Eric’s VERY Heavy Recap
My 2020 Heavy Ride is in the books, and I’m feeling back to normal, so it’s time to do a post-mortem on the ride. I’ll include some of the data analysis at the end for my fellow data nerds but I won’t make the rest of you suffer through that.
The ride itself started off perfectly. The weather was excellent and I had a nice crew of five to escort me out to Kalkaska from Timber Ridge. Course conditions were about as good as you could ask for at the end of June with only a handful of sand traps to contend with. The ride out was at a friendly pace and gave us all an opportunity to ride and chat. Given the last few months, it was extremely nice to be riding with friends and just talking.
After the ride to Kalkaska, we started the Iceman course proper. Sand was expectedly present and the singletrack still bears the scars from the “Mudman” last November. We made good time through Dockery and arrived a little early to Make it Stick. I enjoyed the company of Mr. Heavy Ride himself, Patrick Cotant on every ascent. I was sure to keep the pace reasonable as I knew I still had a long day ahead. Over the top for the last time, I bid part of the crew adieu and made my way to Sand Lakes Rd.
Sand Lakes Rd climb saw the arrival of my support crew. They were a welcome sight and nice to get some fresh, cold nutrition. The climb itself passed fairly quickly with the only issue being a large sand pit at the bottom. It was critical to have the crew there to spot cars as I was coming down because that sand pit was not conducive to evasive maneuvering. Finishing up Sand Lakes, I was trading the sand pit for the sun-exposed gravel of Broomhead Rd and the true start of the hard stuff.
Broomhead was the lone addition to the Iceman-centric course. I wanted a longer climb to replicate the Columbine climb at Leadville and its 3k+ feet of elevation gain. The positive is that the climb is a very tame ~3% on average and only pitches of 5%-6%. The bad side is that the climb is almost completely exposed to the sun…and the sun played a role here. I was on this one climb for almost three hours. My crew was fantastic and supplied me with cold water and also a little hack I learned watching road cycling on TV. My wife bought me some nylons and filled them with ice. Tying them off at the top, I now had a nice little sack of ice that I could put down the back of my jersey and let slowly melt over time. It was fantastic in the heat. I had some additional riders come and do some repeats with me including Crosley Robinson, who I swear was taunting me with his smiling face as he accelerated past my pace and dropped me! My favorite moment of the climb, and the ride overall, came when my daughter Mackenzie decided to do a lap with me. Mackenzie doesn’t exude natural confidence when trying “hard” things. However, she is beginning to learn that she’s much stronger than she initially thinks and is consistently surprising herself with what she can accomplish. This day was no different. About halfway up the climb, her legs started to burn. She looked at me with a very unsure expression and just said “daddy?”, as if to express her discomfort and lack of confidence. I reassured her that she is stronger than she thinks she is and take the climb one pedal at a time and focus on the road ahead of her, not on me. She grit her teeth and picked up her pace. Seeing the cars lined up at the top of the climb of family and friends, she began to smile and realize she was going to do it. The cheers were the loudest of the day and it was awesome. She crested the hill, we stopped our bikes and I gave her a big hug. My average time up that climb for the other 27 attempts was a bit over 3 minutes. This lap took me 6:50 and it was the best additional 3 minutes and 50 seconds of the entire day. After the high of my daughter’s accomplishment on Broomhead Rd, I was 77 miles into the ride and it was really just beginning. We were off to Anita Hill.
I had recon’d Anita’s significantly in the lead up to the ride (76 times to be exact). I knew my line, the pitches, the sandy parts, the roots, etc. All of these ascents had been on training days where ~25 ascents was the goal for the day. I didn’t know how my legs would react with 80 miles and 7.5 hours in them while doing these repeats. I had an idea…and I was right. Anita Hill has pitches of over 20% and you have to push well over your threshold just to keep your bike upright. Each ascent was like a body blow but I was handling them well through about 17 ascents. As I started to tire, I started focusing on my bike computer that is affixed to my handlebar stem. This is when I started to notice an “issue”. Anita Hill, on Strava, is 49 feet of elevation. While I’m sure this is not extremely accurate, I think it is close. While staring blankly at my computer, the “issue” was that it was only giving me fractions of that 49 feet of gain. Sometimes 20 feet. Sometimes 5 feet. This issue plus fatigue put me into a pretty dark place as I was approaching 20 ascents. I ended up doing 27 total and the last 10 was in a complete haze. This was completely evident when I crested for the last time and the DeVogel family was at the top cheering. I have no idea what I said to them (I think it was thank you…I hope) and I rode on. 10 minutes later as I got some more calories into me and started to come back to life I was so mad at myself that I didn’t stop and thank them properly for hiking out to support me. So, I hope they read this and we can meet properly at a Vasa Domingos ride in the very near future!
The VASA CC climb (last ascent) was next on the docket. My bike computer was still giving me fractions of the 61 feet I was expecting and I had to make a decision. My decision was based on the fact that I signed up to climb 11,000ft for more kids on bikes. I was certain that I was climbing more than that, but I wasn’t in a state of mind to do the mental math to be SURE I’d hit 11,000ft without seeing it on my computer. I decided then and there that I would keep going until I saw the actual number of 11,000 and that’s what I did. After the 23rd trip up, I was on to Icebreaker.
Icebreaker brought the welcomed sight of my full support crew and a few more supporters. The Schmidt family brought a boom box and that was a HUGE mental boost as I climbed my first rep. Up and down I went. Over and over again. My computer continued to play with my mind and even was so nice to literally give me 0 elevation gained on one ascent…LOL. Right when I was getting frustrated, my kids and the Robinson kids ran down the hill. On my next ascent, they ran with me screaming all the way up. It was awesome and probably the closest thing I’ll ever get to the feeling of riding the Tour de France. They took turns smacking me on the way up and the boombox and cheers made me feel like I was approaching Dutch Corner (or I was hallucinating from heat and fatigue…either way it was fun!). Up and down I continued until my computer read 11,014 feet. I stopped. I leaned on my bike. I looked up and told everyone I was done. I was done because the devil inside my computer said I was done. 104.6 miles and 11,014 feet of climbing. $3,000+ raised for more kids on bikes.
What am I taking away from this? I’m choosing to focus on all of the little things that made this ride so memorable for me. The ability to share those little things with family, friends and community in a healthy way is very important to me. Being healthy allows you to continue to create new “little things” far into the future until your legs won’t let you keep up anymore. Then…go buy an e-bike so you never miss out!
That’s what we’re all really striving for with Norte’s advocacy, right? It’s not to put a rider in the Tour de France or produce a local Iceman winner. It’s not to inspire adults like myself to do some crazy ride. It’s to celebrate that the bicycle provides you an opportunity to go just fast enough to produce a thrill but slow enough that you’re able to take in the details. It also allows you to do something that is hard. Riding up a hill is hard. Your legs hurt, your lungs burn and your brain tells you to quit. If you don’t quit, there is immediate satisfaction of accomplishment when you crest that hill. Your body adapts and you can ride a bigger hill or ride the same hill faster. It is athletically satisfying. However, I encourage everyone to search a little deeper because I think there is more there. The bike allows you to do hard things in a controlled environment. If you push your body to do hard things and you persevere, you’ve earned the ultimate reward of experience. You can draw on this experience not only in athletic feats, but when life becomes hard. You’ll KNOW that your mind can overcome. Searing pain in your legs and burning lungs become the metaphor of whatever bad card life has dealt you. Your mind becomes conditioned to function while under stress and you KNOW you can persevere. This may sound simplistic and maybe even a little crazy, but know that it works for me. It works for many other people I’ve talked to. It works, if you allow it to work. I’m hoping my daughter Mackenzie put Broomhead Rd somewhere in the back of her mind and she’ll be able to draw on it one day soon. Norte provides so many things to so many people. I would argue that the opportunity to learn how to persevere is as important as any. Thank you Norte, for everything that you do!
You’re still here? You ready to dork out? Good. Me too. Here we go:
Total Time: 11 hours, 22 minutes
Total Moving Time: 10 hours, 37 minutes
Total Distance: 104.6 miles
Total Climbing (Wahoo Computer – Barometric Altimeter): 11,014
Total Climbing (TrainerRoad Analytics – Google Maps GPS): 13,123
Make it Stick Ascents: 16
Sand Lakes Climb Ascents: 16
Broomhead Rd Climb Ascents: 28
Anita Hill Ascents: 27
Vasa CC (last hill) Ascents: 23
Icebreaker Ascents: 28
TSS (Training Stress Score): 516 – Low to mid-500’s is what I shoot for during my build-up weeks. So, hitting that in one day is pretty big for me.
Kj (Calories) Burned: 5,601
Calories Ingested: 4,170
Carbohydrate Ingested: 905g
Carbs/hr: 81g – For the 1st 10 hours I was closer to 90g/hr. My next big ride, I’m going to shoot for 100g/hr and see if my stomach can handle it.
Normalized Power: 176 watts
Intensity Factor: 0.67
Average Power: 137 watts
Max Power: 612 watts
Average Heart Rate: 137
I was trying to replicate my expected Leadville effort (accounting for elevation obviously). I was targeting an IF of 0.65 but knew I would take some breaks to hang with the kids and that the steep pitches of these climbs were more than what Leadville offers. Obviously, the additional 2k feet of climbing and ~2hrs of riding threw things off, but I felt good the entire ride except for about 20 minutes on Anita’s. My nutrition was good, while hydration was OK. Looking back, I’d increase my plain water intake. Other than that, I think I’m in line to achieve my goal of a sub-9 Leadville 100. If you have any questions feel free to reach out. Power profile below. Go Norte!
Can’t ride this year? Throw some money at your favorite rider who will carry the torch.
Vamanos and GRACIAS, Eric.
Bike Life: Sami is Here to Help
Meet Samantha Maldonado, a.k.a. Sami
Sami has been a part of the Norte family since 2018 when she arrived from Ecuador as an exchange student. In those two years, she’s volunteered as a coach for Norte’s Farm Team and has played a lead role in The Great Traverse City Can Return. Sami is also on our Varsity Mountain Bike Team, an alum of the Explore Academy, and our Youth Leadership Council. She rides everywhere and smiles nonstop. She’s fantastic. We’re incredibly lucky to know her.
As Sami prepares to head off to university this fall, we sat down with her to discuss her time in Northern Michigan, her life back home, and what’s next for Sami. If you see her out-and-about (likely on her bike), give her a big hello and introduce yourself–you won’t regret it.
Norte: To start Sami, I have to say you’re super popular at Norte. Some words I’ve heard describe you include sweet, compassionate, exceptional, tireless, positive, athletic –and more. What is one word you’d use to describe yourself?
Thanks a lot. Those are very sweet things to say. The environment that the Norte people create has made me feel welcome and appreciated since the first day. Excited is one word I will use to describe myself. I’m always looking for new adventures, happy to meet people, and eager to learn new things.
Norte: We are really happy you ended up in Traverse City. Tell us where you’re from and what brought you to northern Michigan?
I come from Quito, the capital city of Ecuador. It is a big city with a population of 18 million, lots of mountains, and traffic jams. The center of the city has architecture from the Spanish Colonial period, including museums, churches, and mercados. Quito was the first city in the world declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO and has tourists from all over the world.
Quito is an interesting place, but during my Sophomore year in high school, I started to show interest in becoming an exchange student in an English speaking country. I wanted to improve my English, have a cultural exchange experience, and learn new things. My family was supportive of this idea, which helped me become an exchange student in Traverse City. Even though Lousiana, Florida, and California were my three states of preference, my exchange program coordinators suggested Michigan. This was the best option because of the great family match they had found. Since then, the Yeatts (Jordan and Jennifer) have become my second family, and I just love them.
Norte: You obviously have ended up finding a community here. How has Northern Michigan treated you? What kept you here for both your junior and senior years?
Northern Michigan is awesome. The members of the community, natural places, and learning opportunities have made this a productive experience. Thanks to everyone who has made this possible. Staying for two years in the U.S. was not the initial idea. Plans changed after learning about the opportunity to enroll in the TCAPS international program as an international student to take college classes while still in high school. This allows me to continue into college with a more hardcore curriculum than the one we currently have in Ecuador. I plan to study business and political science.
Norte: Besides your family, what’s something you miss from Ecuador?
Besides my family, traditional food is something that I miss from Ecuador. My favorite dish is Fanesca, a soup prepared during the week before Easter (Holy Week). Among the ingredients for this recipe are twelve types of grains, fish, sweet plantains, and tiny pasties. Not very easy to find all of these in the United States.
Always a Delight
Norte: You were a competitive bicyclist back home. How’d did Norte get so lucky to connect with you? What all have you participated in with Norte?
Yes, back in Ecuador, I was part of the Pichincha state cycling team since 2015 and became part of the Pre-Junior national cycling team in 2016. When I became an exchange student, I totally thought I would have to give up cycling during my year abroad. Luckily when I arrived, my host parents Jennifer and Jordan, told me about this fantastic community focused cycling club called Norte and their programs.
I showed up the first day of the 2018 Fall after school program to help with the Farm team as a volunteer assistant coach and did the same during the Spring of 2019. Getting to teach some of the things I had learned and watching kids grow as individuals and cyclists was gratifying for me. I continued to volunteer in the Norte after school programs for the rest of my first year. Later, I was invited to form part of the Varsity team and raced the Iceman Cometh Challenge for the first time. During my second year in Traverse City, I continued to race with the Varsity team. I also participated in the first Norte youth Explore Academy. Right now, I have been doing some can returns for Norte’s bike library.
Norte: You’re a super volunteer in support of the Great Traverse City Can Return. You put in the miles picking up cans and continue to help by returning them–thank you. Any idea how man cans you’ve returned?
I have very much enjoyed helping with the Great Traverse City Can Return. It is incredible how much power something as simple as a can has when you multiply it to provide bikes to kids for free through a regional bike library. Thank you, Norte, for the initiative during these crazy times.
I have returned a little over 1,000 cans so far, but I plan to continue doing it a couple of times per week throughout the summer. My host family and friends have also been helping with returns since the current daily return is a maximum of 200 cans per household.
Norte: Did you also participate in extracurricular activities at Traverse City Central?
Yes, I first became part of the International Club. Later I joined the Cross Country Ski Team during the winter of 2018-2019 during my first year experiencing winter with snow and did it again to race during the 2019-2020 season. During my senior year, I joined the National Honors Society to participate in volunteer activities with the community. We worked with organizations like Tart Trails, Central United Methodist Church, Vasa Ski Club, and the State Theater, among others. Helping others when I can is something I just love doing.
Norte: You’re also one of our community heroes for biking year-round. Was that a habit you brought with you from home? Or did something inspire you after you arrived to bike year-round?
I would say it was a mix between a habit I brought from Ecuador and inspiration from my host family in the United States. Back in Quito, my siblings and I were taught by my parents at a young age to commute using public transportation and whenever it was safe to bike. In Ecuador, you have to be eighteen years old to obtain a license. Many children and teens find it useful to learn to use public transportation. Before I came to Traverse City, my host family told me they had decided to sell their car two years ago to bike everywhere. I was excited to join them and become a year-round bike commuter in Northern Michigan.
Norte: How do you find the biking conditions here? What are we doing, right? Where do we need to make improvements?
The bike conditions in Traverse City are definitely safer and more accessible than those of Ecuador. Commuting by bike in Quito can be very dangerous. Protected bike lanes, shared streets, trail systems, and traffic signals are some of the key elements I have noticed around Traverse City. Public awareness is also important. Creating a culture where different types of commuters, from walkers and bikers to motorcycle and car drivers, can safely arrive at their destination. This could not be easy, but it is definitely worth it to prevent crashes.
I believe that Traverse City is on a good track. But some improvements could be made in street crossings, bike lanes and sidewalks around construction sites, as well as working on awareness addressed towards seasonal tourists. They might not have similar commute systems in their home towns.
Norte: You’re moving on to university this fall. Where are you going and what’s taking you there? Are you going to keep biking?
I will be attending Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kentucky, this Fall. Business and Political Science will be my primary subjects of study. You bet I will keep biking. Cycling just keeps following me everywhere. I am joining their competitive cycling team to race in three disciplines: road, track, and mountain bike.
Norte: That’s awesome. And, perfect. We’re so happy for you. You are going to come back and visit us, right?
Thanks. I believe I will be back in Traverse City during winter and summer break, if possible. But I will always take in my heart and mind all those who have made my time in Traverse City a memorable experience.
Norte: Is there anything you’d like to add?
Just one last thing I would like to add. A very special thanks to the community members of Traverse City for being so welcoming, making me feel at home, and sharing this beautiful place with me.
Norte: We’re going to miss you, Sami. Thank you.
Bike Life profiles highlight neighbors in our community who roll (or walk…walk life) that extra mile and deserve their story to be shared. If you’d like to suggest someone, let Norte’s Advocacy Director know at Gary@elgruponorte.org.
Bike Life: Get Moving, Keep Moving
Meet Terri Hanson
Terri Hanson has lived in Traverse City since 1993. For the last 27 years, she has operated Why Knot Pretzels, a mobile business selling pretzels from a pushcart with her husband, Mark. You might find them at a local event or outside of places like Right Brain Brewery. She also works at Cordia at Grand Traverse Commons as a personal trainer.
Terri is a model for integrating active living into daily life. She belongs to TC Masters Swim Team, Cherry Capital Cycling Club, Sisterhood, She Skis, and She Bikes. She also bikes 4 miles to work at the Commons daily. Recently, we met Terri because she was involved in a hit-and-run crash at the notorious intersection at 7th and Division.
She was happy to sit down with us to talk about her experiences crossing town and dealing with the crash. We followed up with this interview.
Norte: Thank you for answering a few questions. How long have you worked at Cordia? What do you do there?
I have worked at Cordia since they opened the doors five and a half years ago. I am a personal trainer and teach group fitness classes to the members, plus one-on-ones. The ages range from 53 to a 105-year-old. I love it!
Norte: It’s obvious staying fit and healthy is vital to you and beautiful that you can help others do that as well. What motivates you to integrate active living into your daily life? Any pro-tips for Norte readers?
It has been something I have always done to help me spend my energy. It keeps me sane, feels good, and I see it as a gift to myself. Being active helps me keep stress at bay. My tip would be to get moving and keep moving, your older self will thank you!
Norte: You ride to work daily. Describe your commute — can you walk us through the best parts of the ride? What are the challenges?
We live at the base of Old Mission, so I stay on the sidewalk and TART Trail along the Parkway. Until recently, have ridden under Murchie Bridge to Front Street (the Murchie Bridge underpass is currently closed due to high water). From there, I go to Union, to 7th, and then take Elmwood to Cordia. I ride as many days as possible, even in the rain. The only thing that stops me is icy or snowy roads.
The best parts of the ride are along the bay, early mornings before traffic picks up. The ride home is the biggest challenge due to more traffic.
7th And Division
Norte: In May, you were in a crash when someone in a car pulled out in front of you at 7th Street and Division. Thankfully, you don’t have any significant injuries from it, but it’s still scary. What happened?
Yep, scary it was! I was headed West on the 7th Street crossing Division. As I was crossing Division, a vehicle turning left to go North on Division, hit me and took off. I was taken to Munson to check out the contusions on my left elbow and hand and rule out a concussion. I was lucky, not a broken bone, just bruises, and muscle soreness. I have a super guardian angel!
Norte: You continue to ride your bike to work and use the same intersection to cross Division. I understand how traumatic that can be. How are you doing? Has it changed your riding at all?
It took me about a week to try and ride to work again. I was pretty nervous but knew I needed to conquer the fears because it is what I love to do. I ride with even more alertness, and I do not take for granted that a driver has seen me or will yield when I have the right of way.
Norte: As someone familiar with the 7th and Division intersection, what are a few of the critical problems you experience when using it?
Mostly cars speeding through the intersection on a red light, or drivers are trying to turn left before I cross the road.
Norte: We recently discussed the idea of a bike box on the west side of the intersection to help organize a confusing intersection in terms of cars and bikes. What are your thoughts on how that might help?
I like the idea of a bike box. I think it would clear up some frustration for the cars trying to turn right on red. It is definitely worth a try!
Norte: Has the contra-flow bicycle lane on the east side of Division Street made a difference?
Yes! I love having a designated lane for bikers.
Making Traverse Better
Norte: Are there other problems spots in Traverse City that you often avoid?
- Division and the Parkway
- Crossing Garfield at Washington or State.
- The intersection of Garfield and Front
- Park Street crossing at the Parkway puts you onto a sidewalk where bikers are not supposed to be and on the wrong side of the street. What the heck?
- The new pedestrian crossings on the Parkway, some cars stop and some don’t.
- The curve onto Garfield near Bryant.
Norte: In general, has the bicycle riding experience improved in the last 5-10 years?
I feel it has gotten worse due to inattentive, distracted, in-a-hurry drivers, and more bikers on the road not following the rules.
Norte: How would you like to see those issues addressed?
I think education is the key. Maybe videos posted on Facebook about the rules of the road for bicyclists, using humor, music, etc. Highlighting some of the young Norte riders. Maybe with Queen’s song, “I Want to Ride My Bicycle.” I’m not sure what the answer is for distracted drivers, except a campaign for “eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel.”
Norte: One additional follow-up question: Where can we find you for pretzels?
That is too funny! Of course, we are scrambling to find venues to sell our pretzels. We will be at Rubby Ducky Festival in Bellaire and Mud Sweat and Beers on August 15th. Hopefully, Shorts Fest will happen. Iceman Cometh is one of our biggest events. Fingers crossed!
Norte: Is there anything you’d like to add?
I appreciate all efforts to make Traverse City more biker friendly. We are all in this together and need to be kind and gentle towards each other while making our way around this town. We all can do our part in keeping our community safe and friendly by being patient!
Norte: Thank you, Terri.
What are the problems you experience at the 7th and Division intersection? What would make it better? What about other spots in town?
Hello, my name is Eric Mannix.
A little less than 4 years ago, after moving my wife all over the world, we decided to make our final move. I was about 7 years late from when I originally “promised” to move her back to our home state, but that’s a whole different story. I took a new position with my company that would allow me to travel and work remotely and we decided to take the plunge. We had two kids, 3 and 1.5 at the time (don’t you dare say he was 1…he was 1 and a half), and being back close to family was very important to us. Her brother (you have already or will read about him shortly) had already moved to Traverse City and her parents had a cottage on the Manistee River east of Fife Lake. We talked about wanting to eventually retire in Traverse City consistently over the years and the stars seemed to be aligning. Moving was nothing new to us and we knew that getting involved in the community is always the best way to meet new friends.
When you have a 3 and 1.5 (seriously, the half is important) year old getting involved in the community almost always involves some sort of kids “meet-up”. Talking with the few people I did know, I found Norte and their balance bike meet-ups at F&M Park. So, we loaded up the kids and the balance bikes and off we went. When we arrived, there were around 20 kids, about 30 parents and 1 “big kid” in an orange helmet and a BMX bike with no pedals. Walking to the top of the hill, the kids were nervous and not comfortable on their balance bikes.
The “big kid” was Ty Schmidt. He welcomed the kids, asked them their names and personally escorted them down their first few trips down the hill. They were immediately drawn to him and hung on his every word. They listened and tried everything he asked and by the end of the session, they were both going solo down the hill. I was blown away. Not only was I blown away by how quickly they picked up the balance bikes, but I was blown away that Ty addressed them by their first names every time and never had to ask for their names again. With that many kids and the inevitable distractions that come with trying to wrangle them all together, he was able to remember their names. That may not sound like much, but I was blown away. I was hooked…and so was my family.
I should back up about 20 years. I was in high school and my father, mid-40’s, had a massive heart attack. Luckily, he had his heart attack while in the hospital and on the prep table before having a heart catheterization procedure. Over the previous years, my father had slowly let his weight increase following a convenient but unhealthy lifestyle. This is how those decisions manifested itself. The doctor told him that if he had that heart attack anywhere other than the hospital, he would have died. My dad was my best friend. Still is. That day was the day I decided my personal mission would be focused on living a healthy lifestyle. I promised myself I would not put myself in that position. I would ensure that if I was lucky enough to have a family that we would be committed to the same mission. My mind was committed. Fast forward those same 20 years and enter Norte.
The non-profit with the mission to help build stronger, better connected and more walk/bike-friendly communities by empowering the young AND young at heart. Given my history, my personal mission, and my family’s mission, could there be a better fit? Now you know why I was hooked.
So why am I writing this? I want to be more involved. I’ve always wanted to volunteer my time with Norte, but my job requires significant travel and an erratic schedule that’s unknown only a week out. I don’t like to commit to something if there is a high likelihood of not following through. I was always left disappointed that I wasn’t contributing. I saw Patrick’s Heavy Ride for Norte and that struck a chord with me. I’ve found a personal passion for cycling and maybe I could “volunteer” on my own time and wherever I was. The volunteering could be in the form of training for something big and audacious while hopefully inspiring and raising funds for Norte. Great idea. How could I be a little bit different? Enter the Leadville Trail 100.
My brother-in-law, Matt Harris and I wanted to do a bucket list event. I convinced him that Leadville should be our first. We have our own reasons for wanting it and what we want to accomplish (more to come on that in the future). However, we both thought it would be a great way to get involved with Norte, do our own “heavy ride” and hopefully raise some funds for happy, healthy, strong kids and kids at heart. We’ll both be documenting our journey along the way and hopefully inspire others to take on their own big, audacious goal to get healthy and strong.
We’re two normal guys with family and job responsibilities, no endurance background growing up and zero excuses why this can’t be done. We hope you join us for some training rides (will be posted in the future) and consider making a donation to an organization we believe is truly making a difference in people’s lives. Don’t live in the Traverse City area? I am more than happy to discuss how you can take this mission, apply it to you and your community. 100% of donations will go to support Norte and their mission. Healthy and strong is an amazing foundation to build a life on.
Let’s grow that mission together.
Eric and Matt Do Leadville For Norte is part of the “Near & Far” Heavy Ride Campaign which encourages awesome people both here in Northern Michigan and those across the US to go big for Norte on August 15th. Whether you ride to Wilderness State Park with the group or whatever is “heavy” for you where you are, we hope you’ll join us. Learn more and commit.
Read Matt’s full Heavy Ride story HERE.
ERIC’S HEAVY RIDE FOR NORTE
Looking Forward to Summer Fun…Responsibly
We are wearing masks, washing hands, and keeping our distance here at Norte. We’re also optimistically proceeding with care towards our Summer Bike Camp. Every day we’re learning more as state health officials turn the dial towards opening more and more businesses and allowing more and more social activities.
Norte’s goal this summer––like every summer–– is to do our part to make it the best. Traverse City’s Summer Bike Camp is a big part of achieving that goal, and we are doing everything in our power to make it happen.
Right now, we are not prepared to announce either way about our summer camp. We understand the importance of the bike camp experience for families. We also appreciate that now more than ever, children need play, socialization, movement, and the confidence-building that our bike camp develops. We have weekly sessions with full registration through August, and we want to put smiles on all those faces.
To avoid canceling unnecessarily, we join our Bike & Sail partner Traverse Area Community Sailing to announce cancellations on a rolling schedule two-weeks ahead of each session. That means that families signed up for the first session scheduled to begin on June 15 will be notified on or before June 1. As summer progresses, families enrolled for each new session can expect an update on their session status two-weeks ahead of time. At that point, we will also communicate our latest efforts on how we will be keeping everyone happy, healthy, strong – and safe.
Rest assured, we dedicate ourselves to being a model of public health and safety. The health of our campers, instructors, and their families is a priority. We are well-positioned to deliver a fun, safe, healthy, and educational bike camp when the time is right.
Norte is committed to helping everyone get outside and recreate responsibly. We’re happy to learn this week that Michiganders can once again meet in small groups of 10 or less as long as physical distancing, face masks, and frequent handwashing continues. That’s excellent news and news we can use.
We will know more about what’s possible soon. We will continue to keep our camp participants and the wider community up to date. Thank you for your patience and support. We will ride together soon.
Gary & Ben and the rest of your friends at Norte
Bike Life: Are You Winter Biking with Matt?
Friday, February 14
Meet Matt Jones
Great Lakes Maritime Academy student, Matt Jones, travels from south of Hammond Rd. to the Great Lakes Academy for his bike commute. It’s one of the longer winter bike commutes you’re going to find, not to mention one of the more potentially harry routes. Matt does it with an unflappable grin and preparedness you’d expect from a coastie. We sat down with him to hear what brought him to Traverse City and about his attraction to winter biking.
Q: You’re relatively new to the area. What brings you to the Grand Traverse region? Where’d you move from?
I came to Traverse City in June of 2018 by means of utilizing my veterans’ educational benefits to attend Great Lakes Maritime Academy. I ended my active duty service in the Coast Guard that June in Coos Bay, Oregon and moved across the country for the third time. I am originally from a town south of San Diego, California where I spent the first 25 years of my life.
Q: San Diego to northern Michigan winters. That’s a big jump, no?
Yes, a leap indeed! Although I would say that as much as people think it’s cool that the weather is great all the time in SoCal, to me it can get kind of boring because with so many nice days out you tend to waste them. Here, however, you jump at the chance to enjoy a sunny 20-degree day. I genuinely love having four seasons and getting to experience them after growing up in pretty much a one season climate. I genuinely love shoveling snow in my shorts.
Q: What motivates you to be out here on the bike year-round? Do you bike mainly as part of your commute? What other times do you winter bike?
This is a great question. First, I would say if it was not for the advent of fat bikes I probably would have difficulty getting around on my bike in the winter. Second, commuting-wise, getting around on my bike has been an off and on thing I have done for over 10 years. When I joined the Coast Guard it became too burdensome at times – depending on the unit type and location to get to work (by bike). Still, I tried to when I could. Outside of my time spent in the military, sometimes it was by necessity and others like it is now – it is just a better use of my time. I have commuted by bike in five states all with different climates and unique challenges.
Lastly, aside from commuting via bike in the winter, I do try to hit up the VASA winter singletrack. As a side note, I had to tone down my urge to pedal the metal after I hit a tree in August this last year that laid me out for a minute. I road bike heavily, however, since the tree incident I sold my road bike to help my wife and I purchase a home in town. My fat bike is now my year-round go-to bike.
Q: How many years have you been out winter biking?
This is my second winter in Michigan biking. I’ve biked other winters in Oregon and California, but let’s be honest those winter commutes are a joke compared to riding here; a joke that most think I’m joking when I say I get around on my bike here in Michigan.
Q: Does the Maritime Academy have facilities you can use to store your bike? Change your clothes?
Yes to both. There is a bike rack here and if I had bike issues I could utilize an indoor shop space to remedy them. As for lockers, there are day-use lockers. I have unofficially commandeered one to keep my uniform items here at school. If I did not have to wear a uniform I would have no need for a locker, but these spaces, in general, are good to wipe the sweat off your brow. On the main campus of Northwestern Michigan College, I sit in class in my riding gear as I am not required to be in uniform there.
Q: By the looks of your rig, you’re certainly prepared. What’s different on your bike in the winter? What about your gear?
I appreciate your noticing my schwag. In the winter its more about what is on me than what is on my bike, however, I do make a few adjustments to my bike for the winter commute. Pertaining to my bike, fenders are a winter addition on my bike. The fenders do a half-decent job of protecting me from the resultant brine-slush that happens from melted snow and when the temperatures are just right after it snows to thaw. I somewhat loathe the commercially available fenders for fat bikes because they are 1) not aesthetic to one’s bike and 2) I still get that brine all over my back. I plan to custom fabricate something to provide better protection for me and my bike.
Aside from fenders, I lower my pressure in my tires to provide better traction. Other than that, my bike is set up as it would be in the summer. Good lights are an investment anyone who wants to commute on a bike should make for safety in low light conditions but especially in daylight because let’s be honest, the drivers are a little distracted out there.
Now on what I wear/use gear-wise for my bike, I recently just made a load adjustment with the new addition of a basket rack on my front fork. I did this because wearing a twenty-pound backpack for six miles takes it out of you real quick in the cooler temps. When I lived three miles from school it was not that big of a deal, but the long commute rapidly declines comfort if I still wore the heavy bag. Because of brine I mentioned, I use a water-resistant cover over my bag to protect it and then secure it in my basket.
Everyone is a bit different from the amount of heat they generate but for me all I wear most of the time it is a wicking layer and my softshell jacket. I wear triathlon shorts and long underwear, and then a pair of chinos of all things over that because they are stretchy. On my feet are a pair of insulated waterproof boots and gaiters. The gaiters have proven to be a favorite part of my gear because they protect my legs from the brine that gets thrown up by the bike. I have a few pair of gloves depending on the temperature outside, and the same for my head. I have a regular mountain bike helmet that I use most of the time and use a helmet-specific beanie, and on the cold brutal days I will bust out my snowboarding helmet for added warmth. I do wear goggles as needed but most of the time I go without eye-wear. Lastly, a good neck cowl is a cold-weather rider’s best friend.
Q: Any tips for Norte readers who might be interested?
Geez, where do I start? I would say winter biking isn’t as difficult as people might think. In my case, it can be a little dicey, but that is only because I live just outside of town. For those that live in town, the infrastructure is there to capitalize on being able to get around town. I have fallen on icy surfaces, but this has always been surprisingly in parking lots or not the main road. And speaking of ice, the colder icy-er days of winter are more desirable to me than those where it is just a briny slush-fest. You do not need bike specific gear to get out there. Because Traverse City has a vibrant culture of active people, in their closets right now they probably have 75% of the gear they need to be comfortable riding a bike in the winter.
Be defensive but not offensive on your bike. What I mean is, be nice on your bike and do not do anything to add to those drivers who already despise you being on the roadway. Be seen, be heard, and have fun! In my mind, this helps drivers and other roadway users respect those of us on a bike. I can tell you how considerate drivers are by how close they pass by me. Speaking to that I have had plenty of people pass me too close with their vehicle with bike racks on them, and each time still amazes me.
Q: Anything to add?
There is always something to add, but if anyone is interested in something I did not cover they can reach out to me and I would be happy to help as best I can.
For more winter bike tips:
Norte Volunteer New Year’s Resolution
Looking for a worthy New Year’s Resolution that has a real impact? Become a volunteer at Norte! Our volunteers get it done in our community, volunteering over 2,000 hours in 2019. Notre is expanding and driving real, positive change in Northern Michigan and we need you to continue The Good.
Won’t you help us by being a part of a healthy, strong, and joyful community?
Types of Volunteering at Norte:
- Saddle Up!
- We need adults to help with our after school and bike camp programs. THIS IS OUR BIGGEST VOLUNTEER NEED! Ride bikes, ensure safety, and enjoy being a kid again!
- Got the gift of gab or are a Norte super fan? Norte hosts and takes part in a ton of events. From tabling and talking to leading rides to registering participants, help by being a leader and point person while wearing orange and smilin’ big.
- Balance Bike Super Hero!
- Support the little folk as they learn the ropes! Show up, organize, and lend a literal hand in both in-school and summer programing, as you give the wee ones confidence to balance and explore new skills.
- Adopt the Adaptive Riders!
- Serve those with needs by showin’ up at our adaptive bike program. This in-school and summer program gives those with disabilities the opportunity to develop bike riding abilities and find joy and strength through movement. Show up, lead with kindness, and watch the smiles appear!
- Fix ‘em up!
- All of Norte’s program and library bikes need upkeep and safety assurance. Be part of a growing corp of volunteers fixing and bolt checking all Norte bikes. Learn and collaborate, support and teach, wrench and create a safety net for all kids utilizing Norte bikes.
- Write, fold, and stuff envelopes. Repeat!
- Office help isn’t always rainbows and ponies but it’s a huge deal in ensuring communication, thank yous, and asks happen. There’s usually snacks and exciting banter with Norte staff who will lavish praise on you and your work.
Learn to use your voice to help build more walkable and bikeable communities. Don’t worry, we train you up on this gig!
- Learn to use your voice to help build more walkable and bikeable communities. Don’t worry, we train you up on this gig.
More information about volunteering with Norte? Connect with Mike: email@example.com
Orange You Glad It’s Fall?
Forget Pumpkin Spice and Football, Bikes are the Best Part of Fall!
We’re pumped for our best fall ever. There’s just nothing like exploring northern Michigan on a beautiful fall day on bikes with friends, is there? Here are our top reasons to make this your best fall ever with Team Orange.
- School-based after school Bike Mas Project program:
- At 22 area schools
- Civic Center-based after school Mountain Bike Program:
- Farm Team practices: Tuesday and Thursday.
- JV/Varsity Team practices: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
- Vasa Domingos:
- Weekly family shred. Noon. Norte Dirt Yurt at Timber Ridge.
- Leelanau Harvest Tour: September 14th at the Suttons Bay High School
- Bike Oryana’s 6th Annual Farm Tour: September 15th. Meet at Oryana at noon to roll to Lakeview Hill Farm via the TART Trail.
- Fall Pumpkin Pedal: September 29 at the Jolly Pumpkin
- Northern Michigan Walks To School Day: Oct 2nd. Region-wide celebration of National Walk To School Day
- Take a Girl Mountain Bike Day:
- October 12 at 12 pm. Norte Dirt Yurt at Timber Ridge. Powered by Breakway Coffee COOKIES!
- Peaktoberfest Kids Mountain Bike Race as part of Peak 2 Peak at Crystal Mountain: October 19
- Traverse City Cookie Ride:
- October 27. Noon. Norte Dirt Yurt at Timber Ridge. Free.
- Traverse City Donut Ride: October 20. Noon. Norte Dirt Yurt at Timber Ridge. Free.
- Norte Does SwingShift: October 18 and December 13!
- Norte Rocks Iceman Cometh: November 2
- Cranksgiving Traverse City! Ride Bikes. Give Back. Do Good! Sunday, November 17.
And more! What did we miss? We’ll add it. Contact Ash: firstname.lastname@example.org
Adventurama 2019 Wrap Up!
Well happy people on bikes, Adventurama 2019 was one for the books!
- 170 happy people on bicycles
- 9 generous Adventurama sponsors
- 13 amazing volunteers
- $5,000 raised for our Big Orange Promise campaign
- A very grateful Team Orange
Save the date! The 5th annual Adventurama is September 12th 2020.
2019 Official Results: OPEN Division
|690 Mustache Ride|
|630 The Daredevils|
|620 Night on the Town|
|615 Team Francis “I Know You Are, But What Am I?”|
|608 Sondheim Steamroller|
|600 Wheels of Fortune|
|569 Rainbow Brite and the Color Kids|
|518 The Wheel Pack|
|480 Blizzard Buddies|
|445 The Good, The Bad, and the Uncle|
|30 Homeschool Dropouts|
2019 Official Results: FAMILY Division
|630 Train Wreck aka The Concussions|
|538 Spalla Super Heroes|
|535 Bees on Bikes|
|530 Roaming Gnomes|
|520 Los Luchadores Fuertes|
|520 The Michiganders|
|510 Triplet Super Power Unite|
|485 Sons of Hopper|
|472 Hell on Wheels|
|445 Team Wings|
|435 Grandpa’s Birthday|
|415 Stillwell Stars|
|390 2 Dudes and 2 Moms|
|390 Weir Wheels|
|390 The Little Senders|
|370 Girl Power|
|350 The Holy Rollers|
|325 The DADs|
|270 Foley Frenzy|
Adventurama 2019 Photo Gallery!
Meet Brian Buysse, one of Norte’s awesome volunteers!
Brian started coming into the Wheelhouse this spring and summer to wrench on bikes to get bikes under more bottoms in northern Michigan. His expertise is needed and very appreciated. Thank you for your time and passion, Brian!
How long have you been volunteering with Norte?
Just a few weeks wrenching but have assisted on a few rides and also helped paint the Wheelhouse last fall.
What’s your bike background?
I’ve done multi-day tours, mountain bike races, then moved into road cycling. After getting burned out from my IT career, I decided I needed to do something completely different. I shadowed a neighbor on the finer points of bike mechanics then shortly after, I moved from Lansing to northern Michigan after finding a job at a bike shop in Beulah. I also owned and ran a bike shop in Manistee for a few years and spent 15 years total as a professional in the industry.
Why do you share your time and passion with Norte?
I want to give back. I’ve seen how bike shops can exclude people who don’t know much about bikes and I want to bring my knowledge and mechanical expertise to Norte to help combat that. Bikes can bring people together and give them a sense of freedom on the road and on the trail. Bicycling can also help people find joy. But there’s nothing worse than getting kids excited and then giving them a bike that doesn’t work; they can lose interest pretty fast. I want kids to have a positive experience with bikes. So, someone with my mechanical experience can not only fix up bikes and help Norte with its bike lending programs, but I can also help kids and volunteers learn bike maintenance. My goal is to find the best fit and contribute what I can and, again, spread the joy that bikes can give people, both young and old.
Want to be awesome like Brian and share your time and expertise with Norte? There are a lot of different volunteer opportunities to fit your schedule. Thank you for making the magic happen!
Adventurama: Results and photo gallery
On a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in Traverse City, 33 squads of 130+ happy people on bicycles took to our neighborhood streets and trails in search of treasure, high fives and glory.
100% of proceeds will support our Traverse City wide Safe Routes To School initiative including our free bike safety program that starts this week at 5 schools.
Congrats to team Bike The Bike on their “win”. See the very unofficial results HERE.
Did you Adventurama? Share your photos with us and then tell us the good, bad and ugly to help make next year’s event awesome’er HERE.
Kids on bikes in Traverse City. All. Summer. Long.
Off the couch. Off the screen. Let’s get outside and on bikes in this amazing place we call home.
Norte! has mucho bike-y happenings for happy, healthy, young people all summer long:
- Vasa Domingos
- Traverse City Takes A Girl Mountain Biking Day
- El Barrio Bike Fix
- The Bike Mas Project Summer Camp
- Estrellas balance bike meetups
- TC Rides
- The Clubhouse
- A Bike-tastic Cherry Fest
Full list of events HERE
Kids on bikes in Traverse City this weekend: 6 things
Bike Happy, Traverse City Keeps Rollin’
Bike Happy, Traverse City, our year end fundraiser, is crushing it. $2360 and counting. That’s mucho dinero for Norte! but let’s keep’er rolling.
Remember, thanks to these awesome 6 businesses/organizations, the first $3000 will be matched. Let’s not leave money on the table, folks.
With your support, Norte! will:
- invest in bike tools, parts and supplies for El Barrio Bike Fix, our upcoming after school learn-to-wrench program at Eastern Elementary
- fund The Bike Mas Project, our experienced-based after school empowerment program at Eastern and Traverse Heights Elementary this spring
- purchase more balance bikes for the Estrellas del Norte!, our learn-to-ride program this summer
- grow our Kids Bike Library to make sure that every awesome kid can ride an awesome bike no matter their family’s financial resources
Please donate today!
Norte! is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization (Tax ID 46-4861142), and your gift is tax deductible as allowed by law.
Send a Check
PO Box 781
Traverse City, MI, 49685
A Norte! Story: Eleanor Bikes Happy To The Little Fleet
Meet Eleanor. Eleanor is a 4th grader at TCAPS Montessori @ Glenn Loomis. In addition to participating in Bike To School Fridays, TC Walks To School Day and bike2camp, Eleanor and her family joined us on many TC Rides, our weekly slow roll which finishes at The Little Fleet, this summer.
We asked Eleanor to share her experience with us. Here’s her story:
Riding Bikes To The Little Fleet With Norte!
by: Eleanor Olds
Eleanor’s story and drawings
Norte! has played a part in mucho Bike Happy moments in Traverse City this year. From pedaling to school to exploring our woods and trails, Norte! has empowered our local youth, like Eleanor, to be resilient, independent, and self confident both on and off their bikes.
If you liked Eleanor’s story and want to support more of the same, please consider donating to our end-of-year Bike Happy, Traverse City campaign. With your continued support, we’re committed to building a more bike-friendly Traverse City by inspiring its youth through bicycles.
Gracias. And let’s ride bikes together soon.
A Norte! Story: Ty Bikes Happy With The Estrellas
Meet Ty. Ty is 3 years old. Along with his mom, Arianne, Ty joined us for several Estrellas del Norte! meet-ups this summer. The Estrellas are our learn-to-ride balance bike squad. They play, meet new friends, ride bikes, eat snacks, and have FUN!
We asked Ty and Arianne to share their experience with us. Here’s their story:
Balance Bikes With Norte!
by: Ty’s mom
On select Tuesday evenings, a small but extremely energetic group of two to five year-olds met up at F&M to ride in the park, eat snacks and have fun. The parents set-up cones and obstacles for the tikes to try out balance bikes donated by McLain Cycle.
As the parent of an only-child, my main interest in the Estrellas was to get my three year-old son, Tyler, around kids of varying ages and abilities so he could interact with and learn from them. Ty spent most of the first meet-up running around the obstacle course and barrel rolling down the hill, but each time that the Estrellas gathered he spent more time riding.
A few of the kids had never been on a bike of any type before, and one girl had a balance bike at home but had no interest in it until she came and saw others riding around. Kids learn from other kids, and Estrellas provided the perfect opportunity. All in all, the first season was a success, and we look forward to building on it in Summer 2016.
Fortunately we had a mild-weathered fall, so when Estrellas was over, the riding continued. Ty’s big balance-bike moment of the year was doing the Iceman Sno-cone in November. This was his debut bike “race” and I wasn’t sure how he’d react to the sea of youngsters at the start line. He was a little timid, but once they took off, it was go time! My husband and I shuffled alongside as Ty gave it his best effort while wearing his new Norte! jersey. He crossed the finish with a huge smile and asked, “Dad, can we do it again!?”
We look forward to doing more with Norte! in the coming years as they introduce more families to the awesomeness of riding bikes.
Estrellas Photo Gallery
Norte! has played a part in mucho Bike Happy moments in Traverse City this year. From pedaling to school to exploring our woods and trails, Norte! has empowered our local youth, like Ty, to be resilient, independent, and self confident both on and off their bikes.
If you liked Ty’s story and want to support more of the same, please consider donating to our end-of-year Bike Happy, Traverse City campaign. With your continued support, we’re committed to building a more bike-friendly Traverse City by inspiring its youth through bicycles.
Gracias. And let’s ride bikes together soon.
A Norte! Story: Ryan Bikes Happy At Conquer The Village
Meet Ryan. Ryan is a 7th grader at East Middle School. We first met Ryan this spring at our weekly urban mountain bike shred, Fridays@TheCommons. Ryan showed up week after week, put in the time, worked hard and transformed himself into a legit mountain biker. In less than awesome weather, Ryan put those skills on display at the Conquer The Village race.
We asked Ryan to share his experience with us. Here’s his story:
Conquering The Village With Norte!
by: Ryan Miller
Ryan’s Conquer The Village Gallery
Norte! has played a part in mucho Bike Happy moments in Traverse City this year. From pedaling to school to exploring our woods and trails, Norte! has empowered our local youth, like Ryan, to be resilient, independent, and self confident both on and off their bikes.
If you liked Ryan’s story and want to support more of the same, please consider donating to our end-of-year Bike Happy, Traverse City campaign. With your continued support, we’re committed to building a more bike-friendly Traverse City by inspiring its youth through bicycles.
Gracias. And let’s ride bikes together soon.
A Norte! Story: Katie Bikes Happy To School With Friends
Meet Katie. Katie is a 3rd grader at TCAPS Montesorri @ Glenn Loomis. She is part of the all girl Montessori Trolley bike train. Katie also joined us for bike2sail, bike2camp, Tour de TART “training” rides, Traverse City Walks To School Day, Winter Bike To School Day and the Cherry Fest parade. Wow. Awesome, right?!
We asked Katie to share her experience with us. Here’s her story:
Biking To School With Friends
by: Katie Clark
I like riding bicycles to school with friends because they are fun to talk with while you pedal fast. Going fast seems very smooth and soft, like going down an ice hill and the ice is so smooth and gentle. I really like riding by myself too, it is fun. Then you can imagine that you are with friends on an adventure going all around the world on a bike. It is just really fun, fun, fun.
Katie’s Bike-tastic Photo Gallery
Norte! has played a part in mucho Bike Happy moments in Traverse City this year. From pedaling to school to exploring our woods and trails, Norte! has empowered our local youth, like Katie, to be resilient, independent, and self confident both on and off their bikes.
If you liked Katie’s story and want to support more of the same, please consider donating to our end-of-year Bike Happy, Traverse City campaign. With your continued support, we’re committed to building a more bike-friendly Traverse City by inspiring its youth through bicycles.
Gracias. And let’s ride bikes together soon.
A Norte! Story: Quinn Bikes Happy To El Barrio Bike Fix
Meet Quinn. Quinn is a 4th grader at TCAPS Montessori @ Glenn Loomis. We first met Quinn when he starting riding with the Montessori Bay Express – a Norte! bike train led by his fab mom, Elizabeth – and then again at our after school learn-to-wrench program, El Barrio Bike Fix. Quinn is a heck of a kid. Smart. Independent. Confident. We like him. A lot.
We asked Quinn to share his experience. Here’s his story:
Learning To Fix Bikes = Awesome!
by: Quinn Waddle
I think Norte! is a real good thing to get you on your bike. They don’t try to make you do it, they just encourage you to do it. I choose to do it and I have a lot of fun. My mom is a bike train conductor and our train is called the Bay Express. Bike to School Fridays are fun because Mr. Clark brought donuts one day and a police man gave me a free Slurpee ticket for 7-11.
Yarro is a bike mechanic. One Friday in October he taught me how to fix my flat tire on my BMX bike. When Yarro comes I see him going around the bike racks and checking if anybody had flat tires. When you learn how to fix your bike it’s awesome.
El Barrio Bike Fix @ Glenn Loomis Photo Gallery
Norte! has played a part in mucho Bike Happy moments in Traverse City this year. From pedaling to school to exploring our woods and trails, Norte! has empowered our local youth, like Quinn, to be resilient, independent, and self confident both on and off their bikes.
If you like Quinn’s story and want to support more of the same, please consider donating to our end-of-year Bike Happy, Traverse City campaign. With your continued support, we’re committed to building a more bike-friendly Traverse City by inspiring its youth through bicycles.
Gracias. And let’s ride bikes together soon.
A Norte! Story: William Bikes Happy On The Vasa Trail
Meet William. William is a 6th grader at East Middle School. We met William last year when he started showing up for Vasa Domingos and Fridays@TheCommons, our weekly mountain bike shreds. By working hard, William has come a long, long way. He is now legit mountain biker; smooth through the turns, powerful up the climbs and confident through the sand.
We asked William to share his experience. Here’s his story:
Sand, Hills and The Vasa Trail
by: William Haapala
It was a scorching hot day and the sun was up at its highest peak, almost like a clock when it strikes twelve. I could barely see. My dad and I were on the Slush Cup course with a biking group called Norte!. Here we are – the huge valley sandpit. I am never going to make it up the hill, I am totally going to crash in the sandpit. Even if I do make it through I will never make it up the other side.
What are the odds that I will make it up? I don’t know why I have enough confidence to try this. And there I was creeping up the one side of the valley, my face was redding up and I could feel the sweat starting to run down my back. It felt like the sun was going to collide with the Earth. My heart was starting to thump faster and faster.
Every inch felt like an hour. The top of the hill was coming into sight and I felt like I was going to pass out. I could hear my bike talking “crunch too much sand, crunch too much sand.” I could barely hold the grips because I was so sweaty. Higher and higher I went and finally I was at the top.
It felt like it took hours. It had only just begun, now I was speeding down an extremely steep hill right for an extremely large sandpit. I could hear my bike clicking rapidly. It felt like the sun was running away from the Earth. There it was 3,2,1 it sounded like water falling. Maybe I will make it this time.
My front wheel was swerving every which way. I was getting into what the pro bikers call a death wobble. I could smell the strong scent of churned up dirt because of the ATVs. My eyes were closed so tight that my eyelids were starting to get sore, and all the sudden my wheel stopped wobbling. I think I might make it. I opened my eyes and I was coasting up the other side. There was so much sand in my mouth and it tasted like dirt. The sun was back and I was sweating again.
I was feeling a lot better about this now but still not sure if I was going to make it. My dad came up to me. “That wasn’t so bad, I thought I would have never made it, ” I said with enthusiasm. That was the easiest time I have ever gotten up a hill so big I thought. I can’t wait until next time. I can’t believe that I thought it was so hard. That was so much fun. I will always look forward to this part of the trail.
“I will never be afraid of this again,” I told my dad. He nodded in reply. Maybe this is why biking is so fun; maybe the suspense is what makes it enjoyable. It is now two years later and I still look forward to this part or the trail.
Video from Vasa Domingos featuring William
Norte! has played a part in mucho Bike Happy moments in Traverse City this year. From pedaling to school to exploring our woods and trails, Norte! has empowered our local youth, like William, to be resilient, independent, and self confident both on and off their bikes.
If you like William’s story and want to support more of the same, please consider donating to our end-of-year Bike Happy, Traverse City campaign. With your continued support, we’re committed to building a more bike-friendly Traverse City by inspiring its youth through bicycles.
Gracias. And let’s ride bikes together soon.