17 days and counting… As the time nears for our tour I realize that this ride is more of a mental exercise than a physical exercise for me. Don’t get me wrong. Those 9-10 days of 40+ miles will be a challenge for me. My physical trip planning is pretty complete. I know what I am taking and have mapped out the planned schedule for the week. It’s the unknowns that are taking center stage right now.
Mentally preparing me for a week plus of cycling is both exciting and worrisome. As I have mentioned before, I am an analytical animal that plans almost all of my moves. This trip presents so many unknowns that I keep running scenarios of the possible outcomes. What is it rains all week? What if Chuck or I are injured? What if we just can’t make the distance? What if I have major bike problems? These are just a few of the problems racing through my head.
I realize that I have to come back to the known to help me through these unknowns. I know I cycle regularly and have cycled longer distances with no issues. I know that I like a challenge and that a big challenge like this ride is really just a collection of smaller challenges. I also know that I can’t control the weather and will take it one day at a time as it comes.
I look at my biggest asset as being my pal Chuck. I chose to do the ride with him because I trust in his abilities and trust him to be there for me. I know he is a person driven by goals and that he will inspire me on. I know this is not about my tour but about our tour. We will need to be a team as we make our way east. I hadn’t given a lot of thought about this trust issue before this past week. I now see it as the thing that will make us a team on this ride.
I think a positive mental attitude and outlook will be very important on the trails. It will most likely be Chuck and I alone for many miles cycling across Pennsylvania and Maryland. Being positive for me is important. Being positive for Chuck is probably more important. Just as in any sports activity, a positive outlook makes for a winning team. I look for Chuck and me to very much be that winning team.