I WAS DUMB DEDICATED ENOUGH to keep my scheduled appointment for a bike ride at 7:30 last Sunday morning, following my 14-mile running adventure in the Saturday afternoon heat. As I pulled into the Cherry Republic parking area, my riding partner Jim from church rode up, and he’d brought his friend Jay along. When Jay saw my new bike and said, “Oh my God, this guy’s going to hammer us,” I should have known I was in for a challenging 90 minutes.

We took a route very similar to my run the day before, going around part of Big Glen Lake, then over to M-109 and the dunes, riding by the spot where I was nearly Froggered the day before. Jim and Jay set a pace faster than I had hoped for, using up early what little reserves I had in my legs, so when we hit the short but challenging climb near Glen Haven, well, let’s just say they could have called out for pizza and eaten it before I joined them at the top. And when we turned around and Jay suggested heading up Stocking Drive (a nice steep twisty piece of brutality) I couldn’t hold back a groan, and that part of the ride was thankfully revised.

My 14-mile run story solicited some minor sympathy and they slowed down a little for me. But then, trying to make conversation, I naively asked Jay if he did anything other than riding. “Oh, yeah, I’ve done it all,” he said. He does triathlons – the Ironman kind. (He’d used to do adventure racing, but apparently that wasn’t challenging enough.) So I asked him what a typical weekly training schedule is for an Ironman triathlon. Turns out that a 14-mile run is an easy day. Swell.

This must not be allowed to happen.

As we approached M-22 again, Jay laid out the options. Turning left would take us on a nice flat road back to Glen Arbor; right would climb up the Big Glen Lake hill to Inspiration Point and then back around the lake. He told me it was my call. Logic said left, manhood preservation took me right (*). And not only did I make it up the hill on my tired legs, I led the group. It helped that Jay had trouble with his shifter, but the view from the Point wasn’t any less sweet for that.

View from Inspiration Point. In the distance is Alligator Hill, another fun climb on a bike to look forward to.

As we descended and completed the journey around the lake, someone on a bike passed by going the other way. Jay said, “We just passed the centenarian.” He meant Lou Batory, who at 100 years old still cycles around Glen Lake every day. I wasn’t able to get a photo, but here’s a link to an article about him. So my performance put me somewhere between an Ironman and a 100-year-old. I guess that will have to do.

As we cruised up next to my car, I put a coda on the morning’s events by falling off my bike when my left shoe failed to unclip. Jay said to get used to that.

(* I realize this makes no sense to the fairer sex, but like bacon ice cream and monogamy, some illogical things in life just have to be accepted.)

One thought on “Hammered

  1. Donna of Ypsi

    Laughed out loud at this, Jeff! Especially loved the photos. Jim is a trainer, but you run as well and as often as he does. And you have “the bike.” So I’d say you did just fine. If all else fails, turn to writing. You’re a good writer!
    -Uncle Guido’s niece

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