Thursday, June 13, 2013

Knitting in the Woods

So as I watch everyone line up for the Tour Divide race I am starting to feel a bit nervous.  I am still in the planning stages and who knows what will happen in a year, but right now I am planning to race the divide myself.  I have no delusions that I will win or beat Eszter Horanyi's amazing time, but I still want to do it.  I am fighting for the Lanterne Rouge.  I think I have a pretty good shot at it.

I am overwhelmed by all the planning and prepping.  I am attempting to become a bike mechanic, fast bike rider, to improve my endurance, learn to use a Garmin (arrgh, another topic all together)  and so on and so forth.  Still I have been neglecting one bit of the planning, what to knit on the divide?

Polebridge Knitting
So for all you fast racer types,  you may wonder what knitting has to do with anything, but it is important.  I mean for one's mental health.

I have been on many a backpacking, skiing and more lately bikepacking trips.  The same thing always happens.  You get to camp, get it set up and then what...  Too tired to explore around, need to go to sleep and yet....  There are things that go bump in the night, or worse they snuffle through your camp and then decide to chomp on you!  In the dark of the backcountry a little mouse becomes a bear sneaking up on you.... his jaw opening... sharp pointy teeth!!

Enter knitting.   Light weight, portable, and keeps your mind occupied.  Who can worry about bears and cougars when you have to get to the end of the round and keep the pattern straight on the lace socks you are knitting?  And if you need to fall asleep just knit a few rows in straight stockinette stitch and you will soon be in dreamland

Knitting can also be useful in the day light hours.  When boredom of riding that I have read so much about sets in you can dream up a new pattern.  Or solve that tricky problem of turning the heel, or how to make the cable on the hat look better and so on and so forth.

I have knitted in some beautiful spots, and when I get home I have a great souvenir of where I have been.  Wearing the item, or in some cases just looking at it and wondering why I made such a strange garment will bring back trip memories.

I plan to squeeze in some knitting on the divide.  I imagine that I will not have much time and will be too exhausted to worry about the bears etc.  However a few stitches here and there will be a much needed respite I am sure.   I am working out a pattern for some Divide Socks or maybe a Divide Hat, and when I get home a Lanterne Rouge sweater.. we will see.
Hat inspired by Cascade Mountains

I highly recommend knitting to all outdoorspersons with overactive imaginations.  Soothing, complicated enough to make you forget about predators and tedious enough to help you fall asleep.  Best of all when you get home you have a lovely new garment to wear on your next adventure.

Hand Knit Hats are Handy
"Knit on with confidence and hope through all crisis"   Elizabeth Zimmerman.