Archive for 5th June 2011

The Bicycle Shop Saves The Day

This weekend was a Fun Promotions cross country race at Hanson Hills. Since I was going to be up north this weekend anyway for some family business and passing within miles of the race around my class’ start time, I planned on doing it. Unfortunately, while riding the Vasa Pathway the evening before I broke a spoke. Since it was too late to find an open shop to fix it I showed up at the race anyway hoping that the shop providing neutral race support could help me out. Within a couple minutes of walking over to the tent of Grayling’s The Bicycle Shop one of the shop guys took my wheel, ran over to his truck, hopped in, and headed towards the shop. Roughly 30 minutes later he was back with my wheel fixed and true. As seen glinting here on the rear wheel the replacement spoke is silver and not butted, but I could care less as it got my wheel working right again. I took a rather lowly 11th (out of 12) in the race, but it was fun, and that’s more of what I’m interested in.

Saturday was PA‘s burial up north, and the timing worked out so that on Sunday I would have been able to ride in the Hanson Hills XC race on the way home. While this was the only biking planned for the weekend, Danielle’s want for a nap on Saturday afternoon gave me some time to ride up to the Vasa pathway which was only ~3 miles by bicycle from the hotel. Once at the trail while taking a break to clean my glasses I ended up talking to a guy named Ryan who showed me around the trail route, including how it connects with the Vasa Singletrack. While riding along the single track I heard a slight ping sound, followed by what I thought was a stick in my spokes. Stopping for a bit showed it to be a broken spoke, so wrapped it around another spoke then carefully made my way out to the two track and began heading back to the hotel. Along the way I saw signs for Timber Ridge, finish line for Iceman, and called Danielle then headed there hoping for a ride to a bike shop to fix my wheel.

Unfortunately, as it was near bike shop closing time in TC no shops were able to help me, so Danielle and I instead headed off to Short’s Brewery in Bellaire where we tried some wonderful beers and had a particularly tasty dinner. Following this (and once back in TC) we stopped by Right Brain Brewery where (with the help of some responses on the MMBA Forum) we decided that the best plan would be to show up at the race anyway and see if someone would be able to help me out.

Over this weekend we also ate at quite a number of places, all of which were good. On the way up north we stopped by Bill Thomas’ Halo Burger in Birch Run, and this place both has tasty burgers, a classic (and enjoyable) fast food atmosphere, and uses its apostrophes correctly. Then there was Mabel’s Restaurant in Traverse City for an enjoyable breakfast on Saturday before PA’s burial, G’s Pizzaria in Kalkaska with family for lunch, Short’s for dinner, and Right Brain for a sort-of snack. On Sunday after the race we stopped in Spike’s Keg ‘O’ Nails for more tasty burgers (I had a patty melt) before heading home down I-75.

Here’s a bunch of photos from this weekend:

· Titus next to the car after a race at Hanson Hills after it’d fallen and lightly dented the fender. Note the shiny silver spoke which The Bicycle Shop of Grayling, MI fixed for me just before the start of the race.
· Waiting outside of Timber Ridge for a ride to hurridly get my wheel fixed.
· Broken spoke which unexpectedly let go while riding the Vasa single track.
· More of the tight tree area on the Vasa, this time looking down from above.
· Tight tree area on some uphill switchbacks on the Vasa trail.
· Deep fried pretzels from Spike’s Keg O Nails.
· Looking towards the bar area in Right Brain Brewery.
· No Marking sign at the Traverse City Fish Wier.
· No LARPing sign at the Traverse City Fish Wier.
· Stage and lower seating area at Short’s Brewing Company’s pub..
· Looking towards the bar at Short’s Brewing Company’s pub.
· Japanese Cowboy, a Vietnamese-style sandwich, at Short’s Brewing Company’s pub. This was very, very tasty.
· Danielle at Short’s Brewing Company with her beer sampler.
· Menu board at Short’s Brewing Company’s pub in Bellaire, MI.
· Waiting in the parking lot of Timber Ridge for Danielle to come pick me up after I broke a spoke.
· Deep fried apple pie at Bill Thomas’ Halo Burger in Birch Run, MI.
· Food for Danielle and I at Halo Burger in Birch Run, MI. I would definitely eat here again.
· Penis-shaped candy munched on in the car while stuck in traffic.

While focused around something outwardly sad, this weekend turned out to be really nice and I think that’s what PA would have wanted. Thinking back, I’m quite certain that a good part of my interest in being outdoors and poking around places comes from time spent with him. When I was little he and I would head up north and drive around seasonal roads in his white Izuzu P’up, exploring all manner of places where a vehicle like that shouldn’t really go. Whenever I see a seasonal road I think of that; and these are exactly the sort of things I think of when I head off on my bike just wanting to wander around and just see whats there.