HOME + Leelanau

To get everyone up to speed I came back from collegiate nationals, packed my car full, well very full and headed back to MI the next day. Yep, pretty much I spent 3 days straight in a car/bus traveling...wonderful feeling. But I eventually made it home to MI at my parents house. Pretty much straight away I went to town on trying to organize my life. My car remained packed full and spewing items in the garage for 2-3 days while I sorted through everything in my room and purged what was unnecessary, or at least most of it. Then the items from the car proceeded to re-clutter my room and various other areas. I got a lot organized but there is still much left to be done, which will just have to wait.

So, while I was in town I:

Caught up with Cullen a bit and road to Detroit with him one day to promote ride to work week.

Went on some of my usual rides and it was common for me to be in anticipation of a "climb" or grade that I had always perceived as challenging only to find that I didn't even really notice I was going over it...I guess that is what Banner Elk will do for ya! I also found some new roads out around my parents place and a nice park not too far away. Surprisingly there is a lot around there I have yet to explore because most all of my riding has been done further down state when I was living in Rochester and going to school.

Got to catch up with some of my best friends!!!

Me and my favorite adventure buddy ever! I Love You Nick!!!

My bestest Laur! We go WAY back...

and Miss Kelly Bliss...the life of any party and one of the only high school friends I keep up with

Hanging out after dinner at the Cantina!

Now just when you thought I might get to be settled in one place for a period of more than 4 days...think again. Time to travel the 4+ hours up to Leelanau MI for the big Tour de Leelanau (112km in the beautiful rolling hills of northern MI)!

Before leaving I took part in preparing dinner for the family and made these tasty looking Venison skewers...o yeah, those of you who have had them before know you missed out!

Then I headed the few hours up to Theresa's parents place near Grand Rapids. It was great to see part of the team again! You know life is good when you spend most of your time laughing, even if a lot of it is spent laughing at yourself!

Here we are getting ready to leave and travel the rest of the way to Leelanau.

Coming into town...

The roads up north were amazing and beautiful per usual!

The girls out on our training ride

and me

Do I look a bit nervous?...I was, just relaxing before we left for the race, trying to let the nerves settle.

I really like this and thought some might enjoy


Tour de Leelanau - Leelanau, MI, USA, May 25, 2006 - Race Report # 1

It was great to start the weekend out by reuniting with the team at the Cliff household, where we were very well taken care of! Master packing skills allowed all five of us; Gary, Theresa, Jessie, Kele, and myself to all pile into one vehicle for the trip to the top of the mitten!

Saturday was beautiful and it seemed promising that Sunday would provide perfect racing conditions. However, lets remember we were in MI and making such predictions can be dangerous. Sunday morning rolls around and the skies are looking good while we load up and head to the race. Per usual the rain starts in just in time to mess with a good warm up ride. We all got in a bit of a ride but spent more time in the car or under a roof to avoid the pre race chills. Lucky for us the weather cleared just before the start and we were able to stay dry for the most part.

The race started with a neutral roll down a resort road out onto the course. The first half of the race was filled with sprints and KOM’s, with the first sprint a short 2km into the race. The plan was to conserve and sit in on the sprint and KOM efforts as not to burn too many matches too early. Within the first 10km or so of the race there was a solo attack by Anne Samplonius of Cheerwine, and she would prove to have a strong race and stay away all day to win. The pack pretty much stayed together until we hit the Tower Road climb, a.k.a. the wall, which posed a nice 18-20% grade and euro style fans who had painted the road and yelled like crazy. Jessie and I made the lead group over the climb and things were going pretty well as we sat in and avoided putting ourselves in the wind. Not too far up the road we hit another challenging climb and the lead group split. I made the lead group of about 9 and Jess fell back a bit at this point with a few others. I was feeling pretty good, although the climbing was certainly challenging and pushing my limits at times. It was on and off in my group with a pretty steady launch of attacks, but nothing that anyone was willing to really hold. Eventually Pic, VanGilder, and a Tibco rider all went at once and I was a bit late with my move but I caught on and was just starting to recover on a downhill when SMACK, I drilled a rock in the road with my rear tire. Within 10 seconds my tire lost life and I knew this was going to make things a bit more difficult. Gary was quick to get to me and change the wheel so I could be on my way. I chased hard and used a draft from Gary to eventually work my way through the caravan and back up to the group. At this point more riders had bridged up to the other 3 I had been with and I was left with about 6 others. The chase had taken its toll though and I was tired. In addition to the chase it seemed that I had underestimated the amount of nutrition and fluid I would need for this race and my legs eventually started talking back in the form of severe cramps, which I usually never have a problem with. Finally the cramping got bad enough that I had to temporarily stop pedaling. Thankfully, Gary was not far behind and rolled up to safe me. Theresa was in the car at this point and she handed me a bottle and said, “it’s accelerade, it’s good”…I was so excited I could have started crying, but instead I chugged the bottle and asked for another! My legs started to loosen a bit once I got over the incline and I chased back on again, with some drafting assistance of course. Things were going alright but when I pushed too hard on the climbs and tried to get out of the saddle the cramps were coming back. As a result I was on and off the back of the group numerous times, but in the end they left me on one of the last climbs and I road the last 5km or so in solo for a 16th place finish. Jessie and Kele came in with the group just a bit behind me and I would venture to say they probably finished between 20th-25th.

Overall it ended up being a nice sunny day and the course provided many challenges, yet had a bit of everything. Enough of everything that my legs are still talking to me today! The finish was at the top of a climb, but it could really be considered a power climb and was nothing a strong sprinter couldn’t handle. Although something a bit flatter would of course have been preferred!

After the race it was time to head back to the Cliff Household.

I'm not typically big on potato chips but after a long hot race there is nothing quite like salt and vinegar chips!

Theresa's parents built us a beautiful bonfire to roast dinner over!

More importantly to roast s'mores over!

I think Jess enjoyed it!

We had some fly by entertainment with tricks in the air

I'm pretty sure they arranged that for us...

I was pretty tired from the weekend so I spent the night and headed back down state early in the morning.

Once I was back home our neighbors came to visit and brought their awesome dog Murphy. Murphy is a pretty big, boxy, stocky lab who is gumpy and wattles!...I love him! So I took a picture with his big head.

And once his mommy and daddy had gone inside he decided he wanted to get dirty and slimy

I have to say Murphy reminds me of Giaco, Phil's dog. Phil is the team sponsor for Verducci and he has this beautiful lab, which he sent this picture of recently...

So now it is Monday and from that point on out it was pretty much time to pack my car up...again and get ready to hit the road. Plan of action was to pack Tuesday and leave Wednesday morning...oh boy.

Before I leave I also mold my cycling shoes...yes those are my shoes in the oven

and then on my foot

those are the same shoes I showed crash pictures of in my previous blog. They paid a visit to BONT and got doctored up so they are functional again. Lucky me we are getting new ones this year and they are supposed to be white!...don't you worry I will post pictures as soon as they come in!

And the packing began after that...

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