On cycling: short and long rides

Well, not a good race for me this week. I only hung on for four laps or so, and then I just couldn’t do it any more. There were a bunch of reasons for this, I think, the main one being that the pack took off much faster than usual. Since I’m usually barely hanging on, if they speed up just a little bit, I’m lost. I heard later that after a while they slowed down, but I couldn’t last that long. I tried to take a break for a couple laps and catch back on (normally this isn’t allowed, I think, but these races are training races and so they encourage it, so riders can get more training), but once I’ve fallen behind, I just don’t have the drive to try once again. Also affecting my performance was my bad eating throughout the day: I’m extremely sensitive about food, so not eating at regular times really messes me up. Plus, it was windy, so if I fell behind from the pack just a bit, I had to work super hard to catch back up, since I was battling the wind.

But I don’t mean to sound like I’m making excuses for myself — I’m simply not in good enough shape. And the truth is, I don’t care that much how I do. I want to be strong, which I am, and I’m not too concerned that there are a whole bunch of people who are stronger than me. Now, if only I could bring that kind of equanimity into the rest of my life, I’d be set. But that’s harder.

So much for the short rides (very short this time around!) — I’m really, really jealous of these people who are doing all kinds of crazy long rides and blogging about them. They are the Ditty Bops, a two-woman band who are touring across the country on their bikes! I mean, touring as in doing shows across the country, and riding from show to show. Doesn’t that sound just great? They are riding about 70-90 miles a day, maybe with some days off thrown in there, I’m not sure.

I’m jealous a little bit of their singing ability (their music is uncategorizable, sort of country, folk, pop, rock … something, and seems good although I haven’t listened to much), but mostly I’m jealous of their cycling trip. I so want to ride my bike across the country. If anyone out there gets a hankering to drive across the country and doesn’t need to do it fast, let me know, because what the Hobgoblin and I need is someone willing to drive along with us to carry our gear while we ride. We could just ride all by ourselves, but carrying a tent and food and clothes on the bike would be very difficult. The best way is to have someone drive and meet us at the stopping spot every night.

I just love thinking about long distance trips like this — on the bike or on foot. I really, really want to hike the whole Appalachian Trail (about 2,100 miles) and the whole Long Trail (much more do-able at 270 miles), and then there’s the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. And on the bike, there’s that cross-country trip, of course, and I want to ride the entire Blue Ridge Parkway through Virginia and North Carolina. And I want to do walking and cycling tours through Europe too.

I’m afraid, though, that the best part about such trips might be the anticipating and planning. I know from the longish backpacking trips I’ve taken (1-2 weeks) that my interest begins to flag after not too long. I’m not sure whether if I stuck with it the pleasure would return or not. I sure would like to give it a try and find out.

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