Thoughts about Training for Adventure

Adventure Training: The wide open roads of Patagonia.

My hypothesis is that nobody should train for an Adventure. It’s not only unnecessary, but also impossible. It’s damn good I feel that way, too, as Tour Divide isn’t too far off!

Before you roll your eyes at me, hear out my theory.

Adventure, at least by definition, is little more than a series of feelings or emotions. It isn’t about fitness or endurance. There is no mention of competition, either.

What exactly is adventure?

Adventure – Noun

An unusual and daring, typically hazardous, experience or activity.

By the very definition, adventure precludes training. It cannot be unusual or exciting if it’s been trained for regularly. That’s almost the difference between being a professional athlete and an adventurer.

Nobody considers the Tour De France as adventure. It’s a professional sporting event with athletes racing for the Champs Elysees. While the lightening fast descents can be hazardous, the race isn’t unusual or daring. Each competitor has prepared for Le Tour for years.

The Tour Divide, on the other hand, is battled out by surly souls determined to reach Antelope Wells, New Mexico. They aren’t professional cyclists. Paul Howard, author of the Tour Divide classic Eat, Sleep, Ride had to purchase his first mountain bike just weeks before competing.

How do I prepare for an adventure? I keep it simple.

5-Step Adventure Planning Checklist:

  1. Dream up an adventure.
  2. Acquire the necessary equipment or make do without it
  3. Pack and make travel arrangements
  4. Take time off work/quit work completely
  5. Complete step 1

Is Adventure Really that Easy?

I cycled from Punta Arenas, Chile, to San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina, with my fiancé just one month before our wedding. Prior to that trip, she’d never ridden more than 50km in one day. We managed. She suffered, probably a lot more than I’ll ever know, as we pulled off 100 km day after 100 km day. But we managed to complete the ride and still walk down the aisle. It’s still one of our fondest memories, too.

Adventure: Cycling the Patagonia Steppe came without training.

With the Tour Divide looming in the all-to-near future, I cannot help but worry about my lack of training. I’m fit but I’ve been battling through a series of minor injuries this winter, so I haven’t been logging the hours I should for a race/ride like Tour Divide. At the same time, I believe Tour Divide is equal parts mental and physical. I’m confident I can grind it out just as long as I get on the bike each morning and convince myself there is nothing I’d rather do.

Adventure can be that easy; just select a goal and go accomplish it.

Share Your Adventures

What adventures do you have planned for 2014? Let me know in the comments and leave a link if you’re blogging about the experience!



3 Comments on “Thoughts about Training for Adventure

  1. We are cycling Amsterdam to Copenhagen and beyond this spring. What ever 4-5 weeks will get us. The longer adventures have been put on hold for a couple of years as there are a bunch of grandchildren who grow too fast while we are away:)
    Home, then up to the Yukon for a bit this summer, then off to the Mediterranean in the fall.
    Life is and seems to have always been an adventure. A new one starts each morning.

  2. Enjoy reading your comments and seeing the beautiful pictures! I agree 100% with your comments. I too am (hopefully) doing the Tour this summer, and all I can say about the training I am doing is that I hope it means I can have an adventure and not experience a disaster! If I was mentally stronger and had more experience I would hopefully be able to do as you are doing. Instead, I hope the training will make up for those deficiencies. But I do agree. I hope to wake up each morning with a will to simply ride and see and take what the day and trail brings.
    All the best on your road trip, and maybe we will meet in Banff in a few weeks….

    • Hello Tom! It’d be great to meet up on the road in Banff or to the south. The post was written thinking about my lack of an overall training schedule. I’ll probably have about 4500 kms on my bike this year before things kick off in Banff. I figure it’ll be enough, even if slot of those miles are on a road bike.

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