August 15, 2016

img_3637I woke up and had a big carbohydrate breakfast before getting out of the condo.  I took my truck to the bottom of Pierce Stocking Drive and began setting up my mountain bike.  My dad was meeting me (of course he had to bike over instead of drive… road bikers always have to show off.)  After getting set up we began to bike the Pierce Stocking Scenic drive.  My father bikes it every year so he is used to it by now. This year however, was my first attempt.  Pierce Stocking Scenic drive has a couple 16% grade inclines (think Tour de France) and numerous steep downhill runs.  I found myself at a considerable disadvantage on big fat mountain bike tires as opposed to my father’s sleek road bike.  But I gave it my all and actually made it up both inclines without having to stop and walk the bike.  I was very proud to have pulled through, legs on fire and chest burning.  My dad made it look easy as I knew he would.   I was just happy I didn’t have to stop and walk it.

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Dad- hitting just under 50 mph on this downhill stretch

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After playing on the mountain bike it was time to hit the beach for a cold beer and relax a little.  After all, I just hit a major mile stone by tackling the infamous Pierce Stocking Drive.

img_3648 Of course, no sooner do I crack my big celebratory beer, do I learn that Doug (a local Empire resident and long time friend of my father’s) is about to bike up Pierce Stocking for the 200th time this summer alone.  That is seriously impressive and also totally defeated my big victory celebration.  Oh well, maybe next year I will do it twice.

I still enjoyed my beer as I sat in the summer sun on one of the best beaches in the U.S.  After lunch I was back in Lake Michigan paddling the kids around on my stand up paddle board and having a blast.  I had so much fun helping my nephew Landon learn how to balance on a board.

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Some of my amazing family
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My little brother, his wife and awesome kids
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Does not get better than this!

While the family sat and enjoyed a fire on the beach, I threw my board in the water and joined some old friends and some new ones for a Moonlight Paddle.  Sleeping Bear Dunes Surf and Kayak hosted the event and it had a great turnout.  We all paddled south towards the bluffs of Empire as the full moon broke free from the clouds.  I had a great time with Ella Skrocki and my new friend Sarah Hunt.  The whole group gathered on the beach after and hung out.  It was really cool to meet so many new people.

Next Up… Back on the Highway!  Heading South

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