Call me Ishmael. No, wait a second. Call me idiot. And call my brother Michael Captain Ahab. It’s good to have goals, but when does dogged determination become maniacal obsession?
Several year ago (never mind how long precisely), Michael floated the idea of a weekend bike trip from my suburban Chicago home to the Sacred Basilica of Holy Hill near Hubertus, Wisconsin; a distance of roughly 100 miles. Holy Hill holds a special place in family lore. We grew up about 20 miles away and most of our family still lives in the area. Our grandfather told us that he once hiked from West Bend to Holy Hill to pray for a sick relative, and the relative recovered.
Michael billed the ride as “a crusade to Holy Hill.” To me it was not much of a crusade, but more of potential Monty Python skit. “Monty Python and the Holy Hill” with Michael the Skinny-Legged and Sir Cramp-a-Lot on mountain bikes. (We don’t own road bikes.)
This would not be officially a century ride, as we would ride 80 miles to our sister Mary’s house in Waukesha on Saturday and the remaining 22 miles to Holy Hill on Sunday. I was worried how my legs and butt would hold up from Barrington to Waukesha. My longest one day ride had been 55 miles and Michael’s longest ride was even shorter.
Numerous delays moved the trip to the middle of November. The trek was originally planned to for July, but scheduling conflicts caused multiple postponements. I suggested we wait until next year, but Michael drew the line in the sand and said that we were going to ride the weekend of November 13, come hell or high water.
The weekend weather forecast showed a combination of both with falling temperatures and rain. Michael was undeterred by the possible inclement weather. We were going to ride to “Moby Hill,” as Herman Melville might have called it. The weekend was going to be a two-act play drafted by the O’Linger brothers. I just hoped it would not be a tragic comedy.
Read the entirety of Mark Ollinger’s story in the September 2012 issue of Silent Sports.