Going coastal: Attorney makes trek across state

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By Tom Kirvan
Legal News

A Marine veteran of the Vietnam War, Bloomfield Hills attorney Mike Schloff has been tested in battle, in court, and in the realm of athletic competition as a three-time marathon finisher.

Yet, on Aug. 18, Schloff felt a special sense of accomplishment when he went coast to coast across Michigan on a 149-mile bike ride that served as a fund-raiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Association.

The annual event is simply known as ODRAM, short for “One Day Ride Across Michigan.” In fact, there is nothing simple or short about it, according to Schloff.

“It was a grind, covering nearly 150 miles by bike in one day,” Schloff admitted. “The first 80 miles of the event were particularly tough with all the hills and I doubt if I would have had the stamina to make it if the weather had been warmer. Fortunately the temperatures were moderate and the last section of the race was flat as could be, otherwise there would have been a different ending to the story.”

Schloff, a past president of the Oakland County Bar Association, logged more than 1,200 miles in six months of training for the event, which began in Montague on the shores of Lake Michigan and cut across the Lower Peninsula to Bay City State Park with Lake Huron as a backdrop. The trek took Schloff approximately 11 hours to complete.

“There were about 300 participants,” Schloff said, noting that the event drew less than half that number the year before. “It was a phenomenal experience and, in my judgment, quite an accomplishment for a guy who is almost 66 years old,” he added with a smile.

The ride coincided with another big day in Schloff’s life.

“What made it more unique was that I completed the ride on my 38th wedding anniversary and my dear wife, Mary, accompanied me, driving our vehicle as a ‘sag’ wagon,” Schloff said. “No injuries, no crashes, and quite a bit of emotion as I crossed the finish line.”

A 1975 graduate of the University of Detroit School of Law, Schloff began his law career with the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office before venturing into private practice with the Bloomfield Hills firms of Condit and McGarry.  He eventually became a partner with the firm, honing his skills as one of the area’s most highly regarded civil and criminal trial attorneys. His former law partner, Alex McGarry, encouraged Schloff to take up cycling and also accompanied him on several marathons, including the Marine Corps race in Washington, D.C.

“As a Marine, I was very motivated to enter that marathon,” Schloff said of the 26.2-mile run through the nation’s capital. “I was hoping to better my personal best of 3:43 and to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but I tore a calf muscle during the race and limped most of the way. Alex, great friend that he was, stayed with me the whole way otherwise I’m sure I probably wouldn’t have made it.”

Schloff, a recipient of the Bronze Star for bravery and valor during the Vietnam War, said he encountered plenty of “second thoughts” about finishing the bike ride across Michigan.

“The hills just kept coming and coming during the first half of the ride,” Schloff said. “They were really testing me. Let’s just say that with each climb I did some serious cursing on the way up.”