-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [rapidwheelmen] DALMAC
Date: Fri, 09 Sep 2005 16:09:04 -0400
From: Jeff Scofield <jeffrey.a.scofield@cmich.edu>
Reply-To: rapidwheelmen@yahoogroups.com
To: rapidwheelmen@yahoogroups.com


The Quint: A Moderately Accurate Tome of My Journey to the Bridge.
 
Day One: Lakeview beats Shepard:
 
Wednesday 5:00 am:
The alarm wakes me from a restless nights sleep.  My Quint Century Adventure is about to get underway.  Being somewhat anal retentive (I know, I know…how surprising), my bike cloths for that day are all laid out and ready to go when I step out of the shower.  A bit of Chamois crème has already been applied to my bibs, the car has already been loaded, the meeting times have already been set, and I am about to start my 500 mile journey.
 
6:45 am:
I arrive at the MSU cow barn, and begin to search for my fellow quinters, Leslie Wills, Jeff Smith, Mike Burden, and Jochen Ditterich, finding three of them.  Jochen, as it turns out, has already departed (something about breakfast with some friends) so we, the remaining crew, decide on a time to head out together.
 
7:30 am:
Just as we’re about to pedal away, I noticed that I have already lost my heart rate monitor chest strap and I’m just ever so slightly annoyed about it.  I’ve gone zero feet of my 2,640,000 foot journey, and I’m already losing things…I hope this is not a sign of things to come.  I was really looking forward to keeping track of my heart rate and calories burned, but alas, I guess it is not to be.  I quickly let this issue go and will not mention it again for the remainder of the ride (bah ha ha ha ha…I almost wrote that with a straight face). 
 
7:35 am:
We are hopelessly separated on the road.  Ha…just kidding.  Things are progressing nicely.  Bike seems fine...knee feels great…butt is not sore.
 
7:57 am:
Leslie and Mike take a different route from the rest of us and have to play catch-up for a bit (perhaps carrying their bikes across four lanes of expressway traffic seemed easier than taking the overpass like the rest of us…but who knows?).  I’m the next to stop because it feels like I have either a flat tire or I am continually going up hill.  I notice that my rear brake is dragging and while in the process of fixing that problem, Leslie and Mike go by.  Now it’s my turn to play catch-up.
 
Eventually we get together, but Jeff Smith and I tag on to the back of a faster group and pull ahead for most of the morning…eventually waiting for Leslie and Mike at our lunch stop.
 
11:00 am:
We’re in Carson City eating a nice lunch.  Bike seems fine…knee feels great…butt is a little sore.  After filling our stomachs, we head out again.  Most of the afternoon is a blur.  I seem to recall making a couple stops to re-fill our bottles and/or to stretch.  Oh, and no one wants to draft behind Jeff…it seems that lunch is having an unexpected affect (jet propulsion is a great thing if it’s your own “jet”…but for everyone else...not so good).
 
3:30 pm:
We arrive at Lakeview, our first overnight camping area.  Bike seems fine…knee feels great…butt has “seen better days” (and it’s only day one…I get an ominous feeling.). 
For reasons I cannot explain, I actually rode to Lakeview and will spend a sleepless night at the high school, when, if I’d thought about it, I could have ridden to my house, which is only 11 short miles away.  I could have spent the night in my own soft bed, with my own soft feather pillow, lying next to my own wife.  But no…I’m am idiot and did not think of that until it was too late.  So instead I will lie in my sleeping bag on top of a ½ inch self-inflating air pad, in a tent, next to a parking lot…complete 203 other campers, a few snorers, lamp posts that never turn off, and the eventual arrival of plenty of noise…oh joy!
 
In the mean time, Mike has decided that he will ride an extra few miles to get in his century.  That boy needs some serious help.
 
4:45 pm:
Oh joy, time to go stand in the dinner line.  “Lines”, I think to myself, “will be a recurring theme throughout this trip”.
 
9:30ish pm:
As I lay there, dosing off, I find myself wondering …“Gee, I wonder if Lakeview beat Shepard in football tonight?”  I fall asleep without having my question answered.  So as I sleep, I find myself dreaming about whether or not Lakeview beat Shepard.  Golly, I sure wish someone would let me know if Lakeview beat Shepard.  Much to my amazement and overwhelming joy…I was not to wait much longer before learning the answer to that particular question.
 
The sounds of approaching automobiles and busses rouse me from a deep, deep sleep (yeah, right) and soon hoots and hollers began to fill my ears, as early pubescent JV football players loudly inform us (and everyone else in the town of Lakeview) that yes indeed, Lakeview has beaten Shepard.  We were told this numerous times for the next twenty minutes or so, with a mixture of screaming, horn honking and general rowdiness (high school kids and hormones…what a great combination).  Eventually though, with my question answered, I finally get some much needed sleep.
 
Day Two:  Yousick, Hesick, Shesick, Mesick:
 
Thursday, 4:50 am:
I am awoken by a strange noise in my left ear and a tingling sensation in my left arm.  My eyes pop open, and I wonder to myself: “what is this damned ringing noise…and why is mY LEFT ARM NUMB…GADS!...I’M HAVING A MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION!!...WAit…no…?”  I quickly deduce that I am lying in such a contorted manner that my left arm is somehow bent around, over, and under my pillow, with my watch firmly planted in my left ear, and the alarm is going off.  I hastily roll out of the sleeping bag, grab my stuff (which I had carefully and strategically laid out the night before…OCD can be such a wonderful thing) and happily head off to the bathrooms so…I can stand in line to take a pee?  I really have to stand in a line to pee?  Really?
Finally, after having taken care of one problem, I then pull my bike shorts out of my duffel bag and apply a goodly amount of chamois crème, in hopes of nipping my other problem in the bud…so to speak.
 
5:20 am:
Soon thereafter, I pack my gear, roll up my saturated tent (due to heavy fog), set everything on the sidewalk in an attempt to keep things dry, and head off for breakfast.
 
6:30 am:
Ah…more standing in line (this is really getting old and tiresome!).  Mike unintentionally cheats and grabs food before the official start time (he’s a DALMAC rookie).  Naughty Mike is berated (not really) by Donovan (our ride leader) and then refuses to eat the food he now already has in front of him until everyone else gets a chance to start as well.  I repeat; that boy needs some serious help.
 
7:32 am:
Soon we’re all ready to start rolling on day two.  Today will be our first foray into the hills (Jeff Smith naively thought that yesterday was “hilly”.  “Ha…just wait till we get to the Caberfae Ski Area”, Leslie and I inform him).  Leslie hops on her Seven, Jeff is astride his Trek, Jochen is sitting on his absolutely beautiful Merlin, I am mounted on my LiteSpeed, and Mike is aboard…a tank. 
Has everyone seen Mike’s bike?  I think it’s made of lead, re-rod, and concrete.  Hell, the poor thing even has a kickstand (how it supports the weight of the bike I have no idea).  But you know what, Mike can (and does) go anywhere with that 4000 pound behemoth.  Can you imagine what he’ll be like when he gets a new, lighter bike?  I shudder to think (he will certainly be a force to be reckoned with).  Seriously, those of us who have ridden with Mike know how strong he is on flats and descents...it’s the long/steep up-hills that get to him.  But when you take into account that he’s trying to ascend with bike that weighs more than our National Debt, he does a fine job.
 
Anyway, we shove off and begin a day that will end with one of us contemplating sagging out.
 
8:07 am:
Soon out of the gate we get passed by a bunch of folks, with five or six tandems leading the way.  Tandems are a biker’s best friend…following even one is like drafting behind a bus…and here we have six of them…Holy Cow…it’s like a dream come true!  We jump on the tail and off we go for the next 50 miles or so (with a brief stop in Paris…though I could not find the Eiffel Tower), until we arrive in the small town of Leroy, where the Methodist Church has prepared a lunch stop for the DALMAC riders.
 
Prior to our arrival in Leroy, however, we pass some friends of mine from previous DALMACs (Matt Assenmacher, Dave, Mick, and Roger).  They join our train (now about 30-40 riders strong!) and we all continue our journey towards lunch. 
Our group gets separated a bit on the ride in…but seeing as how we’re climbing hills at 30 mph, that’s not too surprising. Jeff and I do manage to hang on with the tandem group all the way to Leroy, and decide to wait for Mike, Jochen, and Leslie there.
 
11:37 am:
All I’ll say about lunch is that is was very good and very cheap.  My sandwich, pasta dish, fruit bowl, and drink cost all of $2.50!  Oddly, though, it seemed that the total for everyone was always $2.50.  I’m not so sure that the cute little old lady adding up the items on your plate knew how to work the calculator.  $2.50 seemed to be the going price, no matter what you had, so who was I to complain.
 
12:03 pm:
Anyway, after the nice lunch I decide to take off with my ole buddies from the last couple of years.  I call to Jeff to join us (knowing we will ride hard and fast...with no more stops until we get to camp) but he sees Leslie just as we’re about to leave and decides to wait…a good call.  So far the bike is fine, the knee feels…well…it’s perhaps a bit sore (time will soon tell), and my butt is beginning to show signs of saddle rejection.
 
The remaining 50 miles go by in a flash.  Trouble, however, starts to develop at about mile 63…it’s my knee again.  Last year, because of a left knee problem, I was forced to abandon the DALMAC in Leroy (at least this year I made it a bit further).  However, this problem is not the same as last years and I feel that perhaps I will be able to continue.  By mile 97, the knee is getting pretty sore so I bid my friends adieu and take the shorter (106 mile) route into Mesick. 
 
2:37 pm:
Once in Mesick, I assess my condition:  Bike seems fine, knee is pretty sore, and my butt no longer wants to touch anything remotely saddle shaped.
 
4:50 pm:
Oh boy, another line to stand in…this one for dinner.
 
9:30 pm:
I crawl into my sleeping bag to read for bit.  Soon, however, my flashlight batteries start to fail so I turn it off and decide to get some sleep.  It’s at this point I notice for the first time that when I laid out all my stuff I had positioned myself such that my feet are elevated higher than my head.  Thusly, I constantly feel like I’m sliding headfirst down a hill.  I’ll never get any sleep like this, so I crawl back out of my sleeping bag…rearrange everything to now face the opposite direction…making absolutely sure to carefully reposition all of my strategically placed “morning items”(ya just gotta love OCD!) so I can find them in the dark, and finally attempt to get some sleep…again.
 
Can I continue tomorrow or will I be forced to once again have my wife come pick me up in Mesick?  I really dread the idea calling Nanc on a cell phone…again…making her drive to Mesick...again…on the Friday of Labor Day Weekend…again…to pick my sorry ass up and take me home…again.  I will sleep on it, and since tomorrow is our “Out and Back” day, I can ride a little and test the knee without having to go the entire 100 miles. 
Leslie is thinking the same thing (no…not about calling my wife…it’s her knee…maybe using tomorrow as a test day…etc.).  She too is having some doubts about her knee and will probably take it easy tomorrow. 
 
This much I will tell you…someone, will abandon tomorrow.  Who will it be?  Will Leslie’s knee force her to drop out?  Will Jeff Smith decide that he really doesn’t want to climb hills that will make today’s hills look like speed bumps?  Will Jochen make the decision that he doesn’t want to get his gorgeous Merlin all dirty. Will my knee problem from last year rear its ugly head again?  Will Mike come to the conclusion that if he even so much as brakes a spoke, the odds of anyone having a replacement for a bike from the early 1960s is pretty low.  Stayed tuned.



The Quint: A Moderately Accurate Tome of My Journey to the Bridge.
Part Two
Day Three:  Pale Rider:
 
Friday, 4:50 am:
I am beginning to despise my wrist watch!  Nonetheless, as today is “out and back” day, I am in no hurry to get to the bathrooms.  Plus, we don’t even have to break down our campsites, so I linger a bit before grabbing my bag of stuff and heading off.
Fear not ye gentle reader…for upon my arrival to the Men’s Room, I still find myself standing in line to pee!  What’s up?  I’m beginning to suspect that the DALMAC organizers actually pay people to stand in line 24 hours a day, thereby guaranteeing that there will always be a line for absolutely everything need we do!  Wanna pee…go stand in line!  Wanna eat…go stand in line!  Wanna load your stuff…go stand in line!  Wanna get a massage…go stand in line!  Wanna stand in line…go stand in line!
 
6:00 am:
The breakfast line is not so bad, since most people are in no big hurry (our tents are already up, our camp is already made).  Ha, we’ll let those wimpy quad people fight for the secondary camping spots when they arrive.  The prime spots have already been claimed by we…“The Mighty Quinters”! 
 
7:45 am:
Today is a short 100 mile trip from Mesick, out to Frankfurt, and back to Mesick.  Leslie will not be joining us, but instead will ride with a friend at a leisurely pace out to Onekama and back ( a round trip of about 52 miles or so) to give her knee a chance to rest up.  So it will be just Jochen, Mike, Jeff, and myself today, and we plan on taking our time and enjoying the ride for two reasons.  First…why kill ourselves when we are in no hurry to get to the next camp.  Second, I need to see how my knee is going to hold up.  If the pain gets worse, I plan on turning around and resting the remainder of the day.  If it stays the same or somehow manages to actually improve, I will continue riding.
 
We’re all mounted up and ready to shove off.  At the last minute we received word the Jeff is going to ride with some other friends today, so the three of us take off.
 
7:50 am:
I’m the last rider in the line and I see someone coming up from behind, but they’re still back there a ways.  We’re not exactly hammering it, but we’re going pretty good so whoever this is, they will have to work a bit to get on our tail.  We make our fist turn and see that it’s Jeff behind us…he’s decided to ride with us after all.  That’s a good thing, seeing as how we’re going to be battling a very strong head wind all of the way to Frankfurt and one more “puller” will certainly come in handy.  Thus far, my knee seems to be getting worse, but only marginally so.  I will continue.
 
8:10 am:
We start a very long climb (little did we know that this one would pale in comparison to another climb a bit up the road)  At the top, my knee feels worse…but I really do NOT want to quit again this year so I forge ahead.  Oh…and just another minor detail…Jochen mentions that he cannot get his heart rate under control.  WHAT!...Gee…nothing like making us all sit up and take notice.  Suddenly my trivial knee problem seems just that…trivial. 
 
8:45 am
We decide to stop in Kaleva (and I didn’t even know we were in Russia) so Jochen can buy some aspirin, which he hopes will get his heart back in beat…so to speak.  He pops a few and after everyone tops off their water bottles and eats a quick snack, we’re off again.  They (the aspirin) are not working and we all become somewhat concerned.  Jochen decides that if things are not back to normal by Onekama, he’ll have to drop out.
 
9:11 am:
We arrive in Onekama.  My knee is sore, but has not really gotten any worse.  What has gotten worse, however, is Jochen’s condition.  I won’t go into detail (I’ll let Jochen talk about it, if he so chooses) except to say that he is not looking too good.  Pale is an understatement.  He’s pale with undertones of white and appears both blanch and ashen…how’s that sound?  He’s not good, so he climbs into a SAG vehicle…his DALMAC now over.
 
9:15 am: 
Our group continues on but our thoughts are with Jochen.  We tag on to the back of a tandem and ride with them (well…kind of…on and off) for most of the remaining morning.
 
9:35 am:
Now I know that Mike and Jeff like to tell you all that I’m “brutal” when I’m up front pulling.  Here’s how it really plays out though.  I get up front and pull at a very similar pace to my predecessor(s).  I rotate to the back of the line.  We pedal on with Mike in the lead.  A couple of animals are standing in the road up ahead.  They (Mike and Jeff) get around them.  I have to come to almost a complete stop to avoid running over what appears to be a dog (one of those little puggish, tough guy…“I’m gonna bite your tires, bring ya down, and then tear you apart!”…useless, drop-kick kinda of dogs).  Do Mike and Jeff ease off a bit and wait for me?  Do they look over their shoulders and see that I am waaaaaaaaaaay back there?  Do they hear me screaming: “Heeeeeeeeey….wait up”?  Do they?  Do they?  Noooooooooooo…they pedal on with me know 200 meters to the rears trying desperately to get back on while pedaling into a very strong head wind.  THAT is how it actually plays out on the road…(lol).
 
10:37 am:
The tandem is up front, followed by Jeff, then myself, with Mike bringing up the rear.  A small group passes us and Jeff notices that one of them is a friend of his.  Let me digress for a moment and explain some basic biology.  There are two basic “species” on this planet…those that produce testosterone and those that produce estrogen.  Jeff suffers from a condition that many of us that produce testosterone share.  We hate being passed.  Personally, it usually drives us up the wall to see a group in front or to have a group go past (those that produce estrogen are much too intelligent and logical to fall for this). 
Today Mike and I are able maintain our composure and let them go…(me, mainly because I do not want to put undue stress on the knee).  Jeff, however, cannot resist.  There’s only one problem (well, two I guess).  First, by the time Jeff realizes that he actually wants to jump on their tail, they’re quite a ways up the road.  Second, we’re riding straight into very strong head winds. 
Still, testosterone overrides common sense (been there, done that) and off he goes, leaving Mike and I to stay nicely tucked in behind the bus...aka tandem.  Poor Jeff.  He’s trying so hard, all by his lonesome, to catch a group of six or so riders working together and riding quickly.  It just ain’t gonna happen, but still he tries…and tries…and tries….and tries….and tries…and tries…and tries…and tries…and tries…and tries...and tries…and tries…and tries…and tries…and tries…and tries…and…well, you get the picture. 
Me…I’m sitting back there behind the tandem watching poor ole Jeff dangle out there like a pair of butt-cheeks at an ass-kicking contest, wondering the whole time to myself: “Why doesn’t he just soft pedal and rejoin us back here…all nice a cozy…following the bus?”  No dice though…he’s caught out there in no-mans land and it’s starting to take its toll.  How does that saying go…His mind is writing checks that his body can’t cash?  Actually, in this case, I guess it would closer to say that his body has taken out a loan that he’ll have to repay (with heavy interest) later in the day.
 
11:17 am
We are hitting some smallish hills and Jeff has rejoined the group.  We make a right turn from Herron road out onto M-22 and immediately begin to climb. 
 
*****DISCLAIMER TIME:  Everyone rider knows that the best way to climb is to simply climb at your own pace.  I mention this because I do not want to come across as some sort of smart-guy by claiming that I climb better than many other people.  I climb ok, but I’m not trying to show off.  If you try to climb too fast or too slow, it will only make it worse.  You must go up at a pace that is comfortable for you…not matter what that pace may be.*****
 
Anyway, up we go.  I start to pull away, but plod on…pedal stroke after pedal stroke.  Up we go.  Still climbing.  Up, up, up.  I go around a bend in the road, hoping against hope that once around the curve I will see the top.  Nope…still it’s going up.  Up, up, up.  I would love to tell you that there is a great view…but all I can see is the road directly in front of my wheel (I don’t want to waste precious energy by turning my head).  I pass what I believe is a Mountain Goat….looking at me with an expression of: “What the hell are you doing up here?”  I see another bend in the road… “could the top be just around that one?”, I ask myself.  Nope…up, up, up.  “Ok”, I actually say out loud, “this is getting a bit ridiculous”, “The top had better be around this next curve OR ELSE!!”  (what, exactly, I mean by “or else” I have no idea.  Am I gonna turn around and ride home?  Am I gonna quit right there and wait for a SAG vehicle?  Am I gonna throw my bike into the woods, sit down and pout?  I really have no idea what I mean by “or else” except that it feels great to give notice to no one in particular that an “or else” had been issued...and that I mean it!!)  I navigate the next curve…the top…is…no where to be seen...CRAP!  Up, up, up.  By now I’m keeping an eye out for commercial aircraft…figuring they cruise somewhere around this altitude.
At this point the only thing keeping me going is the thought that there is probably going to be one screaming, hair-raising decent coming up and hopefully soon.  I come around yet another curve…and…there…it…is…FINALLY.  I have summated Mt. Frankfurt!   At first I think that perhaps I should wait for Jeff and Mike (I figure the tandem is now about 6 hours behind), but then the testosterone takes over and I head down into the abyss.  It is as I’d hoped, and I hit a top speed of 48.3 mph as I coast into Elberta.  I soft pedal, knowing that Jeff and Mike are back there somewhere.
 
11:45 am 
Jeff arrives at my wheel and we continue to soft pedal into Frankfurt.  Soon we are joined by Mike and together the Three Amigos ride into town.  A very nice lunch is had by all, including Mikes private SAG (his parents) who join us...they are very nice folks. 
I take a physical inventory and report that the bike is great, the knee is actually better, but the butt is a wee bit tender.  I’m not really looking forward to getting back on that saddle.
 
12:45 pm:
Lunch is over, we’ve ridden out to the Big Lake and taken a look at the waves (very big today), and so we begin our return trip…with a wonderful tail wind!
 
1:23 pm: 
Oh boy…more hills.  Again, I plod up at my own pace and get a bit ahead of Jeff and Mike, so after I reach the top (and ride the flats for a bit), I turn around and ride back towards them (see, I can be a nice guy).  Am and rewarded for my generosity?  Nope…they ride past me and without slowing.  I turn back around and notice that for the second time this day, they pedal on without me and I am forced to play catch-up.  I’m getting closer and closer and notice that up head is another climb and I figure I will catch them there.  However, prior to that ascent is quite a descent.  I figure “what the hell”, switch to the big chain ring and small cassette (and 11!)  and then pedal like a mad man.  Holy wow batman… I’m at 50.0 mph!!
 
2:17 pm:
After a brief stop in Thompsonville we’re on the home stretch of the ride.  Nothing really to report from here on in, other than that Jeff is feeling the effects of his earlier attempt to catch his friends group.  Mike (despite what he claims) is a very strong puller (and so is Jeff, just not at this time on this day) and we all do a good job of getting us back to Mesick.
 
3:30 pm:
We arrive back at camp (after a leisurely 17.1 mph average) and notice that many of the quad people have joined us.  It will be even more crowded, with longer lines from here on out. 
Well, the bike is still great…the knee is surprising well…and the butt…well, lets just say that the last few miles have really taken a toll.
Once again, Mike (the lunatic) pedals around the school for a few laps, making sure that he gets a full 100 miles before stopping (have I mentioned that he needs some serious help?).  My butt hurts just thinking about being on a bike, and he’s out there riding in circles.
I meet up with my DALMACer friends from the past couple years, head to the BuckSnort Tavern, and decide that tomorrow I will ride with them to the Torch Lake YMCA Camp.
 
9:30 pm:
Lights out on day three.
 
 
 
Day Four:  Beep Beep, Zip Tang!
 
Saturday, 4:50 am:
There goes that friggen alarm clock again.  I am beginning to hate that sound.   I throw off the sleeping back, grab my stuff, and head off towards the showers so I can stand in line yet again.  I arrive at the “Men’s Room”, take my place in line, do my “duty”, and eventually apply a generous amount of chamois crème to my bibs.  I hop in the shower, get myself all clean and spiffy, towel off and pull on my biking cloths.  YIKES!!…chamois crème can be quite “cool” at 5:20 in the morning.
 
6:07 am
Next it’s the breakfast line, followed by another bathroom line.
 
7:00 am:
Truck loading line.
 
7:34 am
Today, I fear, will be a fast paced ride.  I will be accompanying Matt, Roger, Mick, and Dave ( I call these guys the  regular Assenmacher bunch), and new to the group this year is a gentleman named Chuck. Also, re-joining the group for the remainder of the DALMAC is a nice guy who I only know as Cricket (he’s on the Quad).  The seven of us head out and day four is under way.
 
7:39 am:
Right out of the gate we have a 10% grade hill to climb.  It will soon be remembered as merely a small bump in the road however.
 
7:45 am:
These guys ride pretty hard and almost never stop.  Today is no exception.  We pick up a few other riders and soon we have 15 or so riders cruising along at 23-24 mph.  I’m doing my best to hang on and do a brief pull.  The one thing I really like about this group is that no one expects you to over tax yourself.  Pull what you can for as long as you can, no matter the distance.  Plus, Roger can get in front and pull for 5 miles or so…very impressive rider.
 
8:25 am:
In the near distance (I love a good oxymoron) I see a long, long, long hill.  We are approaching the infamous “Puke Hill”.  It is not only long, but it’s got quite a pitch to it as well.  As usual, we all kind of split apart as we climb at our own pace.  I really hate this hill, but the only way to the top is to keep pedaling, so that’s what I do.  I summit, soft pedal and am soon caught by the remaining group…except Cricket…whose way ahead on the road (have I mentioned that he is a very strong rider?).
 
9:01 am:
We zoom through Kingsley with nary a stop.
 
9:06 am
We zoom through Maxfield with nary a stop. 
What we do do, however, is greatly enlarge our group size.  Jeff and Mike are also mixed into the bunch, and I kid you not, our seven man group is now comprised of at least sixty riders.  And we are flying! 
We are going scary fast.  People are NOT holding their line as we zip around curves, climb up hills and scream down the other side.  But hey, I’m a guy (you know…stupid), so I’m not about to drop off the back.  Besides, my original group is all intermixed throughout this train and if I drop off I’m going to be spending the rest of the day alone…so I hang on for the ride.
(In hind sight, riding with a group that large…on those roads…was not a smart thing to do.  Luckily (and I do believe that it was in large part just that… luck) no accidents occurred.  There were plenty of close calls, but no one went down.)
 
 
10:03 am
We’re in Acme (mile 53)…and we finally stop for the first time today  We take a break to re-fill our water bottles, rest our legs, and eat a quick snack.  And for the first time this week, I do not have to stand in line to pee!  Jeff rides off with another group while Mike stays with my group (now back down to our original crew).
 
10:15 am:
We’re off again, climbing Bunker Hill right away.  Not a bad hill, just a poor location…right after a break.  We start bombing again and when we reach a pair of hills that I call “The Twins”, Mike starts to drop off the back and I will not see him again until we are three or so miles from the YMCA Camp.
 
10:40 am:
We arrive in Elk Rapids…already…mile 68.1 of our trip.  Now, normally, we would zoom right through Elk Rapids, like we have every other town along this route, but for reasons that I can only rejoice at, we decide to stop for lunch.  Yahoo!  Even though my bike is still perfect…my knee is sore again and my butt is killing me.  Seriously, I think my butt is conspiring with my knee to have me killed.
 
11:00 am:
We have decided on a place to eat, are finally seated and place our order.
 
11:59 pm:
Our food finally arrives (the town is very busy…all abuzz with spandex) and I dig in to my blue berry pancakes.
 
1:05 pm:
We have spent way too much time in Elk Rapids…well beyond a typical lunch stop for this group.  We regrouped and start off on the last 30 mile jaunt of today’s little ride.
When we left Elk Rapids, Dave commented that we should slow down and enjoy the rest of the ride.  I snicker to myself and think: “Yeah…like that’s going to actually happen”.  We also plan on stopping at the “Dockside”, a wonderful restaurant/bar on the Clam River for a beer or two.  Again, I wonder what the odds of that actually happening are (pretty damned low, let me tell you). 
 
1:27 pm:
We zoom right past The Dockside with nary a stop. 
I knew it!  I ride next to Matt and ask why we did not stop.  The answer is not surprising and I am in COMPLETE agreement with the decision.  We (they) decided that their (our) butts are so sore that stopping would be a very bad idea, seeing as how we’d just need to go through that awful “break in period” again when you first get back on the saddle with a painful butt.  “Let’s just suffer through these last nine miles and get it the hell over with”, is what he tells me.  A great plan.
 
1:44 pm: 
We pass Jeff and Mike on the road…they jump on our tail. 
 
1:45 pm:
We are getting passed by a handful of riders.  I’m second in line, so as they go by I just sort of hang there to see what is going to happen.  As the last of the riders go by I see Matt, Cricket, and Jeff chase them down...then I hear Mick (who’s beside me at this point) tell me to either go or get out of the way.  I go.  We catch up and finish the last mile at a stupid clip (why, oh why, oh why do I do these things?).  I’m dying…my legs are spent…my lungs are burning…my butt feels like it’s been massaged with a cheese grater…and here I am chasing after a bunch of guys like it’s the Champs Elysees.  I am an idiot…but I am not a lonely idiot…Jeff is there, Matt is there, Cricket is there, Mick is there, I think Mike is there…and we’re all thinking the same thing…“what the hell am I doing”…ah….the beauty of testosterone.
 
1:47 pm:
We’ve made it!  The riding day is over and we’ve managed a respectable 20.7 mph…not too bad.
Guess it’s time to go start standing in lines again.
 
What will tomorrow, the final ride day, bring?  How will Leslie’s knee feel?  Will Mike’s “collectors item bike” hold up?  Will Jeff try catching his buddies again while on the road?  How will my knee hold up?  Tune in to this same channel, some time later this week or perhaps early next week, to read the conclusion of this epic journey.


The Penultimate Episode  
Day Five: The Abandonment:
 
Sunday, 4:40 am:
ARRRRG...I hate alarms!!  But at least it's the last time on this DALMAC that I have to listen to this stupid thing ringing in my ear!  It's a busy morning because about 300 guys are soon going to be competing for three bathrooms stalls, two urinals, and three showers, hence my 10 minute earlier start time.  I grab my stuff, head off across the field and find that I am already in a line!  Have I mentioned how much I love standing in these lines!  It's fun...really!? 
I eventually get into the bathroom, get my shower and then start to prepare my riding stuff for the final day.  I glop about half a container of chamois creme into my bibs and slide them on.  I feel kind of like a one year old that has eaten about 6 jars of strained pees and let loose in his diaper...if you know what I mean. (Here's a FUN FACT: when you have that much chamois creme on your fanny, passing gas is a unique experience...or so I have been told...cuz...well...personally...I never pass gas...but if you happen to find yourself with 1/2 tub of chamois creme on your butt and a "gas" problem...be forewarned that the sensation is strange indeed...at least, that's what I hear.)  Still, I really don't care how I look cuz by now my butt feels like it's been gnawed on by a pack of ravenous badgers.  The more padding I have between my rear and my saddle, the better I'm going to feel while riding, so the "extra" chamois creme will simply be an addition layer of cushion...albeit, a squishy, slippery layer of cushion, but at this point I could not care less.
 
We have a plan today. We worked out this plan the day before.  Mike even went so far as to ride the four miles from our camp over to the Four-day West camp at Central Lake High School (and then back) yesterday to, among other things, work out the details of this plan.  It is a simple plan....easy to remember.  Here it is, see if you agree with utter simplicity of this plan:
We (Mike, Leslie, Jeff, and I) will meet them (Judy, Marc, Anne, Rick, Geri, and others) on the road in front of the school.  Additionally, I am going to call two other friends (Phil and Cory) from work (who are also on the Four-Day West) and have them meet us there as well, and together this huge group will casually ride to Mackinaw City.  It could not be more simple.
 
7:48 am:
I call Phil, leave a message, and depart the YMCA Camp with the same group I rode with yesterday.  Jeff and Leslie leave as well, but I think Mike left a bit earlier so he could get the Four-Day group together prior to our arrival.
 
8:09 am:
We're coming down the hill into Central Lake, under cover of some very dense fog.  And I mean very dense fog.
 
8:10 am: 
We arrive at the designated meeting spot and I say good bye and thanks to Matt, Roger, Dave, Mick, Chuck, and Cricket.
 
8:10:01 am:
"Hey, where is everybody?", is my first thought.  Then I start to cuss and swear for what is the first...but far from the last.....time today.
 
I have now come to the conclusion that without at least two years notice and a plan comparable to that of the invasion of Europe during WWII, members of the Rapid Wheelmen are completely incapable of riding as a group.  The words: "We will meet you on the road in front of the school", do not seem too confusing to me...but yet, we arrive at the designated spot, only to find that both groups (our fellow Wheelmen and my two friends) have already departed.  "WHAT!" I state to Mike (the bearer of the news).  "How can this be?" I continue. "For the love of God, our plan consisted basically of twelve words, how could they have messed this up?", I ask to anyone that is willing to listen (including two complete strangers, who just happen to be standing there with their bikes, looking at me like I'm some kind of raving lunatic...and not being too far off on their judgment). 
Mike is just one of the nicest people you will ever meet and he starts saying that perhaps it is our fault...that we are maybe a little too late...that they thought maybe we had passed them by...that we probably screwed up, not them. 
Me, on the other hand...well I'm just a grumpy old man and refuse to take any of the blame.  I'm the type that if someone tells me to meet them at specific location at a specific time, I will wait there until they arrive, or I receive word from them that the plans have changed.  I'm like a penguin in the Antarctic incubating an egg...I'll just stand there...for as long at it takes for what ever is going to happen, to happen.  Call me silly, but that's the way I am.
The plan fell apart, but life goes on so, ok, it's time for plan B.  Since Leslie is having problems with her knee (flats are fine but up-hills create a problem) she says she's riding "easy" today, and Jeff graciously agrees to also take it easy and ride with her for the day.  What a guy!  Seriously, it is very nice of him to do this.  In the mean time, Mike and I will ride together and catch the 4-Day West Group (plus my two friends from work), and see if we can coordinate a ride while in transit.
 
As I'm standing here, waiting to head off into the fog, I begin to daydream.  Maybe it's me...maybe people just don't like to ride with me.  This day so far seems eerily reminiscent of the 100 Grand earlier this summer. 
Flashback time............. 
During that little ride I was abandoned twice.  First, at the start of the ride we were all together for a group photo.  Someone mentioned that it appeared that someone (I forget who at this point) was missing from the group.  I said that I'd ride over to the registration desk and look for them.  I get over there, look around, and don't see the MIA, so I look back over towards the group.  What do I see?  Well I see the missing guy AND I see the group riding away.  Thanks Guys!  I manage to chase them down...eventually. 
Then later that morning, I'm in the front doing a pull when I hit something in the road and flat my rear tire.  Since I was up front at the time, literally everyone in the group has to ride past me, so I wonder why only Mike (and I've already told you what an incredibly nice guy he is) stops to render assistance.  The claim of the others, you're wondering?  Well, they say that they didn't see me.  Somehow they "missed" the only guy standing next to the road with a flat tire
................Jump back ahead to the present
Now here we are at the DALMAC and similar things are starting to happen (with more to come...which is currently unknown to me at this time).  "Hmmmmmm" I find myself thinking in retrospect, "maybe I just can't take a hint?"
 
8:15 am:
I snap out of my self pitying, catharsis-like daydream and call Phil on my cell.  He tells me that he and Cory have already left (no kidding!), and are about nine miles ahead on the road.  "Ok, wait for me at the top of "The Wall" I tell him."  He says that they'll be there.  I hang up...I cuss and swear.
 
8:17 am:
The four of us start out together and ride as such, on and off, for a bit.  Eventually Mike and I (the abandonees) start to pull away and basically pedal off together on our quest for the abandoners.
 
8:43 am:
In due course we catch Anne and Rick on their tandem.  After I give them a verbal tongue lashing the likes of which they have never heard before (I think it went something like this...be warned though...it's pretty harsh... "Hi guys!"), Anne notices an old barn along side the road and decides that this would make for a nice photo op break.  So we all turn around and pedal back a ways so that on Anne's command, we can ride back past the barn, one at a time, as she snaps our pictures. 
 
8:56 am:
We head off again, after being joined by Jeff and Leslie, and make our way towards East Jordan and..."The Wall"!  We "accidentally" abandon Anne and Rick as we pedal off, the four of us working together.
 
9:17 am
Once in East Jordan, we take a quick break for water and discuss our assault ("we'll go up", we decide).  Leslie has that bum knee and knows that climbing The Wall will result in a tremendous amount of pain and possibly in her having to SAG out, so she wisely decides to take the alternate route to avoid the climb.  Jeff does not want to force Leslie to ride alone so he too decides on the alternate route...his chance at The Wall will have to wait for at least another year.  Let me be clear about one thing here; Jeff made the correct decision and having ridden with him not only on this DALMAC, but many a Tuesday night as well, there is no doubt that he would have easily made the climb, lest any of you readers think otherwise. 
 
9:33 am:
Mike and I continue on alone...the climb will soon begin.
 
9:48 am
For those who have not experienced The Wall, it's a bit of a challenge.  You have a mile or two or shallow climbing prior to reaching the "Wall" section, so you're a bit fatigued when you get there.  Plus, you cannot see the "Wall" section until you come around a final bend (of many) in the road and there it is...a steep section of road covered with a plethora of bikers and spectators.
Mike and I continue climbing the early, non-steep section together and then make the magic turn.  There it is..."The Wall".  As we approach, people are lining the sides of the road as well as waiting at the top...cheering and screaming and yahooing as the riders make their way towards the top, with some riding, but also with quite a few walking their bikes towards the top..  It's like a mini-version of L`AlpDuez. 
 
10:01 am:
I pass Anne and Rick on the tandem as I make my way towards the top (they apparently passed us while we were planning our assault back at the gas station).  Mike has dropped back a bit, but not too far.
 
*****Let's talk about climbing The Wall for a moment.  The "Wall" itself is not always the only obstacle a rider faces when trying to reach the top.  Many riders will follow what I call a "serpentine" route in their attempt to get to the top.  Often times, this means that one second you're doing fine, and the next, a rider that was going straight has now turned directly in front of you.  In my humble opinion, these people should be shot.  First off, it practically doubles the distance you need to travel to reach the top, so where's the logic?  Second, it makes it difficult for those of us behind you to know where the heck to go to avoid a slow speed, but deadly nonetheless, collision.  Third, it's ANNOYING!!  Just ride up the darned thing or get off your bike and walk!  Gads, getting up The Wall in and of itself is difficult enough, let alone with these people turning it in to some sort of half-assed obstacle course.  Ok, now that I've probably offended 2/3 of the people reading this, I'll continue.*****
 
I somehow manage to avoid the "drunken ascenders" as I make my way up.  There is a slight bend in the road, making the summit unobservable from the bottom, but after about 3/4 of the climb, I can see the top.  Despite the noise from within (my heart is POUNDING), I can hear people cheering me (and others) on, giving me that extra little boost I need.  I pick up the pace and sprint ever so slowly for the line. 
I crest the summit and stop to catch my breath.  Shortly thereafter I am joined by Mike and then quickly by Anne and Rick as well.  To my surprise, Judy de Young and Marc also soon join us at the top.  In my deep, deep concentration and mental prep for the upcoming climb, I apparently had not noticed that somewhere along the climb, I had passed them.
Since the tandem arrived at the top before Judy and Marc, I believe Anne was able to snap a photo or two as they strove for the top.  "Hey", I start to complain, "I want my picture too".   Anne agrees to snap my photo, so I ride a ways back down The Wall, turn around, and then climb to the top again, never one to bypass a potential photo op.  Mike does the same, and then we all head out, towards our next planned rest stop...Boyne City, and probably the biggest doughnuts I will ever see in my life.
 
I should mention that despite Phil's earlier statement that he and Cory will meet us at the top, they are nowhere to be seen...something that will become a recurring event throughout the day.  I attempt to call him on my cell, but get no answer...I cuss and swear.
 
10:33 am:
We all head out together on our way to Boyne.  A tandem flies by and I jump on their tail for a bit, not being able to resist a short 30 mph section (like I've already stated...there's nothing like following a fast tandem!).
 
 11:07 am:
We have re-grouped (except for Leslie and Jeff) and stop, as planned, for doughnuts.  I try Phil again on my cell...still no answer...I cuss and swear.  Oh, and by the way...the bike is great, my knee feels great, and my fanny, while sore, is also not too bad.  It appears that I have actually ridden myself into shape...nothing like waiting until the last minute.
 
10:49 am:
We're off again, heading towards Petoskey.  Mike and I end up alone, (up ahead of Judy, Marc, Anne, and Rick) so we will ride into Petoskey together.  Sounds easy, doesn't it?  How hard can it be to follow the route, ride into town, and then back out the other side? But first we make a left turn towards the lake shore and apparently I'm off in lala-land or something because I fail to notice where we are and therefore forget what's ahead.  Next thing I know, we find ourselves going waaaaay to slow and can barely make it up the short, but steep hill in front of us.  We manage to struggle to the top and then I remember what I had earlier forgotten...this is the start of the "The Seven Sisters".  After apologizing to Mike for not being prepared, I let him know that if you get up enough speed going down one sister, you can make it to the top of the next with minimal effort.  It is a very good time...going up and down on The Sisters (ummmm...that really sounds pretty bad doesn't it...please don't tell my wife), except that, by and large, the road sucks.  It's rather narrow, with tight corners and plenty of sand/gravel on each curve.  Still, we do manage to get through and continue towards Petoskey.
 
11:47 am
Well, apparently, navigating Petoskey is too difficult for Mike and me...we're lost.  I take the blame, seeing as how I have done this route before.  It does, however, highlight what I (and some others) see as a small flaw with the maps you receive from the DALMAC organization.  Namely, if you do "get lost" and end up off the map, there is no way to tell where exactly you are.  Still, Mike and I persevere and find our way back onto the route.  I'm feeling pretty good so I spend quite a bit of time up front, just plodding along at a reasonable pace.  Mike is there with me and together we approach Harbor Springs.  The ride into town is quite scenic, as we ride along the Lake Michigan shoreline, looking at houses in which I will never even be allowed to be the hired help, let alone own.
 
12:32 pm:
Mike and I pull into Harbor Springs and stop at the Bike Shop for the free bagels and apple cider.  Much to our delight, the whole crew is already there...Jeff, Leslie, Judy, Marc, Anne, and Rick.  "Cool", I think, "we're all together and can ride the rest of the way as one big ole happy club"...(phhhh, yeah, right).  I then remember to call Phil.  This time he does answer. 
"I must have missed you at The Wall" I say.  "Yeah, we decided not to wait too long" he tells me.  "No kidding....where are you now?" I ask.  "We just left Harbor Springs" he replies.  I cuss and swear.  "What?" he asks.  "Nothing", I say, "Just wait for me in Goodhart".  "Will do" he says.
 
1:13 pm:
Goodhart, (and twice baked potatoes and clam chowder)...here we come!  We all agree (or so I thought) that we are going to stop and eat lunch in Goodhart.  It's far and away the BEST lunch stop on the entire DALMAC route, and I have been looking forward to it since we left Lansing, some 4 1/2 days earlier.  All that lies between us and our tators is a small climb, followed by a screaming descent called "The Chute".  I love The Chute.  It's a somewhat long climb with a downhill that follows a meandering route through the trees.  The last (and only) time I went down it I passed a car that was, in my estimation, going way to slow (I hit 50 mph).  "I hope I have that much fun again",  I am thinking to myself as we ride along.  We arrive at the "alternate route turn off", so Leslie and Jeff head that way.  Mike and I continue towards The Chute, but because of a few other climbs between us and it, I start to pull away.
 
1:29 pm:
Once again I start to climb.  This one is pretty long and there are a few other riders making their way upwards as well.  How can people ride so slow and not fall over?  Look, I know that not everybody likes to climb, but come on folks...just pedal!  It's not that difficult....sure it hurts...sure your legs burn...sure you lungs scream for more oxygen...sure you're sitting on the very tip of a rock hard saddle....but hey, come on, pedal man, pedal...the faster you go up, the sooner you get it all over with!  That's my philosophy anyway...I'd much rather suffer through some intense, but short-lived pain, than to suffer for a much longer time period.
 
1:41 pm
I get to the top and just as I'm about to start going down, I get passed by a large SUV.  "ALRIGHT!"  I scream out loud, "Here I go again".  I'm pretty sure that the guy driving the SUV is surprised when he looks in his rear-view mirror and sees me back there.  He picks up the pace (we increase to about 41 mph), looks in his mirror and sees I'm still there.  Faster we go (now at 45 mph) and I stick with him.  We don't quite reach 50 (48.3 mph is the fastest we go), but I stay with him all the way to the bottom and for about 3/4 of a mile after we level out.  God I love the chute!
Now, before I get a bunch of e-mail telling all about the dangers of doing this, and how it gives bikers a bad name, and all that other stuff....let me assure you that I was not that close to his bumper.  I was close enough to benefit somewhat from his draft but not so close that I could not have reacted if the need arose.  Hey, if anything I was being safe because I was riding with the traffic flow on a tree-lined, winding descent.  Any slower and I very well may have been a hindrance to motorized vehicular traffic.
 
1:53 pm:
I arrive in Goodhart and guess what...Phil and Cory are actually there waiting...but unfortunately, their waiting with news that I am not going to like hearing.  Phil's wife is picking them up in Cross Village (just up the road) and they are going to ride off without me so they can meet her on time (well, at least now I know why they did not/could not wait for me while out on the road).  I cuss and swear.
Not to worry though, my compatriots (Leslie, Jeff, and Mike) soon arrive in Goodhart as well, and after a nice lunch (the one I've been waiting for since the start!), we'll be off on the last leg or our journey.   Having arrived a bit before everyone else, I am already in line (surprise, surprise, surprise) for my twice baked potato and bowl of clam chowder.  My plan is that by getting my meal early, I will have more time to rest before the others finish up their lunches and we start out.  Apparently, I do not have the gift of prophesy.
I look back in line and while I do see Judy and Marc and Anne and Rick, I do not see the others.  I ask if anyone knows where they are and I am told: "Those guys?  They left a few minutes ago." "WHAT!" I scream..."THEY LEFT?...WITHOUT ME!?...ARRRG!".  I cuss and swear.
I really wasn't looking forward to finishing up alone, and decide to look on this latest abandonment as a challenge.  Can I catch these guys and blow past them before they ride the remaining 23 miles?  I decide to quickly eat my food to prevent them from getting too far up the road, so I throw some twice baked potato in the general direction of my mouth (I passed on the chowder), slosh down a Pepsi, burp, and re-mount my bike.
 
2:17 pm:
I'm leaving Goodhart all by myself, having been abandoned by yet another group of riders on yet another ride (insert heavy sobbing here).  Almost immediately I jump on the tail of these three guys that are hammering along at 23 mph or so, and ask if I can join in.  "Sure", they tell me.  I'm last in line, struggling to keep up but manage to do so until it's my turn at the front.  As I start my pull I say to myself: "Self...don't make them regret letting you  join.  Pull for at least a couple of miles and don't let up".  After about 1 1/2 miles of pulling, I look back and notice that I'm all alone.  I guess they pulled a little too hard and had worn themselves out cuz, as God is my witness, I did not pick up the pace when I got to the front.  I slow a bit and they tell me that they're going to stop just ahead and go for a swim.  I say "ok" and "thanks", for letting me ride with them during the 10 or so miles that we have covered together.
 
2:40 pm:
I'm alone again but I see a group up ahead.  I pick up the pace and catch them, slowing a bit before deciding to go on by.  I see another group up in the distance...I go for it, passing them as well.  Looking up the road I see another group...pulled off to the side.  As I get closer, they begin to look familiar.  It's them!  It's Mike, Leslie, and Jeff.  I stop (despite what I said earlier about blowing past them...I'm not really that big a jerk...close...but not quite.  Also, if I keep going I'll end up riding alone and it is a bit windy.  And lastly, I'm not really a strong enough rider to simply pull away from these guys and ride off without them).  After calling them some obscene names, I say: "Hi".  Mike responds by squirting me with water from his bottle.  This is the same Mike that I have been calling "such a nice guy" throughout this story.  He squirts me with water!  Actually, it feels pretty good and I further encourage the behavior.
 
2:57 pm:
The group that started out together over four days ago will now finish the last 10 miles or so together again.  We pedal towards Mackinaw City and a rendezvous with the fame and fortune afforded those who ride the Quint...which is the same fame and fortune afforded those who ride any of the different DALMAC routes...which is...absolutely nothing, except the knowledge that you have completed what you had started...and that's good enough for me.
About 200 meters from the high school parking lot I decide that we should all sprint for the line!  Apparently no one else got that memo, cuz I find myself sprinting all alone.  Oh well.  I finish with a 17 mph average, but considering all the stops we made, and the fact that it was much slower at the half-way point of the day, I feel pretty good with the pace.
 
3:30 pm:
We've done it. We've finished our 500 mile epic journey.  How anticlimactic.  I come to a stop, step off my bike and say "hi" the Chuck and Cricket, both of whom are sitting there watching all the other riders finish.  No cheering.  No applause.  No pat on the back.  No congratulations.  Nothing.  How cool is that...just the way it should be.
 
3:40 pm:
It's over.  I find my stuff, go stand in the shower line (they get us even on the last day!), come back all clean and wearing fresh new clothes, and sit down with Chuck and Cricket.  As we watch other riders continue to finish, we chat about what a grand and glorious time we had...the ups...the downs...the fun...the pain...the food...the lines... the route...and on and on.
 
5:45 pm:
I am standing in what will absolutely be the LAST line of this years DALMAC.  I'm waiting to get my box lunch for the bus ride home.
 
6:00 pm:
The bus pulls away and I will alternate between reading my book and sleeping during the four plus hour journey back to the MSU Cow barn.
 
10:17ish pm:
We arrive at the Moo U cow palace.  I get off the bus, and go find my bike.  Ok, here's the deal: The DALMAC organization is extremely strict on just about everything they do except for picking up your bike at the end.  Why is that?  Seriously?  Throughout the ride, you must be wearing that wrist band for literally everything you need that is associated with DALMAC.  Even at the Mackinaw City High School, just to get your bike tagged and stored for the trip home, get your box lunch and then get on the bus yourself, you must first show them that wrist band, give a DNA sample, undergo a retina scan, swear on a stack of bibles, forfeit your first born, be fingerprinted, pee in a cup (don't ask), jump through a flaming hoop, sign a secrecy document, and finally...beg and plead. 
However, once you are back in Lansing and off the bus (and therefore no longer "on the DALMAC"), you're on your own.  Why did they bother to put that tag on my bike when it served no purpose whatsoever?  I figured that they would require you to show your wrist band again at MSU so they could match it to your bike.  But no, the bikes were all just lying there on the ground!  Jeez, how pathetic.  I literally could have grabbed any bike that I wanted...maybe even two or three, and no one would have been the wiser.  Seems a little strange when you consider how strict they were about everything else.  Anyway, that's really my only complaint about the DALMAC organization.  I load up my stuff and head north for Edmore.
 
11:31 pm:
I drive right past my exit.  I cuss and swear.
 
12:13 am:
Finally, after adding 16 minutes to my trip because of that missed exit, I am home.  Believe it or not, I actually unpack my stuff before going to bed.  I hate putting things like that off.  Knowing that I will have to do it the following morning will drive me nuts, so I decide to just get it over with and out of the way. 
 
12:30 am:
I am finally in bed.


What will tomorrow be like?  When will I finally crawl out of bed?  Will I be happy to be home or will I miss my friends?   There's only one more episode to go (I promise), and then it's finally over.


The Final Episode
Day Six:  A day of Rest:
 
Monday, 4:50 am:
My eyelids pop open.  Without really thinking about it, I crawl out of bed and go stand in front of the bathroom door.  "What the heck are you doing?" my wife asks.
 "I'm standing in line to pee" I joyfully reply.
 "It's Monday you dolt...you're home now...come back to bed".
 
5:35 am:
My eyelids pop open again.  I start to roll up the comforter and attempt to stuff my pillow into a sock.  Again I hear: "What the heck are you doing now?"
"I'm packing up my sleeping bag and putting my pillow into a garbage bag to keep it dry" I respond. 
"Get back in bed you dope." was all I remember hearing
 
6:00 am:
My eyelids pop open for the third time.  By now my wife is up, watching the Weather Channel, getting ready to go for her morning run.  She walks by the open bathroom door and sees me standing there again.  "What in God's name are you doing now?" she asks. 
"I'm putting chamois creme on my biking shorts so my butt won't get so sore...what the hell does it look like?!" I tersely retort. 
"Well", she says, "that's toothpaste and those are your underwear...go back to bed".
I open my eyes, look down and see that in my right hand I'm squeezing a tube of "Crest" (now with extra whiteners!!), and in my left hand I'm holding a pair of size medium "fruit-of-the-looms".
I crawl back into bed.
 
9:00 am:
I roll out of bed and bounce into the living room...all happily and smiley and seemingly perky and ready to start my day...oblivious to my earlier exploits.  My wife is looking at me like I'm nuts or something as I cheerfully say "Good Morning...how did you sleep...I slept great!"
 
9:01 am:
I plop down into my Lazy Boy and get a strange sensation.  "How the hell did toothpaste get all over my butt?" I scream.
I look over at my wife (as she sips her coffee) and I see her roll her eyes while she ever so slightly shakes her head back and forth.  I'm not sure, but I also think I hear a very soft "idiot" float from her mouth.
 
I go rinse myself off in the shower and will, for the remainder of the day, emit "essence de peppermint" from my nether regions, but hey...it could be a lot worse, I could be asked by my wife to go horse back riding or something equally silly..  Ha!  Imagine how my butt would feel if I were to ride a horse.  Ha!  I hate horses...or at least the thought of riding one.  Ha!  There's no way that's gonna happen!
 
11:07 am:
After about five minutes on the back of that damned horse I decide that I've taken enough punishment for the day and ask my wife to stop leading her around the corral.  Yes, we're in a corral and my wife is leading her horse slowly around the outer edge with me, for the first time since she got the thing, riding on her back (the horse's back, not my wife's).
Here's the funny thing...I will gladly ride a bike down a hill at 50 mph, or draft about three feet behind a semi-truck doing 47 mph, and not be the least bit scared.  But yet the thought of even sitting on the back of a horse scares the crap out of me.  Go figure.
 
12:03 pm:
I'm back on my Lazy Boy and will remain there until such time that I go to bed...(somewhere around 9:30 that evening).  I'm thinking about my recent adventure and despite the pain in my rear-end, find myself missing the ride.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself and in a warped sort of way, wish I were back on the bike, riding with my friends.  So Leslie, Jeff, Mike, Judy, Marc, Anne, Rick, Matt, Dave, Roger, Mick, Chuck, and Cricket (and all the rest)...thanks again for making this years DALMAC another thoroughly enjoyable adventure.  I drift off into dreamland with those thoughts foremost in my mind, and a big smile on my face.

Later,

Jeff Scofield