I’m just starting to realize that there’s so much more than the physical aspects, and I find it fascinating to discover and learn about them as I go. I’ve seen articles, books, and podcasts dealing with the topic, but I would like to start with my thoughts and reflections.

As riding distances increase, I find myself in moments where I hit rock bottom and don’t feel ready for the efforts I want to get out of my body. When conditions feel just too tough to push through or when I come to realize that I’m underprepared for the situation.

The best thing about riding off-road is that you do not always have an option to evade these moments. You don’t want to call your wife to bail you out or jump on a train just because you missed bringing a spare part or didn’t prepare your gear right.

Proper preparation helps build the confidence you need to deal with everything a long-distance ride can throw your way. I’ve always been a planner and enjoy this part of cycling and bikepacking. Gear lists, proper bike checks before every ride, or smart route planning to ensure you hit just enough resupply points to make it home or to the finish line. There are many ways to prepare for sketchy moments or occasions when the going gets more challenging.

Another big confidence boost I get from continuity and regular riding. It helps to build strength and endurance but also trains your mind. If you have overcome obstacles or adversity many times and expect it to do again, it feels much more achievable or doable over time.

Interestingly, these positive mental effects also transfer to other parts of life. I’m curious to see how my evolution as a cyclist will influence who I can become.