Lewis has titled my little adventure as Kirk’s Epic Journey, and while it’s difficult to be concise when writing about 4 days of it I will try to keep this particular write up from becoming and epic.
I would like to start by pointing out that I am not really a cyclist. I ride mountain bikes, and while that is a form of a cyclist, it is not a form that one would usually associate with long distance riding. Put more simply, I struggle to ride around Applegate Lake, or at least I used to not that long ago.
For me to conjure up a plan to ride from Medford to Hart Mountain was purely out of adventurism, not a test of my cycling skill. When it comes to cycling I don’t know jack about jack! I can ride a bike down a dirt hill and change a tire, that about sums up my skills. My initial thought was that I would be riding my Titus FTM, to which Peter stated, “You’ll kill yourself!”, and he was probably right.
To my surprise and delight to our bank account, these swell fellows offered to loan a proper bike for such a trip, and after some browsing I think it was Lewis who made the selection. He nodded towards a bright green Grammo Toa standing in the corner, “That’s the bike you should be riding.” and it was settled.
I procured my other gear in the few weeks following. Shoes and pedals (I normally ride flats), gear bags, cycling computer etc. after spending over $500 on these items it became clear that I really could not be doing this without the generosity of Peter and Lewis at Unreal Cycles. Buying a bike for this trip would have been out of the question now, and made me wonder what other details of this trip I may have overlooked.
I did a few training rides leading up to the “big day”, but never really felt that I would get to point where I was prepared for it, sometimes you just have to jump in. It didn’t take too long to get used to the height and rigidity of the big 29er and it’s feather light weight may have helped with that. The day before I was to depart Peter expectantly asked, “Are you ready?” I could only respond with, “Ready or not…….”.
I slept better that night than I thought I would but awoke on Sept 7th with a nervous stomach. I had meticulously packed everything up the night before, but going through the mental check list as a distraction helped to keep the butterflies away. FOOD? Check! SLEEPING BAG? Check! STOVE? Check! TOILET PAPER? TOILET PAPER??? I always forget something!