Losing sleep - I Hate You Because I Love You - CycleBlaze

Losing sleep

I'm waking up in the middle of the night worrying about this trip. In that twilight state of half-wakedness that bedevils me so often, minor issues become major disasters in the making. Will I be able to handle those hills? What if I run out of food, water, and energy while still miles from shelter? WHAT IF I CAN'T DO THIS!?!?!? AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

(c) Wired, 2011
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I know a 330-mile trip is child's play for most of you, but being 67 years old, overweight, and having just started touring a couple of years ago, it's major deal for me. My training rides are usually 20 to 30 miles long, with the occasional 40-miler thrown in. 

But this trip is not only the longest I will have done; it also introduces elements I've never faced. There are three long grades near Lompoc ranging in length from 12 to 18 miles, and though I tackle hills all the time, I've never taken my loaded rig up so many robust grades in such short order. When I'm loaded, any grade over 3% is a first gear, 4 mph slog.

I also realize that my planning was faulty. Two of those grades come at the beginning of my third day of riding, just south of Lompoc, and the ACA map I'm using advises allowing extra time because of them. My original plan was to ride 70 miles that day, my longest stretch ever and the longest of this ride, but knowing those grades are waiting has triggered concern. The 50-ish mile stretch from Lompoc to UCSB is pretty much completely free of commercial and residential development except for three state campgrounds (Gaviota, Refugio, and El Capitan) and their camp stores, so I have to carry food for multiple meals and plenty of water and will likely spend that night at one of those campgrounds instead of in Carpinteria as planned.

One major saving grace is that I have more time to finish this trip. My non-biking wife will be visiting family out of state for most of two weeks, so I can take 7 or 8 of those days to complete this trek at whatever pace I want. I describe being retired as having no place I have to be and no time I have to be there, and having this much free time to partake of my favorite pasttime fits that same description to a T.

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Scott Anderson67? Just a kid still; you can do it! Congratulations on having the will to take the challenge, and have a great time!
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3 years ago
Tom IarossiThanks for the encouragement. It's just that my tours are getting progressively longer, with new challenges on each one such as longer, steeper hills and many more miles. And most of the people I know act like I'm planning to build a ladder to the moon...
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3 years ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Tom Iarossi67 is not that old (relatively speaking) and besides - think like the Little Engine that Could of Golden Childrens Book fame, I think I can, I think I can..... I just checked our blog of the Coast ride "Grampies Go Coastal", here on cycle blaze and truly the ride does not sound that terrifying. Give it a quick look see and hopefully it will make you sleep easier. Don't forget, we are Canadian so we use kilometers for distance.
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3 years ago
Tom IarossiThanks, Steve. I know my mind blows some of these things way out of proportion in that twilight sleep I described, and the worst thing that can happen is that I have to walk the bike for a bit. I think an absolutely key tool will be to take it easy and not pressure myself into anything. On last year's tour I had to meet someone at a certain place by a certain time, and that was at the end of the toughest day. The self-imposed pressure ruined the day.
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3 years ago
Tom IarossiTo Steve Miller/GrampiesI also read your journal of that trip, and you both put my mind to rest (the hills south of Lompoc are long but gentle) and helped me make a routing decision of Harris Grade instad of CA 1 into Lompoc. I very much like your writing style and the way you share with your readers.
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3 years ago
Andrea BrownThese last minute jitters are the norm, Tom. In a few days you will be an old hand. You don't have to prove anything to anybody, just have the experience and enjoy the good stuff and let the difficulties become a good story later. Best of luck and have a great time.
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3 years ago
Tom IarossiTo Andrea BrownThanks, Andrea. I like to say that touring is about the journey, not the destination. I woke up all excited this morning, only to have my train cancel on me. The beauty of being retired is that I can just reschedule it for tomorrow...
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3 years ago