Saturday, February 19, 2011

Who says older= wiser, lessons from trip preparations

When I was a child, taking a trip to the beach was so easy. I would throw a towel in a bag put on my bathing suit and go with my parents to one of the many lovely beaches in Prince Edward County. I was unencumbered and gloriously free to enjoy the day! I did not worry how far I could swim or what colour my bathing suit was. I did not worry if I had sandals or enough "out of water snacks", I enjoyed my time on the sand dunes making castles and using sticks for flags or even better using bird feathers. I enjoyed battling the waves and riding on my heavy blue and red air mattress like a wobbly surfboard as I waved to my mother and father.

Today I am preparing for a one week long cycling race camp in Cuba. The things that are mandatory for this tour are my bike, spare inner tubes, water bottles and in ride snacks. I have been preparing for this ride for 2 months on my bike trainer and doing intensive yoga, I have lost weight and am fitter than ever but the problem is with packing. I may as well be preparing for a mountain climbing trip to Everest given the amount of preparation.

I have a different cycling kit for each day, all packed in freezer bags with the air pumped out. I have my sunglasses, my repair kit (recommended) and a first aid kit (also recommended but I brought an expedition size),I have packed three pair of shorts, five T shirts and plenty of items to give away including a clarinet and a box of toothpaste from my dentist. To cut down on weight I have packed my electronic reader rather than books. I also packed my snorkeling gear, a thin jacket and three baseball hats, two of which are giveaways. When you add my cycling shoes, helmet and the 'in ride snacks and protein powders' I now have two bags and one is heavy.

This is a mystery to me. My bike clothes are all made of lycra. To understand this I have produced a diary

Two Weeks before trip
Day One: Get large bag out of basement, open bag and look for flippers and snorkelling gear

Day Two :Repair snorkel, test and pack

Day Three: Find 7 cycling kits with matching socks, pack each individually
Find summer shorts and sandals, pack along with T shirts and cycling jacket

Day Three PM: Change mind about cycling kits, repack and change mind about cycling jacket. Repack

Day Four:
Pack repair kit and put in ride snacks in individual packets...pack

Day Four pm
Decide that first aid kit needs to be packed and repack ride snacks adding gels

Day five am
Change mind about bike. Decide to take the touring bike, advise bike shop, pack correct shoes
Decide to take bus to Montreal

Day Five pm: decide a sweater is a good idea, pack a sweater. Decide I need to expand the items I will give away and so include a clarinet, two harmonicas and a case of toothpaste.
Find B and B in Montreal
Endure phone call from my mother who thinks I should just hop on a bus at 2am from Montreal to Ottawa. Was unaware I will have bags and a bicycle.

Day Six; augment items to give away and pack more T shirts and hats

Day Seven: Unpack snorkel and dive gear and add one piece lycra skin suit. Realize that some form of sunscreen is a good idea
Buy sunscreen and zinc and repack first aid kit accordingly

Day Seven pm:
Pack arnica massage oil, pain pills, and ear plugs. Decide that the massage bar is not necessary. Take out massage bar, put in elastic stretch bands instead.

Day eight
Find that when my bag is packed I can't lift it. Separate items into two bags, one for sports the other for clothes and give away items. Go to bus depot to buy tickets. Find line up too long go home

Day eight pm
Find bag with sports items still very heavy and wonder about the weight of cycling clothing, worry about not having a bus ticket

Day nine
worry about decision not to take racing bike, call bike mechanic to confirm my choice
Call Velo Quebec about daily distances
Pack scuba gear
Unpack scuba gear

Day ten
Pack art supplies, drawing pencils and pastels. Change mind and unpack art supplies leaving only a journal and a few drawing pencils

Day 11
Will try again to get a bus ticket

I am tired just writing it out!!

There was a time when I would enjoy events unencumbered, when I would relish the event and not worry about what I would do, what I would wear, how I would perform, I was content to be.

Supposedly you wiser as you get older but I am not so sure of that.

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