Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Big Event for 2012

It is axiomatic that "failure to plan is a plan for failure." Axiomatic is a pretentious word meaning that something is so obvious that it should be on a demotivational poster.

I've spent many afternoons behind the closed door of my office supposedly doing work for former employers planning for failure (certainly not my current employees ... I'm just a contractor now and don't bill you enough to goof off like that), and can proudly say that I'm darned good at it. I can find ways to screw things up that nobody would have thought possible, and have then managed to bring that screw-up to soggy, stinky, bug-infested fruition.

Not that I am perfect -- oh, no, far from it. I proudly admit that I have managed to also screw things up in ways that I would have never dreamed. Whether that speaks to my excellence as a screw-up or failure as a planner ... well, you be the judge.

My point here (honest, there is one) is that I love to plan. Ask my RAAM teammates about my detailed Visio diagram of where everything was to be kept in the support vehicle, along with the supporting Excel pivot chart, and they will tell you that I take anal-retentive to new heights -- the level where my sphincter can whistle a note that only dogs can hear.

(For those who think that I am exaggerating about the diagram and the spreadsheet: I swear that I am not. Really. Jeff Bauer, the rider that I was supporting, still talks about it. I scared the bejeezus out of him. For those who think that I am exaggerating about the sphincter: Duh.)

Thus, with the dawn of 2012, did I begin thinking about my Big Event for the year. This is, of course, assuming that the Mayans didn't really know something and that the planet ends this year. You may think that this is hokum, but keep in mind that John Cusack starred in the movie depicting that event, and in another movie he had access to a Hot Tub Time Machine. The "happy" ending of 2012 (the movie) could have been slapped on by the lesser-talented Cusack (Joan was robbed when she didn't get the Oscar for School of Rock) merely because he did not want to face a future in which he was Better Off Dead.

Booger was Max Watzz's coach, too.

I considered spending 2012 racing, but that seemed like hard work and kind of risky, particularly considering the apparent fragility of my old bones and that sometimes things get in my way and I don't turn. Another possibility was a full brevet series, doing the shorter stuff down here in Florida and going to Georgia and Tennessee for my 400K and 600K. That would allow me to finally do the Cascade 1200K -- a ride in country that I've wanted to see by bicycle for years.

Instead, however, I'm using the new-found flexibility that being marginally employed has brought, and do a three-week self-supported tour. This is why I've been tweaking and testing my touring and camping setup so much lately.

The tour is kind of the Cascade 1200, only I'm staying on the coast where it's cool and moist, rather than that big portion where they go into the 100-degree desert for a few hundred miles. Also, there's no pesky 90-hour time limit, so I don't have to bike through the night. And, I'm going to go beyond Washington, venturing south through Oregon and northern California. I'm using the Adventure Cycling Association's Pacific Coast route, sections 1-3, keeping my average daily mileage down to just over 100K (65 miles, once I cross back into the good old U.S. of A.).

I've already got the the first week mapped. If you want to see what each day looks like, use the following links:

There's either a day off in Astoria, or one in the middle in Seattle. Then, I'll take another week to do the coast of Oregon, and the last week down to San Francisco. More on those plans as I put them together, but  the above pretty much set the tone and daily expectations. The adventure begins the first week of September, right after Labor Day. RandoGirl and I are taking an Alaska cruise out of Seattle, and she will fly back home while I begin the tour.

Now, you may think that I'm just telling you this plan to brag. You're a little right. But, I'm also telling you the plan because some of you may be interested in joining me. If you think that you can come along -- for part of the trip or the full monty (in Canada, it's the full Mountie, but "full" is pronounced "uh-boot") -- leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, or talk with me during coffee one morning after a ride.

A big disclaimer here: This is in no way, shape, fashion, fashion, or echolalia a supported tour. As Hemingway said to me when he taught me to swim by tying a spinner to my diaper and tossing me off the fantail of The Pilar, "You're on your own, kid." (At least, I think that's what he said ... all I heard was "You-blub-blub-blub-blub.) I may rent you my frame pump for a minute and sell you a patched inner tube for $50, but just because I have two sets of panniers does not mean that I tote your crap. End of disclaimer.

In spite of that disclaimer, I've already got a couple of other people interested, so we will see where we end up. All I'm asking is that you trust in my ability to plan a failure. Together, we can make it not happen.

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