Christina and I haven’t even packed our saddle bags yet and already, we’ve had to switch gears. Yesterday, I picked up my father from work and together (he had the membership) went down to AAA to gather some maps and, hopefully, perspective. After waiting in the lobby, a lovely woman saw us and presented us with a spread of maps that would make a cartographer jealous. Comparing planned routes with the map in front of me, I began to second guess what was going on, but I didn’t have the resources to confirm my doubts. Back at home, maps open, I turned to Google maps and double checked our mileage; 1700 miles in 24 days worked out to roughly 70 miles per day. And that’s when the gears in my head ground to a halt. Averaging 70 miles a day is no problem, even loaded down as we will be. People do century rides on the weekends all the time. But after having done a tour down highway 1, 70 miles, against a strong headwind AND uphill can destroy your legs after just 30 miles. My legs got weary just thinking about it. I raced home, and confirmed that another route was needed if we were to make Darby, Montana for a gig before the end July.
Christina was cryphing when I told her the news. That is, laughing and crying. We made some jokes, sent some cactus frowny faces, and slapped down paper weights on maps, set our pens to paper, and rewrote our destiny.
The warm light of a single lamp sheltered me from the heavy darkness as Christina, several hundred miles away, and I methodically traced route after route, weighing distance, elevation gain (because losing it is the easy part) distance between water sources, and traffic conditions. Empty mumbling into a phone receiver was heard on both ends. A bust of chatter. Long silence. Pencil scratches, estimates, rulers… a quick reference with Google. An hour and 45 minutes later I lie on the couch, feet kicked up, swapping bike horror stories with Christina, our route reset, minds at ease
I woke up at 9 am to a phone filled with notifications from too many social media sites, texts, emails, and a particularly pesky one that someone had nudged me on Words with Friends, making sure I knew I was guilty of neglect.Sifting through the sleepiness, I read the words “Bike Sold.” The bike I planned on taking on this expedition was recently adopted. A downer, but following last nights victory, it was just one more piece in a puzzle not meant to be solved in a particular way. And now, more than ever, because of this, I think we are ready. Last night and this morning we proved to each other and ourselves, that we are reeds in the wind, that we are willing to adapt and change, that plans are great, but sometimes, you have to ball them up, throw it away, and start over. After all, what is an adventure but a series of unexpected occurrences?