The past week I’ve been in Backcountry Experience no less than 4 times. The 3rd time one of the guys that work there saw me walk in the door and exclaimed “Buy me backpacking now!” OK, so he didn’t get the specifics right. Bikepacking would have been a better term. But I did buy it last week, LOL. As it turns out, the Grand Loop Race is going to be more expensive than doing the BC Bike race this year.
1 lb down bag
stove and pot (7.3 oz!)
Nothing left to do but give it a test run, so instead of doing the big group rimride pre-ride, I opted for a solo overnight of the Kokopelli Trail. That route is just nothing but good vibes.
School was in session. Packing for a self-supported overnight by bike took as much time as getting ready for a 24 hour. Ugh. That put me at the Fruita side of the KT at 5pm on Saturday. I’ve got good lights and was looking forward to some time in the dark.
The sunset was a beauty on the Troy Built trail.
It’s getting green out there already. Springtime is making an early showing.
So the big question for this type of effort is how much you can do without. This I learned in retrospect ;) Hiking up from Salt Creek with a 45 lb rig and wearing a 20 lb backpack felt a lot like work. Reading various GLR reports I was wondering why nobody hit the Bedrock store before it closed. Well duh. Aside from the heat riders faced last year, it’s a whole nuther ballgame with a loaded bike and backpack – everything you need for 3-4 days.
Yep, that’s the Dos Niner all loaded up there. Big, big revelations with this rig. First of all, I’ve never got much suspension travel out of the softail design. I’m too light to get it to move. But – put a trunk on the back with my grub, and a heavy pack – suddenly the bike felt as smooth (or better) than the Fuel. I was getting full travel out of it and it felt great! Much to my surprise, the 29″ wheels felt great with a loaded rig. With this much weight it just feels like it holds momentum so well. This bike was just about to get dissassembled and sold…but maybe not.
So…how to carry all the creature comforts? I put a small rack on the front and the Delta seatpost mounted rack on the rear. The front held strong, but the seatpost rack was a no go. For starters, I was riding conservatively on any descent cause I was afraid it would break my post while I was out of the saddle and I’d sit back down on a sharp dagger. That’d be bad. Turns out the Easton EA70 held strong but the rack didn’t:
So…everything gets redistributed between my pack and the front. No biggie.
And the riding? What a hoot. Cruising through the Rabbit Valley area in the dark, I come around a corner to hear ~ 20 generators. RVs on the KT? And then the real treat, getting chased by dogs in the dark. Sweet.
Speaking of dogs, the sheep (and their big dogs) are in the Cisco area right now. That big pooch stood squarely in the middle of the road, waiting for me, but as I approached his tail started to wag and he was smiling. If you encounter this fella, just say something nice to him and stay away from his sheep, no matter how lonely it is out there ;)
As the high points of the KT near Moab are still under snow, I opted to finish the ride with an out and back from Dewey bridge to Top of the World. It was a good litmus test to see what a 3000 foot steep techy climb will feel like loaded after 5 hours of riding. At the top of the climb, suddenly the trail ends and you ARE at the top of the world. Breathless, literally.