Ride to Remember Part 2: Less Than A Month To Go!

Suggested Listening: Corey Hart – Sunglasses At Night

I think I’ll probably say this over and over again, but since when Shantel and I first discussed the idea of taking this trip way back in the winter of 2018 the time seems to have passed so quickly. I think for myself this largely was because from February to early June I was so swamped with work it occupied so much of my free time. When I wasn’t working I was trying to simply enjoy time with my friends and family and of course, get out to any many music shows as possible. The crucially important concerts being Stars and Dizzy whenever possible. While my love of Tegan and Sara of course still continues with them taking time off to do work for the Tegan and Sara foundation and to write music it seems that both Stars and Dizzy continue to soundtrack my life. It certainly helps that as I’m sure I’ve said elsewhere before the folks in both bands filled with amazing people and that Dizzy have gone above and beyond in helping out with the bike trip.

Sometime between all the busyness of work and trying to have a social life Shantel and I have been putting some time into getting the logistics of the trip sorted out and doing some fundraising (including a few times at Dizzy shows – not much better than getting to combine two things you love into one). Some of the things I’m happy we’ve taken care of already is planning out our route, organizing a few places to stay and getting a solid start on the fundraising. It’s been nice looking at our schedule and seeing that we have a surprising amount of folks that have offered to give us a place to crash. I know from experience on the last ride that even just seeing friends and friendly faces along the ride is something that is really helpful.  We are both very grateful for the help people have offered to us.  In terms of fundraising we still have some ways to go before we reach the fundraising target, but hopefully we’re able to do so sooner rather than later. Shantel can contest that I get a bit (read: completely and utterly) obsessed about the fundraising. Another great thing we’ve got taken care of is the fundraising cards to hand out and a pretty awesome Instagram account that Shantel is handling. The account is name cyclingsoulmates and she’s already posted some photos leading up to the ride. Be sure to go give following the account and give the photos some love.

With the trip very quickly approaching we still have more to do than I’d care to admit. I have to confess thought this isn’t all that surprising to me.  In fact, I remember writing something similar about having a lot of logistics to figure out before the first half of the trip. It just seems that this time I feel even less prepared than last. I think it might have something to do with in this instance Shantel and I procrastinated thinking about some of the finer details later than Wade and I. It might also have something to do with myself having a lot more touring experience and feeling some pressure like I should have all of these logistics worked out since Shantel is the “rookie” and I’m the “veteran”. At this point some of the things we still need to take care of include:

Picking a Start Date! – This might seem a bit nuts and confusing for some since we’ve announced quite publically that we plan to start on the 20th of July, but with some recent changes in Shantel’s schedule it looks like there might be an opportunity for us to get started a little earlier in the month. Starting earlier would give us some more flexibility if disaster strikes, but the plan would remain that we stick to our original schedule since 1) creating a new one would be a pain to do and 2) it’s a pretty solid schedule so there doesn’t seem much point in doing so. If we end up making the decision to start earlier I would of course also need to switch my time off at work around which I think wouldn’t be much of an issue, but won’t know until I ask about it.

Fundraising More – As I mentioned earlier we still have a fair way to go before we hit the fundraising target and my mind probably won’t be at easy about it all until we get there. That’s not to say that I’m not so incredibly grateful for the generous donations we’ve received so far, but rather I’m ambitious to make as much of a difference as we can.

Buying Gear & Bike Maintenance– While I have pretty much all the essentials for the ride we still need to pick up a number of things for Shantel. Most importantly we still need to get her panniers and possibly some kind of handle bar bag. It would also be nice to get her a mirror. With my recent laser eye surgery, the doctors in addition to saying that for the first week saying I need to where my sunglasses at all times while outside (including at night) they also recommend I invest in a quality paper of cycling specific sunglasses for sun and wind protection. Getting a pair for Shantel seems like a sensible plan as well. I’ve also been considering swamping out my bike saddle (the highly praised and yet painfully punishing in my experience – Brooks B17) after all the discomfort from the last ride, but actually getting around to doing so and making a choice on an alternative hasn’t been easy. I think it largely has to do with the fact that I can hate spending the money not knowing if what I get will be any better or not. There is also, of course, the ongoing thought in my head that if we actually get fitted for our bikes this time than it might turn out the be the dream saddle it’s praised to be by so many others. On top of this, I definitely want to bring my bike in for a full tune up before setting off on the long ride just to ensure everything is in good working order.

Organizing Accommodations – We’ve slacked on this far more than I’d care to admit and I’m quite hopeful that this weekend we can start following up on some of the offers of places stay we’ve received. I also need to start putting out requests on Couchsurfing and Warmshowers. Shantel will hopefully take care of booking any Air BnB or motels/hotels we need in places we can’t find someone able to host us.

Training – While I’m admittedly not one to put a lot of focus on training for the ride in advance – in all my past experience you just sort of train as you go and generally unless I injure myself badly in some way (beyond the back injury I currently have that I’m doing physiotherapy for weekly) I feel like I can push myself to get through each day. Shantel much more intelligently though has been maintaining a pretty decent running routine to stay fit. We both agree though that it would be great to get back out on our bikes together at least a couple more times before the ride so we can get more comfortable with it together. Only time will tell if we actually get around to doing so though.

I think that covers pretty much all we’ve got left to do before the trip besides of course the things we’ll inevitably forget about until the night before the trip. With it being beautiful and sunny right now I’m off to go enjoy it with Shantel.

Love, Peace, and Bike Grease!

Nate (and Shantel)

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