You wake up earlier. Not quite with the sun, but not far off.
A ‘snooze’ means getting up at 8.15, leisurely packing and faffing means hitting the road around 10.
Then you point your bike in a direction, and you go.
When you’re smashing the miles, you’re moving toward your target.
When you’re struggling up a hill or through a lull, you’re moving toward your target.
Even when you’re despairing and craving a beer or a bath or a bed, you’re moving toward your target.
At other times one of three things is happening: you’re eating, sleeping, or preparing to do one of those things.
It’s a very simple life.
The creaks, cracks and groans have worked themselves out of our bikes and our bodies. There are aches and twinges, but the former are low key and the latter seem to go away if you treat them with respect and push through.
Beyond that, you learn to diagnose things while moving – what the heck is that sound? is it coming from the front or the back tire? should I be concerned? if I push that thing, does the noise stop?
Roadside snack stops offer a chance to address anything that can’t be solved on the move. Stretching on picnic tables, poking at upturned bikes with allen keys and wrenches. Also time to reflect on and jot down the day’s events.
These snack stops are the one time during the day you aren’t moving toward your target, but the respite is always welcome. Standing in the hard shoulder and scoffing a couple of mouthfuls of trail mix is just as welcome as two hour pancake-fuelled conversations.
Then you get to a town some time in the late afternoon or evening, order a cold beer, wash the grease off your face and hands in the restroom to make yourself more socially acceptable, and feel smug about the miles you’ve smashed to get there.