The 30 pre-lunch miles were all made on Highway 101. After lunch, I stuck to side roads that ran me through some really beautiful Sonoma wine country. The majority of the miles for the rest of the afternoon were through this same scenery. It was really pretty, but it got very old quickly as I went up and down very short , very steep hills over and over and over. I really started thinking about how my perception of biking changes of the course of the day as the mileage total climbs.
A midday downpour foced me take shelter!
Let's look at my last 3 days. 87 miles over ~7 hours, 89 miles over ~9 hours (lots of hills), and 67 miles over ~6 hours (headwind all day). What you can see is that once you take the 3 hours out of each of these rides, I end up less-than-thrilled with more than 1/2 of my time on the bike (sometimes with only 1/3 of it!). Biking is awesome, just not on the scale and pace at which I am currently doing it. I am also racing against time; this is something few other cyclists experience. I would love nothing more than to spend a week in San Francisco visiting the many college friends I have in the city. Not gonna happen. I will spend one night max before I race south towards Monterey. While I am far from the hardest core biker out there, what I have generally observed is that people carrying the same weight as me are covering fewer miles. Those that are covering the same number of miles are carrying less or taking much longer to bike those miles. I can't bike too slowly or I won't get any birding done. In fact, I have not been passed on the road by another fully-loaded cyclist this year while I myself have passed plenty. Again, bike touring, if done under different circumstances than mine, is completely enjoyable. This is why so many people do it! The other thing folks have to remember is that for me biking would come WAY behind birding and photographing as how I would like to spend my free time. I haven't taken my binoculars out since noon on the 16th. That was 2.5 days and ~230 miles ago! For most bike tourists, biking is the focus. For me, it's just a means to get from bird to bird. Nothing wrong with either perspective. They're just really different.
I am just trying to paint a realistic picture of how I feel on any given day. Bike-birding on the local level is great; On the national/continent level it is a completely different animal. There is no comparison that can be drawn between the two. The biggest thing that I must continue to remember is that although this year is going to be incredibly challenging and I will be unspeakably uncomfortable for much of it, I will reap countless years of memories, joy, and friendships from it. It will be so nice to step back and examine the body of work from a completely healthy standpoint rather than dissecting it day-by-day in my current battered state.
Tomorrow there will be some actual birding - Woo Hoo!!!
Lastly, I saw this on the roadside today and could only think of Michael Bolton going crazy on the fax/printer!