In just an hour or so I will be heading out for The Dalles for a 600K that starts at 6:00 AM tomorrow. My bike is cleaned, my bags are packed with everything I need, or think I might need, but yet still I am sitting here perseverating over my readiness.
I know I can do this. I have already done one 600 this year, and finished with a whole hour to spare. But in talking with my friend Andrew about this ride, he kept going on and on about how all the riders he was with on another 600 this year "traveled light," and how that was the key to completing the ride within the time limit. My friend David has offered to help me get faster and he, too, suggests that one way is to lighten up.
Faster is always good, of course, but I could not travel light if I tried. First of all, there's the bike. It's heavy. Mainly because I designed it that way. It has certain features that I consider important for comfort, but those same features practically guarantee decreased speed. A steel frame, saddle with springs, heavy (i.e. puncture-proof) tires, generator hub. Add on a front bag filled with real food in case services are scarce and a rear bag filled with tools, tire tubes, rain gear, spare batteries, an extra pair of shorts and socks, and a back-up light, and I am nearing the curb weight of a Smart Car.
But like I said, I know I can do this. I carried this much gear on the last 600, and finished. I can finish this one, too. Even if it takes me all 40 hours to do it. I just need to be harder, better, faster and stronger . . . .