After 2 weeks on the road, I’m sitting in Aracena, writing this update and having a rest day. It feels like I have had a lot of rest days during these 2 weeks but, unfortunately, they have been needed.
I always knew that my fitness was pretty low, but it seems that my bout with Covid has robbed me of the base fitness I have had most of my life. Even when I have been unfit previously, I have always had a reasonable base to build on and my recovery has always been quick. Not so this time!
Not only is my fitness very low, but my recovery rate is also way below what I’m used to. After just 3 days of cycling, I have no reserves and basically have to walk up every hill and I need a full day of rest to recover. It could be that I’m getting old…
But I don’t mean to complain too much, the only way to get my fitness back again is to keep plugging away and hope that I get stronger and stronger.
The trail so far:
In summary, brilliant! I have to give a gigantic shout out to Andy Cox, @doubletrackfanatic, for putting together this outstanding trail. I have only cycled a tiny little part of it and can only imagine all the hard work that went into making it a reality. Thanks mate!
That said, I have been thinking a lot about how and even if, I want to continue cycling the trail. Not because I don’t like it, but because I am starting to realize that I may just like walking that much more.
I’ve always liked bicycles and as I have a strong technical interest, I have always liked fixing, modifying and working on them. But when I get out on the road, I don’t quite find the same satisfaction that I have found when walking and hiking.
There is an inherent minimalism in walking that is not as present when cycling. I’m not sure if I can explain the difference, but it is there and I seem to gravitate to that simpler means of motion.
My last long bike-touring/bikepacking trip was through Europe in 2019 and totalled almost 10,000 km. But even then, despite planning to continue and explore more of Europe by bike, I decided to head to New Zealand to hike the southern part of the Te Araroa instead. At the time I blamed the weather, but I am starting to realize that it is just that I like walking more…
Looking back at the-walk and the Te Araroa hike, I find that I came closer to the state of mind I was looking for during these walks than when compared to my many bicycle or even kickbike trips. There have been quite a few during the last 10 years and I believe that I can start to see a very obvious pattern. I feel better and enjoy it more when walking.
So where does that leave me now?
It doesn’t really change anything for the coming weeks. I have at least 2 more weeks to spend on the European Divide trail before I need to head to Barcelona to work for 3 weeks. But what happens after that is something that I will have to think about very seriously. Keep cycling or head home and change to hiking gear, and if so, what will be my next destination?
Lots of questions but I have lots of time to think and don’t really have to decide anything before my work period in Barcelona is at an end.
Exciting times ahead!