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Route 1: May The Fourth Be With You! Adventures in Solo Graveling

Mackinaw, Illinois , United States
June 5, 2020
25 mi




ft elev +


The morning started off with me forgetting to take out the trash, turning back home to do so, then heading back out towards Mackinaw before realizing I also forgot my water bottles. After a 20-minute delay, I was off to ride some gravel! An hour and a half later I arrived at the starting point. Yes, I drove a total of 3 hours to ride for 1.5 hours. Will travel for gravel! The ride started off a little slow. My legs were a little stiff from the drive up and I was too excited to ride to be bothered with stretching and warming up nonsense. Off we go! It was all going well until I got to Tanner road at 5 miles in. That’s when my Garmin said I was off route. At first, I disagreed and continued on, but then my map disappeared. I figured I better be safe and make sure I wasn't supposed to turn at the next left which was Ragar rd. Still no map on the Garmin, and this didn't feel right. I pulled over to pull out my phone and look up the route to compare with my location. Turns out, I was right the first time. From this point on, I had to look up every turn and double check to ensure I didn't go of course again. When I got to Zimmerman road, I bombed that descent and got a little carried away hitting speeds over 50 mph just before the gravel section popped up in my poor distance vision. No time to brake, just hold on tight and ride the waves!! That was fun, and hey, I got a KOM! When I hit the bridge, I couldn't remember which way to turn. My phone decided to not load the maps or routes at this point. I pretty much just guessed and got it right. I thought I had the rest of the route memorized but when I got to Cook road, I took a left because taking a right looked like someone’s driveway. This is where I pretty much gave up. After a brief back and forth a couple times back down Schlappi road I finally got my phone back out to try the maps. Yup, I was supposed to go left on Cook road. Okay, at least now it's almost over. Once I passed the house on Cook road I saw the Hill. This was the steepest hill I've seen in my almost 6 years in Illinois, and it's gravel! I know form my time climbing mountains in California that you gotta sit up tall and lean forward a bit to keep your front tire from popping up. Turns out, this is not the case with gravel. My back wheel was losing traction, and my front wheel was going left and right. I was not giving up, after a couple near falls, I reached the top at a blazing 3 mph! I made it back to my truck, and for about 5 seconds I contemplated riding route 2. Nah! I'm dead, bro! Tucking my tail and heading home! Thanks for the fun, KOM Teller!
That face after you made it through hitting gravel at 40 plus MPH!!
Lewis and Clark couldn't have saved me.




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