i was just wondering how much detail other people go into when planning their tours? pick a destination and then just pack up & go. measure daily milages & stick to some kind of schedule? make reservations? research route beta on the net?
i've never been one for doing much planning beyond picking a destination and guessing how many days it might take. sometimes the little thought i do put into it is pretty half-baked.
as an example, last year in april, i was having a hard time deciding whether to go on a tour or do some alpine climbing. the obvious way out of my dilema was to do both. figured it would take 5 days: 2 to the mountain, 1 day up & down, and 2 days back.
no way to carry what i would normally take on a climb. first off, boots alone would have taken up an entire pannier. rope? forget it. stick to a non-technical climb. here's what i brought: bivy sack, down summer bag, short sleeping pad, climbing helmet, lightweight aluminum ice axe, clunky old style crampons i could strap onto my sneakers, gaiters and rain gear, 1 candle and metal cup for just-in-case, 1 light down jacket, no change of clothes except 1 tech t-shirt, 1 quarter ton of chocolate bars.
with the exception of a series of 3 nightmare tunnels with less than 1 pot-hole-strewn yard between tunnel wall and large trucks rushing past, the ride to the mountain was pretty nice. great weather, great scenery, wind at my back on long, level stretches; the kind of ride where the uphills somehow seem shorter than the downhills. the last 4 or 5 hours of the second day were pretty hot and dry though, and i was still a couple of hours short of the trailhead when i stopped.
third day up & down the mountain didn't play out like the idylic climb i had visualized in my head.
still a couple of hours from the trailhead, i got a before-dawn start. had to push my bike along stretches of icey sections. beginning of trail wet & muddy. gaiters no use in keeping the water and mud out of my sneakers. within a couple of hours or so of strapping on my crampons, i had holes worn through the sides of my sneakers and several painful blisters that bandaids had failed to stop. the scenery was great, but i never got anywhere near the summit. thankfully, the ride down the mountain was downhill and no longer icey. and luckily the blisters were in places that weren't much of a problem while pedalling.
the weather held for the ride home. i got to the tunnels-from-hell just around sunset, stopped at a rest area until 3 in the morning and made it through with only a few cars and no white knuckles. ran into (not literally) another cyclist later that morning and we rode about half a day together.
long and short is that the ride was fine, but i got spanked on the climb due to poor planning. what was (wasn't) i thinking? if the weather had turned it could have been a real ordeal.
so i'm curious; what have your best or worst tours been like, and how much was due to planning or lack thereof? let's hear your stories.