It’s official– I’m doing a bike tour across much of Michigan in late June!!!
I’m freaking out a little. Or a lot. Depending on the day.
It’s really far across Michigan. From Ironwood in the far west edge of the Upper Peninsula to the town of Monroe on the southeast corner of the state, it’s over 620 miles. (For comparison, it’s shorter to go from Monroe to Charlotte, NC than to the opposite corner of Michigan.)
My trip won’t be quite that far, but it will be about 450 miles. In one week.
It’s a bike tour. And by bike, I do mean bicycle.
I’m going to ride about 65-100 miles per day, staying at the homes of various friends, acquaintances, and potentially strangers (that is, friends of friends) along the way. I’m hoping to finish in 6 or 7 days, and don’t really have a clue of what to expect.
The WHY, Part 1: Scenery & nature
So, you might be wondering why I’m doing this.
One big reason is that I’m curious to see this particular route — from our house to our family’s place on Michigan’s west shore — at a more leisurely pace. I figure that I’ve traveled that route by car nearly 25 times (an average of twice per year for as long as we’ve been together), and driven large stretches of the U.P. countless times. But that’s always at highway speed, and I’m usually reading a book or sleeping while Sexy drives. Or, if I’m driving, I’m not looking out the side windows a whole lot. My guess is that things will look a lot different when I’m going nearly 50 miles per hour slower. And my hope is that it will be a lot more interesting!
The WHY, Part 2: Lovely addictive endorphins
But there’s more too it than just some scenery. A friend wrote me recently and included the following in her note:
…I always wonder about the lovely addictive endorphins you’re experiencing that make this sort of thing appealing to you. I imagine that you must be getting something amazing for all the trouble — physically or mentally. It baffles me because I have no shared insight in this field and I can’t even begin to fathom what it is that drives you…
I don’t get it either. I like to do things that make me push myself, but I’m not sure how I decide what works for me. It’s not a logical process. For example, I’d sooner do a half-Ironman (which would take me 8.5 hours) than a marathon (4.5 hours), if I were going to do them (I’m not… for now). But somehow I find things that are Maria-sized, go out and do it, and find something else that’s slightly bigger and more badass. It works.
And maybe I’ll have time to understand my motives a lot more during the 40 or so hours that I’ll be on my bike!
The WHY, Part 3: We all need to be amazing in our own way
I really love to hear people’s stories because it gets me thinking beyond my own box of a brain. I love to read books of travel writing and listen to podcasts featuring amazing people because it can be so motivating. I would never have considered a bike tour if I hadn’t known others who’d done it and accumulated their experiences enough to think, “Hey! I can do something like that! Why the hell not?!” Same thing with triathlons, or cyclocross, or blogging (which is the hardest!).
I think it would be amazing if everyone pursued things that made them their own personal badass. But I hope that my enthusiasm and my drive can serve as a contagion and infect others with the desire to do rockstar things.
Imagine a world where everyone is pushing themselves to be amazing, in a million different ways. That’s a world I want to be in.
Just like I choose my Maria-sized challenges: what are yours? I’m sure they are completely different than mine. And they might even baffle me — I’ll still be rooting for you!
What stellar thing are you working on right now? What do you want to crush?