Friday, January 21, 2011

Jef says Big Wheel Keep On Turnin'

Planning the summer’s racing schedule in January seems a little like deciding what you want for dessert before you’re even done with your aperitif. Then again, maybe planning your summer today, when I’m putting off my run until the temperature approaches double digits, is like perusing the dessert menu while your aperitif kind of tastes like dirt.

I already had a couple of races on the books: The Boston Marathon and the ironman-distance Rev3 triathlon in Cedar Point, Ohio. I just needed to fill in the ample gaps.

Last year was a bit of a challenge. Not only was the summer filled up with the fallout of moving eastward, but I had signed up for a good amount of triathlons, all of which involved multiple days and only one of which was actually in this state. I promised Patty I’d keep this year’s racing a little more conservative and a little closer to home.

Then I qualified for, and got into, Boston. Oopsie. Then I signed up for the Rev3 because I wanted to see how well I could do that distance a race when I wasn’t finishing up a book at the same time. That’s outside Michigan, too, but close enough to home that it was fine.

Among other races, I really wanted to include a half-ironman in my buildup (also because that’s my favorite distance). I know there are a lot of good half-ironmans out there, but my two very clear favorites are the Musselman and the Savageman. I guarantee you will not find a better triathlon experience anywhere (bonus: Musselman is where we painted the giant Frazz mural along the run course). I’ve raced both multiple times, and I even kind of raced both of them multiple times last year, since they were both kind or cruel enough to offer shorter races on Saturday before the main event Sunday.

The Musselman is ideally timed. And the only reason I’m not listing it as my favorite race ever is because I’m not foolish enough to make absolute claims, except when I am. But the Musselman is also out of the state, in upstate New York, and I was a little hesitant to suggest it to Patty.

When I did, Patty’s response was, “DUUUuuh.” So I need not have worried. She knows how I feel about that race, and she knows that a good contingent of my team here in Metro Detroit (shout-out to Infinite Multisports!) has discovered it as well. And that our new address puts it within an 8-hour drive, which seems to be some kind of arbitrary magic number.

But even without all that, I think she’d have sent me anyway, and here’s why: The microMussel. In addition to the half-iron and the sprint, last year they added a Friday evening race that really is a sprint. It’s pure fun, though taken plenty seriously. You swim about 100 yards, bike maybe a K, and run perhaps a quarter mile. Last year, they had to cancel the division where you used your regular race equipment because of flooding on the course. But they were able to pull off the shorter, and you’re reading this right, tricycle division. This year, there shouldn’t be another freak storm, and they’ll run both the standard micro and the tricycle micro. And a new addition, the unicycle division.

And the answer is yes.

It’s been more than 20 years since I’ve owned a unicycle, but I’m sure I’ll find a good one. And I’ll re-learn it in short order. Thanks to the mighty squirrel-herding dog walks, I’m already something of a goofy novelty in my new neighborhood.

Funny. This past fall I finally acknowledged I was too interested in fall marathons to take up cyclocross. Huzzah! Maybe I was finally done lusting over expensive, time-consuming new sports. And I promised my wife no distant races. Half a year later, a one-wheeled toy is making me into a two-time liar.

I have a good wife. DUUUuuh.


Robert E. Zeitner said...

What about Dances With Dirt on May 14th with the Flying Carp? You'll even get your choice of trails (loosely defined).

JC Dill said...

I have a good wife. DUUUuuh. "

No, Jef, you have a GREAT wife. DUUUuuh. :-)

I'm really looking forward to the unicycle photos!

banjocat said...

You're in luck - you can buy a top notch unicycle locally. Semcycle ( is in Livonia; they let me pick up mine (purchased as an alternative to an exercise bike/stand for indoor winter knee rehab, though I didn't tell docs or sellers that) at their house to save shipping.

Have fun; don't forget shin guards and helmet.

La Professora said...

Life is short; eat dessert first!

I second the "...great wife. Duuuuh." Patty rocks it out. Chocolate dessert is most deservedly warranted.

Somewhere I have a photo or six of me on a unicycle -- used to ride it to school. Made finding lockup space super easy; besides, who's going to steal what they can't ride?

Jef Mallett said...

Huge thanks, Banjocat! I'm going to check Semcyle out. I had no idea I had a resource like that close to home!

Lantern Rouge said...

Congratulations on your unicycle skills. As hard as I imagined it to be, it was even harder when I tried it. Something about being able to fall in a full 360 degrees scares me.