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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    where the wind comes sweeping down the plain
    Posts
    5,269

    Wink Well, at least I tried touring...

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    This turned out really long. Sorry for all the detail.

    This weekend I set out to do the first 4 days of Oklahoma Freewheel with 800 other riders. It's a supported weeklong tour of the state from S to N (why S to N?- tailwinds, baby).
    I was sooooo excited because this was my first tour. I've been reading journals on Crazyguyonabike.com all winter long and was anxious to try my first tour. Hopes were high!

    The night before the first day, my DH drove me to the start in Marietta, OK (about 2 hours S of us). We camped out, and the next morning he rode 10 miles with me to the first rest stop, then turned around to head back so he could drive home to work on Monday. We've been having the craziest wind this year (far windier than normal), with most days the wind sustained at 25-30 gusting in the 40's and 50's. I don't know what it's like to ride when the wind isn't blowing terribly anymore (and I get excited when it's only 10-15mph).
    But I digress...
    The first day was a lot of fun. Lots of riders on the road with all kinds of bikes. Beautiful scenery, lots of rolling hills, great overcast weather for most of the day, and really great rest stops. My highlight was coasting down a long hill where I hit a record speed of 42 mph. Scary and exhilarating all at the same time. I got terribly sunburned despite multiple applications of 50spf, and wearing my arm coolers with spf that I bought here at TE. We rode through the Arbuckle Mountains and past Turner Falls which was so pretty. I arrived in camp about 12:30 and set up my tent, then went to find some food and some shade. Spent the rest of the day reading in the shade and enjoying the nice breeze (well, nice gale force wind anyway- hee hee ). I was in my tent and asleep by 9:00. It was a good day.

    Monday we woke up to clouds and lightning in the distance. The forecast called for showers most of the day, so I wrapped my rain gear around my waist and headed out. About 10 miles in, it started pouring. Like the sky just opened up and emptied it's buckets. I had my rain jacket on (which I found out is not as waterproof as I remember it being), but still managed to get completely soaked to the bone. I made it to the 32 mile halfway mark for lunch in 4 hours (2:45 ride time, 1:15 spent getting off the road due to lightning/hail various times). At the lunch stop, I called a friend back home and begged her to come get me. Temps were in the low 60's, the rain wasn't letting up, I was freezing, and the fun factor was below zero. She took me to the next town where I got my bags. Turns out the park we were supposed to camp in had majorly flooded, and they were trying to find indoor accommdations for all 800 riders (shuttling them all over town). I'm glad I didn't stay. My friend took me home (an hour away) and I showered, got into bed and slept the rest of the afternoon away. My 4 day tour ended up being only 1.5 days.

    Despite being around so many hundreds of other people, I found myself surprisingly lonely. I'm usually very outgoing and super talkative, but I don't do well trying to make friends with total strangers. Spending the day all by myself wasn't the most fun. I'm not one to spend a lot of time alone, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to try the solo thing. I'm not good at it. I crave human contact with people I love. I did make some "friends" while there, but it's not the same. I had lots of fun talking with the locals about their towns and meeting them. That was fun and very interesting.

    Sooo... I guess if I tour again, it'll have to be with someone I know and can enjoy company with, and it'll be overnighters close to home. Long touring isn't for me, but at least I tried. I'll always have CGOAB to live out my touring adventures through other people.

    Thanks for reading.

    I added some pictures.
    #1 Me and DH at the first water stop where he turned around to head home
    #2 Freddy Frog (my touring buddy) on my bike at camp
    #3 The storm as it was approaching on day 2 (see- the stop sign was trying to tell me something)
    Last edited by Tri Girl; 05-26-2010 at 12:35 AM.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,409
    Hey great story!
    I like your attitude. It's great to read about biking adventures that do not turn out as expected, in addition to the 'happy ending' bike adventures.
    I love that last picture with the battered STOP sign in front of the approaching storm clouds....a masterpiece!
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    VA / DC Metro Area
    Posts
    624
    You're right. The important thing is that you did try. So maybe it wasn't the thing for you, but at least you tried and found out. I think that if you did have someone going with you that you could enjoy you would've stayed and ridden the whole thing. Why couldn't DH keep going with you? I'm sure the crap weather on Monday basically sealed the fate of your tour. Loneliness and crap weather do not mix. Kudos to you for trying it solo and I hope that if you do decide to tour again you have a blast with the right people.
    "She who succeeds in gaining the master of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life." -Frances E. Willard
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Folsom, California
    Posts
    8

    At least you did try it

    Sounds like a bummer but at least you got out there. Why don't you try a shorter trip sometime, even an overnighter with DH? I love cycling and have only been doing it a short time and it helps to have some loyal friends who will ride as often as their schedules allow. I hope to hear sometime that you tried it again and that the experience was great. Hang in there.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    WA, Australia
    Posts
    3,292
    Well done for getting out there and giving it a go.
    Love the pics!!
    The most effective way to do it, is to do it.
    Amelia Earhart

    2005 Trek 5000 road/Avocet 02 40W
    2006 Colnago C50 road/SSM Atola
    2005 SC Juliana SL mtb/WTB Laser V

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Limbo
    Posts
    8,783
    That last photo is great, it says it all.
    Weather like that would suck the fun out of anything.

    I know what you mean about your normal personality heading out the door when you're on a big group ride like that and don't know anyone. Sometimes cycling isn't the best way to meet people.

    I wouldn't give up on touring, though. just do it differently.

    At least Freddy was there for you
    2008 Trek FX 7.2/Terry Cite X
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    8
    I am so impressed by your adventure. I hope you are proud of your courage. I understand about "lonely in a crowd". Much more fun to share with someone you know! I am a new rider and just the thought of getting good enough to consider entering a ride is so far far away right now! But exciting! I'll surely grab someone to go with me, now!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,982
    I'm sure you and your hubby will start plotting a loaded touring trip on your own... soon.

    Or come up to the Northwest coast where it's lovely for a touring trip.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    3,867
    Oh girl, I don't blame you for giving it up. We got that storm on Monday and it was the worst!

    Maybe next year you can find some people to do it with beforehand. Son and I were in Tulsa on Thursday, (airport run) and had to visit bike shops (me) and guitar shops (him). Every bike shop asked us if we were getting ready for the Freewheel! They need to advertise it better, because I never saw a poster or anything in our LBS's just across the border.

    I guess it's still going on, eh? Might have to go west and watch the folks go by.

    Try again!

    Karen

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Clarkdale, AZ
    Posts
    146
    Please don't give up on touring, you didn't get a fair shake at it. That weather sounded beyond miserable. I can see how being lonely kind of sucks. I just did my tour as well and for the most part, everyone kind of had their own clicks. Bring a friend along and give it another try, just keep an eye on the weather

    Brenda

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    3,936
    Don't give up just yet!

    Interestingly, I have found that people at tours bond over bad weather. People now have something in common that they "survived" and get much friendlier... (and then they talk about it every subsequent year: "remember in 1994 when there was that super big storm and the mayor or SmallTown opened up the school gymnasium and everybody's clothing was hanging everywhere...?")

    Anyway, good for you for trying. Maybe you'll have more luck next time, if you muster the motivation to do it again!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Spokane, WA
    Posts
    818
    Quote Originally Posted by Grog View Post
    Don't give up just yet!

    Interestingly, I have found that people at tours bond over bad weather. People now have something in common that they "survived" and get much friendlier... (and then they talk about it every subsequent year: "remember in 1994 when there was that super big storm and the mayor or SmallTown opened up the school gymnasium and everybody's clothing was hanging everywhere...?")

    Anyway, good for you for trying. Maybe you'll have more luck next time, if you muster the motivation to do it again!
    Grog, That so makes me think . . . climbing Cabbage Hill in '08 in the pouring rain and using the rest area restroom to get warm with everybody drying their clothes with the hand dryer!


    Tri Girl, Don't you even give up on touring! Just try it again with DH and or friends. It really is fun. You make the plans and plan your tour the way YOU want. You can never go wrong with a local overnighter. No matter how bad the weather may get your never too far from home and a warm bed. Chalk this one up as a lesson learned and go from there. bikerHen

    Edited to add . . . Did the wind beat up that stop sign? Or was it something more solid.
    Last edited by bikerHen; 06-12-2008 at 12:44 PM.

 

 

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