I plotted the course the night before using Garmin Connect. Just random roads. Taking the cross bike I knew (and was excited for) the fact that I would end up on a decent amount of gravel roads - which I did.
As I was stuffing my jersey pockets with energy gels, a Honey Stinger (magic) waffle and my phone, etc, I realized that I left my ID, credit cards, cash and other items at home. Now twenty-five minutes away. Dammit! I was to now decide to abandon the route and play it safe to just ride up the rail trail and back. What a waste of a day. A day of exploration. Not going to ruin it, I'm proceeding as planned.
So, for the first first five miles of so I was thinking nothing except what bad things might happen without ID and a cash source. The worry consumed me. I had to talk myself out of it as it was no longer a relaxing, adventurous ride.
Once on the way to "freeing my mind", I reached the Canadian Lakes area. Wow, I have never been there before. What a beautiful area of lakes, homes, beaches and blue skies. I will have to visit there again. Now, headed west out of that area, my next turn led me to a "Seasonal Road". For those of you that may remember from Night Shift, the words "Seasonal Road" in native English translate into "Bullshit Sand". My excitement for this unexpected adventure, dwindled after about a mile of trying to ride narrow cyclocross tires through sand. On the bike, swerving. Bailing. Walking. Clipping in to coast for about 20 feet. Swerving, clipping out. I was in a low-lying area rich with mosquitoes that could have probably carried me off had I not been securely holding onto my bike. They were stealing my blood right through my spandex they were so hungry. I had to keep moving as they were in my (almost non-existant) slipstream behind me. A cloudy mass of random flying parasites being baffled by my breeze.
For a full mile I had the Garmin tell me I was off course or not moving at all. Argh. Shut up! Swatting at mosquitoes. I was now lost - hoping that this road came out somewhere. After about 2 miles I spotted an old, old, barely painted sign that said "Private Road, Keep Out". Woah. Really, I come all the way back here and I have to turn around? NO WAY I'm going back in there with those bugs. I've probably already contracted West Nile, what next? Rabies from that scurrying raccoon I saw?
I eventually came out to better roads after walking/riding/swearing at the last three miles. Got back on course and headed off to Big Rapids via rail trail. Met some people new to the trail and gave them some advice to where to ride (pavement). Got to my usual turn around point - tressel bridge. At this point I was starving-hungry and almost out of water. Wow, money sure is a nice convenience to have when you need something. I got some free water at the gas station bathroom (yuck), chomped the magic waffle and headed out.
It was getting hot, I was starving and all I could do was think about downing an ice-cold Coke once I got a hold of my money!
All in all, it was an adventure. Was kinda pissed about the Seasonal Road, but then again, I can laugh at it now...Night Shift is in two months. I have nothing to be pissed about quite yet.
I learned two things on this ride:
1) The cross bike will likely not being ridden for that ride because of the seasonal roads and single-track as part of the course.
2) Riding a bike is WAY more efficient than pushing one.
Seasonal Road in all its glory!
More garbage sand.
Ruts and bullshit. Terr'ble.
I can't figure this one out. I think this is the "road" that Garmin said I could take NorthWest. Ummm, no. It's not even a road - just a section of....nothing. What the hell!? This makes the Seasonal Road look like an Amish highway.
I love this old train depot just east of Big Rapids on the rail trail. There is a trail staging area here.
Great swamp between Stanwood and Morley. I think I stop here almost every ride through here. Look at the bright greens and blues. Fantastic!