ONTO THE BIKE AT 8:00 SUNDAY MORNING for a checkout ride prior to my 150-mile ride Wednesday and Thursday. Kind of a “dress rehearsal for my dress rehearsal,” as my midweek ride will be to check out part of the full route to Glen Arbor in July 2012. My objective was downtown Jackson, specifically the Jackson Coffee Co. (You have your motivations, I have mine.) Google calculated around 66 miles for the round trip, but for various reasons (see below) it ended up at 74.
I loaded the panniers with a change of clothes, bike lock, towel, some rain gear, etc. to find out how the bike performed with a full load. Really well, it turns out. I was 2-3 mph slower on average, but I noticed no differences in handling.
It was a beautiful morning, warm but not too hot, and I cruised through Chelsea and worked my way west through various levels of civilization. Kind of incongruous to see a yard piled with old tires and fertilizer, then a half mile later, a stone mansion on landscaped grounds.
Finally, I got into Jackson and found my destination. But it was closed (!), along with most of the downtown. The place was deserted, even the main drag. I tooled around for a bit, partly to see what there was to see, partly hoping to stumble onto the odd café that might be open. I could get a cold drink at a Walgreens not too far away, but I really was in the mood for an iced latte. Like that old Stroh’s commercial where a guy dying of thirst crawls out of the desert, but turns down water because he “really had a taste for some Stroh’s.”
No luck. I headed for home, resigning myself to no coffee until I was back in Chelsea. They roll up the sidewalks early there, but at least the cafes are open during daylight hours. But as I passed the Allegiance Health hospital, I got an idea. Rachel is a barista at Water Street Coffee Joint in Kalamazoo, which has a location inside Borgess Hospital. Might AH also have a decent coffee shop? Worth a try. I swung around to their main entrance, wondering what they’d say to a guy in a bike outfit walking in and asking for an iced double shot with skim. (Perhaps, “Sorry sir, our psychiatric ward is around the back…”) I needn’t have worried – there was the coffee bar in the main lobby, in plain sight as I came through the front doors. Saved! They had a really good double chocolate cookie too. (Readers, note this moment – this may be the first time in history that someone went to a hospital in search of good food.)
Good ride overall, and I was pleased with the way my legs held up after running 12 miles on Saturday. It was a good test. Normally, I take a recovery day after a long ride, but my “recovery” for Thursday will be a ride of only 50 miles after a 100 mile ride Wednesday. At least I won’t be in the office!
P.S. As I wrote this, I heard on Sports Final Edition that the Tour de France winner spent over 86 hours on his bike. I spent…5. Don’t I even get one day to feel superior about something?