Zen On Dirt

Mental versus physical recovery disparity


We got home late after the Gila. Sometime circa 11:30 and then somehow I conned Scott into making bacon and eggs for me for dinner. I’m a lucky girl because he wasn’t looking too motivated for the task at first and apparently I was craving salt and fat. I don’t really remember much after laying down in bed and pulling the covers up. We’d drawn the shades and closed our door, making our bedroom a pretty good little cave, planning on sleeping late into the morning.

But no. At 7 am, something decided to spook our six chickens. I’d heard of people using chickens as guard animals before and I’d laughed at the concept. Chickens? Really? But let me tell you, when something spooks them (neighborhood cat? snake? ghost?), those six lady hens can raise a racket like it’s nobody’s business. And they did. So at 7 am, we found ourselves awake. It was awesome.

So we dawdled away the morning. First breakfast. Nap. Brunch at Mi Ranchito. More lounging in the sun. Chat with Alexis and Caroline as they were coming back from their Starr Pass ride. More sitting in the sun watching the neighborhood kids play. I found myself thinking about how content I was just to sit, and how maybe I didn’t need to go on a big adventure after all. Planning the logistics of riding to San Diego sounded hard. Figuring out how to loop the Mojave Desert road seemed like a chore. I was digging the sun. And my camp chair. And my book.

On Monday I went for a little ride. The highlight? A purple flower sticking out of the rock. Dreams of adventure seemed far away. Starr Pass is so fun, why would I want to travel? I went to sleep feeling the tinges of a sore throat. I took some vitamin C and shook it off.


After two more rides out at Starr Pass, I could feel that my legs were still more on the tired side than the spry side. I’d wake up each morning with a sore throat, but after mega-dosing vitamin C, I’d feel better and was fairly certain than I’d win the battle over whatever bug I was engaged in combat with.


But while the body was tired, craving sleep and easy rides, vitamins and sleep, the mind started wandering. I started looking at the calendar – I want to be in town for 24 Hour of Old Pueblo, but I want to do a bikepacking trip on the Camino de Diablo. I’d love to eat carne asada after the Tor de 50, but the Kofa mountains and the wildlife preserve looks really neat.  I wonder if I could follow the Colorado River from Yuma to Blyth and then wander over to the Salton Sea and take the Stagecoach 400 route to San Diego?


On Thursday I tried to give my body an honest-to-goodness recovery day to kick the infection. I lasted until about 5 until I went stir-crazy and convinced Scott that we should go out to Starr Pass and watch the sunset. While the sunset was a dud, unlike the one the previous night, it still felt good to get out and be outside for an hour and change. The throat was still sore. I was still ready to go to bed at 9.


If only all sunsets could be this good…


Rufus, the neighborhood stray cat, couldn’t be bothered with the sunset. He just wanted his treats. 

I started making the mental list for things I’d need to get my fatbike ready for touring on the sand. Change the cassette. Put some pedals on. Find a seat post and a seat that would work. I thought about what I’d need to do to the Mariachi to get it ready for a 500-mile trek to the ocean where my plan was to get someone to teach me how to surf. I put the wheels in motion for a map of the Mojave and an early birthday present/late Christmas present from my parents to let me stay more connected while living off the bike.

I finally put in a 10-hour sleep night and woke up feeling closer to healthy than to sick.


I wish the body could recover as fast as the mind. While I was loving basking in the sun, relishing doing nothing, on Sunday, and even Monday, by Tuesday, I was ready to move, to see, to explore. I used to say that if I could have a super power, I’d want insta-recovery. Sometimes, I think I’d settle for having a more on-par, slower mental recovery that better matched the physical one. What if I could just sit and re-live the highs and lows of a big ride for an ENTIRE week before I started to have itchy feet again?

Well, one things for certain, I might be more content, and a less of a pain-in-the-ass for those who have to listen to my plotting and scheming (i.e. Scott) that way, but now I’ve got Scott interested in the Mojave trip that I have maps for, I’ve discovered how the Salton Sea was formed, and I’ve stumbled across a fun looking ride that could be a perfect way to start my 32nd trip around the sun.

Sometimes I think that I wish that I’d be better at sitting still. And then I realize that I really don’t.


3 thoughts on “Mental versus physical recovery disparity

  1. Ride to the sea and learn to surf! Those are some real goals. I love it.

  2. Ha! Learn to surf? Do you have a a whole other life*time* to commit to that? I mean to REALLY learn to ride waves. Riding your bike to the sea will be the easy part.


    One life trail feature always leads to the next. I would help if your serious.

  3. Stumbled across this write-up on the Tor de 50 website. I slapped together a route from Phoenix to the Salton Sea and rode it in late December of 2013 on my Mukluk. The route utilized a long gas line road and was pretty much pavement free all the way from the Eagletail Mountains to the Salton Sea. The route also snaked me through the north end of KOFA. The Bradshaw Trail is a nice clean way to get from the CO River to the Salton Sea. With a little pavement riding I have no doubt you could link the Bradshaw Trail into the SC400 route. If you’d like any GPS data from the route, I’d be happy to share.

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