Riding High In The Saddle

IMG_0387I’m up way later than I should be. In part, there’s a lot of excitement looking forward to tomorrow. Mostly, I’ve just been up packing and double-checking my supplies. I think I’m ready to go, now, logistically speaking. Psychologically… well, I’m going in the morning ready or not. No giving up until I reach the Pacific Ocean. It still freaks me out to think about. I’m about to bicycle 2,800 miles from Wisconsin (around a few detours) to the coast of Oregon.

Since I could not go without a few parting words, here I sit, typing out one more pre-launch essay while sipping on some New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale and listening to the latest album from Melody Gardot.

I can’t technically be claiming to ride a fat tire bike, but I’ve got 700x32s on her at the moment, and that gives me a pretty stable and balanced ride.

It was a pain in the ass packing everything up tonight, but now it’s done. I’m hauling way too much food, but that’ll be taken care of in a hurry, no doubt, and I’ll just have to watch my food purchases in the future to prevent myself from packing too much stuff around. That bike is heavy though. It’ll be an interesting ride tomorrow.

IMG_0386I’ve been riding around Madison a bit over this last week — not as much as I would’ve liked, but it’s still nice to put a few miles in. The intense miles are about to start. There’s some nice riding around Madison. You get some bike paths with some really cool lake views. It’s a very bike friendly town overall, I would say.

It’s also the home of Trek Bicycles. There’s a Trek retail outlet I was able to stop in at. This was very handy as I was able to get stock spare parts that are an exact match for my FX 7.3 without too much worry.

To continue my completely disjointed late-night, per-departure ramblings, this beer is quite tasty. It’s right out of the fridge, so it’s probably colder than I technically should be drinking it, but after a long night of packing up the panniers, it is quite refreshing at this temperature.

Melody Gardot’s latest album — My One and Only Thrill — continues to floor me as well. The emotion is just as strong as in her first album, Worrisome Heart, but the new style gives it an interesting bent. Whereas Worrisome Heart was a sparse instrumentation, as if to really give Melody’s voice the shining focus, My One and Only Thrill has a more involved and complex instrumentation, and yet, her voice shines through no less.

Some lessons are learned the hard way. A song from Worrisome Heart reminds us to be aware of the potential for tragedy. Melody Gardot got into jazz singing after a catastrophic bicycle accident in Pennsylvania left her nearly dead. Her voice was very much a part of her recovery. For one so young, she carries the emotion of one greatly experienced in both the fall and the rise again of great pain and great recovery.

“My soul is a weary and beaten down, from all of my tragedy. Oh lord, who will comfort me?”

A lyric from her latest album. A question I ask myself from time to time, but of course my troubles are small, inconsequential in comparison. I’ve been chomping at the bit to get out on the road. Tomorrow, I run to the comfort of my bike and don’t look back.

Tomorrow, I set out on a grand new life, and say goodbye to so many things from the old life. Here’s to clear skies, a clear head, and an open road…

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3 thoughts on “Riding High In The Saddle

  1. LOVING the FB updates! i wish i could have hung out when you were in town…im bummed that i wasnt available. chock another up for shellis crazy schedule, right?
    safe travels, and i cant wait to see pics! bummer you werent riding to sequoia. hehe. i will be heading that way (by plane, not bike) in sept…

    save a few miles for me! and remember, a teeenie tiny 350 to DC welcomes you in the spring!

  2. God go with you! May He give you soft breezes, smooth pavement, and glorious experiences in His creation! I’m envious, knowing the joy of being free on wheels! Peace+! Kathy

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