Two days of riding in some amazing local places.

Hitting the Wall of Stone - photo - Rob Vandermark

Additional Photos and Thoughts

Ride Overview

  • Purpose:  Seven Cycles’ annual picnic – at Jennifer’s and Cris’ house.  And scouting for a ride project I’m putting together.  We did a similar route to the Seven Picnic last year.
  • Time-frame:  Two days and one night.  Friday, September 20 – 21, 2014.  A total of 37 hours from dawn on Saturday to just after sunset on Sunday.  From door to door we were out for just over 14 hours on Saturday and 6.5 hours on Sunday.  We did a total of nearly 21 hours on the bikes, in a total of 37 hours.
  • Total Distance:  172 miles.
  • Location:  From Ride Studio Cafe to Harrisville New Hampshire, and back again.  Different routes out and back.
  • Ride Type:  I guess I’d call it ‘vaguely supported touring’ because we had a vehicle take our spleeping bags and other overnight gear.  We were riding light.
  • Terrain:  Very mixed.  Everything from perfect pavement to very challenging rocky singletrack.  The most common terrain was good pavement.  The 102 miles on the way up was about 40 miles of offroad, 25 miles of good dirt roads, and 37 miles of pavement.  The 71 miles on the way back was about 13 miles of offroad, 10 miles of dirt road, and 48 miles of pavement.
  • Climate:  When we rolled out at dawn on Saturday, my Garmin read 35 degrees.  The warmest part of that day was 68 degrees.  Sunday got into the mid seventies.  It was supposed to rain the whole way back on Sunday.  Fortunately, it was light rain for about an hour of total time.  Otherwise cloudy and humid.  I carried a lot of clothing to span that temperature range and weather report.

This ride was fantastic.  For the first 50 miles I kept thinking about how great the trails were.  Very dry and very rideable.  I don’t think there was a single portage point in that entire distance.  From about mile 50 to 70 w started seeing more climbing but still fantastic roads, trails, and dirt.  Some of the best photos were from this section.

Highlight of the trip:  Having survived 170 miles in 36 hours.  I was feeling better during and after the rides than I expected.  And great terrain on the way north.

Most challenging aspects of the trip:

  • I was really sick on Saturday morning.  When we woke up at 4:30 to start getting ready for a 5:30 rollout.  I was doing everything I could to not puke.  I nearly bailed on the ride.  We didn’t get onto the trails until nearly 7am because I was in such rough shape.  Not really sure why I decided to ride.  If I got any sicker I would need a car to pick me up – that would have been really bad.  I was feeling pretty terrible until about mile 75; then it got a bit better.
  • I barely ate on the way up – no breakfast, small lunch, not much for snacks.  Fortunately by the time we arrived at 10pm I was ready to eat some dinner.  I’m pretty certain between Saturday and Sunday I ate less per mile than anything else I’ve ever done.  I was surprised I didn’t bonk.  Of course I was going pretty slow and I have plenty of calorie reserves.

Bike Setup

  • Frameset:  Seven Cycles Evergreen SL with couplers and mechanical disc.  Carbon fork.
  • Gear System:  11-32t Ultegra 6800 cassette with Rene Herse crankset with 30/48 chainrings.  This combination gets me a 26 inch low gear.  This is the equivalent of the custom 11-speed 36t cassette I made – matched to a 34 front ring.  Gear inch calculator.
  • Light System:  Headlight:  Light & Motion Urban 550 x4.  Still love these lights.  Taillight:  Lezyne Femto.
  • Wheels:  Mavic Kyrium disc.
  • Tires:  Clement LAS 33c filetread.  The rear tire is pretty much a baloney skin after this ride.  Between a  lot of offroad riding and a total of about 250 lbs over about 600 miles, there’s not much file left to the tread.
  • Brakes:   Shimano CX77 mechanical discs.
  • Kit:  Shimano mechanical Dura-Ace 9000 shifters, FD, and chain – with Ultegra 6800 rear derailleur and 32t cassette.
  • New Items and Tests:

Equipment

  • Bike Equipment:  ~12 lbs. including three gps units, four lights, and two Garmin virbs.  Spare tire.  One thousand tools.
  • Bike Equipment:  In my Revelate saddle bag.  ~9.2 lbs. including Spare tire, one thousand tools, spare tubes x3, etc.  I had clothes in there, too – not as part of the 9.2 lbs.  See below for the clothing.
  • Gear on the Bike:  Two gps units, four headlights, one taillight, and one Garmin Virb.
  • Feed Bag:  ~3.1 lbs. of stuff.  Camera, phone, food, and more.
  • Hydration System:  Three 26 ounce water bottles on the bike.  Equivalent of 2.25 liters.  This is 4.9lbs of water.  We knew we’d be able to find water if we were in trouble.
  • Cycling Clothing:   Aside from what I was wearing, ~3.2 lbs.  Knee warmers, arm warmers, vest, long sleeved jersey, winter cap and summer cap, wind breaker, winter overshoes.  I didn’t carry a change of bibs, jersey, base layer, socks, or shoes; rode the same kit for both days.  Clothing was what added the most weight on this trip.  Freezing weather and expected rain requires extra stuff.
  • New Items and Tests:
    • No handlebar bag.  I really don’t like riding with a bar bag on technical singletrack; they rattle, make the bike handle oddly, and it’s challenging to get the bar mount to stay in place – they seem to get worse and worse with each ride.  I’ve tried three distinct systems and none of them are great for offroad.  All the stuff I would typically put in the bar bag I put in my jersey pockets and the Revelate.

Electronics

  • Navigation:  Garmin 1000.  Garmin 800 and 810 as backups.
  • Phone:  Sony Xperia.  This is also my backup camera.
  • Camera:  Sony RX 100 II.
  • Video:  Garmin Virb.  Many of the images on this site are from the Virb.  I try to indicate which images are video stills and which are photos.  The lower resolution images are video.

Thoughts for the Next Adventure

Light System:  I’ve been lucky my battery lights have held up.  All four of them are on the fritz ever since I rode 30 hour straight in the rain – and had the lights turned on their sides so water could slowly seep into the electronics.  They’ve got to be about 2-years old, too.  And I’ve ridden them in every condition imaginable:  2 degree weather, 105 degree summer, rain, snow, etc.  Amazingly they still work, but they are buggy.  I cannot afford to tempt fate on the next adventure.

Clothing:  I have to get a lot better about figuring out ideal clothing for wide teperature ranges and for expecting rain.

Drink More:  It’s a good sign when my primary complaint about the trip is that I don’t like drinking tepid water.  Two drinks I’ve experimented with that I like is a solution of 50/50 water and grape juice.  I also experimented with a 50/50 Coke and water solution.  Both are actually pretty darn good.  I like Vitamin water 50/50 solution, too.  I’m really struggling with Skratch.  I like the idea but it doesn’t make me want to drink it.

Pack Lighter:  This will always be on the list.  I did pull about 8 ounces out of the bike repair kit from the last trip.  Bit by bit I’m whittling it down.  Fewer backup batteries was part of this weight reduction. Overall this trip was about as simple as it could be.  Get on the bike and pedal.  It’s kind of nice having all the bikepacking gear driven to the site by someone else.  I felt spoiled. That’s about it.  I cannot wait for the next adventure!

Around the Fire - photo - Rob Vandermark

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