So yeah, I’ve been training and prepping between work, fam, and DSES… for this race called the AZT300 “Arizona Trail Race”. I started gathering specific gear back in January- and have been spending a bunch of time online doing research and recon. I haven’t said much, or told many peeps, maybe because I always figured I could still back out, and wouldn’t have people asking, “Hey, man- Did you do that long ride thing you were talking about?” I wouldn’t wanna answer no. I hate that shit. Well, I’m now 100% committed. Let this blog hold me accountable!! No going back. I have 90% of the gear to do the 300 mile, self-supported race across Arizona… Still need to get a bivy and sleeping bag, though. This is my first crack at bikepacking, and I’m nervous about the minimalist camping/ self-support side of it. It’s not like other endurance races where you have a pit area or aid stations. You carry what you need to survive. You have to know where to get water and food, and be ready to fix anything and everything on your bike and body, as well as deal with anything mother nature throws at you. It’s all these factors that make this exciting!!! I’m fired up!! At last year’s race, only 4 of 22 starters finished the race. Nobody finished on a single speed. Obviously it’s NO JOKE. Lynda Wallenfels wound up beating the other 3 male finishers and placing 1st overall (and she’s my “coach” – I downloaded her online training plan for the AZT… so hopefully I’m on the right track.) Lot’s of singletrack, lot’s of climbing, and lots of cholla cacti to slice sidewalls and legs. My kinda riding.
So yeah, the race starts on Friday, April 13th. Just did my first test ride today with a partially “loaded” bike. I’m still waiting for my custom frame bag from Porcelain Rocket (which I should have within the next two weeks, at least that’s what Scott says). My sleep system is up at the handlebars, in a lightweight drysack, held in place with a “sling” from Revelate Designs. I also have a Revelate “pocket” up front to hold more junk in. In addition, I have a “viscacha” seat bag (it’s huge, I think I can fit Lucy in it!!) and “gas tank” from Revelate, that are working out awesome. I rigged a couple 32oz Magnum water bottles to my fork, and those seem like they’ll work (in addition to a bladder and one more bottle down low- which will all be filled for the long hauls without water sources). Down the road, I’ll post more details of my entire bikepacking kit, but I’m still testing/trying different stuff, and dialing it all in… lights, gpx files, spot trackers, clothing, etc – So much to think about! I’ve never used a Spot Tracker (which allows you to see my progress on the internet in almost real time) or .gpx files. Right now, my biggest fear is bivying in the rain. I suck at knots, and need to practice setting up a tarp. I also love my tempur-pedic… so I’ve gotta get used to sleeping on a rocka-pedic. Next time I go down to L.A. for work, I’ll be doing an overnight outing to test my sleep system. I’ve been doing a lot of research on what to fuel my body with… looks like anything and everything considering the amount of calories I’ll be blasting through… but almonds pack a great calorie to weight ratio, so I’ll definitely be eating salty nuts 🙂 – and gas station burritos and sour patch kids and burgers and pizza and anything else I can shove down my troat!!!
So yeah, don’t wanna bore ya… but that’s what I’ve been up to… in addition to working, and skiing, and snowboarding, and doing Sufferfest marathons on the trainer. Definitely not as cool as the Yak Attack (mtb stage race in Nepal) that Jeff and Sonya are leaving to tomorrow… but I’m definitely in for my share of suffering. Speaking of suffering, here’s a great quote I recently came across:
“You must submit to supreme suffering in order to discover the completion of joy.” -John Calvin
Good times ahead… AZT, be warned.