Change of Pace

After about six months of biking across a good chunk of the country my partner and I are taking two months off in Dallas. This wasn’t part of our original plan, but plans are meant to be broken. As we used to say about mission plans in the Army, “The enemy gets a vote”. In our situation the “enemy” is weather, the holiday season, the environment, and our own mental and physical power.

After taking everything into consideration it made sense for us to stay in one place for a few months and ride out the holiday season, and luckily our dear friends have offered to let us stay in their spare bedroom during this time. This should give us an opportunity to get some work done to earn some money, travel to see our families for the holidays, and just mentally relax from life on the road. It’ll be really nice to be able to cook healthy meals and change up the exercise routine.

Though, the exercise routine is probably my biggest concern. It is super easy for me to get fat and lazy when exercise isn’t a necessary part of my life. I do plan on using P90X while here, which has been successful for me in the past. I had recently plateaued with my fitness from cycling and had implemented some more work outs into my day, but I think a real change of pace is needed. I’ll still get some cardio but I won’t be in the bike saddle for 4-6 hours a day anymore, though I will occasionally hit up the bike trail near the house which is 26 miles round trip (I think).

I’m really excited about the opportunity to cook. Our diets are healthy enough but they kind of lack variety. You can only do so much with “cooking” while biking without a stove or the ability to really keep things cold. We are able to stay vegan pretty easy and we get all the vitamins, minerals, and calories we need, but the meals are basically the same each day. Being in an actual home for a while will let us cook more and experiment and face some fun challenges. My friend has celiac disease so we will be cooking vegan and gluten-free. It’ll be a blast.

Anyway, we are excited to explore Dallas for a bit and change up our life. The plan now is to leave in January and head down to Houston and Austin before heading east. After that we are biking up the east coast in the spring and summer of 2016… but who knows? Maybe life will change our plans again and put us on a new adventure.

Environmental Factors

It is amazing how much a change in weather can affect me. Sleeping outdoors in a cold rain storm starts a cycle that is difficult for me to break. I wake up grumpy from lack of good sleep. Instead of starting my routine of breakfast, coffee, and writing, I lay in my sleeping bag feeling sorry for myself and refreshing Facebook. Without my daily routine of writing I seem to lack the motivation necessary to work out. This leads me to neglect my diet. I end up eating a lot more junk and sweets than I normally would and I forgot to take my supplements as well. One bad night leads me to make bad decisions where my body and mind are treated terribly.

That was basically the situation yesterday. We woke up on the side of Highway 75 in Oklahoma after a night of cold rain. It was an incredibly stressful day and we made the tough decision to rent a U-Haul to take us to Dallas instead of biking the final 200 miles or so. I felt defeated and a little like a failure. This is the first time we have abandoned such a large chunk of our journey, but it was simply unsafe. This is one of our adventures, not our last adventure. Death may be the greatest adventure of all but I am simply a Level 34 Dwarf Priest, I’m not ready to solo the Afterlife. I am trying not to be too hard on myself, bicycling is a vehicle for the adventure but it is not the adventure itself. We are still doing something incredible, even if we have to use an internal combustion engine instead of an internal plant-to-muscle engine when the roads are unsafe.

Anyway, after waking up yesterday feeling terrible I got way out of my routine. I did manage to write something but my heart wasn’t in it and I neglected my push-ups and pull-ups. I also didn’t take my nootropics or creatine, and instead filled my belly with calories. It just wasn’t a good day, but it did make me aware of an area of my life in which I can challenge myself and improve. Much of the environment is out of my control, but how I react to the environment is in my control. After all, I do have free will, or at least the illusion of free will. I’m not convinced free will exists, but that is another blog post.

From now on I am going to try and shift my perspective. When weather or other factors beyond my control change my plans I will see that as a challenge from the universe. It is easy to get into a productive routine when everything is under your control, but that isn’t how the world works. Things will be out of your control eventually, but that isn’t a bad thing. Those challenges make you stronger and quicken your growth. You can’t fight baby wolves all day if you want to really level up in life, eventually you got to go find some dragons to slay.

Leg 9: Following That Desert Sunset

Our final leg pushes west across the beautiful western deserts and plains of North America back to the Santa Monica pier where it all began. I love the desert, I find it incredibly beautiful despite (or maybe because) of the harsh and deadly conditions. It will be hot, water sources scarce, and it will test the physical and mental strength that Anna and I will have built up after 13000+ miles of riding. In addition to the harsh conditions we will be visiting some amazing places, some of which I saw on my last bike ride and some that will be new to me. I don’t think the weather will be too harsh April – May but it is likely we will start doing more evening and early morning riding, particularly in Texas. These 2500 miles over 56 days will have the following highlights:

  • Six Flags Fiesta Texas
  • Hot Springs!
  • Santa Fe
  • Pie Town and Toaster House!!!
  • Phoenix
  • Grand Canyon
  • Hoover Dam
  • Las Vegas
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain
  • Six Flags Hurricane Harbor

Leg 9

Leg 8: The Scenic Route from “The Big Easy” to “Keep Austin Weird”

After we barely survive the streets of New Orleans we are going to hit the trail again headed north towards Missouri (the bastard child of the Midwest) and drift our way into the plains and down into Texas. This 47 mile trek should be around 2300 miles taking us through a variety of environments as we leave the wetlands of the Mississippi and eventually get to the hot Texas wilderness. It looks like this will be March-April 2015 so hopefully the temperature won’t be too high or we may end up adjusting our travel hours to stay out of the midday sun. Some highlights include…

  • Leg 8Three major Texas cities
  • Little Rock
  • Oma and the rest of Anna’s family
  • The Katy Trail
  • Six Flags over Texas
  • Wineries and Breweries