I spent the last eight days on the annual Cycle the Erie Canal Tour that is run by Parks and Trails New York. There were around 600 people who rode the route from Buffalo to Albany New York this year. As usual, it was a well run and enjoyable ride. Yesterday afternoon I arrived home from Albany at about 4:30 in the evening. It’s great to be home, but as each tour ends it’s like the end of summer vacation.
As soon as I got out of bed this morning and got dressed, I went downstairs to start the chore of unpacking that always follows a big trip. I started with the camping gear. All of it went outside to be dried and aired in the sun: tent, rainfly, ground cloth, sleeping bag, pillows, and mattress. It can all be stored in the stuff sacks and ready for the next tour after a day in the sun. This kind of care makes it easy to pack the things for the next tour without the worry that something will not be ready. It gives me a chance to inspect everything as I roll items up and put them away.
The clothes is another story. When I arrived home yesterday evening, I just wanted to relax for a while. I took off my shoes and sat in the living room with my wife. It didn’t take long for her to ask, “What’s that smell? It smells like dirty socks.” That was right on point. I took them off and stuck them into the pannier with the rest of my dirty clothes to get them out of sight and smell until the next day.
Almost everything that I take to wear on a bicycle tour is synthetic because it dries quickly and can easily be worn more than once without washing. Socks, on the other hand, can get rank smelling even after just one wearing. I wore them all at least twice. In the future, socks may be the only clothing item that I pack for each day.
The entire lump of damp and smelly clothes went into the clothes washer. All of it is synthetic, so it all went together for a cold wash. When dry, I’ll fold everything and make sure that everything is in good shape for the next tour.
My bicycle also needs cleaning more than anything else. It is covered with grit from the stone dust trails that we rode for days. I’ll spray it with the garden hose and oil the chain afterward.
The saddle will need to be replaced. I had a very weird thing happen with it. The bicycle mechanic on the tour even thought that it was very unusual. One of the seat rails broke. I noticed it after arriving in camp on day seven because my seat was lopsided. I was able to slide both broken parts into the clamp and tighten it enough to hold together for the ride to Albany on the last day of the tour.
By the end of the day everything will be clean and put away. I will relax for a few days before going back to training on the local trails. In the meantime, I’ll start to think about where I want to go next.