Sweat Shaker Showdown


I have been trying to get Max to be our “guest blogger” since the race.  It has proved to be harder than getting him out of bed in the morning.  So, here “we” go:

Since my husband, Tenner was in the U.P. on a biking adventure, I decided to spend my 22nd wedding anniversary with my 15 year old son, Max.  I know Rick’s wife, Cathy “gets this”.   We thought about doing the Gran Fondo.  But the $120 registration fee steered us away.  “How about the Sweat Shaker?” I asked Max.  His only response was, “How early do I have to wake up?” I chirped back that he could sleep in the car, then registered us both Thursday afternoon.
Saturday morning was unusually cold for the 29th of June.  56 degrees when we left the house. As we made our way to Mid Michigan Community College, we noticed the sky getting darker and darker then WHOOSH! It started pouring! (At least the temperature was rising…slightly.)
By the time we arrived to the race, it was only sprinkiling a bit and 61 degrees.  Dennis greeted Tom, Scott T , Max & I in the parking lot asking if we had any extra layers or arm warmers.  You know Dennis works in all of the warmest places so his blood runs thinner than most Michigangers.  Since none of us packed extra layers, Dennis was lucky enough to find an extra jersey to wear under this year’s kit.
Now it was time to warm up.  Max was so nervous, he kept asking me what the course would be like and since I had never ridden it, I could only go by what others had told me:  Jody Beard recommended wearing 2 jog bras calling it the “boob shaker”.  Bill Shaver simply coined it the “Nut shaker”.  So we figured we would definately be in for a bumpy ride.
Tom, Dennis and Scott T. took off in front of me, then the ladies pulled up to the line….followed by Max and the other 15-19 year old riders.  I didn’t recognize any of the girls, so now…I was nervous.  We started out on the wet pavement, wound around to a 2 track, then raced across a nappy grassy/weedy area to get to the singletrack.(Honestly, that might have been the bumpiest part.)  Once we got on the singletrack, it was like riding in a tropiclal rain forest.  Trees real close to the trail, their leaves all wet above us making “tunnels” winding through swoopy hills, a few 2 tracks spaced throughout, rocks and roots here and there, and then these “surprise bumps” that you would not even be able to see, you’d just be on them bumping along.  I didn’t dare look down to see what it was because I had already been grabbed by a tiny tree and wiped out.  It seemed this trail went on forever! I knew they said 16 mile laps but like Max said, “Every time you’d see a building, you thought you were getting close and then you’d go ride for another 20 minutes in the woods.”  I really liked the course because it didn’t have any huge hills to drain your legs and burn your lungs.  Plenty of spots for passing (2 track sections) and a lot of fun swoopy woodsy sections.
Fast forward to the end:  The rain was pretty steady and after riding for over 2 and a half hours, I was done.  Nobody said it was a LONG race.  It was! Max, Tom, Dennis and Scott were there to see me finish.  I had come in after 2 elites…DON’T BE GETTING ANY IDEAS…and came in first for the experts.  I asked Max how he did and he said he had gotten first, too! A GREAT day for the TenCate’s.  When talking about the race, Max told me he took off with a group of other guys and had no idea who was racing in his category.  He hung out with another dude and then said, “want me to take the lead for a bit?” (wink-wink) and the rest is history.
The guys did great, too: Single-speeder Tom Stolz took 3rd with a speedy time of 2:13: That Terry Sensiba just keeps getting first! Dennis and new daddy, Scott both did it in 2:32 and I came in at 2:43. Max did one lap in 1:27 which I thought was pretty good considering he rarely rides.
A fun day at the races….I would definately do it again with 2 jog bras.
Looking forward to Boyne on July 13th. My 6th race of the season, 4th in the CPS.  We’ll see if we can get Max out of bed for that one.