Incomplete, but Still Success

I have just returned from my Mt. Sufferlandria: The Tour da Yoop, Eh, a 1200-mile tour around the perimeter of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I had doubts about the ability of this slightly pudgy, middle-aged lady to ride 120 miles ten days in a row. But, I am a slightly pudgy, middle-aged Knight of Sufferlandria, so I signed up anyway.

My husband, another KoS, leaped up the side of the mountain, dodging lava flow and falling ash like the hero he is and reaching the summit without his HR breaking 140. I am immensely proud of him.

I…well, I managed the first 500 and last 400 miles, with a two-day break in the middle. I learned some things: First, there are things you can’t really know about your bike fit until you’ve ridden a long time. My cleat position, normally perfect, was too far forward for this distance and started causing my Achilles tendons agony after day 2. Moving them back helped, but the damage was done.

Second, group riding is a blast. I had never ridden in a group of any kind before, only solo or with a single buddy. I got to experience the power of the paceline, and felt empowered by my turns at the front (normally I stay on my husband’s wheel and let him pull). The Sufferfest workouts were a great help there. I felt I already knew what to expect and how to pace my pull. And the people I rode with were amazing: cooperative, helpful, fun, and interesting to talk to as the miles rolled by.

Third, the Gravel Grinder 200 plan is a very good one. It was not enough on its own to get me ready for this many miles, but it got me good and ready last spring for the long rides I needed during the summer. That I didn’t do quite enough of those long rides during the summer is on me :wink: Adding strength and yoga to the plan did me a lot of good, too. I am sure that they kept me from greater injury due to the repetitive stress.

Finally, I realized that my strategy of avoiding hills where I can is not a good one for either cycling or life (not to mention not befitting a citizen of Sufferlandria). I will go back to this event next year to finish the stages I skipped, and in the meantime I will be getting used to attacking hills and other things that scare me.

I highly recommend riding in the UP. It has amazing variety of roads: lakeshore, mountain wilderness, farm roads, gravel roads. We saw moose, bears, and foxes. We jumped into three of the Great Lakes. Check it out if you can.


Superb. That sounds like a serious challenge and an equally serious achievement, even if you do say it was incomplete. Congratulations indeed :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

What an achievement! And what a read - thank you. You sound quite proud of what you’ve done and gee, you should be!


Do you have a route you could share? I live in Wisconsin about an hour from the Michigan border and went to College in the UP so I know a little bit about the area but didn’t know there was a whole ride around it.

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Congrats on your suffering! It sounds like a real adventure, with all the ups and downs to be (un)expected in taking on something huge and character-building. Very jealous - the area looks superb.

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Awesome effort, well done :raised_hands:

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@Sir_Alan , I’m not supposed to share the actual routes from the event, unfortunately. But if you have Ride With GPS, you can search the organization Tour Da Yoop Eh and find a whole bunch of loops they’ve created all over the UP. Also, though the TDY website is currently down and being reconstructed, once it’s back online you will be able to look at a map of the 1200-mile route and see at least roughly where we went.

Were you at Tech or NMU? I loved what I saw of both Houghton and Marquette!

I went to Tech. I’ll look them up on ridewithgps. Myself and a couple buddies do a 2-3 day self supported ride every summer so while we may not follow the whole route it’s nice to know of routes that have been used and are semi decent/safe roads. Thanks!

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You are an inspiration to a fellow middle-aged lady, also married to a KoS. I have only been a Sufferlandrian since last year (pandemics make you do crazy things right?) and just recently started riding outdoors. I can’t yet fathom how I will learn to use cleats but 3 months ago I couldn’t fathom riding outside at all due to scars from previous altercations with a car (me) and truck (husband)… many tears were shed on that ‘first since accident’ ride but a great feeling when accomplished. Great to hear of your success and I hope to follow in your steps (cadence?) one day.


@MrsT-Rex , awesome! That is so brave! I hope you keep doing things you thought you couldn’t.