Tuesday, August 11, 2015

This is not easy

I must admit that I am beginning to face reality.  This is not easy!

The first day was brutal as I relayed.

The second day was not bad. Mostly downhill. Anything after the first day looked good. And I only tried to increase my mileage from 15 to 30 miles/day. 

But today, the third one, was not easy. I wanted to increase my mileage to 50.  That did not happen. I was lucky to get in 30.  The 30 took me 8 hours, for a pace of about 4 mph. 

My bike is so heavy with my gear packed into my panniers that any incline or elevation gain slows me down to a crawl. I am quickly in my lowest of low gears. I may be moving at 3-4 mph. 

And that is assuming that I am pedaling. More often than not any incline of any significance will cause me to get off the bike and attempt to walk it up the hill.  Even that, with its weight, is not easy. 

Today I walked the bike probably 25% of the time. 

I feel beat. Tired. 

Tomorrow looks to be more of the same. 

Not sure what this all means. One option is to change my daily schedule. I could start an hour earlier. And I could stop at two and take a nap, and then resume at 3 or 4.  Try to get out of the hottest part of the day.  It is hot here and there is no shade along the route.

Another option is to alter my diet. I am drinking tons of water, so that is good.  And I am getting electrolytes throughout the day. But I could increase my calorie intake. I am not eating much. Don't feel hungry and it is so hot.  Breakfast is not much, maybe cheese and a piece of toast. Lunch is a cheese sandwich. Dinner is very good with pasta, fish and fruit. 

A third option is to change the route.  Instead of riding on the walking path I could stay more on the paved roads. 

Another option is to change my goals. Maybe 50 miles per day is too ambitious. If I drop it to 30/day will I be able to make it to Santiago by the 25 th of August?  If I do 30 per day I would finish on the 24 th.  that does not allow for a rest day or two. Not allowing for going to Finisterra, the "end of the earth". Not allowing for a casual relaxing drive along the northern coast of Spain, visiting Bilbao and San Sebastián.  

Not sure. I will see how tomorrow goes and revisit the issue. 

A massage would feel real good right now. 


  1. Neil..I have been following your pilgrimage..the rain then waiting, the mountains ..It is hard to digest reality. It could take sometime. You are on a pilgrimage with God. It is awesome what you are doing. It would be hard. That is how god is. Lee

  2. Neil, I think you should take it easy. Rest... go the easy way. How is your heart? The man I knew who walked it was 25. take care of your body. Lee

  3. Neil, I have posted on several occasions, which you have not received. Hopefully you get this one. Well, looking at those bags on the bike, that looks like the problem, too much weight with a tough terrain. But, if anyone can do it, it is Neil (emphasis added). The pictures of the countryside are spectacular. It looks very peaceful. I don't envy your trek, but I do envy the total experience. You Neil Peterson are truly a pioneer and a pilgrim. GO GO Go, and while you are there, brush up on your Spanish because as I recall from a few years back, you need the practice. Good luck, stay safe and keep the updates coming. I am proud of you buddy. Norm Jester

  4. Ive tried this 3 times. Maybe it will work now. This is Neil's version of book and movie Wild. Who gets to play Neil in the movie?
    Karen Hedlund

  5. Neil, you are the "go to" person who relishes on thinking outside the box! I know that you will figure out how to make this work for you soon! You have come up with some strategies of what to do, and I look forward to reading what you implement.. Too bad you can't get rid of some of that baggage. On a different trip you have a sherpa carry some of it, or get a donkey to carry the gear! Really appreciate the pictures along with your posts to see the terrain and the country-side of your journey. Denise.

  6. Neil, I have also been reading / following, and thoroughly enjoying your posts.

    Thanks for so openly sharing your thoughts, feelings, challenges and humility. Living a more sedentary lifestyle these days with a young family, etc., and sharing a kindred spirit in terms of adventurous forms of travel, I'm grateful that I'm able to vicariously re-visit my 20's wanderlust through your experience - I think it's fantastic : ) !

    Ok, so sounds like you're encountering some 'headwind' in your journey. While this can be humbling, when I reflect back to similar challenges in my life, I can't help but think that it is also what makes it all worthwhile in the end - doesn't it ? As an avid runner, when I run a longer distance than I'm used to, over terrain (i.e. hilly) that I'm not familiar with, there is a slight fluttering in my stomach before I set out. This being said, the other half of me can't wait to start, as I'm eager for the challenge. The one thing I will share with you that seems to help me in these situations is the same advice that I believe we both received on our respective trips up Kili and that is - 'Pole pole' (slowly, slowly). When the going gets tough, I deliberately slow things down, mentally re-group, focus on my stride vs. the finish line. Focusing on proper technique and enjoying the beauty of the moment (vs. 'how am I going to overcome this') is what I most get out of this type of experience, as I've found that these are the moments which are the most rewarding in the end. Sometimes I deliberately concentrate on the smallest things - leveraging that ADHD hyper focus - the rocks on the path, the breeze, colours of the fields, my breath...

    So, in short, for what it's worth - if it makes sense to you (as I'm a runner, not a cyclist) perhaps slow it down a little and try your best to embrace these difficult moments - as overcoming them can be the most memorable (saying this, I feel like I'm preaching to the converted : ) . What you're doing is inspiring Neil, and I hope that I am able to have the courage, physical and mental fortitude to attempt what you are already doing, after I have achieved a similar number of trips around the sun ; ) .

    Bon courage!

  7. Cannot even imagine doing what you are accomplishing each day! So proud of you! But perhaps slowing down in order to enjoy your days and not worry about a set schedule is the best plan? Anyway you can ship home some of the weight? I know you want to stay on time, but maybe change flight plans to allow for your fun trips at the end? Love ya!

  8. I emailed you to "eat like an athlete"! You're eating half of what you should during the day for the kind of effort you're doing. Eat more protein for breakfast and lunch and take snacks for mid-day and mid-afternoon. It'll make a difference.