Angel Sanders

January 2, 2012
by Angel

Wow!! What A Difference a Year Makes!!

Happy New Year!!  I haven’t blogged in a while and now seemed like as a good a time as any.  It’s the start of a new year and I can only assume that many people have spent some time the last couple of days reflecting on what has, or has not happened over the last year.  I’m guessing that reflection is also coupled with thoughts of what you would wish the next year to be like.  Set the bar high–the sky is the limit!!


I often hear people say, “this is going to be my year”.  I would have to say if there really is such a thing as “my year” it would have been 2011.  For me it was a year of many firsts.  I ran my first races, completed my first sprint triathlon and finished my second DALMAC tour.  I accomplished every physical goal that I set for myself–against the odds some might say.  None of this has been easy, but it’s all been worth it and it all comes with a price so to speak.  Transforming myself and my life has been amazing, but it’s been scary all at the same time.  I have so many people around me that have supported me along the way and I couldn’t have gone on this journey without them–I am grateful for that.  For the people close to me I  know it hasn’t been easy for them either.  Although I know they are proud of me and my accomplishments, I do think from time to time they have thought they were sacrificing something as well, and perhaps they were.  I think they might have felt like I was being selfish, didn’t need them anymore or was pushing them away.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth.  For me, it was about pulling the person inside of me out–living the life I always wanted and I finally found the courage to do it.


I’ve been overweight my entire life.  It’s a tough place out there when you’re a 300 pound girl–all the self confidence in the world can’t fix some things.  It’s easy to get comfortable when you’re loved and accepted in your circle of family, friends and co-workers.  That comfort takes over and one day turns to the next and although things seemed good they really weren’t.  Yes, I was blessed with an amazing family and the best group of friends a person could ask for.  I had a job that I loved and was proud of, but I really was not living.  The only growing that I was doing was out!  I had completely stopped growing as an individual.  I had no outside interests, nothing that I really loved to do in my spare time–no hobbies to really speak of.  I had become someone that I knew I really wasn’t and it was going to kill me.  I had to push myself out of that comfort zone and face life head on.  Believe me when I say that this is about so much more than the numbers on the scale.  Many people think I have amazing willpower and just went on a diet–that is just not true.  I have worked hard to learn how to live a lifestyle that will allow me to remain active, be happy and continue growing as a person.  Some days sure aren’t easy, but they are worth it, I am worth it–that’s what I have had to learn.


The easy part is over and the real work is just beginning.  Imagine looking in the mirror and not recognizing the person that looks back at you.  Imagine looking at pictures of your old self and not recognizing that person either.  Where does that leave you?  It leaves you having to get to know yourself all over again.  It leaves you learning to like the person that you have worked so hard to find.  To use an old cliche, “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it”.  I’ll be 40 years old  in a few weeks and in a lot of ways I am just living life for the first time.  I enjoy learning about what makes my body tick and I continue to make changes that will benefit my overall health and wellness.


I can’t thank all of you enough for your support along the way–you continue to inspire me.  2012 doesn’t come with resolutions for me–I’m just going to live life one day at a time and when I screw up (and I will) I’m going to forgive myself and move forward.  A good friend recently told me, “don’t look back…it distracts from the now”.


Much love to you all!  Have a happy and healthy new year!









September 4, 2011
by Angel

All Good Things Come to an End!

Today was day 5 of the DALMAC tour and I am proud to say I have finished my second trip to Mackinaw by bicycle.  Due to the fall yesterday and some soreness in my body I decided to not ride this morning because I didn’t want to press my luck–I was saving myself for something that I was more than anxious to do–the 5 mile trek across the Mackinaw Bridge.  I didn’t ride the bridge last year so this year my group decided to make some changes so that we could make the bridge crossing in time to meet the parameters set by the bridge authority.


I know some people have a hard time crossing the bridge in a vehicle and I know some people that won’t even drive over it–but experiencing that on my bike is something that I will never forget.  It was worth the cost of the registration fee of the tour and then some.  Everyone really should have this on their bucket list.  The right side paved lane is closed to traffic so that bikes can ride up and over.  As we get on the bridge it’s quite a slow incline up and the wind is just like you think it would be.  The higher I got the more of a balancing act it becomes.  It is for sure not a time to ride with no hands.  The wind pushed me side to side, but that didn’t bother me.  I shift gears a few times to compensate for the incline and I just keep taking in the views and enjoying the ride.  As cars pass by I do wonder how many of them think that I am just plain crazy.  I really don’t care what they think, and at that moment all I can think about is that this makes it all worth it.  Rubbing/chafing and other bodily discomfort–worth it, sleepless nights in a tent–worth it, rain and being soaked–worth it, crappy cafeteria food–worth it, sore muscles–worth it, fighting to catch your breath at the top of every crazy hill–worth it.  I approach the top of Big Mac and I start  me decent down loving every minute of it.  I for sure kept my hands close to the brake and apply them sparingly here and there.  With that kind of wind the last thing you want to do is lose control.  Surprisingly the wind really does keep you slowed down to a reasonable speed, but you still have to play the balancing act game.  I want to say the whole up and over process of crossing the bridge took about 45 minutes, but I really had no concept of time at that point.  As I make my way off the bridge and into the Welcome Center in the UP I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.  I would do it again in a minute.


The overall experience of this DALMAC tour was so much better than last year.  We did a few things differently that helped with the camping experience and it made it so much more bearable.  Although we had some weather issues, nothing like the first time.  We were able to relax more and meet some really great people that we shared lots of laughs with.  I am grateful that I have such good friends that I was able to experience this with.  Memories that will last a lifetime.


I’m not sure when I will ride my next DALMAC, but I am sure there will be a next time–so maybe you should consider doing it with me.  :)  If it’s not on your bucket list put it there.  Like I said, it is WORTH IT!!  If you’ve been reading this and following along, I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have.


Love to ride!!




September 3, 2011
by Angel
1 Comment

Day 4 Blues

I am beginning to think that I am just not meant to ride day 4. Last year it was this same day that we sat out due to dangerous weather.

Today was absolutely just a shitty day! No other way to say it. We had another thunderstorm last night and this morning we woke up and the rain had stopped so we thought perhaps we were in the clear. Wishful thinking! As we sat in breakfast we hear the rain beating down as we try to choke down the powdered eggs and something that resembled potatoes. As a side note some people just should not eat powdered eggs and if they do they shouldn’t share their tent with other people. Lets just say I am not telling on myself. LOL. We finish breakfast, the rain dulls a bit, but doesn’t stop. We pack up the rest of our gear and venture out to make the most of it.

About 5 miles in we stop to peel off our rain jackets because we are burning up and at this point the rain is about done. Or so we thought. We pedal along splattering mud an road grit all over. Did I mention before that I don’t like to get dirty much? Suddenly, the heavens open and it is pouring down rain. Ugh!! In comes the thunder and the lightening as we pass through the Torch Lake area. We follow suit of some fellow bikers and find shelter to wait it out for a bit. We talk about the fact that maybe we should just bag it and call it a day–should have listened to my gut, but I didn’t. On goes the rain jacket and we continue on. It is so cold and the rain is just beating the crap out of us. My shoes are filled with water and my white socks are now black. Nothing feels quite like the padding in spandex bike shorts after it retains water. Squish, squish! Again, we find shelter and wait a few minutes. At this point we are about 20 miles in and really a bit on edge now.

Finally, we make the decision that we don’t have many options other than to get back on the road. A few more miles later the road is not marked well for a turn on the route. I made the turn and thought perhaps I was going to have to go the other way–the road was uphill and slick. Then it happened, I bit it hard and fell. I bounced the back of my head off the ground and heard this loud noise as my helmet beat the crap out of the ground. I laid there holding my head and screaming thinking my next ride was in an ambulance. Kelly jumped off her bike to come to my rescue knowing I was hurting. She kept me laying still for a few minutes before we removed the helmet. I lay there on the roadway and can feel my head pounding and my hip throbbing as bruising is setting in. I spend a little more time laying there before I finally make it to my feet. Now I am really covered in dirt. I swallow my pride and call for a ride. Thank God for friends following along. I ride 4 more miles to the next town– a bit out of sorts and wait for the ride.

We called it a day with about 26 miles logged. My pride and spirit was broken. Some things just aren’t worth it though. My husband has arrived and we are in a hotel tonight so NO MORE CAMPING!!

Tomorrow is the final day of this trip and we will forfeit part of the planned route in order to ride the 5 miles across the Mackinaw Bridge. Lets hope that goes better than today.

September 2, 2011
by Angel

I love Day 3!

Day three of the DALMAC is an amazing day. We got out early and had some pretty tough hills right away. Nothing like turning left headed out of town and straight up hill at 7:30 in the morning. That will wake the body up quick–and if that’s not enough when you finally finish the climb and turn right you get to climb yet again. After that some fun begins.

I just love this route today. For every hill up the downs are amazing. I can’t even describe how it feels to get to the top and fly down. Hitting 40 MPH may not sound fast if you don’t ride, but if you do ride you get it. It’s a rush and you feel like it’s your reward for all the hard work that you’re doing. The hills today were rolling and awesome. We cruised one right after the other.

We made good time and arrived in Fife Lake and took a much needed butt break and enjoyed lunch at the Fife Lake Inn.

After the break we had about 25 miles to go of our short 61 mile day. We did complain a few times about the rubbing and irritation that was going on in our southern region. At some point you just have to realize it happens, make lots of jokes to help ease the pain and move on.

We did have a couple comical times today. I would like to point out that last year I was nearly stopped at the mid point of a hill and I tipped right over when I couldn’t make it. As we came upon that spot today Kelly pointed out that we were there and we laughed as we reflected. I refused to give in to that hill today. I had to conquer it. She knew I would rather die than not make it. I did just that. I reached the top and stopped and gasped for air before I continued on.

We continue on and Kelly has a bit of a mishap. I took my licks last year so now it was her turn. We are headed uphill and we are both struggling and moving very slow. I’m right in front of her and I hear, “oh, oh, OH SHIT!”. I look back and I see her on the ground laughing her tail off. I assume she is okay, but I did ask. My feet were clipped to my pedals and on that uphill struggle I could not get them out of the clips. I laugh and wait for her at the top. LOL!!

Near the end it gets dark and the thunder starts. It just wouldn’t be an approach into Elk Rapids if we weren’t getting rained on. Yep, we rode the last 10 miles in the rain. It was doable and we kept each other in check to avoid poor attitude from setting in. The rain stops just as we arrive at camp.

We have been camping next to the same people for days now so we now have new friends. We all decide to skip the school cafeteria meal and walk to Pearls Kitchen for dinner a few blocks away. Pearls is a local favorite and a great change of pace. We laughed and had a lot of fun with good people.

Tomorrow brings a lot of unknowns for me. It was day 4 last year that the weather was so severe we couldn’t ride. That being said I have no idea what to expect. I guess time will tell. I know it’s the day of the famous “Wall”. You can take an alternate route around, but we are going to take the “Wall” challenge head on. Should be interesting. Tomorrow is a nearly 75 mile day. Hoping for a good tailwind.

The school bus is here to shuttle us to town so we can kill some time and putz around.

Still loving to ride!

September 1, 2011
by Angel


I survived day 2! That is for sure a fricken victory. Day 2 for me is a mental head game. Parts were sore and it was hard to get comfortable in the saddle. I started the morning out wearing new shoes which was not a good plan. You know when your feet hurt everything hurts. Thankfully I left my shoes with a friend who was following along in his vehicle and I was able to change them. Ah, RELIEF!! It was just hard to get my head in the right place–but I finally got there.

Kelly and I plugged along mile after mile making inappropriate remarks about our parts and issues and enjoying some laughs. Others passing us laughed as they listened to our commentary and just grinned and shook their heads.

Today was a physical test for sure. It got crazy hot and we just couldn’t drink enough water. There seemed to be more uphills then downhills, yes this is possible. Hill after hill we continued to pedal. We continued to cuss. We continued to fidget in the saddle–and we continued to remind each other that we do this because we love to ride. Some would say we might be a tad crazy too. :)

We cranked it out feeling good after lunch for the next fifteen miles and then we came upon the area approaching Marion and the hills were just crazy. The last fifteen miles were grueling. We finally made it back to camp in McBain. If you’ve never been to McBain there is absolutely no reason to come here. I can’t believe people actually live here!

Their are 9 people in our group which really is fun. When you spend this much time with people you get pretty comfortable. Lots of noises being made and laughed at. We’ve done a lot o people watching and made lots of observations—LMAO!!

Tomorrow’s forecast is suppose to be even hotter with rain in the afternoon. Not sure if rain is a good thing or a bad thing. I might have killed for some cool rain today.

Ride on! Praying for strength tomorrow.