Four days out
Somewhere in the last week before a big ride, there is a change. Everything begins to focus in on the ride. The future is all ride; everything else can wait.
Today is that day. There will be no time to prepare anything after tonight. Work still needs attention, and relationships still have to work, so all the gear needs to be packed with only some perishable food ready to pack in when I get home on the last evening. I'll drive to work on Wednesday, and leave before dawn on Thursday.
And today the mind is playing and replaying scenarios for what may come. It's a focussing and calming process. A trip like this is not without risks, even though I can mostly avoid the three major highways which run up through South Australia. Indeed, isolation is as much a danger as traffic. You could fall asleep and ride into a ditch and be invisible from the road.
The weather is warming. Spring winds are variable, and there is no sense that we're anywhere near the calmer days of summer. It's still a day or two early to guess the wind, but today's slam a car door out of your hand, dust whipping winds, are a reminder of what may be in store. The first day is, on paper, a 19 hour push north to set the trip up for some milestone targets. But this wind could make it an exhausting 30 hour slog and make finishing the only priority. The same wind, in the opposite direction, could take the first day back to 16 hours and leave a rider much fresher. I wait to see.
It's will only just be November, but last November I woke shivering at 10 degrees and rode through 41 degrees later in the day. Heat and cold were equally debilitating, and altered my plans. And rain is forecast. Not much yet, but I'm covering a 400 by 100 km slab of the state, so I can't risk being without wet weather gear. Coming home tired without waterproofs could stop everything.
I wait… and try not to irritate my wife too much with my distraction! (October 29 2017)