I’ve been feeling pretty anxious lately about the obstacles I may, no, WILL, face on this tour. Oddly enough, I’ve accepted the major risks inherent to traveling by bike in Africa (risk of collision, malaria, heat stroke, theft etc, I’ll leave these worries for my family). Instead, it’s the not so obvious scenarios that I’m worrying about:
(in order of anxiety induced)
- pain, particularly in my neck, but also in my knees. Both have been problem areas in the past, and without opportunities for adequate rest, I know these could turn into major energy and confidence drains once aggravated. My only hope is that popping pills (I usually avoid painkillers unless absolutely necessary) and stretching will be enough
- cold weather. Yes I’m from Winnipeg and yes I’ll be in Africa, but I’m one of those people whose feet and fingers go numb when it is 19•C. It takes a lot of warmth – space heater, down comforter and boyfriend’s body heat – for me to shake the discomfort of a cold night, none of which will be available in my tent when the temperatures drop at night and at altitude.
- I can handle mosquitos and other flying objects, but the thought of crawly nasty bugs invading my sleeping quarters is unnerving
- I’m grossly underprepared for this tour in terms of mechanical skills, endurance training, and bum conditioning. I just hope I’m not the only one.
- equipment malfunction. Highly technical gear will be nearly impossible to replace once en route, and pretty much everything I am bringing, from tent to shoes will be needed on a daily basis.
- finally, I’m worried about my health, from digestive issues to not having enough food or water between rest stops.
I understand that most of these anxieties are really just problems in attitude and thus am trying to manage them with positive mental imagery. I imagine myself staying positive, embracing challenges and accepting that pain is temporary, among other cheesy reminders.
Of course the question “Am I ready?” is also keeping me up at night. Wondering if I should bring one pair of glasses or two, whether I am packing too much or too little clothing for cold weather, if I have enough tent pegs, if I should invest in a bike trainer and so on.
At this point, I’ve spent so much time preparing, worrying, and preparing some more that I just need to get to the start line and realize that everything will be ok.