Monday, October 13, 2014

First ride with gear

The 1/2 gallon water bottles on the front panniers were empty.
So I wasn't fully geared.  I'm still missing my Ortlieb rack pack, my tent and my sleeping pad, but I was as geared as I could go and it was a good training run to get the feel of that weight on the bike.

And I felt that weight, even going down hill.  I felt it, and I kept reminding myself that I was not rushing.  I had no one timing me.  It was just about getting used to the different feel of the weight on the bike - which I estimate to be at least 50 lbs. I'm thinking I still need to see what can be jettisoned.  I know I am still over-thinking and over-planning, and let's face it, this older laptop weighs way too much, but it's what I have and it's what I'll use until I get another one.  Besides, blogging from the IPhone 5 is not as pretty as from a regular computer.  More clothes need to go. I am probably over-stocked on food, but in some things it's better safe than sorry.  Of course the weight will fluctuate as the food gets eaten or as water gets added.

I basically rode from about Washington/Sepulveda in Culver City (Los Angeles) down to the Venice Pier, then got on the bike path and rode it north to the end at Temescal Canyon/Will Rogers State Beach.  It was about 10 miles each way.  I think I kept a fairly good pace of 10-11 mph, which with a load like this would a good pace although as my strength builds I will try to get it up to 12.5 mph.  This has never been a fast bike, but I won't be zooming down any hills even with the weight.

Little bear seat-belted on for the journey with a zip tie.
Ryan at I.Martin did all the work for free again, even reassembling the bike after the British travel fiasco.  Yes, the bike traveled 10,000+ miles and never set rubber to road in Britain.  A sponsor then purchased new tires for me, and Ryan installed those, plus he put in new tubes and liners, and I don't think he charged for those.  Anyhow, I zip-tied my bike mascot, a USA beanie babie bear that I've had for years and years to the bike.  Every bike needs mojo and mine has that plus a few little encouraging notes from friends.  Someone asked me what the bear's name was, and I said he didn't have one.  They suggested Ryan after the mechanic, but the bear doesn't look like a Ryan to me (sorry, Ryan!), but I'd be willing to call him Martin after the store. Or Marty Bear after the store.  He'll get fairly grotty and faded with time, but I'll just try to keep him clean or eventually I'll decide to pitch him for the weight reduction.  For now, he can stay.

I felt like 20 miles was a good starter day.  Any more than that, especially after being off the bike for 10 days, was really pushing it.  I'll go out every day this week with the weight, however, and I will push myself a little further each day to build the strength I need.  I have over 20 miles to my first host on Saturday, then on Sunday I have 50+ miles of city traffic to do.  Monday will also be 40+ miles to finish getting into Palm Springs, and then I will take a day of rest with a friend before I hop to a new host in Indio in prep for the big 100 mile crossing the desert ride.  Lord, please give me cloud cover that day!!!  Then I will rest in Blythe a day before crossing into Arizona.

I might break the desert ride into two days.  That's what a friend did.  He had someone meet him half way, then drive him back to Palm Springs for the night, then back to the same point the next day.  Cyclists can be OCD that way about the exact spot, not missing anything.  I'm sure I'll get over that quickly the first blizzard that sneaks up on me.


  1. I admire you more than you'll ever know! When you get to North Carolina I hope you'll look me up! xo

    1. Janet, you know for certain that you are on my list of people to visit! We will see how the weather holds for getting through NC in the dead of winter. Would still like to keep my original route, but i wasn't orginally planning to leave CA this time of year (thought I would be in Britain!!!). I may be in TX around Christmas and then will head east from there.