David: It is a few hours before we leave. The panniers are all packed and the plane departs for Vancouver at 9am tomorrow. Before then we have the delights of Rona’s wedding. Rona was our 3 year old bridesmaid when we got married 28 years ago, and she is now getting married herself.
I think of all the numerous items on the “to do” list have been addressed, but it is very soon getting to the point when it does not matter whether we have ticked the item off or not because it will be too late.
It is at this point that I stop to think about why the prospect of remote mountain roads, punishing climbs and sleeping in a tent in a campsite in the middle of nowhere is so appealing. I know in advance that I will enjoy the views and be challenged by steep and seemingly unending climbs. I know that my head will throb as the blood is pumped around my body at a faster rate and that my limbs will wish they were 20 years younger.
But all this does not quite capture the reason that we put ourselves through all of this for enjoyment. The answer is that there is not a single answer. There are numerous aspects of a mountain bike ride that take me to places that I do not usually occupy – both introspectively and literally. The pain is always worth it when I get to the col even if it never seems like that half way up. The views are better if I have cycled or walked up a mountain than if I have driven. The remoteness seems real remoteness if I have used my own muscles to get there.
And of course good as this is, it is so better if it is shared. That is what we will try to do with this blog – to share with you the highs and lows (and of course there will be lows) as we amble along the route.
Bernie: At that point of anticipation and nerves before departure. We only got our bikes back from the bike shop 2 days ago having both decided we needed smaller bottom chain rings to get up those long hills at the end of the day. A quick test ride this morning and everything working well thank goodness. All feels a bit late but it was only 4 weeks ago that we changed our plans from an amble down the west coast of France to 2500 miles in the USA! Madness – perhaps. Exciting – definitely!