Posted by: twistsoffeet | March 5, 2011


Time has become pretty crazy recently.

What I mean is that time has been somewhat multidimensional lately, always operating in at least two different speeds simultaneously.

On one hand, time is rushing by entirely too quickly, leaving me wondering if I am going to be able to meet my scheduled departure date of 04-08-11.  How am I possibly going get everything prepared by that date?!

I have to purchase a new bike.  This really sucks.  My current bike I actually really like: fat tires, front suspension, heavy steel frame that can handle some stress this trip will most certainly dish out to me.  Unfortunately, my bike can’t  be retrofitted with a new triple crank that gives me a 18 gears rather than the current 6 gears for a reasonable cost.

None of the bicycle shops in the area want to do the work.

Apparently, the rest of my components will either have to be changed out or kept as is, but with a higher possibility of part failure.

Fortunately, I have worked a deal for a new TREK 27 gear front suspension mountain bike that will work just fine: 36-spoke wheels, aluminum (not steel) frame that will shave ten pounds off my total weight– although since I will be carrying four months of food, clothes, and other necessities– plus or minus ten pounds will probably not be noticed.

Besides being lighter and very comfortable, I will also have much more confidence that it is capable of handling the demands of this trip.  And confidence is everything.  I know that if I take proper care of this bike, it will survive this trip and many other adventures in the future.

This will actually work out great because I will get a brand new bike with warranties for about the same cost as I had budgeted for changing my crank, maybe even a little less.

Of course I will take my new saddle, lights, and bottle cage from my old bike.  Also, I still need to get new eyeglasses and shades, so I can see where I am going.  Other purchases are: a trailer, sleeping bag, maintenance tools and spare parts, clothes, and other goodies that I will either need or want.  I can not afford a GPS unit, so I need to pick up a good quality road atlas.

Fortunately, I do not need to buy food because I just completed  that task.  I will be carrying four months’ supply of protein bars, protein powders, multi vitamin/minerals, creatine, freeze-dried meals, homemade granola, and whatever else I decide to take. By going self-contained like this, my load will become lighter every day as I eat my food supply. I hope that I will improve my body composition (BMI).

I have been fine-tuning my granola recipe and finally have something that not only is healthy (lots of fiber, several grains, lots of nuts, and dried fruits), although there IS too much fat (but mostly omega 3’s), too much sugar (but most of that is honey or maple syrup) AND tastes good enough that I will have to use a lot of self control to limit my daily ration.

I still need to make purchases and prep the bike, make my granola, continue my training rides, make a decision about my route, move out of my residence, ship some of my belongings elsewhere– and only FIVE weeks to do all of this.

Time is passing far too quickly… But then again, maybe it’s not passing quickly enough because I want this prep phase over with!!!  I want to hop on my bike and ride down the road pulling my trailer as this little adventure of mine begins.

Being patient is always the difficult thing for me, especially as I await to begin a adventure of any type.  Apparently patience is not in my DNA .
My training is going well with several 60-80 mile rides and an 1,100 mile ride and several more 40-50 mile rides on top of my daily 5-10 mile rides.  Honestly, I haven’t felt physically challenged yet. Even on my longer rides, I never got tired or sore.  The only negative effect has been that eventually my butt goes numb from riding in the saddle.  I have a really great saddle but after 7-10 hours in the saddle, you are going to feel it one way or another.

I’m really not able to train for hills because there are none around here. I have tried to do some power leg exercises but most of those are fairly high impact in regards to my Rheumatoid Arthritis, so I think that just throwing myself into whatever comes my way out there is just going to suffice.

My route is still not confirmed. I would really like to stay east of the Mississippi until I reach the southern shore of Lake Superior, then head west into Minnesota and then south into northern Iowa.  This route may not be possible if the projected flooding in the upper Mississippi river drainage is as severe as they have forecast.

My alternate route will take me on a more southern path that will have me crossing the big river in probably from Mississippi to Arkansas, and heading north northwest through Missouri and then on to northern Iowa.

After Iowa the route is pretty much set in stone. I will travel west and slightly north through the Black Hills of South Dakota, then I’ll go south to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming.  From there I will head southwest to Lander, WY for some good climbing. At this point, I had originally wanted to head to Denver, but I have instead decided to head to Moab, UT. After that, down to the Four Corners area of CO, NM,  AZ and UT.  I am thinking about riding to Monument Valley, but no decision made on that yet.

Eventually I will enter Colorado in the far southwest and visit Mesa Verde and Pagosa Springs. I intend to cross over Wolf Creek Pass and into Del Norte and then Penitente Canyon, where hopefully I can meet up with friends for a couple of good days of climbing.

After Penitente Canyon, I will head northeast over Poncha Pass and down to Canon City and Shelf Road for more climbing.  Across Shelf Road, I’ll go to Cripple Creek then west to US 285 and over Kenosha Pass and continue on a very round-about path to Denver.

I will probably enter Denver either from the west along Bear Creek Canyon from Evergreen, or from the south on S Santa Fe coming in from Castle Rock.

All of my possible paths can and will be altered for whatever reason I chose, especially for safety reasons.  In total, I should log a bit over 5,000 miles, and will travel from sea level too over 10,000 ft in altitude.  A very unofficial, but probably conservative estimate of total altitude loss and gain is at least 50,000 feet, but not taking into account small hills and mountains around the country will, I believe, put me at well over 100,000 feet total altitude loss/gain.

I am absolutely mentally ready to begin this trip right now, and physically I am pretty much there, also. Outfitting and provisioning still needs a lot of attention, but that is dependent on finances becoming available before I can make additional purchases.

Time is flying past way too quickly and it does not seem to be near enough to do what I need to do; yet it seems also as though there is way too much time left, going by way too slowly.   I want to crawl onto my bike and just ride, heading somewhere, but not really caring what roads I take to get there. I will make it to my destination and I will be happy to reach it, but mostly I am very excited about the journey.


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