How does one train to ride across the US?

I’ve been asked to write a post about my training. I had thought about that before and thought it would be boring. I was urged to write it anyway and make it not boring.

Obviously, you don’t train for this by doing it. No one completes an Ironman as training for an Ironman. You don’t ride across the US to train to ride across the US. Still, you have to do something to put yourself in a position to succeed.

You don’t focus on a result. I once went through a long and intensive workshop focused on getting through it. I treated it as an ordeal. The best I can say is I survived it. I had to do it again to actually do the workshop. I don’t want to arrive at the Atlantic Ocean only to say I made it. Turning the cranks for 80 miles per day for 55 days of riding requires enjoying that process. If I never coasted, I’d turn the cranks about 1.5 million times.

Most of us go to work every day. Do we enjoy what we do? My dad used to say, “It’s not supposed to be fun. That’s why they call it work.” After he retired, he said, “Don’t waste your time spending 8 hours a day doing something you don’t enjoy.” I think he finally learned something.

Training the mind is harder than training the body. Emotional weakness is probably a bigger impediment than physical weakness. Being vulnerable seems to be a key. I can’t fake it for 2 months. The possibility of not making it is there. I know I have never learned anything I already knew. That sounds obvious, but not knowing, being open to possibility, is the only route to growth I have found.

How to have fun? (Duh…remember, I’m doing this for fun.)


That’s one answer. R. Crumb’s Mr Natural approaches doing the dishes as a chore. He then enters a state where he is just doing the dishes. He later gets into it, scrubbing that pot to be sure it’s clean. Pretty soon he is whistling, and he ends up taking pleasure in looking at the sparkling glass and acknowledges a job well done.

If you’re going to work 8 hours a day, you might as well want to be there. It makes it a lot more enjoyable than not wanting to be there. Wanting what you have, in my experience, brings a lot less pain and suffering than wanting what you don’t have.

My son used to grumble about his homework. Once, in about 5th grade, I asked him how long it took to do an assignment. He gave an accurate assessment. Then I asked him how long he spent agonizing over it before he started. He gave another pretty accurate assessment. I didn’t need to say anything else.

Next time – really, how do you train to ride across the US?