What a beautiful day. It started at 49 degrees but made for some refreshing biking in the morning. Low humidity and sunshine with low headwinds… just perfect! I began Harrison and headed toward Pruddenville. The first thing encountered was a huge incline… boy what a way to start. Overall the first 20 miles were pine tree roads. I did watch a bald eagle soar above me and enjoyed the quiet peaceful ride. There was a well needed rest stop on the way. I remembered to feed myself and felt good continuing on.
Now although I have lived in Michigan my entire life, I have never visited Houghton and/or Higgins lake. I didn’t know that Pruddenville was the largest city by Houghton Lake (and probably near Higgins lake too). Once we rode to Houghton Lake, the holiday traffic was much busier. So that meant watching in the mirror for drivers as recommended by Bikingbro.com and at the same time looking for the DALMAC symbols on the road directing our route.
I stopped at a local gas station for water and a sandwich. I was determined not to repeat the mistakes fromWednesday. As I stood outside filling my Camelbak with fresh cold water a man walked up and asked why everyone was biking and what the DALMAC was all about. He said he bikes in Key West but would never bike on the roads around Houghton Lake or ever ride any long distance. He wished us all well and went on his way. Everyone I have met has been so nice! Something about the water made the ride refreshing and made me want to gladly continue on. I rode on to see Higgins lake, just as beautiful as Houghton lake. The roads were tree lined and shaded making the ride even more enjoyable. By that time we had already gone over 40 miles.
Another fun place was a rest stop selling pizza, fresh fruit and ice cream. I had a protein shake and bought more cold water. I met a lovely family where the father began riding DALMAC at 70 years old. This was his sixth DALMAC and the second year for his daughter to ride with him. We passed each other off and on through out the rest of the ride. After Higgins Lake we rode down country roads so quiet that you could hear the squirrels chatter at us as we rode by.
Eventually I made my way to Military Road – named for running adjacent to the Michigan Army National Guard base. Despite being told that there were no “big” inclines by another rider, I believe that of the 8.3 miles – about 8 of those miles were a continual incline! There was a reward of a nice downhill glide after all of that work. I was feeling tired but good and only had about 8 more miles to go. I’d like to say that the adrenaline kicked in… but I’d be lying. I was tired but other than sore muscles and a sore left knee there was no reason that I wouldn’t finish today. I just found a groove and continued on – a little slower but steady.
I finished 65.4 miles today. I was not the last rider in – far from it. That makes me very happy. I am taking a recovery/play day tomorrow for a couple of reasons – to rest the left knee and because I can. I am learning to do this my way!
Great work, Joni!!! Glad to see you’re kicking ass and taking names! (Not that I had any doubt!) 🙂