July 9, 2012

PALM Part 6: Perry to Ortonville

Note from Joe: This is part of a series of posts about the Pedal Across Lower Michigan tour. If you want to start at the beginning, you can find it here.

The never ending roads of flat farmland gave way to the hilly outskirts of the suburban sprawl from Detroit suburbs today. Everything increased; the heat, the hills, the traffic, and the consumption of liquids.

As I type this the temperature outside is over 100 degrees. I got out for the 47 mile ride at about 7 am in order to beat as much of the heat as possible. For the most part it worked. By 10 am, however, it was already 87 degrees. Whenever I stopped sweat would stream down as if I had just dumped a water bottle over my head. This was serious stuff. I had to be careful or dehydration would set in.

If you look at the elevation chart under he map below you'll notice the first half of the ride was relatively flat and the last half featured some hills. These hills were not the sort of short but steep hills you can sprint over, but the long gradual hills that just keep on going. Without the heat or the previous four days of cycling these hills would not have been too bad. But it was over 90 and I had ridden for the previous four days. Most of the hills were actually fun. Challenging, but fun. I was chipper (gleeful, even?) as I passed people, talking with them about the weather or observing the unique challenge of the current hill. In fact, I may have been a little too happy around people genuinely struggling up a climb. Then, just a few miles before the end (see the long hill with the pointy top in the chart?) there was a long hill with a long base and then a steep peak. It's a good thing no one was around me as I attacked that hill. They would have seen a man going up a hill at a pace insane for the conditions, snarling and cursing the whole way up. It was personal. I wasn't just going to defeat this hill, I was going to destroy it. It was visceral. I bested the hill and the mad man turned chipper again. No one had to send me to the funny farm. Not yet, at least.

Pay close attention because you will probably never hear me say this again: I'm tired of eating and drinking so much. Today, just during the four hours it took me to get to Ortonville, I consumed 184 ounces of water and nuun sports drink. That's almost a gallon and a half. For the last hour of the ride I didn't even let the Camelbak tube out of my mouth, except every 20 minutes to eat something.


Salt encrusted camelbak straps. Ew. (hope you weren't eating anything)

Find more Bike Ride in Perry, MI


  1. Great write up Joe. Doing it again next year?

    1. I would definitely do it again. Not sure yet what the schedule holds for next year though. I'm starting to think Gran Fondo. :)

  2. That was really fun to read and follow along with you every day! You've got me thinking about doing the race next year. :)

  3. I would like to do the PALM next year of maybe Zoodemack (spelling?). Fondos do sound like fun though too.