So I am chalking it up to three factors why It has been so difficult to organize my thoughts into worthwhile bits suitable for sharing of recent.
I bet you can guess what they are from the title of this post.
And I’m going to start with the last one on the list. Hills.
Picture yourself riding your bike… What do you see?
I don’t know about y’all, but I get delicious images of my hair blowing in salty wind as I coast down a scenic road along a beach…
Or some romantic shit like that.
But really? Really it’s more like some excellent bouts of exhilarating (often white-knuckle) downhill which punctuate the majority of riding; which is uphill.
How could the majority be uphill, you ask? What goes up must come down? etc etc… And I will do my best to explain, beginning with a picture.
You see riding up hills, while only around half the distance ridden, are ridden at such a fraction of the speed of downhill riding that they make up the majority of the experience.
Towit: On a given 60 mile day, assuming the impossibly perfect division of terrain equally between UP and DOWN, let us explore:
If I average 18 -20 mph going down hill, that breezy thirty miles will take me a cool 1.5-1.67 hours.
If I average 3-5 mph going uphill that sweaty, ass-numbing, existentially crisis-prone thirty miles will take me from SIX to TEN hellacious hours.
Catch my drift here?
Luckily most days the contrast between up and down is not quite as stark, and I can roll along somewhere in the 8-13 mph range for much of it. But SOME days that is just not the case.
I have had ten hour days. In the rain. Just sayin’.
Even now, sitting here writing about not that– still this pleasant breezy image is tenacious in my brain. Maybe it’s like child birth or something. I mean, why would I keep riding if I remembered how hard it is most of the time?
Let us trundle on to the next factor listed above: Leadership.
Leadership is a great honor. A complex mass of diplomacy, nurturing, and fortune-telling in my experience thus far.
The word Leadership is actually tacked onto my name on this trip. I am the trip’s Leader.
I am putting this in overly simplistic terms; but it helps me to remember this simple fact as I find each day the amount of time or energy I thought I would have after a long ( hilly) day’s ride is nibbled away by the myriad great and small tasks which keep this brave train chugging along.
Individually, each task is absolutely manageable. And addressed promptly and intelligently the whole endeavor is as well. This trip is not my own creation. It winds down a well-worn track backed by forty years of trial-and-error experience, beginning with the Bikecentennial first dreamed up in 1973.
I am definitely not going this alone. I have a plan, notes, and support a phone call away.
Yet cumulatively–since it is indeed my great honor and privilege to be Leader of this trip– I often find my energy is ( rightfully) allocated to these tasks, rather than expounding on the plethora of deep, post-worthy thoughts that cross my mind during each six hour day pedaling.
Believe me, it is not for lack of inspiration!
But somewhere along the line we have to make reservations, check maps, decide where to camp, where to shop, who’s to shop, where the bike shop is, whether we need more peanut butter, what the wifi code is, whether we’re eating enough or well enough, find where everyone is, hold space for everyone’s needs and processes, collect receipts, give allowances, record accounting, edit leader notes, find the wifi code again, have a map meeting, check in with HQ and then curse the damn finicky wifi because you can’t do half the tasks on the list without it.
I have felt the need to write about this aspect of my experience. Because in a non-exact mathematical sort of way, Time is inversely proportional to the multiplication of Hills and Leadership tasks. T= -1/(H*L) ??
So now you understand a little more about what’s going on for me here, AND I can get on with writing down those deep thoughts!!