We all have limitations, that is no secret. How we approach them, accept them + adventure with this is what makes us all a little different. Sometimes our limitations are external — there is literally a unpassable, raging river between us + our destination. Other times we’re stopped by something within — our body giving up before our brains have, or vice versa.
When we’re out adventuring we’re doing it because we have some sort of goal, right? Even if that goal is to simply enjoy life on the trail…it’s a goal. We put forth the effort to get to that goal + 90% of the time it all pays off. The other 10% of the time something gets in the way.
our lives, packed into a few bags strapped to bicycles.
Let’s take bike touring, as an example…a very real life example. I set off to Croatia with a new-to-me touring bike with a singular goal: cycle along the 700km coast from Rovinj to Dubrovnik in two weeks. Considering the topic we started out on, it’s safe to assume that is not quite what’s happening.
On day one I failed to pay attention to my water + electrolyte intake. As an ultra runner I knew it was important, but on the bike I was so focused on road rules, staying upright + navigating I simply forgot to drink. It was an 85+ degree day + I was cycling in direct sunlight; forgetting water was *not* a good thing. By the end of the day, I was miserable. I felt like I had the flu — everything hurt from the tops of my ears to the tips of my toes. Things that were not at all affected by the act of cycling were throbbing.
I let the heat kick my bum.
The following day was spent in lazy recovery. I chugged water like it was my life line [it kind of is when it’s a bajillion degrees out!], napped in the shade + ate French fries under the premise of “salt!”. By the end of my recovery day, I was feeling so much better!
the ideal way to recover — ocean views, books + ice cream!
A friend of mine, Sophie, had flown down from the UK with her bike to join my “Cycling the Coast of Croatia” adventure. She arrived the evening of “ahh, I think I’m dying” + jumped on board my day of recovery. After that — we were off!
Over the course of four days, we cycled roughly 120 miles of rolling hills in the relentless heat of a coastal country in July. Of that time, we’ve had two days of solid cycling where we were both feeling good. The first day, I wanted to curl up + drown in my own sweat. The last day, Sophie wanted to ride her bike off a cliff into the ocean.
At the moment…we’re simply killing time by the seaside + waiting for noon to roll around so we can go pick up our rental car.
Yup. Rental car.
Which is 100% *not* something on our original “Cycling the Coast of Croatia” game plan. Honestly, I’m still struggling to accept this. I want to see more coastal highway + I want to see how far I can go on a bike in one day. But, this isn’t just me + we’re running out of time.
Enter those pesky external limitations.
history + culture, what we’ll be getting more of by getting a rental car.
Our biggest limitation right now is time. We just don’t have time to cover the distance ahead of us. We need to be in Dubrovnik, approximately 600km away, in one week. That’s about 70km per day. It’s feasible, yes. However, we would be doing very little more than just cycling, eating + sleeping. All of those things are imporant…but they don’t quite fulfill the ‘enjoy the adventure’ goal I always set for myself. Personally, that’s a really important goal!
Our Plan B became a rental car. It’s going to cost us money [something we were trying really hard not to spend, seeing as how we’re so focused on just biking + camping], but it is also going to give us more freedom.
Rather than chasing the sun along the coastline, we can head inland + scope out the Plitvice Lakes National Park without the fear of “will it be worth 4 days of cycling?!”. We’ll also be able to enjoy our down time without feeling guilting about “wasting bike time”. Instead of cruising past cool lookout points or waterfalls, we can stop + stare without the stress of “gotta get back on the bike!”.
So, limitations. We’re accepting ours. It’s changing out how we’re doing our trip + it’s costing us about $300 but…it should give us a whole different experience here in Croatia. At least that’s what I’m telling myself right now, as I mourn to end of my epic adventure of my first cycling tour.