In less than 24-hours I will be cycling somewhere along the upper parts of mid-Michigan; embarking on my first long distance bike packing trip. I have the opportunity to spend the next week up in St. Ignace, MI for another year of Boudro Wrestling Camp. I believe this will be my 7th year in attendance and it has only gotten better with time. I look forward to this camp every year because it’s full of a bunch of like-minded, high energy, internally driven individuals who come together for a week every year, to teach and give back to the future of our great sport. Not only that, but a lot of the guys are former teammates or peers that I’ve grown up with through the years, and its much like a reunion. So I’m excited to get up there, but what makes this trip better is the 3 day bike packing adventure my buddy Nick and I will be enjoying prior to the start of camp.
I’ve wanted to jump on my bike and ride for some time now. As my original plans for the summer were to be cycling across Europe with my friend Joe. However as we all know life has a tendency to happen; and well, here I am. We are planning to make it from Tustin, MI to St. Ignace, MI in 3 days. I have a small 25 liter saddle bag that just arrived yesterday, and a day pack that I’ll wear to carry my belongings. We are planning to cover roughly 50-60 miles a day; with the heavy load of miles up front and a hopeful ease into our last day when we arrive at Little Bear Arena.
As of now we have no idea where we plan to stay; only a general area to shoot for. The trip will be just shy of 200 miles and were hoping to knock out most of our riding during the cooler hours of the morning. We are not bringing a tent as we are going to stay in our hammocks every night. The best part about this is my hammock straps just came in yesterday so I still haven’t set it up and tested it, nor have I ever slept in a hammock outdoors for a full night. The first night we plan to stay somewhere near Torch lake, with the second night being spent up near the Gaylord State Forest area, and the third and final night we should be somewhere up near the bridge. We haven’t decided if we want to stay in the lower peninsula or cross the bridge and camp in the U.P.
After posting this I plan to sit down and figure out what I need to pack. The whole process of ultra light packing really seems to me like a real life version of a jig saw puzzle: find a way to put your life on a bike. I just installed a rear rack that is rated for a 110 lb carrying capacity; so I plan to store my Laptop; saddle bag with clothes, bike tools, snacks, and other survival necessities; sleeping bag; tarp; and hopefully a gallon jug of water because we decided to wing it on this trip and I didn’t think about how I wanted to carry extra water. It’s definitely not ideal, but if I’m able to ride my bike safely and make it to camp on time then I’m okay with it.
The biggest thing for me is to simply get out there and do it. I’ve found that life in reality rarely plays out the way we anticipate, so its important to accept the present moment and shape our perception to a state that allows maximum potential. I know this little bike adventure is going to have its challenges. I’m aware of the fact that there are an infinite amount of ways I could have been better prepared. I could have a tent and I could have camp reservations. BUT…it’s either going to work or its not, and I’ll make adjustments next time and be better for it. I like to keep things simple, learn from the past, and find ways to be more efficient in the future.
It was just over a year ago when Nick and I conquered the mythical Half Dome. If you don’t know what Half Dome is then I highly recommend you get to know her because she’s a true beaut! Last year a group of friends and I made the 14.2 mile hike up this massive rock, hidden among the vastness of Yosemite National Park. It took us all day and when we finally reached the top I was stricken with fear. After you hike the nearly 8 mile constant incline you finally reach the cables, and that is also where you find out what your made of. This is where you find 400 feet of roughly 45 degree angled climbing all the way to the top of the summit. And here’s the kicker, you have the freedom to decide whether you climb it tethered or not. When I first got up to the cables I said “No way, not going to happen. It’s too foggy and its supposed to rain.” But after a few failed attempts at quieting the fear inside, I finally made the decision to take it one step at a time. Untethered mind you…which is crazy, I know. But we did it. Nick and I eventually found our way to the top where we nearly got lost because of the thickness of the fog. It was something magical really. I can’t begin to describe the feeling of confidence, accomplishment, and freedom I felt in that moment, but its something that drives me still to this day. The faith, the courage, and finally the reward. Boy was it amazing!
So here I sit; hours away from embarking on yet again another journey. Excited for the unknown, ecstatic for the company of an old friend, and eager to “Chase it;” as Ben Boudro famously preaches. It might be a few days before I’m able to get back to you, but just know there is a lot to be shared in the upcoming articles. I am making great strides on the van and am working on a huge project for Modern Day Mavericks. The details are still being figured out, so I will share more with you next time. Thanks for hanging in there!
Have a great weekend and lets CHASE IT!