BEST. TOUR. EVER. Sunny and 70 degrees on day one; rain forecasted for day two, only to be replaced by sunny to party cloudy skies by 5pm. Warm, but not too warm. The beauty of West Michigan, combined with old friends coming back to the tour and ten years of connections… this is the recipe that will put an end to multiple sclerosis! Plus, new to this year was a rest stop decoration competition… and guess who won? (Well, who else?) Check out the visual proof below!
Wait a minute… aren’t we missing Shawn?
Ah-ha! Shawn pops in on bike just in time for a great 2013 team photo!
On the eve of the tour, the team convened at Sloth’s house for a delicious pasta dinner
Freshly baked out-of-the-oven braided Italian bread loaves? Yuuuuuum!
We spent the night at Hope College, home of painfully self-aware art.
The team convenes and prepares for battle
Our old friend Jim Freer flew in all the way from British Columbia, Canada to take part in the tour! Awesome!
Saturday morning: Lake Michigan, as gorgeous and calm as ever
Can you imagine dealing with this sort of scenery every year on the tour? Life is rough…
A new rest stop decorating competition brought out festive and fun ideas this year
Beware… these snacks are guarded by island spirits!
Even the dogs got in on the decorating action!
Elaine and her husband have been rocking the lunch stop on day one for many years!
Elaine’s cookies: legendary in scope and variety
Our new lunch stop location for day one was McIntosh Orchards and Winery, a gorgeous facility with patio space aplenty
Our intrepid volunteer force raised the bar for our rest stop this year
James: festive, yet askew!
Julie and Heather kept the cheer and flowers flowing
Our tropical photo booth was a hit with many a cyclist!
Tana and Rob created an entire new area from scratch to deliver custom-made snow cones!
chalk-laden advertising greeted cyclists as they pulled in to the Team N3kk1d rest stop
Cyclists received Hawaiian leis and were treated to festive decorations
Megan and Jake swing in for a snow cone and smiles
Ahhhh… young love… you can just feel the charm is still there between Ben and Rebekkah…
Our team cyclists slowly trickle in two by two…
Sloth displays his Team N3kk1d power!
“How did I get trapped in here with this guy?”
Sloth and Rob are such a cute island couple!
VIDEO: Sloth explores the award-winning Team N3kk1d rest stop on day one
The final rest stop prior to finish was a full service grill with menu and the works!
Look at those delicious side dishes – it’s an all-American dream!
Carol and Drake welcomed riders at the finish with bells and pom poms
Someone put a lot of work into this hand-made banner… sweet!
Shawn was a man on a mission, nailing a whopping 200 miles on the tour this year
Megan and Jake… so adorable!
Our route photographer captured moments and printed them all out for purchase by 6pm that evening. Impressive!
No big surprise here: Team N3kk1d wins best decorated rest stop!
Sweet trophy… and it spins, too!
Our power partner Beth and husband Rod joined us for an evening at Skiles Tavern
Meanwhile, New Holland Brewery pulled out all the stops with their Mad Hatter block party with a stage, live acts, games, and lots and lots of beer
Our Tunnel Park message on day two… an inevitable nod at our ten-year anniversary!
Forecast called for rain on day two this year, but the radar and morning sun showed no sign of this
Stunning scenes down Lakeshore Drive
We wish ALL of the tours could be like this!
VIDEO: Sloth takes in the natural beauty of Michigan
Thanks to Loose Spokes, perennial host of day two rest stop #3
Our “rookie” rider this year was Brod with his tricked-out Dalmac bike – awesome!
VIDEO: Carol and Matt arrive to the Team N3kk1d rest stop on day two
The rain held off, giving us probably the best bike tour weather in recent history. Our rest stop crew was not complaining!
Rebekkah joined Heather in festive chalk decorations to welcome cyclists
The tour participants didn’t seem too upset with our shady island oasis!
Dare we ask what, precisely, is “yellow stuff”? Some things are best left unasked…
Kyle took full advantage of Sloth’s patented “Infinite Endurance”
Laurie and Isaac demonstrated how to maneuver an Oreo cookie from the forehead to one’s mouth without touching! WOW!
VIDEO: Into the Finish with a whooping Team N3kk1d welcome!
Carol still had a few drops of “Infinite Endurance” left upon arrival at Hope… looks like her husband Matt could use it too!
Nothing like a delicious chocolate chip cookie and grilled turkey sandwich at the end of the tour!