Saturday, June 30, 2007

13 for Thursday—Trip Prep (posted late)

Over the next several days, I’ll be putting things in order for my ride to Pennsylvania. I’m doing this trip on a road bike, not a touring bike, so there are different things to consider.

1. Make sure the bike is in good mechanical order. It’s had a number of upgrades over the last month (new bearing assembly, new rear rim, new rear gear cassette), so I’m feeling cautiously confident about this, but I am still breaking things in and there is always a period of fine-tuning that occurs. I’ll undoubtedly be fiddling with the new parts while on the road. The older parts of the bike are in solid working order, but will need to be tightened, lubricated or otherwise loved the day before I leave, just to make sure nothing falls off. It’s bad when things fall off the bike.

2. Check to see I have all the tools I need. I have learned from harsh experience not to go anywhere without certain tools on the bike: Spoke wrench, tire patch kit, pump, screwdriver, pliers, allen wrenches. I know all these are in the pouch now, but I’m going to add some other tools to the “sag bag” that Wifeness and Co. will bring with them in the van when they leave. I’m sure I’ll be able to survive with the minimum until they catch up to me, but I don’t want to have to go shopping for chain parts or rubber cement after having ridden 90 miles.

3. Is the pack packed? Apart from myself and the bike, everything I’ll need for this trip will fit on a medium-sized fanny pack. The trick is to make sure it’s all in there: 1 change of non-riding clothes (shorts, shirt, 2 pairs of socks), prescription glasses (in hard case), rain jacket, wet/dry shoes (so I can walk around—road cycling shoes are for riding, not walking), Advil (I’m not too proud to say I’ll need this), anti-chafing cream (there must be no chafing!), cable and lock (it would simply not do to have the bike stolen), deodorant, shampoo, toilet paper.

4. Peripherals? The gear that isn’t in the pack that will come include the following: Wallet, cell phone, mp3 player (sometimes you just need a distraction), 2 water bottles, handkerchief (you’d be amazed how important this is), route maps and contact info for hotels, extra AA and AAA battery (the first is for the blinky light on the bike, the second is for the mp3 player).

5. Pack the “sag bag”. This is a collection of tools and gear to work on the bike during the last half of the trip, but will include stuff for the rider, as well, such as Icy Hot (for those overused muscles), extra anti-chafing cream (say it with me now, “there will be NO chafing!”), electolyte powder and sunscreen.

6. Get contact info for people to meet in Lock Haven. I’m hoping to meet some of my professors once I reach the end of my journey, and I also hope to pick up my diploma. It’s a big campus. I’ll need to know where everyone is.

7. Make sure Wifeness brings the laptop. How else am I supposed to share this whole experience with you?

8. Pack the tourist clothes. Once the trip is done, the whole group will be travelling to Hershey and its environs to explore and relax (they will explore, I will relax). I’ll want comfy clothes and real shoes.

9. Ride a little every day through Sunday. This is important because it will condition my body for what’s coming. Twenty miles per day is adequate here. Also, I’m still breaking in the new equipment, and I want to make sure any mechanical issues are resolved before it matters.

10. Do NOT ride Monday or Tuesday. These rest days are imperative. I’ll spend these days doing chi kung and stretches to relax everything and store up the energy and sleep I’ll need to make the first couple of days go smoothly.

11. Review the route. I planned a route that I believe is free of traffic and construction issues, but a final check for these will ensure that I don’t have to add miles unnecessarily. It’s easy enough to change things before I leave, but a lot harder to do so once I’m on the road. More on the itinerary later.

12. Touch base with students who are working over the summer. I have a number of students I’m advising as they complete work from the spring semester for my class and others’. I don’t intend to do anything with them during the time I’m on vacation (that’s just not fair), but I do want them to keep working. A little direction before I leave will help them to be productive.

13. Go to bed early on Tuesday. I want to be out the door by 7am on Wednesday, so I have the bulk of my mileage in before it turns hot (assuming the worst). It’ll feel weird, especially after 3 years of going to bed LATE, but I really don’t want to be fending off heat exhaustion on day 1.

I’ll share more about the details of the trip with you in the coming posts.

1 comment:

mrschili said...

WOWIE! GOOD luck! I'll be vibing for you...