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Old 05-13-10, 07:18 PM   #1
one-headedboy
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No regrets... right?

Okay so I am supposed to be leaving next week on a solo tour from Buffalo to Austin (around 1600 miles). It's my first tour ever and I've been really excited about it until lately. As departing date draws closer and closer I feel more nervous, anxious, worried. This is normal, right? Any comforting words of advice? I don't want my fears to get the best of me, and stay here in Buffalo miserable all summer wondering what might have been, you know?
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Old 05-13-10, 07:22 PM   #2
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Nothing we can say or do is going to give you the strength you want. That has to come from within.

Prepare, and be sure you really want to go. If you do, have an awesome trip.
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Old 05-13-10, 07:47 PM   #3
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Okay so I am supposed to be leaving next week on a solo tour from Buffalo to Austin (around 1600 miles). It's my first tour ever and I've been really excited about it until lately. As departing date draws closer and closer I feel more nervous, anxious, worried. This is normal, right?
Yeah it''s normal. Especially for a first tour. It might take you a few days to get your "sea legs." Afterwards, it should be a terrific lot of fun. If it isn't, then no need to continue. Touring was just not your thing. Go back home and tackle something else.

Are you blogging your trip? If so, how about posting a link for us.
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The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me
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Old 05-13-10, 09:51 PM   #4
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Yeah, nervous & anxious is normal, you'll settle down after a few days on the road. I was so nervous before my first tour I could barely eat for a week! Give yourself a really light mileage goal for the first few days, so you have plenty of time to deal with all the unexpected stuff and be able to treat it as a learning experience, not as a source of panic. There will be a shake down period, while you figure out how you like to pack, where you like to stay, how long it takes to get going in the morning, etc. You'll find a rhythm in a little while, and you'll figure out what *you* like - remember, it's your tour, you don't have to meet anyone else's standards of how it should be done.

As cyclebum said, if you don't like it after you've been doing it for a while, there's no need to force yourself to like it - not everyone likes the same things, and that's good.
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Old 05-13-10, 11:01 PM   #5
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How's this for a paradox? You can relax because being nervous is normal. I actually miss that nervous feeling I had before my first solo tour. The anticipation and unknown was all part of the experience, which is less now that I've toured for a few years.

One piece of advice I could have used on my first tour comes from a German saying, "Der Weg ist das Ziel," which translates to, "The path is the destination," or "The destination is not important, but the path that leads there."

You're going to have a great time. Good luck and have fun!
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Old 05-14-10, 06:38 AM   #6
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Perfectly normal. When I started the Trans Am, I was pedaling the first miles wondering what the heck I was thinking about when I had determined to do this thing. Here I was leaving my beautiful girl friend, my nice warm bed, missing an important ocean race, etc.—all the things I loved, my comforts and everything I was used to. I came to a nice lawn in front of a restaurant, sat down, had a smoke, took out the map and scanned it and by the time I saddled up again, I was all right with things. That and I knew I was gonna dump some stuff in a box and send it home the first chance I got. Now, I really miss the adventure, freedom and independence of a long tour. I'm starting to plan again. The weekend bike camping thing is fine—but it ain't no Summer adventure.
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Old 05-14-10, 08:33 AM   #7
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I've felt similar anxieties before every tour. On my first big tour - down the west coast - some friends drove me to Seattle and dropped me off. As they drove away I looked at my bike, thought of what was in front of me, and a huge wave of doubt washed over me. Still, I did the trip (I didn't have much choice at that point) and had the adventure of a lifetime. The worries and doubt only lasted for the first few days. Soon I settled into a routine of facing each days' simple challenges - where to stay, what to eat, where to buy groceries, etc.

Each trip gets a little easier - the anxiety isn't as powerful - but there's still a little. I'm planning this summer's tour on the Lewis and Clark trail and wondering things like, Will I be able to find a campsite? Where am I going to find food on this stretch of road? Can I really make the entire route or will homesickness and lonliness overpower me? Etc.

Still, with every trip under my belt, these feelings are diminished and much easier to face. I've dealt with all these issues before and overcome them. I'm sure I'll be fine this time.

Besides experience, my confidence comes from knowing I have good equipment (including a properly-set-up bike with strong wheels), good planning, good maps (ACA), and enough money to handle what comes up - bike repairs, motels when necessary, good food, supplies, etc.

The feelings of excitement and eager anticipation are far stronger now than any anxiety.

Do your planning, make sure you have good equipment and enough money, and go for it. I predict you'll have a wonderful time and will be able to successfully handle any problems which might arise (there are always a few!) Have fun!
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Old 05-15-10, 10:13 AM   #8
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Ditto on what everyone else has said. I think I was the most nervous over the idea that I might not like it. I had invested so much into that first big trip and what if all that was for nought? But - if you don't like it, you can turn around and go home. It's allgood. Have fun!
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Old 05-15-10, 01:51 PM   #9
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Early in my life, I had two thoughts that have helped me ever since. While not exactly profound, they apply to a lot of the challenges I've had since:

1. If it were easy, everyone would do it. (Do you want to be like everyone?)

2. You're not going to the moon, just a trip. (There's always a Plan B; be prepared for setbacks, and don't let emergencies on the road derail your entire trip.)
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Old 05-15-10, 09:40 PM   #10
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My first tour was supposed to be a 4700 mile cross country solo tour, but ended up being a 2600 mile half-way tour. It was still a fantastic experience, and I learned I am not as introverted as I thought (apparently I do occasionally like the company of others)! Still the best experience of my life, and I'm starting another x-c tour in a couple weeks with a friend.

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2. You're not going to the moon, just a trip. (There's always a Plan B; be prepared for setbacks, and don't let emergencies on the road derail your entire trip.)
I had my route planned out to the hundredth of a mile, and to the day. On day 3, I had to change course due to wildfires in Yosemite. I was really disappointed until after I went around it, and I was able to brag about going up a 26% grade and had a fantastic dinner with two guys I met. After that, I threw out my cue sheets and planned it a week at a time. Things will always work out
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Old 05-15-10, 11:18 PM   #11
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If it isn't, then no need to continue. Touring was just not your thing.
...or touring solo was just not your thing. I'm too much of a people person to solo tour and don't see ever going it alone. But, too each their own, and as mentioned, feeling nervous before your first big tour is quite normal. Best wishes!
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Old 05-16-10, 04:18 AM   #12
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It's only 1600 miles. A 1200K randonnee is about half that and can be done in 90 hours or less.

You've got all your gear ... right?
You've been riding your bicycle regularly ... right?
You've done back-to-back rides of the distance you plan to ride ... right?
You've done solo, overnight or weekend tours carrying all your gear ... right?

Then you should be ready.

Go. Ride the first day, which should be easy because if you're leaving from home, you've already ridden that first day many times. Stay the first night wherever you plan to stay ... and chances are you've stayed there before on one of your overnight tours. Then set out on the second day which might take you into less familiar territory and that's where the adventure begins. If it is too much for you, turn around and go back.
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Old 05-16-10, 04:40 AM   #13
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Hey, you could be permanently disabled or be doing life in prison. Just go.
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Old 05-16-10, 04:59 AM   #14
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No, to your title - no regrets. My first 'real' tour was in 1986 through the UK and I can still remember the trepidation as I approached the day of departure as a young kid just over twenty. Last month we went cycling through Cuba and as the date approached I became increasingly nervous. Of course, it was all for nothing, but maybe it ensured I had not forgotten anything important. As with all of my trips - it was great. The sound of the wind in my ears... the feeling of having accomplished each and every km... the food I got to eat... how great it felt at night to sleep like a baby... and on and on it goes. Enjoy!

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Old 05-17-10, 09:04 AM   #15
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Thanks everyone. I'm getting ready this morning and hopefully heading out in a few hours.

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Yeah it''s normal. Especially for a first tour. It might take you a few days to get your "sea legs." Afterwards, it should be a terrific lot of fun. If it isn't, then no need to continue. Touring was just not your thing. Go back home and tackle something else.

Are you blogging your trip? If so, how about posting a link for us.
Well, I'm not sure of my computer access so I made a twitter: http://twitter.com/oneheadedboy

I figure it's better than nothing for now. I do plan on blogging the whole thing when I'm done.
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