Three Out of Four

Muddy Lake boots and gritty mud.

Riding three out of four days in February is cherished, even if they yield a mere 75 miles combined. Most of the miles were forced to be done on pavement, due to the dirt roads being a bottom bracket grinding, potential collarbone breaking, concoction of ice, slush, mud, standing water, and gritty sand.

Saturday’s ride was the result of a change in plans, and any time spent on the dirt roads was done so with a Kung Fu Grip on the bars and a bunghole puckered due to all the rutted ice. That part was less that fun but once I made it to the paved roads it was all good.

Sunday was spent doing Sunday things: soccer watching, coffee drinking, taking B to soccer practice, goofing off and doing as little as possible. Mission accomplished.

Monday brought an early morning appointment with my doctor where I heard such phrases as “let’s talk about your weight, you’re the heaviest you’ve been in the six years you’ve been coming here.” Brilliant. With that I was forced to admit that my eating is quite normal–as is my exercising–but my intake of “liquid calories” had/has become an issue that needs to be worked on. He was very helpful, as usual, and we discussed a variety of ways to address the problem. Still, I left his office feeling pretty down about how I let stress of failures and problems get the better of me, and the ways that I chose to deal with them.

Once home, I pulled on my big boy kit, grabbed my winter gear, the Boone, and headed out for a quick ride to try to put a dent in the 175,000 calories that I need to burn off.

The ride started off with seven miles right into a cold west wind, and I was feeling every mile per hour. As I hit a long flat (flatter) stretch I saw an older man out for his walk up ahead of me. As we approached each other he extended his hand out for a high-five and words of encouragement as I passed. With a brief appreciation for the human race I pedaled on into the wind, anxious for my turn northward.

Two things, other than the cold temps, wind, my lack of fitness, and enlarged belly that bothered me were the facts that I chose not to take a camera with me and felt lost. And that the Q factor on the Boone is too narrow for Lake winter boots, and I had to take extra caution not to knock my left heel against the chain stay which wasn’t all that comfortable. Live and learn, until I breakdown for some winter shoe covers or some footwear like 45NRTH’s Japanther, I’ll need to use the PrOcal or the Fatterson for these rides.

The short Better Than The Trainer™ ride was good (enough), I was happy I went, but now starving for some warm food that wouldn’t offset my work on the bike too much. I quick look around the kitchen yielded a small bowl of sautéed Brussels sprouts and shrimp with some whole wheat pasta.

Brussels sprouts with shrimp and whole wheat pasta


Tuesday brought more of the same sort of transitional 32˚-40˚ temps and wind, but I figured with shitty snow in the forecast for Tuesday night into Wednesday I better make another dent in those 175K calories and get out for a ride. This time on the PrOcal and with my camera.

Beal City road in Isabella County, MIchigan

It was another quick loop, but like the name of the ride implies, it was better than the trainer (or the Dreadmill).

I ventured off onto a few miles of dirt and found that they were way less icy, but still extremely muddy, with some standing water. It was nice to be off pavement, but less nice to see that gritty sand and water finding its way into the intimate areas of the PrOcal.

Speaking of intimate areas….

Nano 29er tire with pink panties along road

My bad habit of discovering discarded underwear along roads continues. In all the years I’ve been bike riding I can’t believe the amount of panties, boxers, briefs, and banana hammocks that find their way onto the side of the road. I can’t help but imagine the circumstances that would prompt one to throw their undies out of a car.

Of course in the case of the magenta panties above, I think the bottle of rural Michigan’s favorite vodka ten feet away may have had something to do with it! Party on…

Popov vodka along the road

Tuesday night I took B to soccer practice in Midland, and when we came out of the turf bay it was snowing so hard that we were covered by the time we got to the car. The first part of our 40 minute drive home was a bit intense, given that I couldn’t see more than five feet in front of me, but it eventually got better and after the first fifteen minutes I had time to reflect on the joy of getting out for rides three of the last four days.

Wednesday looks to be shit for riding with the new layer of wet snow, and gusting wind, but by the weekend temps are going to be near 60˚! Which knowing Michigan means two days after that it will be 10˚.

On a final side note, I put together a 60 page, 8″ x 8″ soft cover photo book filled with photos from the past year or so riding my bike in rural Michigan. Don’t worry, there are no panties, or photos of my lunches. If you want to learn more about it, check out my recent blog post on

Junk Miles photo book Volume One


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