Day four of DALMAC was the hardest day, 77 miles of hill and dale with a trip over The Wall, a nasty climb out of Boyne City, and a couple of brutal rollers on the way into Petoskey, our overnight.
We left Elk Rapids early because it was going to be a long day. We pedaled around the south end of Torch Lake into Alden. I stopped at a coffee shop in Alden and opened the door to hear a familiar, but out of place voice. It turned out to be a good buddy from church up for the weekend at his cottage. Small world.
Climb, descend, Bellaire, MI. Climb, descend, climb, descend, climb, descend and at mile 47 we were ready for The Wall!
The Wall is a 1.2 mile climb that is a pretty normal climb until about the last 600 meters when it goes to about 8%, then 12%, then 15%, finally topping out at 20-22% in the last 200 meters, which is so steep it’s hard to walk up. If you’re young and/or in reasonably good cycling shape you’ll make it over, if not you might fall in front of everyone who stops to watch people suffer up it. It’s brutal but fun, and no one! goes up it fast, trust me on that one. I made it up, but it was not a thing of beauty. Mike and Kathryn Hixson made it up on their tandem and that is super hard to do, but they are studly.
The other highlight of the day was having a guy wave a water bottle for us in Walloon Lake. He was a vet and giving out free water from the Lion’s Club. I was wearing my Marine cycling jersey and he’s like: “A Marine, eh?”
I said:”Don’t tell me, let me guess. You were in the navy.”
Him: “Darn right. Served on the Bonhomme Richard aircraft carrier in WW2. We had about 60 gyrenes onboard.”
We verbally abused each other for a few minutes good-naturedly before we continued on our way. Got to love when Marines and squids meet.
We rolled into Petoskey at the end of a long day, but the weather was great, so no complaints.
Highlight of the day was definitely watching Michigan get humbled by Alabama. All the whiny Michigan fans emptied the room when Alabama went up 31-0! Thank you, Nick Saban.