressed on Lana and I, until I couldn’t go any further. I called for a family member to pick me up 5 miles from the end spot.
My first day – 50 miles. Not the entire route but I’m ok with what I have done – I am a work in progress. I am sore, sunburned and very tired.
Now that I know a little more of what to expect, I will probably take a recovery day tomorrow to soothe the very sore muscles (that admittedly were foolishly not fed and suffered) and ride on Day 3…..stay tuned. There will be more DALMAC for me this week.