Biking (Bike Pushing) 10:55:00  46.55 mi (4.3 mph)
shoes: Jamis Dragon Sport 29er
First part of the bike was great, high speed on the road, high speed on typical MI style gravel, and right back to CP1/2013 CP7/2014.
I wish we had left our bikes at CP7. I don't think we would have been any slower, since we did not have the technical ability or willingness (lack of self-preservation?) to bike much on the hydrocut. The first bit was alright, but then as darkness really kicked in, it was hard to find good lines or trust all of the water pits. (Maybe on flat pedals it would have been a tiny bit more confident, or been able to use the bike as a scooter better?)
And then it started raining. I thought about my rain jacket, but I was pretty warm so I didn't bother.
And so we rode and pushed, pushed and occasionally rode. And eventually were overwhelmingly pushing. I pictured people following our tracker, seeing "Biking, 5 km/hr" and wondering what was going on.
And then since everything sorts of blurs together, and maybe because I estimated the distance off the wrong bridge, we kept wondering when we would finally encounter the private area. But it never came. And never came. And then the rain got heavy. So we suited up in rain gear and pushed our bikes some more. And more. And more. Then we finally found it - a private sign...facing north of the marked area. Huh? Screw it, lots of bikes tires turn here, "C" seems to go this way, keep at. Tribe was restless so I gave Mark the map to make it less my fault they were getting worn out by this bike pushing slog.
Wrong timing for the map giveaway, shortly after we make the bend, find the power station, exit the hydrocut, and arrive at the CP.
The very nice volunteer with a tasty snack told us 8-9 was much more bikable. I disagree with her assessment.
But first we had to find it! I got confused by the "private" signs, not remembering anything about it from the briefing (I think so? but can't?), and we took a few detours before resetting. And then took one more detour, having missed the "C" turn off sign. Whoops! Onward and upward.
It was fun riding briefly, but then that trail turned in a similar mess as before, but this time with even more elevation. I swear some of those hills deserved an extra 20 m contour line. Wow. And no relief on the downhills - they remained beyond our comfort zone so we walked bikes back down.
We weren't sure what to do with the "do not cross" bridges, so we crossed them. We picture our next entry into Canada will see our passports trip facial recognition warrant alerts from the Ontario Trail Board and we will be detained on the basis of the silent cameras.
Yikes, the hills were steep. We were wondering if we needed to sandbag to make sure we missed the cutoff, but soon that was not an issue as we were frequently down in the 1-2 kph range pushing our bikes up the massive hills. Nice to see some of the teams hiking back to the TA, although only BiT looked happy about it. One team joked about the biggest climb, as they knew we were approaching it without any idea what we were in for. I had two mild hallucinations on this climb, once seeing a cabin and outbuilding which turned out were just trees, and later a chair that was not there. Hm...items dealing with rest....
As expected, we reached #9 well after the 9 am departure cut off, so we took a leisurely 23 minutes to freshen up and then bike back to the finish. Although I have to call it a "bust" for no full course, we had certainly worked hard and accomplished a lot, and were not especially heartbroken to miss the trek back over those hills. And even if we had made it out by 8:59, we could have at best finished only one spot higher, and at worst DNFd for being overtime (four hours with bikes, and only five hours to run back, while bushwhacking and swimming, and biking 10km on trails to the finish....looks tight for us).
Super happy with 11th place. It is the highest Michigan finish I'm aware of (happy to learn otherwise?). Beforehand, I thought w4j's predictions were pretty close, something middle ish with maybe more if things went well, so a top 15 chance barring issues.