The Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinaw (DALMAC) is an annual multi-day bike ride from Lansing, Michigan to Mackinaw Michigan. 2016 is the 46th annual Labor Day event originated to spread bicycling awareness. There are 4 routes – which can take 4 or 5 days depending on the choice of the riders. It is considered a bike camping tour of Michigan. This year there are 1499 riders ranging from 8 years to 90 years old with a median age of 56. For more information – www. DALMAC.org
Why DALMAC? Why me??? I decided over 2 years ago that I wanted a physical challenge. Keep in mind that I am exactly that “median age” now but that had no part of my decision. I wanted a challenge that made me really push myself. I work behind a desk for hours every week when I’m not sitting in a car on my way to hearings in one town or another. When I decided to do this challenge, I hadn’t been on my bike for probably 20 years. I had a good touring bike that the tires had flattened and the chrome had rusted.
The first step was to have the rusted bike tuned up and see if I could even ride again! My first couple of rides were wobbly and soon enough I was riding some short distances. Next came getting a proper bike helmet and downloading a phone app to clock my progress. The first year I rode over 400 miles… not bad for reacquainting myself after all of these years. Then I decided to buy a used bike that was lighter and more suited for longer distance rides. And of course, many other biking paraphernalia purchases followed.
This year, I bought a Nordic Trak bike for training inside. Michigan has had one of the hottest summers this year, so my miles of training this year were mostly inside. Educating myself on distance riding and nutrition have helped as well as the padded shorts I have learned to wear. A good rule of thumb is to have 1000-1500 miles in before riding the DALMAC. I will be close to that with near 950-1000 miles in before I start my trip.
It is my journey, my challenge and I am doing it just for me. I jokingly call it my “woosey trip” because I have reserved hotels for each night (not a fan of tent camping) and I am taking the longest trip up because I need to prove to myself that I can ride the 55-75 miles per day. The other routes are 75-100+ miles per day and I don’t think that I am ready for those (yet?).
Join me as I ride north through the farmlands of Michigan and report back daily. The 2016 Dalmac begins on 8-31-2016!