Day -1: Final Preparation

Despite all of the planning there is always a bit of last minute.    Apologies for not blogging for over a week; let me blame it on the rain.

Bike Fitting.   Had another four hours last week with Toby Jones to make sure the bike was ready for the trip.    All of the new equipment is now installed — raised handlebars, walking cleats on the shoes, new spindles …. Plus I have two hard months of training under my belt.   I needed to ensure I could reassemble the bike to the right setup once I deplaned in California — basic things like seat at the right height, sequencing the spacers in the headset, reconnecting the brakes.

There is more voodoo to what Toby does than I will ever understand.   As he watches me ride on a set of rollers in his living room, he is looking for small clues as to whether everything is in balance — left / right balance, spine straightness, where I am sitting in the saddle, how my body adjusts to change in cadence, are the knees going up and down or in some kind of unproductive pattern?   He spent two hours making really small adjustments to the stents in the shoes as well as new inserts to ensure I had the right arch support.

Packing.   The Bike America folks are adamant that we are limited to two bags summing to less than 50 pounds (23 kilos).   I thought this was quite a constraint at first, but I think the right spirit is how liberating it is — I only need two shirts and one pair of jeans, because who is going to care?   OK, I like my wireless headset, but maybe I can get by with the old in-ear wired things that weigh 10% as much, and take up almost no room.   We accumulate a lot of material stuff in life that we rarely use; don’t need; the alternative is to spend a lot more time with the things you really like 🙂

Catch up with friends.   Trying something new like a long bike ride has created the opportunity to reengage with a lot of people I had lost touch with — Ted Meisel, my roommate in Singapore 1986-1988, Margo True, the Food Editor for Sunset Magazine who was one of my good friends down in Guadalajara Mexico in 1974-76 before she moved off to Tijuana, Anne Myong, a former client who lives in Silicon Valley, Manny and Lyra Maceda, who are longtime friends from my early days in San Francisco 1990-1993 and a few send-offs in Singapore — George and Suzi Laing, the Malligans, Nels Friets, Deepak Shahdadpuri, Monish Mansukhani, Louis and NikNak, Louisa Ch’ng, Chan Su-Yee.

Saying goodbye to Jenny and family.   Supportive would be too strong a word to describe Jenny’s view of this trip; I’ll propose accepting.   She has a lot going on right now; a friend who is undergoing medical treatment, a live-in mother, some incomplete renovations to the house.   I do genuinely appreciate that she is accepting of me going on this adventure!

Packing the bike.   This is always a tedious affair; it’s important to do it properly so that it arrives unscathed, intact and every small part is accounted for.   I have this amazing bike carrier (Thule Roundtrip).   It’s this monster thing that just fits within the maximum shippable under international airline guidelines.   Somewhere along the line some kind soul (I really don’t know who) filled it with these polystyrene ribbons that create a perfect pack — once I have locked the frame in, put in the wheels, pedals, seat post and helmet (which have to be removed), I stuff it with all of this polystyrene so everything is snug as a bug.   It takes only two tools — a Lezyne multi-tool and a pedal wrench) to take it apart and put it back together.   It has this nifty little stand you can assemble to make the whole bicycle dis-assembly / assembly process easier.   There are also videos on YouTube that take you through the disassembly process step by step.

State of mind.   I’m ready and pretty relaxed.   Doing a few rides at the average distance gave me confidence I’m at the minimum fitness level to complete this.   I’m a bit worried about the mountains, but I’ll take things one step at a time.    My intention is “to make every day special in some way.”   A few activities I want to commit to — 1) at least one good conversation with a different person each day  2)  blog every day  3) stretch every day  4) don’t think about work

Friday, 1 June 2018 Training:   I’ve been in a taper the last 8 days on my coach’s advise — easier rides every day, a lot of stretching.   Yesterday I did an hour on the indoor bike as well as an hour of fairly intense circuit training.    Today I did 15 minutes of biking and 60 minutes of heavy stretching (Yun #2).

Song of the day.   Day -3 (travel day) is  Led Zeppelin  “Going to California”.    Day – 2 (first day here) is Joni Mitchell “California.”   Day -1 — Journey “Lights”.

When the lights go down in the City  /  And the sun shines on the bay  Oh, I want to be there in my City, oh / Ooh, ooh, ooh

So you think you’re lonely / Well my friend I’m lonely too / I want to get back to my City by the bay  / Ooh, ooh, ooh

Of course, the critical day 1 song is up for discussion — but my current lean is to the Hollies:

The road is long

With many a winding turn

That leads us to who knows where

Who knows when

But I’m strong

Strong enough to carry him

He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

One thought on “Day -1: Final Preparation

  1. Hi Charlie,

    I’m Jim Plant. I am a friend of Steve Reynolds and rode d2r2 with Steve and you a few years ago.

    I was chatting with Steve’s dad last weekend and he mentioned your trip and blog. Very cool!!! All the best in your adventure.

    I have two things for you
    1) I have a recommendation for your playlist. Your music sensibility seems aligned with my own. Please check out Elton John’s song “Friends.” It touches one of the themes for your adventure…finding friends along the road! I love listening to tunes while riding…it’s a bit dangerous but oh well!
    2) You may have mentioned though I don’t remember seeing in your blog the need for a chamois cream. It’s quite refreshing on the long rides! The cream I use is enzo’s Button Hole. Imagine that!

    In closing I’m sending you positive energy and best wishes!


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