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

Watts/kg: 2.6

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!

Inspired by Eric? Sign up to do your own Heavy Ride on August 15 (or another day that works for you!) here.

Can’t ride this year? Throw some money at your favorite rider who will carry the torch.

Vamanos and GRACIAS, Eric.

Eric’s “Why”

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

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

$3,185 of $3,000 raised
$
Select Payment Method
Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.
Billing Details

Donation Total: $25.00

{amount} donation plus {fee_amount} to help cover fees.

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.

And more! What did we miss? We’ll add it. Contact Ash: ashlea@elgruponorte.org

 

Traverse City Ice Cream Ride powered by Moomers

 

Slay singletrack with friends + Moomers = A+

Traverse City’s Ice Cream Ride is this Sunday, July 17th. Meet at the VASA singletrack trail head off Supply Road at 9:45. Rolling at 10.

WHO CAN COME?

All awesome kids and their families are welcome no matter their mountain bike experience or skill.

HOW FAR IS THE RIDE?

The Vasa Singletrack is great for all abilities. Not too hilly or technical but still challenging:

3 miles – Kinglet Loop for beginner riders
9 miles – Ride to Marker #7. Vasa pathway to #13 for intermediate riders
11 miles – Ride to Marker #8. Shortcut to #12 for intermediate + riders
13 miles – Full enchilada for advanced riders

WHAT SHOULD I BRING?

1. A mountain bike that functions. It doesn’t need to be fancy but it should roll, shift and stop.
2. A helmet.
3. A water bottle.

WHAT WILL WE BRING?

The Moomers ice cream for after, of course. Huge thanks to the Plummer family and the rest of team Moomers for supporting happy, strong kids in Traverse City!

IS IT FREE?

You betcha.

 

Barrel Roll for happy, healthy, strong kids in Traverse City

The Barrel Roll at 45 North Vineyard & Winery is the first of new three race point series, the Short’s Brewing Company MTB Championship Series!

This is a USA Cycling sanctioned event and a portion of registration fees will support The Bike Más Project.

The Bike Más Project is an adventure-based after school club and summer camp for elementary aged students which aims to develop the next generation of active, engaged, bikes-for-life leaders in Traverse City through bicycle repair, education, and safety.

The Bike Más Project’s goal is to create Bike Champion Ambassadors and positive role models at school and in the community by teaching upper elementary students how to:

  • fix and maintain their bikes
  • handle their bikes better
  • navigate and way find in Traverse City
  • safely ride on neighborhood streets and trails

So come on out and race this Saturday and Sunday and support happy, healthy, strong kids.

Tomorrow is the ‘big’ day. Take on the World Cup-style XC race, with 3.3 laps that include two track, a spiraling single-track climb and a flying descent each lap!

Sunday will be the ‘short’ track day, with the course sticking to the lower loop at 45 North Vineyard & Winery which is a rolling 1.2 mile loop. There will also be a special cyclocross category on Sunday, so mix up your bikes!

Cash will be awarded to those who podium.

Online registration is closed but day of is offered. You will need a USAC annual or day license.

After each race, enjoy cider or wine from the Winery and, of course, some select offerings from our friends at Short’s.

Adopt an Icekid: An Iceman Scholarship Fundraiser

iceman12
Help awesome Traverse City kids race the Iceman Cometh Challenge this November.

Mr. Iceman, Steve Brown, has been a super Norte! supporter since day one. He has regularly come out for our weekly mountain bike ride, Vasa Domingos, and has spent lots of coaching and mentoring time with the kids to help them have more FUN! on the bike.

2 years ago, with the help of Mr. Brown, we founded the Norte! Iceman Scholarship Fund (N!ISF). The N!ISF is committed to helping Traverse City kids who have earned it – think showing up consistently for our mountain bike rides, being a positive Norte! ambassador, championing bikes at their school, volunteering at our community outreach events, graduating from The Bike Más Project – take part in arguably the most awesome mountain bike race in the US.

Adopt an Icekid aims to raise funds to help 30 deserving young people race this November by covering half of their Iceman/SlushCup registration fee.

30 kids x $35 = $1050

Norte! needs your help.

Please donate $35 and we will pair you up with one of our young racers. Your adopted Icekid will continue to train hard by riding mas bikes in the woods, give it her/his best on race day and then write you a thank you note after the Iceman.

100% of donations raised will go to the N!ISF

donatebutton1a
Gracias!