Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Things Learned While Bikepacking in July

I left again from the house to go on a little trip.  25 miles into the ride I turned around and went home.  Every time I head out, I learn a little about myself.  Today I learned some more mainly about what I like and don't like. 

I started out feeling fine, but 8 miles into the ride, I was ready to be done.  That will happen on a trip so close to home.  I questioned why I wanted to go home when I had this opportunity.  I forced myself to keep going, focused on positives.  My gut told me I should go home. 

It was hot, and not cooling off.  I decided to keep going, it was bound to get cooler.  My goal for the day was 40 miles, and I was sure I could do that. 

15 miles went by and I was hydrated but still too hot.  There is a fine line between being hot and surviving the heat.  Once I am faced with surviving the heat, I'm not having fun anymore.  One indicator is when I stop to refill water bottles and don't cool down because the air is so thick and muggy.  Not so much fun.  

I stop around mile 20 to refill my water supply.  I'm at a campground.  I look around at all the people having fun and consider stopping.  I don't want to stop.  I'm goal oriented and I have someplace to be,  20 miles away.  I can do it, but do I want to?  Do I really want to fight the heat?  No. 

I ride another 5 miles.  Up to the next gap.  Sometimes its cooler on the other side of the gap.  Sometimes the breeze coming up from the river deep down in the valley has just enough of a temperature difference that it feels good, and cools the body.  Not today.  It is still hot; and muggy.  I'm discouraged and don't want to quit.  But I've fought this fight before and its not fun. 

I pull out my phone to call the wife and ask for advice.  The reception is not good enough.  I put the phone away, and turn around to head home.  I continue pondering why I do this?  Why do I start out fine and then decide not to continue on?  Have I lost confidence in my ride abilities?  Have I lost the joy of long distance riding? 

I spend some time mulling these and other questions over until finally I realize several things.  Answers that make sense.  Answers that make it ok to quit.  To wait for another day. 

I admit to myself that right now, I am not having fun, I am not suffering, I am surviving.  And that is the key.  I have suffered and I have survived.  I don't want to push my suffering into surviving.   Maybe it will come to that in the future, but today, I can control that outcome and make it home without worrying about getting a rescue.  I don't mind a bit of suffering, but even though it hurts, if it doesn't bleed over into surviving, suffering can be fun and part of the journey.  The outcome is worth the pain.  The outcome of suffering however, can be costly. 

I feel better.  I start to think positively about bikepacking and then make a mental list of what I like and don't like.  I feel the need to categorize how I feel so that I can enjoy my future trips and have delineated goals. 

  • I love to ride my bike long distances
  • I prefer to get a hotel, but camping works
  • I don't like to bikepack just for the sake of getting out.
  • I like to have big goals, a route laid out and I like to go for it.  
  • I don't mind suffering, I don't like surviving.  
  • I look forward to some cooler temps because I have some goals in mind!

No comments: