On October 4th Jeremy Karel, Jeff Jacobi and myself headed north to Boyne City for the first annual Michigan Mountain Mayhem- Gravel Grinder edition. There is also a spring and summer edition but this was my first MMM. I have to admit I was not in the mood to get up at 5am and drive close to 3 hours to race in 39 degree temps and rain showers. After all I told myself I was going to just ride the 45 mile event as a color tour on my Salsa Fargo, a mixture of road frame, mountain frame and off-road touring bike, I can handle racing in the rain but hate it otherwise.
Jeremy and Jeff were both entered in the 60 mile singlespeed class but with a mass start for the different distances they were unsure if they had any completion. I think the whole race attracted 280 racers. Similar to numbers of the first Barry-Roubaix in 2009!
The Fargo was a blast to ride, so confidence inspiring on the downhills and rough seasonal roads (two tracks). The claim that this course was hilly did not disappoint. I think I clocked the first paved climb at 2.5 miles at about a 6-7% grade. Many of the dirt climbs were steeper but also shorter. I will admit that the Fargo was such a blast that I did find myself going race pace at times instead of tour pace. The rain held off, peaks of sun filled the sky and the fall colors were just starting to happen, it was a great course for scenery.
When all was said and done I placed 11th in the 55+ category and Jeremy and Jeff placed 1st and third respectfully. They had a large tent for the awards party with some much needed heat, cold beers for purchase and choices of chicken, burgers or pizza for lunch which was included in the entry fee.
Paul did a great job with the event and I am certain he will grow this race up to the 2000 rider limit very soon.
Paul later told me in an email that he vacationed in Australia once and during a ride stopped to take a break when an Aussie rode up, stopped and asked if he needed any help and were he was from. Paul said Michigan and he said no way, I did the Lumberjack 100 a few years back. Small world huh?