Day Three – Climbing Up The Mountain, Children
One other benefit of staying at Hermann’s Hotel in Cadillac was the bike shop just 100 yards away, and they checked out and adjusted the bike for me. Logan at McLain’s Cycle and Fitness gave me some advice on a route to Mesick, which (finally!) turned out to work very well. About halfway there the serious hills began.
The area north of Cadillac is full of hills, and this day’s route, I think, took me over every one of them. A piece of lemon cheesecake fortified me for the leg to Mesick, where I had lunch and a couple of locals attempted to terrify me about No. 9 Road. “Highest hill in the county,” one said. “I used to go up there to get good cell reception.”
The positive thing about the hill on 9 Road, is, I suppose, that you hit it right away. It was immediately visible as I turned off M-115 a mile out of Mesick. Up I went – and had to stop about halfway up. Not an encouraging start. After a few deep breaths and a water break, I made it up and over the top. I continued on, but the thought nagged at me that I could have done better, and the self-discussion began:
Emotional Me (EM): “You didn’t make it up the hill. Wimp.”
Rational Me (RM): “I had a full stomach, I’ve done over 250 miles already. I didn’t gear it right.”
EM: “Yeah, yeah – hey, wait a minute. You didn’t gear it right. So,…”
RM: “No. I’ll save it for next time.”
EM: “What next time? This is your year. Your big event. You going to let this hill go by unconquered?”
RM: “@#$@%^#@&!!!” (Sigh…)
Back down the hill I went. At the rumble strips I turned around, stuck the bike in granny gear, and hit it again. Cars passed me. Snails passed me. And then – the top! I’d done it! And then, after about a mile of quiet triumph, I hit the other big hill. Apparently there are two of them on No. 9 Road. So which one were the locals referring to? Didn’t matter. Back to granny gear, and once again I got over the top. There were many more hills after that, but I’d dealt with the biggest ones. I’m sure there’s a good lesson/lecture/sermon in all of that, but I’ll save it for another time.
The rest of the trip was uneventful and just before 7:00 I arrived at the campground to an enthusiastic reception from my daughters, who did the sensible thing and drove up earlier that day. The only thing that could have improved it was the presence of my wife, but she’d gotten a later start. I’ll take what I got, though.