Friday, September 19, 2008

Fred's Ride Prep, Part II - We actually pack

Tonight, we continue our saga of what the "Type A" cyclist goes through in preparing for an out of town bike ride. My hope is that others may learn from me. Oh sure, actually letting all of you get a peak into my little world of dementia might be a little embarrassing, but if I help just one person, then it was all worthwhile. Also, I desperately want to find out if I'm the only one who goes through this. (oh dear God, please don't let me be the only one. please).

When last we left our hero, we had gotten the truck washed. I don't have to tell you how essential that is to a successful bike ride. We also got the bike re-lubed, and washed and greased if necessary. Now "if necessary" is a fairly relative term. Typically, for the Type A cyclist, (that would be me), "if necessary" can roughly be translated to "always, always, always". It doesn't matter if I washed it for the ride last weekend, it's more than likely going to get washed for the ride this weekend too.

Now we can begin the stress inducing task of packing. First thing that has to be located is my ever trustworthy packing list. What I pack for the out of town bike ride, depends on several factors. Will this ride require an overnight stay? If so, them I will also have to pack a change of clothes and bathroom items. Please see page two of the packing list. What time of year is it? Is it cold? Is so, what type of cold weather gear will be required? Please see the section of the packing list subtitled "cold weather cycling". All of these variables are accounted for on the packing list. Did I mention that this packing list is not something that was thrown together in 15 minutes. No, no. This packing list was an ever evolving project, complete with checkpoints, milestones, edits, revisions, and versions. Actually, I believe that the current version of the packing list is v8.17.06.

As I proceed down the checklist, the items are not just thrown into a bag for the out of town trip. That's exactly how things get lost and overlooked. As items are located, they are placed on the bed in full view. Then, and only then, can they be officially checked off of the checklist. Once all of the items required for this particular trip are located, checked off of the list, and counter-checked and co-signed by a higher ranking officer (my wife), copies of said checklist are then made and filed with the appropriate offices. Now we can actually begin putting things in the bag.

Just to repeat, I am fully aware of how silly all of this must appear, and how, to the non-type A cyclist, this must all seem quite mad. Oh, how I envy you. To be able to just grab the stuff that you figure you'll probably need, throw it all in a bag that morning, and leave for the ride. That has to be great.

Once everything has been placed in a bag, (in reverse order, so that the things that I will need first are on top), then I can start to pack all of my gear in the back of my SUV. Typically, this will include my tool box, my floor pump, my bag with my cycling clothes and gear, maps to the ride location, GPS, radar detector, money to bribe the boarder guards, my passport, and provisions enough to get Hannibal and his army across the Alps. Here again, these things will go in in a specific order, so that those things I will need first, will be on top. Yes, I know this is madness. But there is a method to the madness. And when you get right down to it, at least to me, the Type A cyclist, that's all that really matters.

The next morning, day of the ride, I will get up and shower. Yes, I will shower to go out and ride my bike. Yes, I know that that's pretty much crazy. And yes, I don't care. Next, I will fix a thermos of coffee to drink on the drive to the ride, because, and I know that at least some of you have to agree with me on this one, you simply cannot ride a bike without having amply fueled up on caffeine. It just can't be done any other way. In addition to my obsessive compulsive tendencies towards bike ride preparation, I am also afflicted with a hopeless case of caffeine addiction. But that one, I happen to like and enjoy. Oh yea, at this point, I load my bike onto my bike rack.

Okay, we're packed, loaded, and buzzing on caffeine. We are now ready to depart for the bike ride. Tomorrow, we cover arriving at the bike ride site, getting ready to actually ride, and riding the bike. As I actually have a bike ride to go to tomorrow, The Cotton Patch Classic in Greenville TX, I'll also report back on how that went.

Later and peace out.........Fred

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