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Endurance Bike Ride
Endurance Bike Ride

Endurance Bike Ride

Endurance Bike Ride

In the summer of 2023, I wanted to try a new type of endurance event. In 2022, I ran my first ultra-marathon and in 2019 I did my first Ironman. Every year, I try to do a century bike ride and a marathon, but in 2023 I wanted to try an endurance bike ride. In August, I participated in ODRAM: a One Day Ride Across Michigan and it was awesome!

ODRAM Finish
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Finish Line Joy!

ODRAM (One Day Ride Across Michigan)

ODRAM is an organized ride in support of JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). This ride begins at the Double JJ Resort in Rothbury on the west side of Michigan and ends at the Bay City State Park in Bay City on the east side of Michigan. Approximately 300 riders from all over come together to tackle this 150-mile endurance bike ride from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron.

ODRAM Map - Endurance Bike Ride
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Training for an Endurance Bike Ride

Training for an endurance event is the same regardless of the sport or activity that you will be completing. The goal is to training your muscles and brain to continue going even when they are tired. To prepare for an endurance event there are three key pieces.

  1. Create a baseline. Train 3-5 times per week. Each training should be approximately 20-30 percent of the overall race. Once you have a baseline, begin adding in the second two training pieces.
  2. Once a week, complete a shorter and harder workout that pushes your heart rate. I like to do intervals or hills. I usually do a 5-minute warmup, 20-40-minute (1X1 Minute intervals), and a 5-minute cooldown. My intervals consist of 1 minute hard and 1 minute easy. I use a timer that beeps every minute so the only thing I have to think about is pace.
  3. Finally, the last key part of endurance training is to do a few long back-to-back trainings. Try to do 80-100 percent of the total event distance in 2-3 days. Doing back-to-back training simulates the endurance because you are starting each consecutive day with already fatigued muscles, similar to the end of your endurance event.

My Endurance Bike Ride: ODRAM 2023

Fueling an endurance bike ride
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Pre-Ride

2023 ODRAM began at the Double JJ Resort in Rothbury. There was a pasta dinner for $13 at the Saloon on Friday night at the check-in. On Saturday morning, they began serving breakfast for riders at 5:00 AM. All riders had to be on the road no later than 8:30 AM. Since the sun came up at 6:40 AM, my riding partner and I were aiming to get on the road at 7:00. We ended up rolling out around 7:20! It was a beautiful and calm morning, a little on the chilly side.

Starting an endurance Bike Ride
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Miles 1-25

From the Double JJ Resort, there was an optional 12-mile ride to Lake Michigan, but we decide to skip the ceremony of the wheel dip and got strait into the ride. It was a lovely sunny morning and we were heading to the small town of Fremont. Most of the roads in this section of the route were low traffic and freshly tarred. For me the two most interesting things about this part of the ride were the number of fruit farms and the large Amish community. This was also the hilliest section of the ride.

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Miles 26-50

Leaving Fremont the traffic was more than I am used to at home. However, the roads were wide and there was usually a wide shoulder to ride on. For most of this section, we choose to ride single file.

The coolest part of this section was riding over Hardy Dam. It was like a mini Hoover Dam. It was my first time riding over a dam.

At the Croton Hardy Dam Operators Village Park, there was a SAG stop for riders (around mile 43), but we didn’t stop here. Instead, we continued on to Morley to meet up with our SAG driver (a.k.a. DrWindWalker).

As we were leaving the parking lot a Morley, a dirt bike ripped through the parking lot and pulled up behind us as we were waiting at the light. He asked how far we were riding that day. when I told him Bay City, his response was a simple “Ho-ly Sh*t.” It was amazing and made us laugh for the entire next section. That guy will be dubbed forever in our hearts and minds as “Dirt Bike Jonny.”

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Nothing like a cold Coke on an endurance bike ride!

Miles 51-73

These middle miles were pretty uneventful. The traffic was light. The roads were flat and clear. We were excited about our lunch stop in Blanchard.

Lunch was provided at a small church in Wesleyan. Delicious hummus and vegetable wraps, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and some type of lunch meat sandwiches were provided with chips, water, and coffee. It was nice to sit inside out of the sun and take in a few calories. Eating enough delicious food and hydrating are a very important part of surviving an endurance event.

We shared a table with a few other riders and talked about how lucky we were to have such a strong tailwind instead of a headwind.

Miles 74-93

This was my absolute favorite section of the route. Leaving Blanchard there was a huge hill to climb. At the top, we joined two other riders and rode screaming downhill with a tailwind all the way to Sheperd. With such a push from behind, it felt like no work at all to hold 21 mph for this section of the ride! We felt like riding machines and I couldn’t stop smiling!

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Miles 94-115

Leaving Sheperd we knew we were two-thirds finished and it felt great! Again this section of the ride was pretty uneventful, but the roads were flat, wide and low on traffic. Around mile 115, there was another SAG stop in Gordonville with restrooms and snacks for riders!

After a brief brake, more Coca-Cola, and walking around in my socks for a few minutes, we were ready to tackle the last 50 miles.

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Miles 116-130

From Gordonville to Auburn, the traffic began to increase but it wasn’t too bad. In Auburn, we met our SAG driver in a grocery store parking lot and celebrated that we were 90% done. We were ecstatic!

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Miles 131-146

The last section of the ride had the most turns all day, so it went by really fast. Flying into the Bay City State Park and seeing the finish line was so cool. The volunteers were all cheering and clapping as we passed through the finish arch, where we were handed a cold bottle of water and a completion medal!

Celebrating the end of ODRAM an endurance bike ride
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Post Ride Celebration

Post Ride

For those interested in the ceremonial wheel dip, riders were able to wade into Lake Huron for a photo op. I opted for a bike over the head finish like photo instead!

Along with the finish line celebrations was a delicious barbecue of hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, chips, veggies, fruit, soda, and beer! Riders gathered under the pavilion to toast this amazing achievement! The event organizers even provided a shuttle bus to the campground showers so finishers could freshen up before heading home! It was a great way to end a fantastic day of riding!

For anyone interested in trying a laid back first endurance bike ride, I would definitely recommend ODRAM. After this, I really want to try some of the One Day Rides across other states. Who knows, maybe that will make it on my next decade bucket list! Or maybe even a ride across America!

What rides are on your bucket list? Thanks for reading and safe riding out there! ~KiteBikeVan

SAG Driver for Endurance Bike Ride
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Thanks to the best SAG man and videographer ever!
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