Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bikepacking test run by Evan Koch

Below is an awesome write up by Evan Koch...much delayed due to me forgetting to post it! Enjoy it, excellent details.


So in an attempt to do more epic shit (epic's relative, I'm a 39 year old IT consultant with two kids and lived a sedentary lifestyle up until a few years ago), I signed up for the Delta Epic. I've done centuries and I've done 60+ mile mountain bikes rides, but I've never done any type of overnight rides and it's been at least two decades since I've been camping.

My best case scenario for the Delta Epic is that I do ~100 miles each day and camp out one night - this might change when Jason Shearer finalizes the route for the Delta Epic. To make sure I wasn't biting off more than I could chew, I thought it best to give bike packing a shot before the actual event.

I planned to camp out on a friend's peninsula; if things didn't work out, I could always use their guest bedroom. I left my house around 9 pm on Friday night and headed out to my friend's house. I rode the CX bike on the street, though I did take a different route to avoid spending too much time on the heavily trafficked roads.

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1.5 hours, 13.8 miles, and 1138 ft later, I arrived at my friend's house. Not my best time, but I had ridden in Autauga earlier that day so I wasn't fresh, plus I wasn't used to the weight of the bags. I cleared the sticks away from my intended camp site, spread out a vinyl tarp, and unrolled my Titanium Goat bivvy sack. The sack is water resistant but not water proof, and I wanted to protect it as much as possible, so I put a vinyl tarp on the ground first. I changed out of cycling kit into a long sleeve shirt and shorts, brushed my teeth, and zipped myself up into the bivvy sack.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the weather - the forecast said it'd be in the low to mid 60s overnight, so I packed a top sheet just in case I got cold. That top sheet ended up being my pillow for the night. I also packed ear plugs but didn’t use them at first - my friends said they liked to leave their windows open at night as they enjoyed the sounds of nature. I woke up multiple times throughout the night due to screeching birds - my friends informed me the next day that the herons on the lake had babies, and the baby herons were very loud. Think of the pterodactyl noise from Joust, and then turn it to 11. I tried the ear plugs but I couldn't go back to sleep, so I started packing up around 5:30. I changed into a fresh cycling kit, ate two bananas, packed up my gear, and headed home. Since traffic wasn't an issue at that point at home, I took a more direct route - 9.9 miles, 597 ft, and an hour riding time.

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So now for analysis. My loadout was:

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A Sprocket - Bag that attaches to the Pika, made of mesh netting so the rider can easily confirm that the Spot is active
B Pika - Bag to hold the Titanium Goat bivvy sack, extra cycling kit, sleeping clothes, sheet, and vinyl tarp
C Jerry can - hygiene items
D Tangle - frame pump
E Mag Tank - spare inner tube
F B-Rad 4 - two water bottles, and spare inner tube (also another water bottle in a Z cage)

The jerry can bothered me - my thighs definitely aren't the thinnest, so I could feel it pressing on my leg sometimes. I think I'm just going to stash my hygiene items in another bag and ditch the jerry can. I also ended up sawing off part of my tooth brush handle so it'd fit in the jerry can.

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When I do the Delta Epic, guessing I won't need a sheet. I'll put the extra kit in a bag and use it as a pillow.  I'll probably do a few more test runs, but I think this one went pretty well.

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