Manitowoc Tour- Day 0.5

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Calumet, MI to Calumet, MI - 28 miles. 

Hey, touring is tough, that's why I ease into it with a nice little 28 mile bike race. In ninety something degree weather. On a rigid single speed.  

I was going to take it easy, honest.  The Great Deer Chase is one of my favorite races and on a course almost perfectly suited to a rigid single speed.   Fast, rolling, and all the climbs are quick and steep.  But hey, I had a tour to do, so I signed up for shorter 17 mile option. 

A few weeks out, I find out this race was going to be The Official Unofficial UP State Single Speed Championship event. But only in the longer 28 mile race.  Well shoot.  I had to move to the longer race.  Not because I had any delusions of becoming the Official Unofficial UP State Single Speed Champion, but mainly because I wanted to leave immediately after the race and get started on my tour. If I did the short race, there was a very real possibility I'd get to stand on the podium just for showing up because everybody did the long race. 

And if I had to stick around for an award, I'd stick around for beers afterward to celebrate, and then probably sleep off the hangover the next morning. And BAM!  All of a sudden I have two days to pedal 370 miles to Manitowoc to get my ass on the ferry. 

So I did the long race.

While the course is fun on a single speed, the roll out is not.  Lots and lots of flat two track that I'm completely spun out on.  The 29er thing gives me some advantage on the turf, but I knew I'd be nose to tail once I hit the single track.   So my strategy for this race was to hammer as best I could on the open two track and recover on the single track when stuck in the pack.

So that's what I did. I got a respectable start, but well out of winning any single speed championships and ended up in the single track with 3-4 people in front of me and god knows how many poor souls stuck in the rain of sweat pouring off behind me.  

And just a couple hundred yards in, some dude behind me starts yelling out that he wants to pass.

Um, NO. 

Look, usually I'm a really nice guy about passing.  I've put it into the weeds numerous times to let people by.  But I just busted my ass to get into this pack, if you wanted to get in front of me so bad, where were you on the last couple miles of double track?  Letting this dude by would require pretty much pulling off the trail and stopping and letting him and who knows how many people behind him by.

I think I did a very polite job of telling him to piss off.  

At the very least, when we got to the next double track section, I had a hell of a lot of incentive to dust those four people in front of me and not let anybody beat me to the next section of single track.  So much for taking it easy.  

Still, the inevitable happened and we came to a long slight downhill and I got dropped. So there I was, pretty much alone for the next lap and a half until the end of the race.   Like I've said before, ending up by myself out on the trail is pretty much the death blow to a good showing on my part- I slow way down.  Probably not a bad thing, I saw one person passed out in the weeds on the side of the trail and on the second lap, I was starting to feel chills- the heat was really getting to me.   I purposely dialed it back even more. No sense in killing myself on this. 

Besides, I sort of looked like warmed over death already. 

More pictures of heat exhausted racers by Chris Schmidt can be found here.

Anyway, I still pulled a respectable finish out of the race- about 2 minutes slower than last year. But given the heat, the supposedly slightly longer course, and running it on an undergeared rigid single speed, I was quite content with the results.  

But it was now 2pm on Saturday, I was dirty and exhausted, yet still had to get home and pack, and get started on the 370 miles I had to do before mdnight on wednesday.  

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