This summer I signed up for the Michigan Championship Points Series, a mountain bike race series that takes place all around the state. It was a really nice opportunity to discover some of the awesome trails and a lot of them were only about 1h drive. After getting beat by almost everyone in the Sport 35-39 category at the first race, a time trial at Yankee Springs I ordered some second-hand books on technique and started practicing at the local garbage dump turned city park.
Best sport in the world, arguably
At least out of the sports that I’ve tried, I gotta say that cross country mountain biking is the best sport in the world. If you enjoy riding a bicycle but wish you were surrounded on your rides by trees and fresh air instead of cars and assholes, you might enjoy it too! And as much as I hate to say it, I’ll never get to be a rally driver but flying around trees on a bicycle is a pretty good substitute. If you’re a gear geek, mountain bikes have a lot of adjustable doodads with lots of internet forums dedicated to the adjustment of said doodads.
I won something!
One of the races was up in Bellaire, Michigan and it looked pretty awesome so Mel and I took a few days to go up there. The race was at Glacial Hills and my group was to do 40KM. Unlike most races, there were only two other dudes in my category and judging by their calves I expected to come in last. After the first of 3 laps, the guy with the biggest calves started falling behind mainly on the downhills. By the end of the second lap, I was starting to notice that the guy in front was slowing on the uphills. I climbed garbage mountain quite a few times leading up to the race and could feel myself being able to climb a bit better. After 10 minutes of internal dialogue and self-doubt, I passed him at the start of the last big climb with about 6 KM to go. I was nervous and took off as fast as I could, wiping out nervously on a slow corner a few minutes later. After about 4KM of watching my odometer and trying to not crash again, the trail turned out onto a long paved road lined with thousands of cheering fans as it headed down into the centre of town. I might have made up the cheering fans part, but that’s how I’m choosing to remember it.