Friday, July 4, 2014

Lessons Learned: Sierra-Cascades

My recent Sierra-Cascades tour was neither the longest in terms of miles nor the longest in terms of days. The trip, nonetheless, offered opportunities for learning.

Just as I have done for my previous bike trips, I have composed a list of the lessons learned from my Sierra-Cascades ride:

Biking at Yosemite.
  • Don't ever pass up the opportunity to let cowboys help you.
  • Sometimes there will be downhill in your uphill.
  • You're the only thing in your way.
  • John Muir had damn good taste.
  • Jump for joy, and jump often.
  • Do not place the head of your tent over an ant hill.
  • Trust, but verify, Google Map's bike directions.
  • If presented the opportunity, definitely climb Half Dome.
  • If presented the opportunity, definitely bike around Crater Lake (ideally in non-blizzard conditions).
  • Seize the moment to ride naked.
  • At the onset of a tour, make sure your spare tubes do not have any patches.
  • Limit the number of patches applied to a tube to two -- three max, if necessary.
  • Do not purchase a new jar of peanut butter until the previous jar of peanut butter has been completely consumed.
  • Rather than letting the unsynchronized two-ply toilet paper peeve your pets, simply resynchronize the sheets (as described by Fulvio, in the comments to Day #3: Stream of Consciousness).
  • One can never cease to be amazed by the generosity of strangers.
  • Lifelong friends can be made in just a few days.
  • A real dinner at the end of the day is far better than a bean burrito. (Thanks Ferit & Dilek!)
  • Each and every summit, no matter the elevation, is a summit well earned. Take a photo to cherish the moment.
  • It's best to end a trip wanting to ride forever.
  • It's the journey, and not the destination, that matters.
  • There's no value in pushing your passion beyond the point of enjoyment.

For additional lessons learned from my other bike trips, see:

Note to Self: For next bike trip, get sponsorship from Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter. :)


  1. Many of these I live by! Others I will now use as well!

    I have many pics of summits, but now I will be sure to take more! They are important!

    Crater Lake is a must ride, and I will do so again!

    I have never heard the Downhill in my Uphill so spoken, but you are EXACTLY right!

    Once the passion becomes work, and you aren't having fun, its time to change! (However, somedays its good to force your butt in the saddle, rarely am I sorry)

    Additional rules?
    Ride your own ride. (doesn't matter how fast or slow, when its right for you it is right)

    Feel free to change the route when you want to. (Its my ride dammit I will go where I want.

    And finally, amending the cowboy rule to "Cute Cowboys" Its ok to decline the toothless, beer gutted unbathed cowboys

    Thanks for sharing Sarah!

    1. I can't claim credit for the "there's downhill in my uphill" comment, as the comment was spoken by my riding partner, Alex, as we pedaled up to one of the many summits on the trip. (I can claim credit for "there's uphill in my downhill," however, which I didn't include in the above list.) My unsolicited suggestion to Alex was to focus on the number of miles to the summits, rather than the number of feet of elevation; regardless of all of the uphills and downhills, each turn of the pedal got us one fraction of a distance closer to the summit.

      Your "ride your own ride" and "feel free to change the route when you want to" are also great rules, though I will admit that I haven't quite figured out the best way to accomplish these when riding with a partner, as negotiation typically prevents the full implementation of these rules.

      Finally, you are spot-on with the "cute cowboys" amendment. I very much appreciate your numerous cowboy comments on this trip -- it means a lot to me that you are looking out for me optimal well-being. ;)

    2. I do have to say that is one reason I ALWAYS ride alone. I know I am missing someone to share things with, and sometimes it would be fun to talk to someone and share stories. But her I guess I am a bit selfish,

      I want to stop where I stop, and go when i want to go. Is it picture time or sandwich time, or just sit and stare time. Of course the other reason is my friends and family think I am nuts, and therefore if I don't ride alone I don't ride :)

      And yes ma'am, I felt it was my job to help you to your recommended tour allowance of cowboyness!

  2. I like how you're always open to learning new things, Sarah. I need to do more of that!


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