bb’s First Bike Tour: Planning

Best Laid Plans: Etymology

Shortened form of “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”, translated from Scots “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, / Gang aft agley,” from To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough by Robert Burns

All I could do was cry when I backed my car into a snowbank on the side of the driveway.  It was so cold I could see a large puff of smoke emerge from my mouth with every wracking sob. A truck drove by and I thought I saw it slowing down. It creaked to a stop at the side of the icey road. A tall thin man in a red flannel stepped out of the cab. I could have worshipped the pavement he stood on.

I was on my way to ship my bike to Tucson. It has to be shipped a full 10 days ahead of my flight in order to arrive in time so that the mechanics in the ship in Tucson can build it up. This was the last possible day I could mail the bike and have it arrive on time. If I didn’t make it to the bike shop today by noon, I’d arrive in Tucson on January 9th without my bike and a bank account without enough money to get a hotel.

Thanks to the trucker, I made it. He tried to push me out as revved the engine in reverse and the wheels spun. Eventually he got tired or frustrated (probably both) and hopped in the driver’s seat while I stood and watched. The car revved the car forward and back in the rut until finally, it zoomed out, the snow moving and piling in new formations in its wake.

I was able to mail the bike and it will arrive to Tucson a day before I do.

***

I always have some doubt about trips like this actually happening. Last spring I signed up for a marathon in Minnesota, trained for months, ran all around the state, and was struck down by the flu the day my flight was supposed to leave.

Thankfully I feel some good momentum right now. I pay attention to small signs of hope. My friend tells me the stars in the desert are stunning, and I am just able to afford the last of my gear purchases.

I’m writing this because I feel like explorers and adventurers always document their journey but they never talk about the messy stuff. Like what motivates them to actually go, and what kinds of dumb mistakes did they make to get them where they are. I’ve cried so many times over the past few weeks because planning is not my strong suit. I struggle to think ahead, to trust my own decisions, and to do things alone. The trip involves a lot of all three of those things, and so I at this point, I am tired. An adventure is not all glamour and conquest.

***

The question remains: what is it and what is it all for?

The trip is for some of these things and probably others that my body knows but which I can’t put into words:

self-discovery, healing, reclaiming power, joy, misery, experiencing the upside-down, seeing some cacti and some sunny sunsets.

I’ll keep you updated on preparations and key you in for the adventure as it unfolds.

8 days till take-off!

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Pepper confirms it’s cold as heck out here in New Hampshire! -8 degrees today

See how it all goes in the next post pre-departure.

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The Gauntlet: 13.1 in County Kerry

This weekend I ran the Gauntlet, the pilgrimmage/race/torture device of a half marathon. A winding road led up into the white mist of a sunny morning. I passed 5 deep blue lakes, the winding River Loe connecting them, and went over the Wishing Bridge which I forgot to wish on. I slipped between 2 of the tallest mountains in the country, 1 Gap of Dunloe, and descended and ascended the 8 miles of the Black Valley.

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“My heart is quite calm now. I will go back.” ― James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
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Heading Into the Black Valley. “When I’m running I don’t have to talk to anybody and don’t have to listen to anybody. This is a part of my day I can’t do without.” ― Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
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The 150 people crazy enough to run the Gauntlet standing at the starting line. I had no idea what I was in for!

 

When I stood at the top of the Gap of Dunloe, I wanted to yell out to my sister or my mountain-loving friends and family about the clarity of a blue sky and green valley after emerging from the depths of the Black Valley. But my only option for conveying my thrill of the moment was the hot water stop guy. So I threw my runner’s high with him in a stream of consciousness, ecstatic exclamation while gulping down warm water from a plastic cup.

photo courtesy of The Gauntlet
The site of the water stop encounter at the top of the Gap. Photo courtesy of The Gauntlet

 

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“Don´t hesitate or allow yourself to make excuses. Just get out and do it. Just get out and do it. You will be very, very glad that you did.” ― Christopher McCandless