I work best when I am obsessed. I like thinking, eating, and sleeping, all with one goal in mind. Having a mindset set centered around pouring energy into a single vision is how I’m most productive. It’s how I get things done.

It has been a while since I was obsessed about something. Probably finishing my Ph.D. about five years ago was the last time I focused my energy to that extent. And I have been missing this mission-minded outlook. Until this summer.

Back in July my wife, Julie, and our two youngest daughters, embarked on a 10,000 mile road trip from the Atlantic ocean to the Pacific, and back. The trip had been planned (not really planned, but, at least on our calendars) for a couple years. As it turned out, a couple months before the trip I decided to change jobs, and that necessitated a move to a new city. We ended up moving the week before we left on the trip. We pulled it off and headed west in our SUV with a pop-up camper in tow in early July.

The trip was one of a number of trips we planned for this year. I got them through the “approval process” with my wife, by repeatedly pointing out that I turned 50 this year. I’m not sure of the rationale of linking my birthday with these trips. But, it worked.

When we finally got underway on our road trip our initial goal was just to get to Colorado, and then slow down. After two days of driving, and a quick stop in St. Louis to see the Arch, we rolled into Colorado Springs. We were tired, but, happy to finally be out west. After sightseeing for a couple days, we moved north through Boulder and toward Yellowstone.

As we traveled north something really caught our eye. Bikers. No matter where we went, there were cyclists everywhere. And not just casual riders. These were serious cyclists, training and touring through Colorado and Wyoming. Their were more cyclists than I have ever seen. I was fascinated by the riders and bikes alike.

By the time we got to Yellowstone, I was in full lust mode. I noticed nearly every bike and biker in the park, often stopping to talk to them, while my wife and kids patiently waited for me.

When we left Yellowstone a week later we made our way to Utah on our way to California. We celebrated Julie’s birthday in Park City. But, before we got there we stopped at a bike store in Salt Lake City to look at bikes. The same in San Fransisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. Travel, sightsee, bikestore, adventure, drive some more. We repeated this pattern as we made our way to the Pacific ocean and headed back east. Yes, my wife is incredibly patient with my obsessions.

By the time we arrived at Newton Bike Shop in Kansas, we had visited 3 or 4 bike shops, and I had become fairly well versed in bike touring. Newton Bike Shop is one of the more famous bike shops in the country, and happens to be located on the TransAmerica Trail, a road network across the United States from Oregon to Virginia. We altered our planned route back to the Carolinas so we could meet more bikers along the trail, and stop at the famous bike store. Again, thanks honey.

The attraction of cycling is apparent. It is fun, healthy and low-impact. All things that I need as I cross over this hill. Perhaps more importantly, it touches on an obsession I have with technology. I love toys. And it feeds back into many of the sports I have done in the past, like Adventure Racing, which also includes some cycling.

Arriving back home in the Carolinas I wasn’t sure where my interest in bike touring would lead me. And now that a couple weeks have passed since we got back, I still don’t know exactly what types of rides I want to do. But, I am working out, nearly everyday again, and my Sirrus hybrid has seen more miles in a couple weeks than it had in a year. It’s good to be obsessed again.