I have never considered myself to be high maintenance, but over the years I have found that there are some things I consider to be necessary to make me a happy girl. And last week, I found the things I need for a happy girl on a hut trip. Now I know all of you know about things like water, bike tools, spare tube and a (hopefully working) backpack. I’m talking about the true components to make sure you have a smile on your face at the top of every climb, the bottom of every descent and everywhere in between.
Now that I’ve summed up my tour experience, I thought I’d spend a minute covering the lesser considers but equally important components of a multi day tour.
1: Good friends. This is a must! Friends make or break a day, can bring you up when you’re feeling down, and there is nothing better than ending a day of riding and knowing you have built not only stronger muscles but a stronger bond of friendship, and created lasting memories.
2: Music. Huts are quiet. Eerily quiet when you’re used to traffic, electronics, phone calls…and plus, music is life. I can’t go a day without it, let alone a week. And it’s the perfect way to get going in the morning, wind down in the evening, and fill that void as you all spend some time in your own minds after a grueling day in the saddle.
3: Good chamois. Need I say more? My personal recommendation is Primal Helix bibs. They make both men and women specific and the top of the line chamois is key. I have ridden in a number of different brands and this is the only one I would trust for a multi day trip.
4: Skratch….the exercise mix, the rescue mix, the chews…if you’re really feeling sassy, add in their cycling cap. In my mind there is no comparable product on the market, and its a must on any ride.
5: Training. Can be on a trainer or my preference is at a fun, awesome spin studio with talented instructors. I go to my local studio, Alive Fitness, and even during the hardest classes, I have a great time! It’s been amazing the gains I have seen from spin. I know a lot of people feel just going out and riding is all the training they need, and for some that’s true, but a controlled environment really allows you to tap into unknown potential. And it’s great to keep your strength up during bad weather and time crunched schedules. Bonus: if you attend Jasmine’s classes you may also get introduced to great new music, as she has eclectic taste and a great knack for finding lesser known musicians.
6: Badass socks. Because sock doping is not a crime. And nothing pops like a bike short/sock tan line combo. Especially attractive when you’re lounging at a Vegas pool, as I learned last fall. In all seriousness, I have some friends who just ride with regular athletic socks, and I have found those to be of lesser quality. I am usually rocking some vivid Handlebar Mustache apparel socks, or of course, one of my many fun Primal Wear pairs. For colder weather, SmartWool makes a cycling specific sock that I love as well.
7: A sense of humor. Be able to laugh at yourself at any given time. At your mistakes, your struggles, your low blood sugar induced tantrums, your inability to accurately throw a horseshoe….and always be ready to strike a fun pose!
At the end of the day, what you really need to remember it is all meant to be fun. As John F Kennedy said, “Nothing compares to the simple joy of riding a bicycle.”