Race Testimonial: Daniel Wolin
As road racing in MI dwindles, gravel racing has picked up over the last few years. In addition to standard length gravel races (35-100 miles), more extreme 200 or longer gravel races have also become popular. Our very own Dan Wolin participated in the Coast to Coast, a 210 mile race along with 380 “committed” cyclists who also thought riding across the great state of Michigan would be a good idea.
The race started in Au Gres, MI, took riders through Marion, Dublin and the Manistee Forest before finishing on the beach in Ludington. The prequel to the race that was sent out to riders highlighted the different terrain the riders would endure: fast gravel, challenging, scenic two-tracks, seasonal roads, snowmobile trails and sand (and more sand).. After speaking with Dan post-race, he expressed, “While I cursed through the sandy parts of the course, I really enjoyed it, and such a good community of racers”.
The riders were given a check in point every 50-60 miles along the way. These were times when rider’s personal support team could provide water, food, and much-needed motivational support. Riders had to leave these designated check points by the cut off times, to maintain the pace of the race and ensure they could finish within the allowed amount of time.
When asked about what kind of speed he was expecting for the race, he said most riders were approaching the event with a “ride it” mentality. Personally embracing the “ride it” approach, his goal was to simply complete the event in 14-15 hours and before sundown, and check it off an endless bucket list of cycling events that he has personally created for himself. In the end he finished just before 9 pm with about 14 hours of riding and 15 hours overall. About a half an hour longer than he wanted but well within his goal for the race. Overall, the comradery between the participants and preparation/set up of the Coast to Coast race was the best he has ever participated in.
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The motivation that helped Dan trudge through the challenging course was a personal fundraising effort he had been conducting before the event even started. One of Dan’s work colleges (and close friend) passed away unexpectedly due to an aneurysm at the age of 44,, several months before the race took place. Her husband wanted to raise money for their children’s college funds, which isis where Dan stepped in.
We’re proud to say that he managed to raise over $1,000 from friends, fellow colleagues and other supporters before his race and contribute to the goal of adding college funds to his friends childrens’ educational needs. In addition to raising money for such a great cause, the fundraising efforts provided an added bonus that forced his persistence throughout his many miles of training, as well as the race itself. “It provided a refocus on making everyday count, while cherishing my blessings. Life can be over in a blink…” so he chose to challenge life itself and continue pedaling across MI in honor of his past friend.