The Other Two Wheels

You should always start planning the next adventure before the current one is complete.

Even better, before the current one even gets started.

I have quite eclectic interests. Some might say it is the result of a restless nature. Maybe it is just a short attention span. I consider it one of my best attributes.

That is the reason why, in the middle of a two-month-long motorcycling road trip, roaming Baja, Mexico and southern California, I took time out to start to plan, and committed myself to, a 687-kilometre bicycle tour right nearby but eight months hence.

I am talking about Cycle Oregon.

The second week in September, I and a group consisting of a few of close friends and 1,996 strangers will be cycling through the mythical state of Jefferson, that area along the southern Oregon, Northern California border.

I need an adventure to look forward to. If I don’t have one, I find myself sleeping in on Saturday mornings and watching television every night after work. I find myself eating pretzels and chocolate bars and reading third-rate science fiction – a horrible fate, eh?

If I have an adventure in the future, preferably in the not-too-distant future, I end up going on three-and-a-half-hour mountain-bike rides, doing miscellaneous motorcycle maintenance and, instead of watching TV, imagining how it will feel when I am at the apex of my adventure, blood pumping from either speed or exertion, loving every minute.

That’s the philosophical situation. The practical one is this: I had better get in shape before September or I am going to find myself at the tail end of 2,000 riders or, worse yet, succumbing to the free ride of the sag wagon (the van that picks up pooped riders and takes them to the end of the day’s ride).

As part of my getting in shape, I am now also part of a four-person bike team for the Kluane-Chilkat Road Relay. I get to do legs four and five. It’s only 53 kilometres, but the eminency of the challenge makes the need to start training imperative.

My goal this year, for both the Kluane-Chilkat and Cycle Oregon, is not super speed, but distance at a solid pace.

This weekend, I went on two bicycle rides and one motorcycle ride.

All three rides felt really, really good. On the road, on Saturday, it was about 20 kilometres, half-fighting wind and half being swept along by it. On Sunday, it was the three-and-a-half-hour mountain-bike ride along the Copper Haul Road.

The pace was good enough to breathe hard, sometimes, but chat with my friends for most of the rest of it … oh, and also long enough to have a sore butt that is still making itself apparent after two days.

The motorcycle ride was on Monday, just a little one to wake up the “baby” after this year’s short winter sleep.

I know these efforts seem modest, especially given the fact that I have seen dozens of motorcycles out since mid-April, and I know that certain VeloNorth bicycle riders have probably hit a couple of thousand kilometres by now.

That’s OK. As I said, I have a short attention span. To keep up with those guys, I think I’d have to quit my job.

Now there’s an idea.

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