A "test run" - figuring some things out
Updated: Mar 16
I did have some initial worries about our bike-supported run on the East Coast Greenway. I wasn't worried about the physical part; riding 40-ish miles a day is doable, even with a trailer in tow. But can I do it while working AND crewing an ultrarunner? Also, how will Shan manage on the days when I am too busy to crew? I cautioned him that it won't be like his first USA crossing, where the van met him regularly with food and water, like a mobile, on-demand aid station. He responded with his usual "It'll be fine."
That didn't stop me from planning a "test run", though, so I could see for myself. I made a beautiful spreadsheet mapping out a 9-day, 360+ mile trip along the historic Erie Canal. We ordered an awesome little trail map, made a checklist, and, after consulting with my gear-junky friend Dave, ordered a trailer. We biked the entire length of the Erie Canalway Trail, from Buffalo to Albany, in October 2021. And it was a wonderful success! I was able to work out a balance between cycling, working, and crewing.
Luckily the Erie Canalway Trail is never too far from 'civilization'. Some days I went into town, picked up food, and met Shan for a trailside lunch date, and other days I zoomed ahead to work, leaving Shan to fend for himself. It was no surprise to see that he is extremely self-sufficient. There were a few times I hid a care package on the trail and sent Shan a picture of where it was hidden, along with a Google Maps location. So, instead of taking a trailside
break with me or, like before, stopping at his mobile aid station (the van), he would go on a treasure hunt. I'm sure it's more fun to take breaks with someone rather than snacking alone, but looking for covert aid stations must keep things interesting, right? At least we still had our evenings together, regardless of how the day unfolded. Either way, it seemed to work for both of us. And now I feel like I have one less thing to worry about. Cheers!