Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Tour De Diligence

Mon Dieu!
Well, my French translation dictionary calls out 'Stagecoach' as diligence,so I will so name the upcoming bikepacking ride accordingly.  The whole thing was a result of the revered brain of fellow countryman and adventure mountain bike nut Jason B.  He wanted to tour a route that had been a springtime endurance race, one of those unofficial races I like so much.  Around 400 miles in length, the Stagecoach 400 was won by some automaton in 48 hrs or so.

He wanted to break it up over 5 days, 4 nights, all self supported except for what ever we pick up in towns along the way, and we would be motels.  Credit card touring, we would not be, hmmmm?  Yoda sez.  

So that inspired me to wave my little hand in the air and commit to the mad adventure.  So now we are getting pretty close to the lift-off time and I am in the pre-packing and gear finalizing mode.   As it stands, this will be the set-up:

  • The bike - Project Go-'Fish.  A Salsa Spearfish 1 frame up build.  XX drivetrain, Carbon Roval wheels, Manitou Pro fork.  Hey, we did not say it had to be a beater, right?
  • Custom bikepacking bags from CDW (not sure if they are even in biz anymore), so h-bar bag, seat bag, gas tank.  Supplement with a frame bag from Salsa Cycles for the Spearfish.
  • Deuter so-big-I-can-sleep-in-it hydration pack - Trans Alpine 3  
  • Cat food can stove (still need to build)
  • Integral designs Silshelter (no longer made...flawed design but good base to work with)
  • Maybe a bivy sack as well
  • 20 degree down bag used as quilt (need to remove zipper and re-sew seam)
  • New Exped super comfy pad
  • Clothes as needed, spare tubes, tools, etc
  • Food, endurance drink mix, etc.
So I have been debating a few things.  I have a much lighter and smaller bag, a Deuter Dreamlight 500 that packs up incredibly small, but it is rated at 50 degrees.  So even with a bivy sack and some clothing layers, it would be pushing it.  And I sleep cold as it is.  By the time I wear stinky bike clothes to bed to stay warm or pack more normal warm clothes, I might as well have all the insulation I need in the quilt and sleep naked if I dare...not likely.  The 20 degree down bag takes up the entire seat bag but so it goes.

All the tarp, poles, stakes, ground cloth, bivy (if I bring it), pad, pillow/pad pump, and etc all fit in the h-bar bag with some room left over.  That leaves the frame bag to carry tools and the Deuter pack to carry clothing, water, food, and odds and ends.  So far the pre packing looks pretty good.  We shall see.  

I still need to sort out the GPS...have the .gpx file already.  Then maybe I should bring a small trail light just in case.  Camp headlight too?  Not sure.  Cannot be a kitchen sink deal, but no need to be spartan either.  This is not the Tour Divide race.

The route looks like it will be around 80 miles a day and we hope to keep it mellow, but that will still take diligence.  Yep...there is that name again.  If we get a jump on the first day we meet up and ride a bit until dark, then we will be a bit ahead which could buy us some grace later on.

Today was a bit of an excursion into the fine art of Widgeting.  What is that, you say?  Well it is inspired by both the Scotsman and the garage tinkerer in me.  Widgeting will be explained in the next blog installment as I cruise the shelves of Wally-Mart and Home Depot in search of the better tarp support.

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