Day 1 – Traverse City to Big Rapids
The travel day to Traverse City is always full of excitement and anticipation for all the Wish-A-Mile (WAM) riders but especially for Team Joe’s and our 40 WAM 300 riders. The nervousness of our first-time riders is understandable because the idea of riding 3 days and 300 miles is daunting. But everyone has trained hard for this moment and they all know that some very special wish children are depending on us to raise the funds for their wishes.
The first day of riding started today (Friday, 7/27). The day began with most alarm clocks going off around 4:00 or 4:30 a.m. Each rider dresses for the day, repacks their bag and grabs the shuttle to the school if they stayed at a hotel or packs up their tent and sleeping gear if they stayed overnight at the school. We agreed to meet around 5:30am for breakfast and gather on our bikes around 6:15am for a team photo and then to hit the road.
The morning went off without a hitch. Temps were cool and it was dry when we started. Wheels hit the road around 6:25am and Team Joe’s immediately sorted into groups of 6-8 riders of common speed preferences. The early miles went quickly aided by a nice tailwind. By 9:15am, our group almost put almost 50 miles behind us and it was time for lunch! Yes, one feature of WAM is that you lose all concept of time…
Now, there was one unanticipated challenge today and that was the weather. Although the weatherman predicted only a 35% chance of rain in the forecast, it was really 100% for about 25 miles before lunch and then for the last mile before we finished in Big Rapids! We were soaked! But the good news is that there were no injuries during the rain and, in fact, it was a safe day all around.
The first day of riding is our hill day and those 99 miles were chock full of them! But we all endured and ultimately beat them back. Having said that, I am just glad tomorrow is more flat…😀
Tomorrow we ride from Big Rapids to Grand Ledge. The day is Ionger at 107.5 miles but should still make good time with a flatter route. Same plan tomorrow….wheels on the road at 6:15am. Time to hit the sack.