Time is almost up. Two weeks from tomorrow I'll be heading down to Florida for my big bike ride across the state. And honestly, I'm starting to become filled with anxiety. Seriously. Can I actually ride that far? Being off the bike while being sick didn't help, that's for sure. I'm trying to look on the bright side so that little bit of down time was a blessing in disguise though, like I mentioned last week. I had a chance to make some changes to my gear, and I had make sure I could pack everything up and ride with my new stuff.
Of course I had plans to ride on Saturday, but I still wasn't one hundred percent healthy. When I woke up, it was cold (45 degrees) and rainy. I really didn't fell like being out in that shit but I knew I had to get some saddle time in. Plus, there's no guarantee that the Sunshine State will live up to its name next month. In fact, there is a high probability that the weather will be less than pleasant for my little jaunt. Anyway, after spending the first half of the day making excuses for why I didn't want to ride I told myself to embrace the suck and get rolling. I suited up in some warm cycling clothes, donned my rain jacket and rolled out of the house to see where it would take me. No real plan other than to just get the hell out of my comfortable living room.
I cut through a few neighborhoods and ended up on a little bike path that I keep forgetting is nearby.
With only a rain jacket (I don't own rain pants... yet), I was at least dry from the waist up. Surprisingly I wasn't too cold though, sporting only shorts and DeFeet knee warmers and socks. I was out of the house at least, but I was questioning why TF I was out there in the rain.
I still didn't feel well. Who gives a shit.
Still with no plan, I just kept rolling. I took cut-throughs and grassy easements whenever I could, making sure to push myself to stay warm. I ended up riding some spots I'd never ridden before.
I was out of the house. That was the hardest part. I'd adjusted to the weather though and started to feel pretty good. I decided to hit up some more off the beaten path stuff and keep heading away from my house. It made for a tough ride, but I was actually having fun.
There are some good spots off of that railroad area. I've done part of this route before when I first started this bikepacking thing. Instead of pristine, groomed mountain bike trails, I rode pretty much every other kind of surface. It's all part of the adventure.
The plan wasn't to go out for a long time, rather just for a good time. The key results I wanted to see were a) if I could stand riding a fully loaded bike in shitty weather and b) If I would notice a difference with the new gear I'd packed up. This was technically a shakedown ride and it was exactly what I needed. I now have confidence that I can stand riding that heavy bike in all kinds of weather, and swapping out the hammock setup for a tent was the right call, at least as far as carrying that shit around. Am I still worried though?
Being sick kinda knocked my fitness down, and it's really too late to build it back up. All I can do is make sure I'm mentally prepared (the real challenge anyway) and get a few more decent rides in over the next two weeks. Maybe in the 40-50 mile range. You know, nothing too crazy. Like 300 miles.
Tomorrow is Turkey Day, so like most everyone else I'll be eating tons of food. Friday and Saturday though?
I haz other plans.
See y'all next week. Try not to eat too much, you fat bastard.