There’s Even a Race for That

Yesterday I posted briefly about getting things done for next summer’s big bike tour of the Colorado Trail. The reaction I got wasn’t the one that was expected. “You can bike that?” didn’t come close to what was anticipated. As a consequence of that, I’m guessing that I should explain.

The Colorado Trail is bikeable, save for four detours around Wilderness areas. The detours are mapped  and even put riders in range of resupply spots along the route. The official maps, guidebooks and data books provided for your money are indeed focused on hikers, but directions for the bike route are provided.

Right now I’m trying to create a trip-queue flip book for the route so that I can estimate where we’ll be camping along the way. The idea being that the Grand Parents might meet up with us from time to time.

Justin just received his new fat-bike, a Surly Wednesday, which he’ll be assembling and pimping for the ride. We’ll both be riding a wide, hard tailed footprint. Rosie is about to undergo some much-needed maintenance and tweaking too.

Justin's new ride, currently unnamed
Justin’s new ride, currently unnamed

Side projects I’m considering:

  • MYOG Bikepacking bag set-up for myself. It’s been a very long time since I sat down with my sewing machine, but this idea is growing on me. When I look at the bike-packing setups out there I’m coming away underwhelmed. They’re expensive, they would tend to require me to reinvent my touring kit, and many of them aren’t very weight conscious.I believe I might be able to do a better job, customizing panniers to fit my needs exactly instead of adapting someone else’s perfect setup to approximate my requirements. Cardboard cut-outs are on the way.If, you’re going to ride without resupply, most of the commercial kits out there require that you ride with a backpack. I dislike this very much, so I will attempt to off-load that gear to the frame and hope for a better outcome.
  • TripQ Flip Book. Because we’re not racing, this trip will be more about exploration. Justin has already signaled his desire to climb a couple more 14-ers and consequently we’ll be breaking from the path to climb. I know some stretches of the CT intimately, having participated in their construction back int he 80’s, but for those areas I know less well I want to have a good idea when and where breaking from the trail will yield excellent results.This is why I’m going to play amateur cartographer and develop a detailed ACA-style queue book for the CT. I think I may publish the results here when I’m done so stay tuned if you’re interested.
  • Revitalize my backcountry meal-making skillz, yo. Some time ago, I ate well on less than a handful of dollars a week. When I worked as a backcountry wilderness guard on the White River I fished and gathered for a pretty significant portion of my usual caloric intake. It was a much healthier way to live too.I’ve been wanting to do a lot more scratch cooking and this is a perfect way to make that happen. Sooner than later I’m going to start building dried meal packets again and work on knocking the rust off my food making repertoire.
  • Bike overnights. Finally, I am spending regular time on my stationary bike. As I start to feel better (damn this cold) I plan on getting out for some short tours in the area. This will help motivate me, get me into better condition, and assist with working out all the kinks I know I’m going to encounter.

Now, I’m going to attempt to head the next set of questions off at the pass. “Why are we riding fat?” Because it’s so much fun. Well, that’s one answer. Another is that significant portions of the CT are renowned as rock gardens. Big piles of scree that require riders and walkers alike to slow down, and pick their path through the mess. I know that we’ll likely walk some of these, but my experience is that big, low-pressure tires have an advantage in these areas. With higher TPI tires you’re often able to crawl over the rocks and the pneumatic suspension effect saves wear and tear on the body. Ultimately, this will be a bit of a test of that hypothesis, but I suspect we’ll confirm the idea.

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