Saturday, April 11, 2009

Early Season Lighthouse Run

Dennis is heading to the Detroit velodrome tomorrow morning to practice again on the track. Too early for me, so I decide to go on a solo jaunt out to the lighthouse. Another first assault for the season.

As soon as I get a block from home the wind hits me in the face and it's cold! I decide to push on and deal with it. I heat up pretty fast and then hunker down into the wind that is coming straight out of the north.... exactly where I'm heading. It's a stand-up wind too. Gotta be 15 to 20 MPH. The wind roars through my helmet, a deafening companion. But heck, it's a gorgeous crystal blue northern Michigan day.

As East Shore Drive opens up, it reveals Lake Michigan at its bluest. Sapphire is a good reference here. The wind is whipping up the surf, and I think to myself I wouldn't want to be on a boat today. All this makes the ride tolerable, and more than that, enjoyable.

There's no sitting up, riding no-hands today though. I'm in full tuck as much as I can stand, and my legs are grinding forward. I'm making a conscious decision to slowly increase my gear inches on the fixie this season. Starting with my comfortable 42 x 15, I've now moved to 42 x 14. That's about 82 gear inches. I plan to jump up to a 52 x 17 within the next month.

As I crest Smokey Hollow hill for the first time this year, the view of Lake Michigan stretching out in the distance is as delightful as ever. It beckons us all for the season ahead. And the reward of climbing from the south is the 45 MPH decent in Old Mission. What a blast!

Here's a video of the ride:

Approaching the lighthouse, I see that the gate is locked tight and there's still a lot of snow in there. But tradition is hard to beat so I stop for a minute.

Just long enough to catch a chill facing unprotected now into the charging north wind.

I saddle back up and suddenly things are quiet with the wind to my back. That's a relief. I negotiate my way over to Seven Hills Road and once again I'm reminded of why we all love riding the peninsula. Cherry trees to my right, grape vines to my left, and the long stretch of road undulating towards the horizon. These are indeed seven hills, not bad, just enough to wake you up and provide a good early season test of the legs.

So that's it today. Here's the map.

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