The count down widget on the web-site now shows less than 24 hours until lift off… drive off? … roll off? … whatever. We leave in less than a day on a 500 km trek down Vancouver Island. It seems a long way to go sitting astride 15 kg or so of bicycle. That’s about 35 kliks per kilo of bike. The Apollo 11 team did about a million kilometres in something that started at 300,000 kg so they only got 3 km/kg. OK, if you only include the 6000 kg that came back to Earth it’s more like 200 km/kg. It was a lousy comparison anyways but I had to get back at the people who measure everything in units of olympic-swimming-pools.
Anyways, I wanted to talk about Parky jitters. Now that may sound redundant. Wouldn’t a “parky without jitters” be an oxymoron? Ha, ha! Not all parkies have tremors it turns out — so there!
The point I was getting to is that 500 km is a long way to pedal in 5 days, even for a healthy cyclist. I, and 5 other Pedalers have Parkinson’s disease. Since I don’t regularly do these marathon bike rides there is some uncertainty as to how I am going to respond to the ride.
Let me give you an example. I try to go to the gym regularly, twice a week. A year or so back, when I told myself that I should be riding my bicycle more, I decided that I could bike a lousy 6 km to the gym, have my normal workout and then bike home again. Well, the first time that I did it I was half way home when I ran out of juice and spent 1/2 hour sitting on a bench waiting for the meds to kick in. Back in my pre-parky days I would have just had to slow down a little not slam on the brakes (of have them slammed for me).
I can’t speak for all parkies but I’m sure that I’m not the only one who is afraid of getting stuck somewhere or of having Parkinson’s symptoms kick in unexpectedly. As my wife and I were driving to Port Hardy yesterday I was watching the road, measuring the hills and noting how far it was from Campbell River where we are expected after just 2 days of riding. Having done a 117 km day without incident during training, I have some confidence that I’ll be fine on the ride. Besides, there are some good riders that I can draft behind and there’s always the support vehicles if I really do run out of juice but I’m definitely not planning to use them except as a last resort.
Do I have pre-ride jitters? Sure, but I’m confident that I can handle them once we’re on the road.