Someone asked me, after hearing I spent 5 hours alone riding 60 miles, "Isn't it boring, all that time by yourself?" Well no, not really, I don't think so. I started to think about what I think about during long rides and it goes like this.
The first 30 minutes is normally when I am checking out the particular bike I'm with trying to make sure she hasn't woken up in a foul mood and wants nothing more than to get back to her warm and cozy spot in the basement. Is the seat the right height, are the tires going flat, why is the computer not computing, is that a squeak, what did I forget to bring...and so on. After a while the trust in our relationship emerges and it's on to the next set of questions.
Feels pretty cool, did I wear enough layers for this lovely 2 degree spring morning? Is that the damn wind picking up already? How does mother nature always manage to have the wind blowing 180 degrees from the direction I want to go? Did the meteorologists at the Weather Channel pick heads or tails today? After about an hour my thoughts move on from obsessing about the bike and the conditions and a tune will pop into my head.
When I work at the computer I often have music playing on iTunes. I have amassed a collection of almost 4000 songs or just over 11 days worth of tunes, thats 20+ gigs of files. And if I really want to go back I have some 300+ cds to try and locate around the house. Most often a tune that I heard the previous day will be the one that pops into my head, I only wish it was that easy to get out of there. With all the music I have you can surmise that I don't prefer to listen to the same thing over and over. Unfortunately I have a one track mind. One track...all day long. Not bad when you actually like the track and maybe know the words and can sing along. Not so great when the last track you heard was Pavarotti, as my Italian is not what it used to be and it used to be "bonjourno". Play the video to experience what lapped my noggin one day.
As the hours pass I start to think about some of the comforts of biking long distances, how my butt is not so comfortable at the moment, how my neck is far less than comfortable, how comfortable my quads were on the last climb, how I'm so comfortable I can't feel my fingertips anymore.. Ah but then you take a drink maybe stop for a few minutes and shake it off. And then Jill will give me that look that says, lets go...fast. And off we go again, refreshed and for a little while, more comfortable.
Mostly I think about where I'm going and how far it is to the next turn. When I'm on a new route I'm constantly trying to calculate time and distance. Some places are just calming to ride through like River Road that winds down into Stanley. I really enjoyed the smooth pavement, the slight downhill grade and just taking in the scenery of the small farms along the Kam. All the while knowing that just across the river was the toughest climb of the day back up to the highway. Even the climbs while challenging are rewarding in the end, for every climb there's usually a descent that follows. These parts are what take my mind off of just about everything and make it all worth it, you just can't feel like a part of the world around you in a car. With the wind in my face and the road rolling under the tires, I think I'm happy.