STUFF. 1 : materials, supplies, or equipment used in various activities: as a obsolete : military baggage
I'm doing RAAM. I need STUFF. I've been obsessing about STUFF for the past few days. So much STUFF. Lights, camera, mp3, music, team jerseys, LAUNDRY BAGS for Pete's sake!, stuff for the van, stuff for the rider, stuff for the bikes...coolers, water bottles, first aid kits, Honey Stinger protein bars...STUFF.
So – I've made a few lists. And I've despaired at their enormity. And tossed 'em out and made new ones. Still the same STUFF. Augh!
And although I need all this stuff, I really don't need...all this stuff. It's secondary. My race won't collapse if I don't thoroughly research and choose the best headlights or raingear. Really. I'll be using the van lights for night illumination; my headlight needs to be legal. I need reasonable raingear – but I don't need the best in the world. First, there's no “best” raingear – it depends on the conditions. Second, it isn't going to be raining much more than half the time. Third – I've already GOT great raingear.
So – what gives? It's not like I'm not training – really, I am! - I guess I'm just feeling a little pressed by all of the details. In a way that's a good thing, right? If I start compiling now, it's a lot less likely that I'll show up in Oceanside and discover that I've forgotten, um, water bottles. We'll ignore the fact that even if I did biff on water bottles, it's a fixable problem – it's happened before. (Note to self – you need new cleats for those new SIDIs).
Some deranged ultracycling dybbuk is wandering around in my head (shouldn't you have a headlamp for Sebring? Just in case? Well???) and compelling me to think about all sorts of esoterica. Some of it is fun – I've been meaning to put my hand to jersey design for some time, and this is a great opportunity – and some of it is clearly outside my area of expertise (and therefore a monumental waste of time) – like electronic communication (what if we got Nextel walkie talkies instead?). Nutrition questions, at least I can think about clearly (Coconut oil? Fructose? Caffeine? Corn Dogs?...) but all the thinking in the world doesn't answer the really important question (“what will be tasty in Kansas?”).
Maybe that's part of the answer, come to think of it. There's NO WAY to know what's going to be tasty in Kansas, so I'm unconsciously concentrating on little things that I can control. (Note: chances are good that if my crew doesn't come across with a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich or two, though, I'll...I'll...I'll...keep riding the bike, I guess, just a little poutier than normal.)
There's no way to know much about how I'll feel in Kansas, or Missouri, or even my home state of Indiana. Hopefully I'll feel tired, energized, sad, ecstatic, angry, delighted, sore, and incredibly lucky. I know from experience that I'll not be worried one little bit about any of the details that are in my head right now. My life will be grossly simplified: ride, eat, sleep, and a quick trip behind the privacy sheet, then back to riding. Nothing else will matter very much. And I've got to say that I'm looking forward to that – very much.
Off to the gym. Time to clear the head.