April Fools came and went yesterday without incident. In fact it turned out to be the nicest day we’ve had here in some five months. It felt strange getting out on the road for three plus hours without any real discomfort. I kept waiting for the usual pains to kick in, but other than the occasional shoulder cramp…nothing. Where was that biting wind chill, face burn and foot numbness? Which got me thinking about “waiting” and “weight”.
I’ve touched on “weight” before. It’s not surprising that this is a recurring topic; in the world of cycling it appears to be the ‘Holy Grail’. Even if your primary objective is simply upgrading your gear for the purpose of function or durability…weight always sneaks into the process. It’s more often the primary driver of whatever you’re contemplating changing or switching out.
I spent a portion of two mornings this past weekend riding, planning and discussing options with my Tour Divide partner, Brad Crossley. Coffee, maps and gear conversation occupied our full attention for hours upon hour.. Unlike the warm sunshine we experienced on April Fools, the weekend was a total washout. The monsoon did provide my first chance to trial my wet weather gear. The end result: more questions than answers. Which brings back to the point of this entire exercise. I need to move past the endless gear debates and tweaking of equipment and zero in on the nuts and bolts of my setup for the Tour Divide.
To put it another way, it’s time to put stop putting the cart ahead of the horse. I’ve read enough from previous Tour Divide riders and their experiences to realize that zeroing in on your setup takes time, persistence and focus. The first two are easy, I’ve got plenty of both. The latter is where I see myself falling short. It’s easy to say you’re going to prioritize this way or that, but nearly impossible to do as things keep getting thrown on your “to do” list that are out of sequence. It makes perfect sense when you’re in the middle of the process. You experience a delay in acquiring a few primary items and the next thing you know you’ve moved on down the list. The distractions and debates of that ‘next’ item on the list leads you further down the list and before you know it you’ve lost sight of that critical piece you were focused on yesterday. Repeat. All of a sudden another week has slipped away. My time spent with Brad this weekend was a good reminder why I need to go back to the top of my list and get the cart behind the horse.
You know the age old joke told to every freshman college athlete. Their college menu of options consists of three things: academics, athletics and social life. Pick Two. Well in the world of adventure/distance cycling, the same adage applies except it’s: function, durability and weight. Trying to find equipment that gets top marks in all three is a fools mission. Plus, anything that comes remotely close costs as much as your house. But I realize there are a lot of fools in this world!
In the end I shouldn’t be surprised that it all comes down to common sense and keeping practicality at the forefront of every decision. KISS. It’s amazing how even the most experienced of us gets lured into “paralysis analysis”. I was chuckling reading several Tour Divide blogs this week that commented on chatting with participants that were STILL debating their gear setup within 24 hours of beginning the race! That chuckle of course was all mine. Despite being some 10 plus weeks out from the start, I realized that was going to be me if I didn’t get busy. Time to stop weighing everything….literally.