Monday, May 31, 2010

The Shortest Bikepacking Trip on Record

I planned on doing a local bikepacking trip but the weather had other plans for me. The radar has looked something like this for the past couple of days.

I did pack everything so here's the gear:

A - Frame bag and gas tank from Epic Designs.
B - Mountain Laurel Designs Grace Duo Tarp
C - Thermarest ProLite 3 short sleeping pad
C#2 (should have been D) - Thermarest pillow
E - SealLine 10 liter dry sack. Already has Marmot Hydrogen sleeping bag & Mountain Laurel Designs Serenity net tent stuffed in it. I also had shorts and a capilene silk weight t-shirt in the dry bag.
F - Silnylon bag for dinner and breakfast.
G - Vintage Camelbak MULE bag & bladder.
H - Snowpeak 600... switch between this and BackpackingLight Trapper's Mug depending on the trip.
I - Fuel canister and Snowpeak TiMax stove
J - Snowpeak french press - luxury coffee on bike and kayak trips!
K - First Aid Kit
L - MSR towel, mirror, three small droppers with Bronners, sunblock & eye drops.
M - Old DAC tent poles re-purposed to serve as tarp poles.
N - Tent stakes (2 MSR Groundhogs, 4 MSR needle stakes, 4 Ti J-hooks)
O - Granite Gear zip up envelope that I keep all the miscellaneous small stuff in. Brunton Wind, Gerber LST knife, small aluminum whistle, Petzl e-Lite.
P - Simple tool kit: pump, chain break, ratcheting driver with a few different insert bits.
Q - MYOG Bear bag & line.
R - MYOG reflectix cozy for meals
S - Paper & pencil (pens always seem to fail)
T - Wet Ones
U - MSR HyperFlow water filter

Here's everything packed on the bike:

Its a tight fit getting everything packed using the Camelbak. You can see that I had to strap the sleeping pad and pillow to the back of the backpack which would be a real problem in the rain. There's also a little too much volume close to the seatpost with the dry bag. My leg hits the bag as I'm pedaling. This wouldn't be a problem on short trips but I can imagine it would be annoying on longer trips. I could solve all these problems by getting a seat bag from Epic Designs or by using a proper backpack like my modified GoLite Ion or MLD Burn.

Total weight for the setup ended up being around 8lbs on the bike and 7lbs in the Camelbak with 1L of water.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I just took a few minutes to ride around the neighborhood. Rode a slow pace, playing around with wheelies, slow carving turns... went down to the creek down the hill... enjoyed the weed garden in an empty lot. Its a nice day out. You don't have to look too hard to find a little happy if you keep your eyes open.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Extra Gravity vs Me (classic man vs nature... nature wins)

My sweet wife gave me enough free time this weekend to get two rides in. Both rides were on my local trail, Harbison State Forest.

Yesterday's ride was a little over 13 miles with two new friends that were both riding SS 29ers. I went out with the intention of spinning 15 to 20 miles at a relaxed pace. Unfortunately, these guys lived up to the expectation of guys that have been riding forever and were very competitive. I blew up about 10-11 miles in and had to limp home. I tried to convince myself that was OK since one of the other guys dropped out 3-4 miles before that. Moral of the story: there's always someone faster.

Today's ride was on target for a more relaxed pace across just over 15 miles. For those familiar with Harbison, I left out clockwise, did Lost Creek counter-clockwise, rode the outer loop to Spider Woman, then back home via Bent Creek.

What I didn't plan for was the extra gravity that kept pulling to the ground. About 5 miles in I lost the front wheel on a mild downhill and managed to do what I call an around the bars... sort of like an over the bars without all of the glory. My foot decided the front wheel was a little heavy so it took the opportunity to remove two spokes. I enjoyed listening to the remaining spokes complain the rest of the ride. I was just waiting for them to organize a revolt, taco the wheel and take out their frustrations on my front teeth via a rock / root.

Here's a shot of the missing spokes... fortunately my hot rod new wheels are due here Friday of this week. Joy.

There's only one crash per ride, right? There's a rule. I'm sure I've read it somewhere. Not true... Spider Woman felt like I was getting a little cocky lately. Afterall, its been months since she cracked my helmet and left me goofy. Today's dry conditions resulted in a front wheel wash out and a modified elbow and hip. Just for reference, this is not the preferred line:

All in all it was a good ride. I was able to get in decent miles and feel good even though the humidity was somewhere in the range of 118%. Next up, birthday dinner with Jenny and the in-laws. BBQ chicken is on the menu so I can't wait!