I cannot wait to eat a donut, muffin, or pastry every single day of next summer. I intend on trying most every extremely strange food I come across in small town restaurants. They might really teach me something about food. I imagine taking it easy through most miles. I rode really fast for about the last year, but when I was out West this summer, I realized how much fun I can have when I take it easy. Pushing an intense pace can be rewarding, but I don’t know if it’s any more fun. Riding slow enough to have a conversation is awesome.
I also used to keep to the far right side of the lane for every mile of a ride. That is not very fun either. That side of the pavement is extremely dirty and covered in gravel, sand, broken glass, metal, nails, etc. I know that riding in the middle of the lane is not as safe, but whenever possible, it is a much better decision. Fewer flat tires and smoother pavement are your friends. I think I’ve had about seven or eight flats this year (don’t worry just one with my new Continental Gator Skins) and that has not been fun. The worst was just last Friday when I flatted with 20 miles to get back home. I then found that my spare tube also had an enormous hole (don’t ask me how. I’m still trying to figure that one out) and after about a half hour trying to fix it and one sorry attempt at improving my patching skills, I had to start walking. Twin started riding home to get my truck and come back to pick me up. I figured I’d walk because that would keep me warm. Oh, by the way, this was after three and a half hours of riding in the rain had already passed. Real fun riding, let me tell you. But somehow Twin and I justified it.
After what seemed like an hour of walking and getting passed by over 100 trucks (none of which who had the nerve to ask if I needed any help or perhaps a ride), one nice man named Todd pulled over in his clean Dodge Ram truck. He asked if I needed a ride. I checked the bed of his truck. It had a spiffy looking urban style bike with some beautiful wooden fenders and the bike was on one of those sweet bike racks with front wheel hubs that hold onto your fork. After seeing he was a smart man (with such an ideal bike rack) and that he too was a cyclist, I decided to accept the ride home. He offered to either fix my tire for me (given I wanted to get all of my miles in) or to drive me the whole way home. I opted for just getting home, drying off, and taking a shower. So that’s what I did.
That was one heck of a day. After fixing my tire and cleaning up, I felt pretty good about the whole mess.
Back to daydreaming (if I ever got there)
I imagine long days in the saddle, taking it easy (though I probably won’t) and rolling away the miles (that might hurt really bad). Each day will start with crawling out of my tent (waterproof, tested and proven several times now) and gathering my things for another days ride. My tired body slipping back into some more or less clean bib shorts and jersey. After inspecting my bike, grabbing a light breakfast, and fitting all of my belongings into my small cubby, I will hit the road. I’ll spend the first ten miles getting my legs back and my body warm. Then the miles will fall away. If there’s good conditions and not too many killer hills or mountains, the first hour rarely feels like much. I’ll stop at a convenience store or road side stand for some snacks and maybe a pastry or two. Then I’ll put in some more good miles before a sizable lunch. Shorter days will end in the afternoon. Then I’ll spend the evening hanging out, eating, rehydrating, and possibly reviewing the next day’s route before I fall into my sleeping bag again.
It will be remarkable.