And so it begins....

Today marks four days from departing on one of the most epic adventures that I have ever taken, and surprisingly enough, it is in my own backyard. On July 13, I will be joining a crew of four other people who will be riding the newly developed trail network called the Oregon Timber Trail. Three of them will be riding the first couple of tiers, dropping off at Oakridge.  Two of us will continue on to Sisters, at which point, my plan is to continue solo. This will be my first solo trip, and while it will only be six days of the entire 20-21 day journey, I am a bit intimidated, to say the least. The final tier of the journey is said to said to be some of the most difficult terrain of the entire 669 miles. 

To say I am nervous would be an understatement.  Not only is this one of the most rigorous bikepacking courses I have ever attempted,  I am also probably the least physically fit that I have ever been going into something like this. The past two years has been spent completing my masters degree in Music at Portland State University, putting a damper on my fitness. Yes, I know, you gotta make time for fitness and get to the gym, and it only takes 30 minutes of general activety to keep in shape, etc., etc.,. But, really, by the time I'm in classes seven hours a day, plus my Graduate Teacher Assistantship responsbilities and hours of rehearsal and hours of practicing the piano, even if I had time to workout, I have been so exhausted that all I want to do at the end of the day is wrap myself in a warm blanket and watch an episode of a mindless sitcom and fall asleep. But, no excuses - I have the body that I have and the fitness I have right now, and I just need to respect that. I had always heard that you don't really train for these things, you just ride into fitness while you are out there. And honestly, I believe it, but it also means you really have to respect your body. You have to acknowledge that you might not be able to push as hard as you want to, or that you used to be able to last summer. You have to acknowledge that your joints are going to ache a little bit more than usual and your muscles might cramp a bit more than usual.  And that's okay.  I truly believe that respecting the body and the terrain and accepting what you have to give for that day is enough is the key to gettin throug most anything.  Now, of course, if you have the time to do shakedown trips and fitness rides and strength training for all your adventures, you definitely should!  Injury prevention is very important...maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel a little better....

So, with that.  I will keep you posted possibly thorughout, but most likely after I get back.  And here's to hoping that things go well and that I come out on the other side a bigger and better person!  As I continue to build this adventure center, I hope to be able to recap on my past adventures as well. This most recent adventure has stoked the fire of sharing not only my stories and tips, but also successes and failures in hopes of encouraging you all to get outside and enjoy the stoke that mother nature has to offer!  

Karey Miles