Another biking post. Apologies if you’re sick of them, but I’ve realized that the only way I keep myself sane inside my own head for that long on the bike is narrating my entire experience to myself as I go, which either means I’m a writer or that I’m addicted to social media.
How LOTOJA training works is that you go on lots of short/mediumish bike rides during the week, and then one long, long (really long and increasingly longer) slow ride on the weekend. Tanner and I try and do those long ones together, but sometimes it’s easier to not get a babysitter and just do them separate if we have time. So last Friday, I was on my own, and headed for a loop around West Mountain. These rides take quite a bit of preparation, and I had everything packed and ready so that I could leave at 6:30 a.m. and beat the heat. I have a little pack strapped to my bike that holds a few things but not much, so on long rides, I go with a small drawstring on my back with other stuff. Like food.
So I’m ready for this ride and the second I get on my bike, I realize one of my water bottles is missing. Tanner had given it to Camryn sometime in the night. I went inside to look for it, drop my drawstring bag in a frantic hurry to get going, (do you see where this is going?) finally find my water bottle, and bolt out the door. And if my life were a movie, this is the part where the camera would zoom in on my little bag full of very essential items (like food) sitting on the floor of my apartment while I ignorantly and happily ride away.
10 miles later I decide I need my sunglasses and that’s when I realize that I FORGOT MY BAG. The bag containing my cell phone, hand pump, sunglasses, ipod, emergency money, and oh–food. So I had a choice to make! Turn back? The worst 10 miles were behind me. It takes a lot of crappy roads, traffic, stop signs, and stop lights until you get out into the open country where you can ride for days with beautiful views and without having to stop every 10 seconds. I did NOT want to turn back.
So I made the really smart, responsible, not at all risky decision to keep on going. Obviously taking such factors into account as my track record with flats, the 101 degree forecast, and the fact that I was headed far far from home on boonyland backgrounds where the houses were many miles apart and I could potentially be stranded without a phone. Also, the fact that I barely finished our first 45 miler because I was so freaking hungry I could hardly stand, and this day I was shooting for 70. When I checked the small pack on my bike to see if anything important had made it in there instead of my bag, I found: my camera. (! ha. my camera, good. if I have a near death experience at least I can properly document it) and my tools and patch kit which were entirely useless if I couldn’t pump up my tire after patching it.
I have no idea why the option of continuing even seemed like an option, let alone why I chose it but I did! And prayed hard and sent out lots of good energy into the universe for me to please please, please not get a flat tire. I rode in a very real state of fear, passing the occasional house, wondering what kind of people lived there and would I have the guts to knock on their door for help? and what kind of experience would I have if I did? I became increasingly aware of how seldom a car actually passed me (like, once an hour)
And glory hallelujah, thank God, the heavens and all that is right in world--I made it without getting a flat! And also without dying of starvation which is just as much of a miracle.
I’ve never even heard of West Mountain until my uncle suggested I bike around it. It’s a small brown blob of a mountain just S/SW of Utah Lake and there are such beautiful lake views all around it. Most of the time, I kind of just forget we even live by a lake since we don’t own a boat and it’s too gross to swim in. When I was a student, I probably went entire years without even seeing the lake, but it really is so beautiful out there!
fruit orchards for days