Thursday, June 27, 2013

Colorao Trail Race Prep

The Colorado Trail Race is fast approaching: a little over 3 weeks to go. Ready or not it will be here and I will be lined up at 4am on July 21st in downtown Durango.

I have been out attempting to do big miles and dial in my bike packing gear. It's been quite the process. Do you go with or without a sleeping bag? How much clothing to bring? And it goes on and on. I have decided to go with a sleeping bag. Shelter is key to survival if something bad happens. Here is my setup as of this writing.

  • Stoic 30 degree 850 down fill bag
  • SOL Escape bivy
  • Klymit air pad

The sleep system has been my biggest concern. The weight adds up fast. Here are some of my other items I am packing with me.

Lights: Fenix PD32 UE. One on the helmet and one on the handlebar. Extra batteries.
Bladder: Source 3 liter
Water Purification: Katadyn MP 1 tablets. And an emergency carbon filtered straw device.
Garmin Edge 705
Esbit fuel tablets with titanium holder to heat up water for instant coffee, ramen, etc. (super light)
Sil nylon tarp

Clothing items:

Loki rain jacket and rain pants
Extra wool socks
Cold weather gloves (Spez Deflector's)

Other miscellaneous items such as a knife, extra zip ties, extra bolts, chain links, lube, nutritional items, etc. etc.......Not sure about dragging the bear spray with me as it weighs half a pound.

Here are some pictures of bike packing this past weekend.

24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest

The start!
Kokopelli Bike and Board had two four person teams go down to compete in the 24 HITEF outside of Gallup on June 15th. Myself on a four person single speed team (Myself, Paul, Pete and Rex) and Laura on a four person female team (Laura, Dani, Katie and Tanya). Both teams in the end both took 3rd place. Unfortunately mother nature had a say in how many laps were going to be complete for all riders.

The race started at 11am with clear blue skies. By the time I went out on my first lap and the skies were becoming cloudy. It spit rain off and on but nothing significant. I did manage to puncture my front tire on my first lap but I managed to get the Stan's sealant to seal the hole. I really hate mechanical problems. When I went out for my next lap around 7pm it was trying to rain more but again nothing that affected the trail. I rolled in around 8.30pm and off went Pete on our next lap. Things were looking good with us in a solid 3rd place but still within striking distance to the top two teams. Lets keep it going through the night and see what shakes out.

Laura took off on her night lap on her rotation at 9.15 and at 9.30 the rain started coming down. It went on for about an hour. I was wondering how the trail conditions were as it has been so dry in the area that any substantial amount of rain would make that trail pretty sloppy. Well, at 10.30pm the race officials stopped the race. Meaning nobody was going back out to ride until the conditions became considerably better. I was worried about Laura being out there in those conditions but I knew she could persevere through much worse. I went up to the transition area to see what was going on on the course. Riders were trickling in with their bikes looking ravaged by the mud. Horrific stories of people dragging their bikes for miles as the wheels would not roll. I finally got word that Laura was ok on the course and was possibly getting a ride back to the start area. Turns out she rode in and her bike looked like hell. She was still smiling. Nearly three hours out in the elements! My teammate Rex was out on the course during the melee and came in looking pretty rough but not as rough as his bike did. I don't think he cared he was riding Paul's Ti Selma. LOL!!! Rex declared that ride the worst 20 miles of his life.

Laura assessing the damage.

Rex looking worked after his mud lap.

Paul's Selma that Rex worked over in the mud.

 The raced finally resumed at 6.30 am with a short part of the course closed off due to the muddy mess and damage to the trail. My team managed three more laps to hold onto to 3rd place as well as Laura's team.

Another epic weekend of racing.

The girls putting together a strategy.

The girls on the podium in 3rd place. Great job to both teams. We rocked the Enchanted Forest.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Weekend Fail (kind-of)

I made the effort to ride from Bolam Pass on the Colorado Trail to Molas but ran into lots and lots of snow. I was at nearly 12k when I hit the first huge snow field and pushed on to find more later. I ran into a hike as well who suggested to me that it was impassable clear through to Molas. I was certainly the first bike tracks on this segment of the CT and a few hiking foot prints was all I saw except for the elk tracks.

Celebration Lake at Bolam Pass.
It might have been an omen as my legs were not that sparky with the previous weekends efforts. I turned around and headed down the road toward Purgatory stopping to decide what to do next. I though about dropping to HWY 550 and humping over Coalbank Pass and Molas but I had just ridden that section of highway on my Death Loop ride the weekend before. No thank you.  I had planned a night or two out planning to ride up toward Stony Pass but going home sounded good. I took a right turn and rode the 5 miles up to the top of Scotch Creek and descended down to HWY 145 and back home. Probably a good call with the legs feeling heavy. It was still a good ride with over 7 hours moving time on the bike.

Near 12k elevation. Turn around time.

The Selma loaded down.

Sunday morning I was deciding what to ride and thinking to do a short ride depending on how the legs felt. Shawn Gregory sent me a message that he was going to ride Morrison to Gold Run back down Bear Creek. OK, I'm in. I never turn down a ride and this sounded fun. My Selma was torn down so I could drop the fork off at the bike shop Monday so I had to opt for my full rigid El Mariachi single speed with the 32x20 gearing on it. Shawn was going with his 32x19 set up. Ouch. Well, it was ouch alright.

It was a perfect San Juan kind-of day. Very warm. There were a dozen or so trees down on Morrison making the flow not so flowy.

We descended the rocky Gold Run which is churned up form horses and down to Bear Creek and the 6 miles out to the trailhead where we had started. Ride time was 4 hours and 10 minutes for 21 miles with over 3k of climbing.

Another great route in my area. I really do live in a great place.
Morrison Trail.

The flowers were out in full force on Bear Creek.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Colorado Trail Race Training

Since the 12 hours of Messy Verde wrapped up I have been out and about logging the miles with a loaded bike full of bike pack gear. I biked the Kokopelli Trail on an out and back,  an overnighter with Laura to Groundhog Reservoir, and the Death Loop on road bikes this past weekend with local Rico-ite Dan Holmes. I was close to one thousand miles for the month of May.

The next few weeks will include a shit- ton of hike-a-biking and overnighters on the Colorado Trail physically and mentally training. I haven't dialed in my exact gear setup as of yet but I am close. The newest gear item is the Fenix PD32 Ultimate Edition flashlights that run on either a CR123a lithium battery or a rechargeable 18650 battery. My Ay-ups are great lights but for the CTR I want to use disposables that I can find readily available on the route if needed. They are super bright with 5 levels of brightness topping out at 740 lumens.

This weekend I will be doing a ride from Rico up to the CT and over to Silverton and beyond and back to Rico maybe back  over Ophir Pass to mix it up. It's going to be a hard few days for sure but I can really dial in my setup with the gear and bike. 32x22 gearing is the call on the Selma.

Here are some pics of the last few weeks of riding.

Kokopelli Trail.

Panoramic from Joes Ridge.

Joe's Ridge.

Dez-ert flowers!

Laura on her way to Groundhog Reservoir.

Groundhog camping.

Mountain chicken.

Birthday beer at 11k elevation.

Fenix 32PD UE light. Sweet.

Out on the Death Loop.

On the climb up Red Mtn.

Salt Creek.