Across Continents

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Tactics

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Refreshing the plan to reach El Paso, I’d begun to realise how tactical I’d become. Economy of effort. On the road, finding myself, save for the toughest of climbs, averaging a steady ten miles an hour. No matter how much I might want to improve on it. Any tapering as the afternoon draws to a close barely noticeable. As if I’d a governor, limiting exertion to a level sustainable indefinitely.

Regular rests, even if running late. Often better to finish a little later than planned than rush and make mistakes. Chances are they’ll only compound your problems. If you do need to night ride, best to accept it. Do it slowly and safely. Always try and tackle steep climbs fresh in the morning, or at least not at the end of the day.

Longer days in the saddle are always possible if you’re going to be staying with a host and have no need to pitch the tent. But never normally on the day you depart. Early starts a bit rude, especially if you arrived late the previous evening. Always making best use of local advice, especially from fellow riders with a similar perspective. Exploiting weather windows wherever possible, although wait for ideal conditions and you’d never leave.

Working in roughly thousand mile blocks. Each ending with three or four days off the road. Domestics, writing, cycle and kit maintenance and planning to be done. All with a steadiness, a stoicism, that extends beyond the saddle.

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