I found this race unexpectedly while on vacation. It was on the VASA trail system, which is a very extensive outdoor trail system in Traverse City. We had decided to camp near the trails because I wanted to spend my vacation mountain biking, and introduce the family to it. I didn’t plan anything else besides getting up early and riding the trails.
As I was looking at a detailed map of the trail system, I saw an advertisement for this race. When I inquired at the campground office when it was, they informed me it was for the next day! Right away, we hopped in the car, plugged in the GPS, and found the open registration. There were four mileages from which to choose, and I chose the 20 mile for a challenge, and to see more of the trail system.
Thirty-four people started together, and that included the 10 mile people and the youth. After we sang the National Anthem, we were off! I was in mid to end of pack.
From the start, we climbed a large 400 foot hill, and everyone dispersed quickly. I was riding quickly as the first leg was a downhill fast track. There was a guy behind me so I pushed myself to stay ahead through the uphill climbs. Finally, he past me and I climbed up a very steep sandy hill (that most people walk) . The route changed direction for the 20 mile route so I followed the signs to sand pits–lots of them! They were so deep of sand, a mere mountain bike couldn’t make it through. I rode onto a dirt road and crossed a busy street patrolled by a deputy, then entered the “White Meat” or as I dubbed it, the “Fairy Forestland” section. It was a newly created trail that was gnarly, bumpy, and narrow with knee high ferns grappling at my legs.
On the return 10 mile trek, I hauled mail on the singletrack which was super fun and fast! I was certain to return to the finish in good time. As I returned to the dirt road again, I was met by more sand, heat, and several uphills. My body had had enough but I was only 4 miles from the finish and I knew I could do it! I willed myself to keep going, finish my electrolyte water and fig newtons and finish STRONG!
Finally, there was a clearing as I climbed the VERY LAST HILL! The 400 foot hill I climbed at the start I now coasted down at 25 mph! Wa-hoo!
I finished with no fanfare nor energy, delighted to have finished and had the awesome experience!