I'm worried that I'm the only one camped here. I'm worried about the helicopters and who they're looking for and if they'll be interested in me. I'm worried about the prison. I'm worried about going outside to relieve myself.
A few days after my nerve wracking night in the Yuha, I roll into Borrego Springs and wind up being taken in by Helen and Daniel, a snow birding Canadian couple who happen to love bikes and cyclists as much as I do. They feed Converse Leather White Mens
To the north, the highway is roaring: semi trucks making deafening accelerations that segue into clunky shifts. Above me, the border patrol is circling. Low flying helicopters buzzing with the thwak thwak thwak thwak of blades cutting through warm air. I am camped at an off road recreational vehicle trailhead, five miles from a state prison. I am alone. I probably shouldn't be here.
of strangers and sugary awesomeness of fresh picked citrus.
Later that day the sun bakes me as I climb 3,500 feet in 13 miles up the Montezuma Grade to Ranchita. At the top I find a store where I buy a Gatorade, stock up on cashews and granola bars, and stop to contemplate the kindness Converse Fashion Mens
I make this mistake all the time when I'm touring. Try for a few extra miles. Push my daylight. End up sleeping somewhere suspect. You think I'd learn, but I never do.
It's comfort food at its finest possibly the worst gas station meal I have ever created but in a moment of loneliness and uncertainty, it's the sweet taste of don't worry baby everything Converse White Leather Low Top Trainers is gonna be ok.
Don't get me wrong, as a recreational road cyclist and mildly fanatical cyclocross racer, I'm as nutritionally finicky as they come. I obsess about the arsenal of products and supplements on my pantry shelves, convinced that some new combination will mean the difference between glory and defeat. I read every new book that comes out. I constantly tweak my diet. I measure things. I read labels. On the night before races, I write a schedule of what to consume when.
me fresh fish, homemade bread and greens from their garden. In the morning Daniel squeezes orange juice from the fruit of the trees outside. As I'm leaving he says, "You'll need some food." He hands me oranges and a baggie full of dates, which I stash in my handlebar bag.
I'm working myself into a frenzy, so I do the only thing that will make me feel better: I take out the chocolate cake I'd purchased a few miles back at a gas station and eat it slowly. I pull out a mini sized bottle of Maker's Mark and sip. I reach for the cashews.
Food takes on different meaning during my rambling, loosely planned solo tours. This isn't training. There is no returning home to hot meals and full cupboards. There is no carefully calculated 900 calorie water bottle full of concentrated designer nutrition.
On Monday night I pitch my tent in the dark, roll out my sleeping bag and make a pillow out of clothing. I am in California's Yuha Desert with my bike and two panniers. I have just ridden a little over 70 miles and I'm tired.
That tent is a goddamn palace I tell you.
If I'm lucky, there are convenience stores. If I'm not, there are only gas stations. (But even these are cause for rejoice when it's been 30 or 40 miles between towns.) Occasionally, on the really good days, there are little taquerias, adorable delis, ice cream trucks or big grocery stores with full produce departments.
I'm happy about it.
Grit and Glimmer
Editor's note: Bill Strickland is taking a short break from The Selection to do a little extra work on the print magazine for Bicycling. In the meantime, we invited a handful of cycling bloggers to submit a post in the spirit of this blog. We hope you enjoy.
But when I pedal off on my 70 pound loaded touring bike, it all changes. Neurosis is replaced by level headed gratitude. I bring a small stove to make fresh coffee every morning and sometimes a simple hot meal at night: Top Ramen, instant oatmeal, or soup. I eat what I can find, when I can find it and Converse Dainty Ox Navy
The food is more than fuel. It's greater than the sum of its macronutrient makeup. The food is reassurance, courage, survival, relief, joy and determination. I lower my nutritional standards, and in return, receive spiritual nourishment from bruised apples, microwave mac and cheese, roasted almonds, PB sandwiches, beef jerky, suspiciously gray bananas and occasionally chocolate cake and bourbon.
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