Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My last century?

Day 33. Ludington to Mt. Pleasant Michigan. It was great getting a rest day yesterday. I needed it badly. Unfortunately, I guess that meant that I wasn't particularly tired when I tried to go to bed last night (very little cycling to tire me out yesterday – only 10 miles or so). I didn't fall asleep until 3:30AM, and I was up at 5:25AM. I don't know why I couldn't fall asleep. The hotel in Ludington was nothing special, but we've stayed in worse. I just couldn't go to sleep. Needless to say, 2 hours of sleep is not the best preparation for a 113 mile (185km) ride. I dragged myself out of bed, got dressed, and went downstairs for breakfast before 6AM.

When we have a big mileage day, we usually start as early as possible. Well, today qualified as a big mileage day alright. Today is the fourth longest day on this tour (behind the days into Casper, Pierre, and John Day). I would have liked to have started earlier like 5:30AM but 2 things stopped me. The first is that I didn't sleep last night. The second is, now that we are on Eastern daylight time, it's actually dark at 5:30AM. Anyway, the weather forecast called for south-southeast winds, and since Ludington to Mt. Pleasant is both south and east, I was worried (coupled with my unplanned self-induced sleep deprivation experiment) that this would be an interminable day. This amount of riding (113 miles) is a lot. But we've done it before and so we took off for Mt. Pleasant Michigan.

I started the morning riding with Jeff, Joe, Dave, and Baltimore Mark – the heart of the Geldings. Baltimore Mark dropped off after a bit (he caught up with me by both the first and second SAGs). We set a very brisk pace of over 17.5MPH (close to 30km/hour) over the first 65 miles which would have been a tough pace to sustain for the entire ride. I actually found that pace a bit hard to keep up with, so at the second SAG (the 65 mile mark), I told Jeff, Joe, and Dave to go on without me. Baltimore Mark and I set off from the second SAG and (until Baltimore Mark sped away from me before the third SAG) rode together to the 82 mile mark. After the third SAG, Joe told me he wanted to dial the pace down a bit too, so he, Baltimore Mark, me, and John made the run to Mt. Pleasant. Baltimore Mark lost us at some point (he broke away in front), but we managed to make the 113 miles by 2:30PM. That's close to 7 hours in the saddle, and we were among the first riders to make it to the hotel. I think we averaged 17.2 MPH for the whole ride, which was really good given my expectations this morning.

That is a lot of riding! There wasn't much to look at, especially in comparison to what we've seen. This area has it's own kind of natural beauty and, as you can see from the pictures above, we rode through several cottage-y areas and lakes today. The weather was gorgeous. It was nice and warm without being too hot. Even the wind co-operated and gave us a little push when we went due east. Whew. What a relief.

I've titled today's entry "my last century?" because I'm fairly sure that I'll never ride 100 miles (160km) in a day again. This is the last century on this ride and none of us are sorry it's behind us. We do have 12 days of riding ahead still, and 2 of the last 3 days are brutal climbing days, but the biggest mileage days are definitely done. I don't even think I'll ride big miles like this at home. I'm more of a 50-75km Saturday/Sunday morning guy than someone who enjoys this volume of riding in a day. It's different out here when you ride 100+ miles because you don't know what's ahead. That is cool, even when it's flat Michigan farmland. At home – not so cool. How many times can I ride to Niagara Falls or to our chalet in Collingwood? Been there. Done that. In the future, my riding will be either localized rides probably or perhaps I can talk the Duchess into riding in Europe somewhere cool where (according to ABB riders who've done these European tours) you ride 40-50km/day max, stay in cool inns/hotels, and eat great food.

Duchie – what say you?

Here's video of me riding my 113 miles today:

FYI – the DQ Blizzard and milk shake count is static today, but the Snickers count is up one:

11 Snickers
14 Blizzards
6 milk shakes

Now on to today's mail:

Jill from Toronto writes (about the "Wonderboy Speaks" blog post): "
Until this moment I thought I was the one “losing the plot” but you have snatched that from me handily!" I don't think I've lost the plot. I don't think I ever had it in the first place. By the way, what's a plot?

Charles (Katie's father) from Asheville writes

(about the "Wonderboy Speaks" blog post):

"Umm... a little too much heat out there on the Great Plains?" It's good to hear from one of Katie's family members, at last. You've got a helluva kid there, Mr. (and Mrs.) Spear. As for me getting too much heat on the Great Plains, all I can tell you is that neither Wonderboy nor Senor Frumfrumm didn't feel it a bit. Not one little bit. We're all good here. Seriously. Now, I'm just about to cut up some bath towels and hand soap to make a salad in my room...

Macker from Montreal writes: "

Glad to see Wonderboy is still with you. Look after him and keep up the great work!" Thank you Macker. Where's

Wonderboy gonna go anyway? He can't live without me. He just can't.

Here are my Garmin stats for the day:

This is Joe's blog:


Trip journal and photos by our tour leader Mike Munk:


This link is Jeff's blog:


This link is Baltimore Mark's blog:


And this is Katie's blog:



  1. Oh please! Mr. Spear makes me sound like a crusty old senior citizen - which I am (but don't like being reminded of!). Mark, I have truly enjoyed your wonderful blog - ditto for Frances. Suspect you and I may share a humor gene? [Hmm, would my kids agree? Probably not!] Your insight and perspectives have added dramatically to seeing (and feeling) your journey from the level of the road. Bravo! As for Katie... she just shares the stubborn gene! Look forward to your dip in the Atlantic and a 50 day retrospective!!

    Charlie Spear

  2. "Now, I'm just about to cut up some bath towels and hand soap to make a salad in my room..."

    Hahahahaha! I came back to this post just to read this line again and laugh out loud.


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