Back and Rolling with Good Habits

Yesterday, 4:30AM

I cannot fall back asleep. For the 3rd or 4th time. I’m hungry. As someone who has a terrible time waking up I actually like jetlag on the return trip, wide awake before 5AM? Yeah, okay.

With being awake I had enough time to not only get some thing done around the house (dicking around) but to ride to work arriving an hour early. See, jetlag is productive. And what a ride it was. Not pushing particularly hard I bested my pre-BTG2018 commute time by 2 minutes! How do you like that?!

Bike on trail in redwoods.
Dirt cool down on the final stretch of the commute.

My commute is great even if just on the edge of difficult to do daily. At about 12.6km (7.8mi) and 475m (1560ft) when not in the best of shape it can be a chore. But the end in the Redwoods is worth it, so just keep the fitness up right?

Unkown wooden structure in Redwoods
What is this thing?!

I was treated to this oddity on the final stretch of West Ridge Trail. Rumors around work is it’s some sort of closet burner project, sure hope not.

Sooooo….. Ya know how I was talking about Shitty Hike-a-Bikes, well seems ol’ WOW Airlines is a fan of my work and read that, then decided to do me a solid and loose my bike so I didn’t have to schlep it on BORT. Geeee, thaaaanks. They also decided to not tell me, so I waited nearly 2 hours at the hell that is SFO¬† with not an employee to be found. Finally got someone on the phone to put in a claim, but it still feels like they just punted me off to shirk responsibility. No update as of yet. OK, being that I’ve been up since 5am again, time for some other early morning productivity. Have fun and fuck WOW Air!

Worst hike-a-bike ever?

It’s never occurred to me before but no hike-a-bike is worse than schlepping ones bike to the airport.

You know what’s worse though? Finding out as your train is pulling up to the airport that you’re (not me) at the wrong one. Ouch, no train service to Tegel fellas.

Anyhow, I am on the first leg of my flight home and excited to see Sam and the little piggles. More writing on BTG2018 later in the week.

Gear Check Mini-Post: “Bearrito”

Daniel from Tumbleweed Bike Co first called it a “Bearrito” and it stuck. Imagine a hungry bear wandering by and seeing this nice warm human wrapped up in convenient take away bag. I’d probably be delicious.

I’m talking about the Outdoor Research Helium Bivy. It’s light, it’s small, I’ve never been bothered to set it up correctly. I guess there is something about such a lightweight bivy that makes me not want to carry stakes. Even the couple times I have used stakes it still sagged, so I just stopped.

Anyhow I used to kind of loathe this bivy but in the right conditions it’s quite nice. Maybe the overnight humidity of the bay area always resulted in wet legs, I don’t know but it worked quite well on this trip. Mostly it was the combo of my bag and mat that allowed this setup to shine.

I’ve been using a Nemo Siren quilt and pad for a number of years now and it’s an amazing setup. The pad is thin and packs down very small for a foam core but does require a bit of effort to get it packed down. Sadly it started delaminating right before Baja Divide and I was unable to warranty it so I ended up buying something cheaper as race/time saving wasn’t a concern for that ride. But for this trip I wanted something smaller so I borrowed my partners Thermarest hollow core. This really changed my bivy setup because now I could deflate the pad and pack everything without removing it from the Bearrito.

Sleeping setup on handlebar harness
The entire setup is very compact on my bars
Pad inside bag inside bivy
After unrolling blowing up the pad is the only thing to do
Pad inside bag inside bivy
Pad inside quilt inside bivy

This last picture shows the open back bag which allows the setup to pack down very nicely.

Welp, it with a bit of sadness I say goodbye to the bivy. While drunkenly complaining about it’s shortcomings I told (insisted?) Mastho I would send it to him after BTG2018. This will be a good opportunity for me to explore some other lightweight setups. I’ve never owned a single person tent so will probably head that direction. What are other folks using?

Bikepacking Trans Germany

Welp, it’s all done now. I completed the race, I finished the ride and while it was slow I made it to Berlin. As usual I am having trouble figuring out where to start in my writing so I decided this will be the first in several posts of no specific order. All posts will be under the BTG2018 category .

First off the hugest thanks to Achim, Thomas and everyone else who helped put this route together. The list of POI put together was thorough enough it made additional planning difficult (where to start?). The GPX file provided is hands down the best I’ve been given to date. They even mentioned in one update they are thinking of old Edge device owners like myself in it’s creation. I had to split one of the sections in half to get turn by turn and that’s it. Typically I have to spend a half dozen hours getting a route working on my old Garbin. Cheers to you all!

The route itself could not be more stunning. Mountainous terrain starting a mere 60km from the start was a bit of a shock to the system. Not only for the fact I hadn’t trained at all with this much weight but the beauty of it all. Most of the route being on “Wanderweg” (hiking paths) meant despite the heat the direct sun wasn’t as bad as it could have been and we spent a great deal of the time in lush forests. This wouldn’t be true for the entire race but I sure enjoyed it while I could.

Racing vs Riding

I knew from the start I was not in race shape. Ten weeks before the start my work schedule for the year got flipped, my manager approved a month off so I jumped, even having just started riding hard again from a broken foot at the end of last year. Thankfully my commute is fairly difficult at 10km with 500m climbing. So I did that several times a week and hoped my prior experience and ability to function without sleep would get me through.

Day Three Strategy

Day one is usually a blast. You’re fresh, you’re with people, everyone is having a great time. Besides not feeling very well at the start this was basically the case for me. On day two, doubt settles in. What am I doing this for? What am I trying to prove? Why am I so far back? Beelzebub where is the next beer?! Never trust anything you think on day two. This is the day three strategy. Make the decision am I racing or am I touring on the morning of day three. Aside difficulties waking up and getting started I felt quite good, I typically wake up (legs, etc) late in the day and day two had finished quite nicely. I was already climbing better and was sitting mid-20s with plenty of people around. Day three says I’m racing.

Sign on tree of Devil marking the trail
Beelzebub says this way to beer

OK! Next post will be after I am back home, I have some ideas on updating the blog to include more map based posts. Stay tuned, subscribe to the RSS amd leave a comment, I actually check those!