Yes, I've been racking up mileage, but have I been climbing? Well...no. This past Saturday was my first attempt to remedy that. With the help of my new eTrex, Google Maps, Google Earth, and GPSBabel, I created a GPX file that would get me to Malabar Farms, home of many short and steep climbs. I still don't think I approached anything close to what I'll see on the Appalachian Mountains Loop. About the best I can hope for within 100 miles of the house is 400-500 feet of elevation change total, and none of the climbs are more than maybe 300 feet of vertical gain. The kicker is that I more or less had my lunch handed to me over 146 miles. Matters were not helped by me forcing my body into a total bonk. It's kind of funny now, but at the time I thought it would be a good idea to see how I would react mentally and physically if I ran out of food and water. It could happen on the AML so why not be prepared, I thought. So how did I react? Uh, not well. The only lesson I learned is make damn sure I don't run out of food and water. My mood could have best been described as blackout. Just guessing but I was probably about 15 minutes away from going feral. Not surprisingly the ride taken as a whole was a bit of a confidence shaker.
Over the last couple of days I've reflected on the ride and looked at the component pieces that conspired to knock me off my perch, and I realize it's probably for the best. I've been starting to form some unrealistic expectations of what can be accomplished during the AML. As much as I am about the journey and not the destination, I have a bad habit of setting unrealistic goals that aren't based on anything other than mostly wild-ass guesses. Saturday's ride was a Chuck Norris roundhouse to the temple, shattering some of the crazy notions I had about how I was going to conquer the AML. Humility is once again my watchword, and my ego is riding in the backseat with it's mouth taped shut.