|Trace The Mitten|
|Trace The Mitten|
Just prior to the kickoff ceremonies the downpour stopped. We had sun and mild temperatures the next six days. The rear wheels we wetted with Lake Michigan and we off with a police escort to the Kalhaven trailhead.
Mike Levine is standing next to the buoy marking the starting point near the Kalhaven Trail. Mike has been a driving force to extend trails and create connectors along Route 1. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Trails and Greenways have been working with the municipalities along the way to make this happen. There has been hours of hard work behind the scenes.
The rain stopped by the crushed limestone, dirt, and sand base was wet and puddles caused cautious riding.
I appreciated switching to the tires used for cyclocross. The fenders helped keep the bike and rider clean, but they were constantly popping with rocks, sand and dirt. At some times I could feel the resistance with too much collecting in the small gap. I was happy to have a bike wash at Theo and Stacey's restaurant next to our hotel.
Along the trail we experienced wonderful SAG stops hosted by "Friends of the Trail". The Kalhaven had pit toilets and water pumps along the way in between the villages. I have never seen a trail with water pumps along the way.
From the end of Kalhaven we moved directly to the Kalamazoo trail into town. The asphalt was appreciated.
On the second day we followed the Kalamazoo River through Battle Creek and into Marshall.
At time the trail moved through fields and along the highway. This route was easy to follow.
Going along the river is my favorite time.
Sometimes we just needed to go along the highway to get to the next trail. Road routes were lower traffic volume or ample shoulder for the busier highways.
Battle Creek and Kalamazoo integrated the trail through the city riverside park.
Board path stretches were over wetlands and in this case above the steep slope and to create a safety zone with the road.
From Battle Creek we moved into the Calhoun County Nature Preserve. Recent rain created washouts and the volunteers had not completed the trail maintenance. We saw many hikers and this section is part of the North Country Hiking Trail.
From Marshall we took back roads toward Jackson.
We had a path through Albion and then back on to back roads.
At Concord we connect with the rail trail. This was a very nice path to the trail leading into Jackson.
I favor the asphalt trail.
Besides going through the farmland we also had lakes and wetlands to enjoy.
The Intercity Trail also named MLK Trail took us from the outskirts of Jackson to downtown.
I was surprised to see the brick, but it was a in a historic district. Through Jackson had bike lanes on our route and less traveled roads.
Heading out of Jackson we had about 6 miles of back roads to reach this point. Behind me the trail will continue to Jackson and eliminate the need for the roads we traveled. This section needed some more rolling but soon we hit the fully completed section. The trail will just keep getting better.
This train line was abandoned in the 1980's and the natural woodlands have returned and provide shade and windbreak.
We decided to take a side trip to Hell, Michigan. This dirt road was bouncy enough I lost my water bottle.
I am not sure that is an official sign. They did have a hand stamp that stated "Mailed from Hell." The stamp guarantees delivery.
Ah, an asphalt trail heading toward Brighton.
Path through Island Lake State Recreation Area.
The Huron Valley Trail along Grand River Road near South Lyon.
This section of the Huron Valley Trail parallels Interstate 96 for a short distance.
This trail is named after the rail line that rain along here called "Airline". This is new asphalt and they were still working on sections as we rode by.
Here is a little history of the Michigan Air Line Railroad. This track from the 1880's is the basis for the route for these trails.
What a nice bridge for the trail over the multi-lane Michigan State Highway 5. These bridges or tunnels under roads are expensive, but I appreciate the safety.
This tunnel went under the Interstate 96.
Just off the bridge we ran into gravel. This was still very loose and had not been rolled. After a bit I decided to walk because I was weaving all over.
What a relief to see the steamroller right ahead. The roller made the gravel embedded and I could ride again.
The West Bloomfield Trail. I calculate the mile marker on the post indicates the distance to Richmond, the eastern terminus of the Airline.
This is the Clinton River Trail in Pontiac. This two track looks rough, but it was smooth.
The trail moved us to the sidewalk, I guess to keep us off the road. It was bumpy, but it worked. These markers helped to keep on track until we picked up the trail again in Auburn Hills.
The bridge over Interstate 75.
The Macomb Orchard Trail is 23 miles of pavement heading to Richmond.
The Bridge to Bay trail follows the St. Clair River running out of Lake Huron. We are in Port Huron now.
Now the tire dip into the Lake Huron. What a good trip over 18 different trails and 275 miles altogether.
Today I went for a 68 mile ride. Why do I do it?
Solitude: Bike riding is a time for me to clear my mind; think through a problem:; have quiet time. So much of our world has noise. I use my car time to keep up on major news stories, weather and traffic. At home I will listen to music during the day. An hour or more provides the time to mentally clear the board.
Get my respiration up We all typically breath shallow breaths. Cycling get me breathing harder and that is good for my lung health.
Heart rate increases.: My heart health improves with my activity. I may have to stop the activity briefly to stop the wheezing, my recovery time is shortening.
A sense of accomplishment: Being able to go hour after hour is something that I can do now and I feel healthy. I remember the days that I would walk from the bedroom and sit down at the kitchen table to catch my breath. I am so thankful to be able to do this now. I realize that at some point i will get sick and be set back.
Fresh air: I was out in the forest for most of my ride. Near the end I could feel the oppressive odors. I could smell the lawn fertilizer and the fumes from the traffic. The temperature felt hotter and the humidity added to the discomfort. The moisture in the wood gave a coolness to the air.
Birds and butterflies: Around most of our homes we do not see the butterflies. I could hear a variety birds. Near the house traffic noise drowns out the birds. I can hear them in the morning at home.
Other natural life: Today I saw wild turkeys, deer, rabbits, chipmunks, and a snake slithering across the asphalt path.
The runner high: Exercise gets the brain to pump these hormones to make you happy.
Accomplishing a goal: and treats: Today I set aside the time to complete this long ride. I worked in some special stops to get a treat (ice cream, a drink, a special spot or whatever is good for you.)
Can you think of some others perks?
Belle Isle is the largest city owned in the country; nearly 1000 acres. It is currently leases to the State of Michigan and is run as a State Park.
I am setting up a family bike tour day for the family in a couple of weeks and I wanted to map out the route. Today was a good day to do that. This trip took place on a Saturday evening and activities were still going strong, but by sunset the outdoor groups were closing down. Outdoor open pavilions may be rented. There is a half mile public beach. Wedding receptions and other events going strong in the buildings.
In several hours I traveled the roads through out the island and covered about 14 miles. I am glad to see it now because there has been some flooding and roads have been closed.
Enjoy the photo highlights of my exploration.
I look forward to a good Sunday ride. It had been awhile since I went to the local Metro Park. There is a 6 mile loop around the lake. Sometimes I will take the road the goes around the lake also. With Sunday traffic, I wanted to use the trail also.
On the way in I found these turkeys having a feast.
Half way through the a downpour popped up fast, but I found shelter under a pine. Luckily it was not a thunderstorm and it did not last but a few minutes. The wet pavement lasted the rest of the ride.
At my water stop the sun came out and gave a beautiful scene. At the exit I see that they had made a new protected bike path on the bridge over the highway. Find photos in the day ride section.
Feeling happy about a workout time can be difficult to find. Here is what I do?
Be positive: I am a half full kind of person. I believe that it is easier to build yourself up if you look to what is good about the situation and identify what went wrong. Once you have seen what needs to improve, set a goal and plan steps to reach that.
Baby steps: Progress can be slow and there will be set backs. Trying to tackle too much at once can be demoralizing. Figure something that is a baby step in the right direction.
When you feel strong try to push it.: I don't always feel good at the start: muscles are sore, the breathing is hard, you need to warm up.
Give yourself time to warm up.: On some rides it takes me a couple of miles . Some rides it may take me up to 45 minutes to feel good.
It is only one workout: I use the Strava app, but there are others. I can see how I did compared to other rides. Accept that there will be be ups and downs. How are you trending?
How does it compare to earlier workouts?;
When I started riding a bike as a kid helmets were not on our radar. When my kids started riding they were starting to promote them in bike safety classes at school. I did not see the importance, even though I used them on tours and races; don't ask me to rationalize that.
When I started riding steady and seriously ten years ago I bought a good helmet. I had read that my old helmets could not remain safety rated effective. I use a helmet close to 100% of the time now.
Five years I experienced a fall that showed the value of my helmet. I was riding a single track connecting two paved walkways. I was going less than 10 miles an hour when I touched the pavement. My street smooth tires grabbed hold and wrenched the tires 90°. I immediately hit the pavement! My head hit the hard surface, my glasses flew into the grass. Skinned elbow and knee paled to my embarrassment. I looked around with an air of bravado for anyone who might have seen me. As I removed my helmet to replace my glasses, I noted a crack in the helmet from the impact.
Wo! A cracked helmet from that speed.
Soon into my ride today my chain came off as I downshifted going up a hill. The photo above shows how the chain was wedged between the gears and bottom bracket.
There was no way my fingers could pry the chain out. I travel with a bike multi-tool and a leatherman type multi-tool. I was able to use the pliers to loosen the grip on the chain.
I do not use tools each outing, but when I need them; I am glad to have them.
I really just thought about this until this past week while on the trainer and I want to figure this out to have a more comfortable ride.
On tour rides i am sitting for hours and my butt gets sore sometimes. During the rides now I will use my legs, arms, drops and weight shifts to relieve the pressure on the rear. This will strengthen my legs. The stronger legs will help power the ride. Too many times I have felt that I was spinning and rooted on the seat. I felt that pushing the pedals down with the leg muscles will add power; at least more than just the spinning the mass of my legs.
Do road riders hover over the seat, straddling the seat most of the time. Doesn't seat allow you better balance?
What do you think? I will give you my conclusion after some long spring rides.
I am feeling my way with using the fat tire bike in snow. I only went out once last winter and today was the only time this season.
What did I learn?
1. Blazing a trail uses a Lot of energy. The wider tires add stability, but you still sink into the surface.
2. It can be hard to get started once you stop. I need to stop as I work hard.
a. The slightest incline causes your feet to slip as you try to push off to move forward. My front wheels wobbled to either side
In the first month I exercised 29 out of 31 days. Due to the weather all of this was inside onan exercise bike.
I resolved to be more aggressive in my winter mileage. Last year I felt soft going into the nice weather. Staying healthy this winter is essential for me to stay on track. I believe you can only do so much to stay clear of the germs. ( Diet, sleep, wash those hands, be aware of compromising situations, vitamins & minerals)
I must attribute my great month to a friends suggestion. I previously had exercised in the basement and my friend suggested moving the bike upstairs where I could take advantage of the sunlight. GREAT SUGGESTION! I love it.
When I moved the set up I did another adjustment; I used my current touring cycle. The previous set up used a bike the was not as comfortable. Duh, why did I not do this earlier?
MY ADVICE: Listen to your complaints why you don't exercise more or whatever and figure out a solution. Share your frustration with a friend, a new perspective may provide new insight.