2018 Indiana-Michigan

The 2018 WBR ride to Chicago and beyond is complete!  Starting from Indianapolis early Friday morning (June 22), 50 hours of ride time and 687 miles later, I arrived in Mackinaw City, Michigan the following Sunday.  My goal all along was to reach Mackinaw by Sunday night, and I made it- with about 20 minutes to spare!

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The Monon Trail north of Indianapolis on an early morning start

While not as captivating as the classic American endurance ride across the US, this year’s ride was far more challenging.  2 of my co-workers- Adam and Todd- joined up for the first part of Day 1.  It was a great time, talking bikes and work (occasionally) for a few hours.

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I lucked out as storms cleared, and another co-worker Jeff, a SRAM VP, rode out to the Illinois state line to pull me into Chicago.  After 200 miles and with 35 yet to go, I gladly drafted off Jeff at every opportunity.

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Jeff’s parting words as he peeled off at Navy Pier were wise- “don’t forget to look around”.  Here are a few shots I took as I tried to do just that:

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Chicago skyline as I rode in on the Lakefront Trail on a stormy Friday evening

I finished Friday night in steady rain, so I limited dinner to frozen offerings from the hotel.  Fortunately, the storms cleared out overnight, bathing me in sunshine as I rode.

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Soloing for Days 2 and 3 through northern Illinois, skirting Milwaukee, rural Wisconsin, Green Bay, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was long.  Views of the rolling farm country and Lake Michigan held my interest as I rode, taking occasional short breaks to stretch.

keeping pace with farm equipment along US31 in Michigan

Sunday evening I found myself on the verge of bonking….with over 70 miles yet to go.  Somehow I pedaled on, probably going well beyond any level of fatigue I’ve ever felt.  I kept in mind one of my mantras from last year’s ride: Just Keep Pedaling.  Surprisingly I found that increasing effort such as standing while on short climbs helped me feel better.  I kept that routine going in little spurts as the miles ticked away.

About 25 miles from the finish, encountering a meandering detour was the last thing I wanted to see, but choosing the weekend nearest to the summer solstice paid dividends, as I didn’t need headlights until nearly 10pm.  Finally the lights of the famous Mackinac Bridge came into view, invigorating me for the last few miles.  I rode up to the bridge, and paid $5 to get driven across (the only option for cyclists on a busy interstate with no shoulder).  Mission accomplished!  The bridge worker who drove me across (with my bike in the bed of the DOT pickup) even carried me a couple miles to the hotel I had reserved.  What a relief it was not to get back on the bike on the other side of the bridge.

The complete route:

I could barely stand Monday morning, but worked out the kinks with a 142 mile “recovery ride” through scenic northwestern Michigan to get picked up by my wife Alisa after the long WBR ride (2 years running- how thankful I am for her!)  Monday’s ride made for a 4 day total of 830 miles in just over 80 hours.

You can see the entire route and more pictures on Strava: Days 1-3 & Day 4

views of Lake Michigan on the Monday “recovery ride”

Most importantly, 2018’s ride raised enough money for 12 Buffalo Bicycles: WBR Fundraising page.

Thank you for everyone’s interest, encouragement, and enthusiasm!

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