This summer I rode the Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinac (DALMAC) bike tour. The DALMAC used to leave from the Capitol and I used to watch the folks gather and then pedal away thinking it was a great adventure I’d never really be ready for.
But it turned out to be eminently doable by simply following the same basic steps we use here at Martin Waymire to do great work for our clients. The key to completing the 295 miles in five (really four) days was recognizing and accepting the values of research, preparation and teamwork.
My longtime friend Anne Readette was the inspiration for my leap into the DALMAC world. She took up riding a few years ago, and now routinely puts a couple thousand miles on every summer, including the mind boggling One Day Ride Across Michigan, 145 miles of insanity from Montague to Bay City. Anne is the PR maven of the state’s Office of Traffic Safety; you can follow her exploits here.
She led me to the event’s website. I read about folks that took off on a lark, started talking to friends and found a few that had done it. So I decided it was worth the effort.
After signing up, I knew I needed to get my legs in shape and my tail in even better shape. I didn’t carve out the time for 100 mile days, but riding 20 to 40 miles on consecutive days and then putting on a stretch of five days in a row of two or three hour rides made all the difference. As did procuring a nice bike (shameless plug for Specialized Roubaix here) with disk brakes.
I kept up with Team Readette throughout, my disk brakes paid off in the rain, as did that rain coat I carried. We carried water and energy bars, and were ready even that day we blew by our lunch spot and did 50 miles before stopping. Preparation….it works, whether you are riding 295 miles, or getting ready for your next issue management campaign.
Having a group work on this goal together was hugely valuable to me. I ride alone a lot given my crazy schedule. But being able to watch and learn from others grew my capabilities quickly.
We rode past a church that carried on its sign “We can do more together than we can separately.” You bet.
Nobody can be prepared for everything on a five day trip with limited bags and even more limited space on a road bike. So one of our team members had a pump and chain lube. I had an extra flashlight and a blue tooth speaker (need those tunes!). When one of our party forgot her rain coat, a group headed off together to the nearest cycle shop and made sure she could stay dry and warm. Teamwork.
Then came that long hill outside of Wolverine. The team came together, taking turns out front, and we rocketed up at 20 miles an hour for nearly 20 miles, passing a lot of single riders or smaller groups that were not coordinating their efforts.
Research, preparation and a spirit of teamwork
They all drive Martin Waymire too. We take the time to understand our clients’ needs. We prepare every day for the challenges they face. And any day, I can leave the office knowing Roger, Kathy, Andie, Greg, Jessica, Andrea, Jodi and Stacy will pick up whatever I was missing. We are doing far more for our clients and our state working together than any of us could do separately.
At the end of the day, it all paid off. Riding across the Mackinac Bridge with my teammates, feeling strong as it all unfolded, knowing the research and preparation had paid off: It was a priceless experience, one I’d encourage any Michigander to do.