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Russel Ball - Local & Cross Country Adventure Cyclist

The joys of LSD – long slow distance touring.

I blame my parents.

In my childhood they made it clear that getting to school was my responsibility.  I had a bicycle and so I became a bike commuter.  Commuting is a gateway activity to becoming a bike tourer. Commuting was not enough so I descended into overnight bike trips.  I dragged my brother and his friends into the dark world of bicycle touring.

For a while I was clean.  I started a family and the overnight trips stopped and I only commuted sporadically, but then my daughter decided to ride a bike from New Orleans to Minneapolis and I was hooked again drawn back into the world of tents, panniers, and racks.

It started reasonably. A couple of treks down the coast of Washington and Oregon. RAGBRAI a couple of times. Madison WI to Albany along the Erie canal.  Mostly solo rides with full kit and camping. Now I am into the hard stuff, cross country tours.

Fall of '21 I took the plunge and started off from San Diego towards St Augustine.  The trip was an Adventure Cycling van supported tour along the Southern Tier.  We started with 13 riders and ended with 11.  It took 60 days and we averaged 60 miles a day.  Mostly we camped but we also stayed in churches, community centers and the occasional motel.

High points of the trip:

Realizing I was going to make it EFI (every fine inch)'

Emory Pass 8000 ft up. (see the pic)

Bonding with the group.

Swimming after a long hot day.

Things I learned:

The hardest part of a long-distance trip is deciding to do it.  The riding is relatively easy.

Headwinds suck!  Hills have another side headwinds don't.

I would do the tour again if I hadn't done it, but I prefer the flexibility of touring solo or with 1 or 2 others.

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