Monday, June 9, 2014

The Spaceship: Pre-Launch

I could tinker around and fiddle with my bike and gear set up forever. Something can always be changed or improved slightly after some thought. This past weekend I really did not do much else. Rain and mud since Friday put the kabosh on any motivation to be outside on a horse or a bike so my weekend was spent building up, refining, tinkering and re-refining the two-wheeled spaceship that is going to carry me to Banff.

I finally just got to the point where there was nothing more to do. All the things on my list were crossed off, there was no more little things like zipties or bandaids to add to any pockets, my aerobars had been adjusted and readjusted a hundred times, I added a runners belt to my seatbag to get my waterbottle out of my face and give myself another small camera/food pocket and the menagerie on my handlebars was finally symmetrical to my eye.

Time to take a picture and relax, reflect and spend some more time with my maps. I have really grown fond of studying on the route maps over the last month. I love to picture in my mind the places I know and imagine myself riding through the places I am going to see for the first time. I see the vast amount of pavement and dirt roads I am going to ride and have to remind myself that this is a totally different race than both the AZT 750 and the CTR where riding pavement and dirt are rest days from the rugged and slow singletrack.

I will start the 2014 Tour Divide on June 11, 2014 at 6 pm from Antelope Wells, NM. I will be riding my Superfly 100 which is powered by SRAM components. XO 3x10 crank,  11-36 XX cassette, XO derailleurs, Avid XO brakes, Rockshox SID fork and Rockshox rear shock, XTR pedals, Specialized Phenom seat, stock Bontrager wheels and 29x2.1 Specialized Ground Control tires. The aerobars are Profile Design T+1 which I scored for $40 on ebay and chose them due to the fact they are very adjustable.

On the AZT 750, I used a custom framebag, made by Nick, owner of Rogue Panda Designs and was very happy with it in every way but since I am not carrying a backpack on the Tour Divide, I had to go with my old, larger framebag to fit my hydration bladder on my bike. This old Revelate framebag is the first piece of bikepacking gear I ever bought. I paid $20 for it from someone who rode a hardtail. A few intelligent cuts made it fit my bike well.

The water bladder and the shock and food fit in the top compartment and everything you see here plus zipties, chain lube, a roll of electrical tape and sunscreen go in the bottom compartment:

I actually went with a Platypus hydration bladder which was smaller. Nice to get the pack off my back for this one....
A look at my Rogue Panda framebag used for AZT 750 and will go on the 2014 CTR...

The handlebar bag quality is no different. Nick put some thought into it and added some adjustability and a few changes from the mainstream in the way of straps and velcro placement. His communication and service is prompt and reliable and the pricepoint is significantly less.

Early stages when I still had the water bottle on the bars.....
Sleep system, base layer, gloves and warm socks went in the handlebar bag. I ditched the shoe covers in favor of small hiking gaitors for the snow pushes:

My seatbag is from Revelate and was actually an early birthday gift. I bought a runner's belt to get the water bottle out of my face, as mentioned and strapped it around the seatbag. It also had an additional pocket which is perfect for camera and food.

Inside the seatbag is my raingear, puffy coat, electronics and chargers, steripen, food and first aid items:

A view of the mission control panel:

And the finished project weighing in at 39 lbs. This is including all the food and water I will start out with:

Final thoughts and all the tracking info you will need in my post coming tomorrow. Clock is ticking.....