Mustaches & Big Trip

I shaved my beard off last Friday which led to this achievement:

Mustache

There was quite an uproar on the ole Facebook on whether to keep it or not. It got to the point where I didn’t like looking in the mirror at myself any longer, which NEVER happens. So I cut it off. Sad day for all old boxers every where. Monday morning, seeing the snow packed roads made this decision of cutting the beard off very gratifying. Things are looking up later this week though, Easter arrives on Sunday which always kicks the weather gods in the ass to get their act together so looking forward to morning bike temps being in the low 40’s for a change. But honestly, I’m looking fwd to low winds for the commute starting sometime soon too. I wouldn’t expect that until the warm air masses move in permanently.

In May, assuming I will have some time to do so due to work I’m planning on doing my first loaded and good ride with the Campeur traveling up the C & O Canal towards Cumberland, MD. Not exactly sure if I will camp overnight or stay in a cheap motel. On first look, there is a hostel-esk place in Harpers Ferry at around 62mi mark (+10mi to actually get to trail). That looks as though it will be my first stop and then perhaps maybe a stop at Antietam National Battlefield. That leaves 110mi approx to Cumberland which will be a longer ride than I’m used to but with proper training shouldn’t be a huge deal. Perhaps I’ll have made progress enough to go far past Harpers Ferry by then though. In the end, the overall trip would call for 360 miles or 90/day. We’ll see where I am at by that time.

What’s left is bringing gear. My two Axiom panniers w/water proof coverings do well but I want a good rando bag to complete what is needed. That way, no precious time lost by stopping for food, time check, communication with the wife to make sure she knows I’m alive. My three water bottle options will come in handy too. Besides that, I don’t plan on bringing heart monitors, speed monitors, etc. Just a cell phone if needed which keeps good charge and the keeping my eyes open to memorize the sites to determine my progress.

Of course this is all an experiment I will dive head first into. Sometimes, I don’t think doing this trip is the smartest thing to do alone but I remember that putting myself out there is part of the excitement. At some point, I want to be able to adapt and overcome challenges and to use resources wisely in the moment. This WILL happen though, because I haven’t done this before so I won’t (in the end) have a choice but to encounter this. I was thinking about taking a fishing rod as well, a fly rod that is telescopic might work. But who knows, maybe I might like Antietam so much I stay there all day. A few overall options and alternatives in place will allow me to do what I’d like in the moment.

Just me and the bike.

This reminds me of myself switching interests in the bike community a lot. At first, light-weight vintage racers then an interest in randonneur racing, and now time lending itself to touring, the constant always being a steel frame. Call it “Robert’s Law”. I have to stop myself sometimes into not letting myself get too entranced into technical jargon and just ride. I believe that is the reason I identify the strongest (at least right now) with touring solo. No specified rules, non-competitive nature. But it’s all been a great learning experience. I have workable knowledge to get me in trouble in each of the three categories of the community, most of it being older cycling greats – Merckx, Godefroot, Anquetil, Coppi. I have a high respect for those guys! Not to mention the racers who climbed up the cols of the Pyrenees in a single gear.

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