It may surprise you to learn that track cycling was once a leading American sport. In the pre-WWII era, as Babe Ruth was cracking curved balls into left field, America’s winter sport of choice wasn’t basketball. That hadn’t been invented yet. It was track racing.
If there is one thing I have learned recently, it is that having a vague motivation to do great things in life rarely gets anyone anywhere. We all daydream of heroic exploits and globe-spanning journeys. Meanwhile, some people actually do them.
…I then stood over the sink and held my finger too tightly to assess the damage any further. The top third of my finger felt severed and foreign to the rest of my body. It was like a bit of cartilage jiggling on top of the remaining two-thirds of the finger with unnatural flexibility…
Does this sound like work or vacation? Picture this. You wake up at dawn with a sore back. You start the stove, make and eat breakfast, wash dishes, take down the tents, and pack up. Then you hop on your bike and pedal for 8-10 hours and stop occasionally for lunch and snack breaks. You continue to grind away for 80 or 100 miles until you get to your next campsite.
The misanthropic sailor roves apart
Faced here with icy seas that clutch his hull.
He shivers less. His furs obscure the chart
He drew to match the stars. His sails were full,
…We would carry all of various camping supplies, our tent, sleeping bags, food, and a camera across 475 miles and up and down 48,534 feet of elevation gain (for reference, the height of Mount Everest is 29,029 feet tall from sea level to summit). And we would do all of this in the insufferable heat of July.