The thing about DALMAC is that every day is a hard day. On paper day 3 looked to be pretty easy, ride 64ish miles, put up your tent, hang with DALMACers in Elk Rapids. The ride was so short that we planned to go all the way to Elk Rapids and eat lunch at Chef Charles’ Pizza (Chef Charles’ special: Pesto, mozzarella, pine nuts, artichokes, and mushrooms—delicious!), so on paper, easy day.
We started off west into a headwind and up a couple of rolling hills before the legs were warmed up, after about two miles it felt like Chinese water torture and by 3.5 we were wondering if we could get a DALMAC refund.
When we made the turn we picked up a tailwind which always gives an instant moral boost. You can be sucking wind in one moment and feeling like Greg LeMond climbing up L’Alpe D’huez in the next all by switching from a headwind to a tailwind. If you ride bikes, you know what I mean.
We rode over hill and dale, through wooded roads, sparsely traveled and up a long ascent. Halfway up we passed a guy riding solo. He said, “You remember that song from The Sound of Music “Climb Every Mountain?” We’re like: “Yeah.” Him: “Whenever I’m climbing hills I start singing that song.” Me: “Thanks a lot for that, I’ll be singing that song on every hill now.” Him (impish grin): “You’re welcome.”
Sure enough, every hill for the rest of the day I found myself humming and/or singing that song. Ah, the power of suggestion.
We’re into the hills now, so we did our share of suffering and ended up near the front of the pack. One SAG car drove by and the lady shouted: “Looks like you guys will be unloading the baggage trucks. (Hint: Unless you have a Barnabas complex you don’t want to finish in the top 5% of riders. You know how they get 1200 pieces of luggage off the trucks every day? You, my friend. You unload those trucks.)
We made it too Elk Rapids for lunch, munched out on pizza and
headed to Lake Michigan for a nice, cool swim. Perfect ending to a nice, “easy” day.