by Ami Weaver
So two weeks ago, over Labor Day weekend, my husband and 13-year-old son took part in a reallllly long bike ride here in Michigan known as the DALMAC (Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinac). It starts on Michigan State University’s campus and ends in Mackinaw City, in the shadow of the Mackinac Bridge. (Yes, the spellings are different, but they are pronounced the same–Mackinaw.) This is approximately 300 miles over four days. They chose to do the Four-Day East, which pretty much goes up the spine of Michigan.
I dropped took them over to the starting point way too early the Thursday before Labor Day. It was super foggy in places–my husband actually had to ride with no glasses because they were too fogged! This is not good as he is blind without them. But they got their bags on the truck and off they went–to Midland Dow High School, 70-some miles away. (The riders camp at high schools–the schools open the locker rooms and cafeterias to serve dinner and breakfast.)
Friday the rest of the kids and I went up north, as we have a cabin in another town near the second day’s stop. They had to climb out of the Saginaw Valley so it was a pretty steady climb up. For 70-plus miles. And there was rain and a blown tire four miles out of Houghton Lake.
I took them back to the cabin where we all got up super early and I took them back to the school. (Where, incidentally, my son’s front tube blew out–it sounded like a gunshot. 100 pounds of pressure is loud!)
This was the ride into Gaylord. Another 70-plus miles and this day was awful for them. Five (yes, five!) blown tubes made for very slow going. I finally ended up at a bike shop on the route, handed the guy my phone with my husband’s texts about inner tubes, and said “This is what I need. Load me up.” When they went back by, I stuffed the tubes in my husband’s backpack.
The fourth day is into Mackinaw City. It poured rain and was much colder but they made it! 300 miles! We celebrated with fudge from one of Mackinaw City’s wonderful shops and had lunch. I’m so proud of both of them for training for the ride and sticking with it, even when it got rough. Next year, my husband will ride a tandem with our 10-year-old.
And a funny story–at one of the blown tire stops not too far from our cabin, my son left his sunglasses on the side of the road. When my husband decided to go to the grocery store, he went down that road and found them, still on the side of the road! Somehow they hadn’t been driven over in the two days they laid there.