Getting ‘out of office’ – Preparation

“How Bob Mould changed my life and this short tour”

In 1989, as a 13-year-old, I discovered Bob Mould through a review of his “Workbook” album in Rolling Stone magazine. I couldn’t relate at all to the pop music my school friends listened to (New Kids on the Block, Whitney Houston, etc). Consequently, I felt very empty and alone. I’d experimented with rock and pop metal, but Bob Mould was a revelation and changed forever my world of music. I quickly discovered his former punk band, Husker Du. I loved it – it was raw, fast, loud, hard and noisy! I went hungry for the rest of my time in junior high, saving my lunch money so I could purchase the entire Husker Du back catalogue as quickly as possible. From Bob Mould, I discovered many other bands that I still listen to today. And I’ve gone to see him perform quite a few times since.

This was the album and song that first sent chills down my spine. I had found something that spoke to me – the weirdo chick whose life was BMX freestyle bikes.

I also loved the noise of Bob’s former band – I fully identified with the angst and energy in early Husker Du music.

Fast forward to December 2012. I discovered Bob was going to tour Australia. Awesome – he has only been here about three times since 1980, and YouTube videos of his US dates showed he was in fine form.

The only problem was that the Sydney and Melbourne dates (both of which I can easily travel to) were smack in the middle of when I’d planned to do the Grampians trip from March 1-20! DOH!! So I got tickets for the Sydney date on March 9 and tried to think of ways to still make the tour work starting March 11. It became a logistical nightmare and just too tight of a timeframe with my flight to America on March 26.

I finally decided I should go for the ride BEFORE the Bob concert date instead. This meant less time to prepare for the ride physically and less time to try to wrap up a bunch of things before I headed off.

So I’ve left route planning pretty loose, because I’m comfortable with linking together a route while on the road. I’ve got a general idea of out and back routes, but I’m fine with making it up as I go.

I’ll be getting the bike tuned up, handlebars rewrapped and new chainring installed in the next few days. Most of my touring stuff is stored in one place – so I’m feeling okay with just throwing things in the panniers a few days ahead of time.

Physical preparation has posed the greatest problem because January was an absolute stinker of a month where I live. The entire month was incredibly hot – very few days with a high below 35C (95F), a bunch of days over 38C (100F), and several days of 43-45C (109-111F). So, coming off 2.5 years of almost no physical activity during the post-doc, all I could manage between the Dec 2012 solstice and the end of January was an hour or so of swimming most days at the big reservoir 6 miles from home. We’ll see what riding I can manage in early February if the weather cools off a bit as promised. Unfortunately, they are predicting another heatwave during the planned tour…sigh….

Let’s also see if I can compress six weeks of the ‘things to do before leaving for 6 months’ list into three weeks (so there are only small items to take care of in the two weeks of post-Grampians/pre-US trip).

Emerging from my daily swim at Lake Hume – the only physical activity I could manage in our super-hot January. This day was about 38C – though most of the time I swam in the morning before the sun hit high-sizzle mode. And yes, on days like this, when I only plan on swimming breast stroke, I swim with the hat on. The sun is ferocious here, and I can’t do freestyle or backstroke every day because of an arthritic right shoulder.


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