I love being able to head up to Michigan to race. Not only does it mean racing against the same guys I raced when I was growing up, but also staying at my parents and seeing family I don't get to see very much since moving to Indiana. This year was even better as they added a Grand Fondo to the weekend. So an 80mile road race and a 130 mile ride made for a perfect weekend of training prep before Philly.
Since the race was only 40km's from my parents house I thought a quick motor pacing session to the race would make for a good warmup. The race itself was a good workout. This year was tough without much wind to play a factor as that would be the only thing difficult about the course. So it turned into a game with Bissell who had numbers. I did have the bossman as a teammate and it was great seeing him out there racing with the big boys again. I should have tried a few different things in retrospect, but regardless it was a local race and it's what you come to expect. I was happy to see that a lot of my family members came out the race, and even a few helped with the support.
The next day was the Grand Fondo. It was a long, flat, warm, and windy day. The ride started off easy for the first 5 minutes then things picked up. We flew to the first stop 30 miles in where Frankie, Chad, and a few others turned around in the 100km event. We arrived before the support, as I'm pretty certain they didn't expect guys to get there in a little over an hour.
After saying bye, and filling up the bottles, I continued to ride with a group of guys at a good clip not really thinking about the distance or the nice headwind we were going to have on the return trip. I stayed at the front most of the time as this was the perfect opportunity to get a hard long training ride in. At the halfway point we stopped in the shadows of numerous wind turbines and fueled up with subs and cookies.
The wind, distance, and heat began to tear into my group of guys as it shrunk fast and soon enough I was on my own. Another quick stop at the final stop and I rode out the final 30 miles into the headwind. I'd be lying if I said those miles were easy, but I was starting to feel the effects of a hard day in the saddle. I got the finish and was greeted by an applause from my wife, daughter, mom, and dad. That doesn't happen to often after a training ride, but I could really get use to that.
That is not the only thing I could get use to. The other thing would be the Z-Cafe in the basement of Zenders. It is an awesome cafe that has anything you could want after a long training ride or race. Whether it be a panini, burger, fried chicken, brat, pizza, cold beverages or a baked good from a massive bakery they have you covered.
I'd like to thank the Tri-City Cyclist for inviting myself and team out for their awesome event. We had a great time. Everyone should try to make it out for this event. I didn't even take in some of the fun you could have with the fireworks, hot air ballons, bike expo, indoor water park at the hotel, or the dog competition.