Archive for the ‘bikepacking’ Category

Spring Overnight

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Took off with Wil to meet up with some usual suspects at Little River State Park. Dirt road, trail, pavement, mud road, some single track. A true S24O as I returned to the car 22 hours after I left.

Down Governor Chittenden Rd. and across Johnnie Brook:

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Things got muddy along the Winooski:

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Met up with Greg in Waterbury and climbed to Little River State Park:

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The reservoir and some more climbing on snow and ice:

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Camp:

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Tested out the new 0dF down sleeping bag – my feet were steaming when I woke up in the morning. I am close to having a gear range to go from 60s summer nights to low teens, zero degree winter nights. Temps got into the 30s overnight. The lean to blocked the wind and everyone was cozy:

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Rolling out in the morning – we split up, and made our way to home / second breakfast and some nice riding:

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Bikepacking Mike

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Photo of me, from Greg on our recent trip.

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Bikepacking Groton State Forest

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Greg, Wil and I did a S24O to Groton State Forest last weekend. Rain, sleet, some snow. Temps in the 30s during the day and 20s overnight. Dirt road, single track, double track, and forest ‘roads’, with a bit of pavement in the middle. About 16 miles each day, we started late on Saturday due to everyone’s family commitments, and we actually, for the first time in my S24O history made it to camp with daylight left over. Which was needed – as we rode in the rain / snow on and off through the afternoon and needed a good place to camp, and to build a fire to ward off the chill.

We rolled out of Greg’s place and tackled Jerusalem Rd. This started out as dirt road, then went to Class 4 road, then went to double track filled with rocks. Great fun, even going up and over. Near the top there was some recent logging, so the ‘road’ was in better shape, and we enjoyed the descent to Marshfield Pond.

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We had snow and sleet up top, and at our next intersection we snacked a bit, enjoyed the view from the pond, and took off on RR East – a road / trail along the old Wells River railbed. We had 2 trucks pass us, a hunter, and another out for a ‘smoke’. Was interesting riding up in no man’s land.

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We eventually dropped onto VT 232 for about a half mile of pavement to Kettle Pond. We thought about walking back into a lean to for camp – but with daylight left and the rain and snow only a minor nuisance we decided to press on to Osmore Pond, via Telephone Line trail – a ‘multi use’ path – but really a leaf covered slippery single track. We spent about half an hour actually finding the trail – but once located we made quick work of the climbing to the northern end of Osmore Pond.

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Eyeing a picnic shelter with a huge fireplace, we called it a day, and began collecting wet, soggy wood, and changing into dry gear. Fire ensued, and after some careful stacking, lighting, and fussing, we had a roaring fire to warm us as we ate dinner.

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Wil brought a bivy, I had my 30d down bag and e-bivy, and Greg brought his ancient synthetic winter bag. We all had insulated sleeping pads. The concrete of the shelter was damned cold though – even seeping through my riding shoes. Greg and I decided we would sleep atop picnic tables, and Wil quickly joined, moving his bivy and bag on top in the middle. We then tipped up the remaining tables in the shelter to block what wind we could… which worked for the most part. We stoked the fire and stocked it up late (for us, on a cold, wet night – until about 9pm), then turned in for the night.

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I lent Greg my e-bivy as he was worried about being cold, and I have had successful nights with my gear down into the low 20s. I slept cold, a bit too cold that night, and I regretted a bit handing over my gear – but Greg was comfortable, which means he’ll keep pushing into shoulder seasons with us. The fire was glowing coals in the morning – and with Greg working a bit we had a warm fire to eat our breakfast by.

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We rolled out the dirt access road, found a short cut trail, and did a few miles on pavement to connect to RR East. From there it was a mellow, but scenic and mostly downhill run into Plainfield, where we had designs on second breakfast some 16 miles later.

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For an overnight, pushing the boundaries of weather, cold, and new gear – it was a great time. There is a ton to explore in Groton State Forest and surrounding central Vermont, and I can’t wait to get back. The Krampus, with its Revelate kit performed flawlessly. Even in the wet the tires gripped when needed, and the 3″ Knard softened my ride and had me rolling up and over all the obstacles the trails through at me. I have some ideas on streamlining my kit further – primarily dealing with GPS, camera, and my yet to be built dyno / charging switch. I also discovered that the matches in my waterproof kit that have been tucked away for years in my kitchen bag were all duds, likely just aged out… thankfully my fire starter and my stove allowed us to get the fire going without incident.

Krampus

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

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Nothing more to say at the moment. Had a blast in the woods this afternoon. The Fargo will need to be put up for sale…

Riding

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Descending a portion of Chandler Ridge, into Silver Lake. Wil took this photo of me.

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Bikepacking Gear

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

My 2012 Gen2 Salsa Fargo has gone through a number of changes, most recently swapping the Woodchippers (which I really like for dirt road / gravel / mild single track) to a Jones Loop bar, which so far has proven comfortable, and more capable riding rocky, rooty single track while loaded.

The bike is a medium and I’m running my old (pre-Revelate, long live Epic Designs!) front harness and pouch and seat bag, which were made custom for my Surly CrossCheck and IF Ti Club Racer. Once I got the Fargo I added a full frame bag, gas tank, jerry can, and feedbags. I have used the Salsa Anything cages, but don’t run them often, except when I need extra carrying capacity, or want to carry insulated Nalgene bottles up front. I run a Shimano dyno hub to power an Exposure Revo and Redeye and need to wire up the USBWerk for topping off a battery or running my Garmin, and it will keep a FenixUC40 USB topped off. In testing the USBWerk works great, and I would love to have this integrated into my kit for longer trips.

Cockpit with Salsa Woodchipper (46cm bar)

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The updated cockpit is the Jones Loop bar with chunky grips (after some use I need to tape the rest of the bars). X9 trigger rear, Friction front, on a Paul Thumbie pushing a X5 triple derailer (cheap!). Garmin eTrex20, hydro tube connected to a Showers Pass Veleau reel (last way longer than the ID badge reels), feed bag (most times I run 2), Avid Speed Dial Levers (need to find something with the pinch bolt in a more comfortable location…). Gas tank with my Canon G12 and spare AA and AAA batteries. Custom harness and pouch made back in 2008 or 2009 for a dry bag.

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Front is my sleep kit and sometimes camp clothes tucked into a dry bag in harness. The dry bag pops out easily and gets tossed into my tent for unpacking.

Pouch contains personal items I might need easy access to – glasses, eye drops, meds, toiletries, first aid kit, etc.

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Rear bag contains tent, cook kit, clothes, food, etc.

Frame bag contains spare tube(s), tent poles, hydro bladder and Sawyer inline filter and misc stuff in the thin side pocket.

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My current kit, for 3 season riding used last weekend:

(This is bordering on a luxury list for me… I brought a pillow – something that doesn’t go on longer trips as I use the space for food / extra clothes)

(no food or water included in weights)
Fargo naked with Revo and Redeye lights, dyno wheel, etc. 29#
Fargo 35.2# with GPS, hydro hose, Revo, Redeye, Lezyne pump, and on frame bags as noted below:

On bike frame bags, feed bag, gas tank and jerry can 6.2#
Frame bag
Arm warmers, gloves, folding camp saw, knife, Fenix LD22 (for helmet, night riding headlamp), vest and woolie, tent pole, tent stakes, spare tube, empty bladder, sawyer mini inline with hydro bladder

Jerry can with tools, multitool with pliers, 1 brake, 1 shift cable (tucked into sides of bag stiffener), der hanger, patch kit, fiber spoke, tire levers, spare master link

Feedbag(s) with hand sanitizer (no food for weights, but generally my road food goes here)

Gas tank with Canon G12 camera and batteries (4aa and 4aaa)

Front harness and rear saddle bag 14#

Front bag 8#
Sleeping pad, sleeping bag, pillow!, personal stuff, water purification, toiletries, headlamp, showers pass crossover tucked into harness (need to change this – lost it after this photo)

Rear bag 6#
Tarptent Contrail, cook kit (Snow Peak 700 pot, double wall mug, fuel canister, Gigapower stove, matches, silicone bowl, Ti spork, bear line, carabiner, stuff sack), camp clothes (MUSA knickers, boxers for camp, Patagonia puffy jacket).

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Total Kit without food / water 20.2#
Total rig without food / water 49.2#

On person – wallet, cellphone, SPOT tracker, cycling cap

Bikepacking List Fall (3Season)

Personal:
Glasses in case with cloth cleaner
Contact Case eye drops
Sunglasses
Maps / Cue card
Knife (in mesh in Feedbag)

Electronics:
GPS Garmin etrex 20 on bike
Camera canon g12
Batteries AAA and AA
Headlamp Princeton tec small thing
Fenix flashlight for helmet
Revo dyno headlight
Redeye dyno tailight

Meds:
First aid kit
Tums
Ibuprofen
TP
Shovel
Wipes
Lantiseptic
Tiny travel towel

Cook Kit:
Stove
Snow Peak Ti700 Pot
Snow Peak double wall cup (if ‘luxury’ camping…)
Ti Spork
Snow Peak Gigapower stove with Piezo ignition
MSR fuel canister
Bear (critter) bag and line with carabiner

Food:
As req’d

Hydration:
Water bladder(s)
Aqua Mira drops
Sawyer mini inline filter
Nuun tabs for flavor, electrolytes

Shelter:
TarpTent Contrail
Pole
Stakes
Sleeping bag big agnes fish hawk 30d down
Sleeping pad big agnes insulated air core

Bike Mech:
Tube
Patch kit
Tire boot
Tire levers
Pump
Multitool
Derailler hanger (if Fargo)
Brake pads (1 set)
Zip ties
Electrical tape
Chain Lube
Shift cable
Brake cable

Clothes:
Boxers
Dry gloves
Dry Socks
Patagonia puff
Rain pants or MUSA knickers
Showers Pass jacket
Thin ibex woolie

On body:
Cycling shorts
Socks
Shoes Pi x alps pro
Rapha jersey (got to be fashionable)
Thin cap
Helmet
SPOT
Wallet / iphone
Cycling gloves (if dirt road / single track)

Silver Lake Early Fall

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Wil, Greg and I did a S36O to Silver Lake. Road, dirt road, trail, and single track to Lake Dunmore, then we found the Minnie Baker trail and connected to Chandler Ridge. We rode the ridge as the sun was getting low in the sky, and made it to camp at dusk.

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Our plan was to camp and then ride out exploring some VAST and MTB trails that connect up to Brooks Road and then ride the high dirt roads to Lincoln and Bristol. That plan changed when I realized I lost my brand new Showers Pass Crossover Jacket somewhere on the ridge trail. We checked my camera to verify I didn’t leave it in the truck, and found a spot where we thought it might have ejected. I opted to leave it, not wanting to alter the trip, and I wasn’t confident we would find it. The boys voted to not let my jacket remain lost in the woods.

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The change of plans had us riding more single track out – the Leicester Hollow trail. Wil move on ahead and ditched his camping kit and blitzed the south end of the ridge trail, back to where I thought I lost it. He found it far far away from where I thought it would be – but returned with it tucked into his jersey.
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We then opted to roll into Middlebury for breakfast / lunch and not try to regain the high ground and ride our original route.

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Even with the changes we had a great time. Covered ~74 miles with plenty of climbing, roots, rocks, dirt and a beautiful sunset.

S24O Silver Lake

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Snuck in an S24O last weekend. Drove part way, and traversed road, dirt road, TAM (trail around Middlebury), forest road and single track to Silver Lake in the GMNF. Came into the forest service campground via the Leicester Hollow Trail – a rocky, root fun ride of single track.

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Made camp and dinner, enjoying a Heady Topper that I packed in ice for the trip. After hanging my food I tucked in for the night and listened the the loons, the owls, and the small critters that tried to steal my dinner when I got up to rearrange some gear. Awoke early and enjoyed the view of the lake, before taking off for the car.

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I was going to ride out the campground road, or explore some VAST and MTB trails to VT Rt. 125, but after walking up some steep gravel decided to roll back down the Falls of Lana trail and get to Middlebury for some real food.

~70 miles round trip to the car, and I actually completed the trip within 24 hours of leaving home.

Frosty Fall Fatbike – Photodump

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

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I set out with a friend and a couple of online acquaintances in early November to do a bit of late fall bikepacking. I need to write up a full trip report – but here is a photo dump from the ride. We covered 56+ miles, much of it on trail and class 4 road. Machines were all Pugsleys – a single speed, an IGH Necro, and my white 2×9 all with bikepacking bags. We also had a first generation along (the first one sold in VT) with racks and panniers.

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The start was in Pittsfield, VT. We crossed the Green Mountains near Chittenden Reservoir and made our way north to Silver Lake to camp, taking the Leicester Hollow trail in from the south. Fire, chatting, eating, and then sleeping as snow started coming down.

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At 2am everything was white – but by 6am when I got up to start a fire everything was just wet. We left the park on the Leicester Hollow trail, which was the only dirt on the second day.

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We stuck to pavement back to start, as the weather turned as we climbed Brandon Gap – we had rain and freezing rain and sleet coming down the east side.

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The last 10 miles were truly a death march – I was a little sad we eliminated all the dirt and trail – but thankful to eventually be warm and dry.

Texas Gap Bikepacking

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Got out this Friday – Saturday with Greg for a sub 36 hour overnight. I left BTV at about 8:30 am for a meet up in Waterbury. Traffic was a bit crazy getting out of town, and I ended up getting stuck in 3 different construction lines. I rolled on familiar roads to Richmond – taking in Governor Chittenden’s lovely dirt descent past the horse farms with views of Camel’s Hump. From Richmond I followed Cochran’s, Duxbury, and River Rd. to Waterbury, where we met up on the green. A quick snack from the food vendor in the park and we were rolling again on River Rd. towards Middlesex. We took a dirt detour up Lover’s Lane and used the abandoned bridge over the river / gorge in Moretown. Lovely view, and the rock formations were very clear with low, end of summer water levels.

We started to feel the warmth of the day on our way to Moretown, and made a stop in the general store for water and an ice cream sandwich. We pressed on south, taking the wonderful Pony Farm Rd. to avoid traffic on Rt. 100 in the valley. Pony Farm rolls along to the east of 100, is quiet, and offers some nice views to Lincoln Peak, Mt. Ellen, and a backwards glance towards Camel’s Hump. We stopped to check out the North St. bridge when the road changes its name, and then wandered into Waitsfield on pavement and a very busy Rt. 100. Seems rush hour in the valley is between 3 and 4 pm.

South of town we had enough of the traffic and stopped for a break at a gas station. Sour gummies and ice cold water hit the spot, along with a long sit in the shade. Temps hit 82 or more, and the pavement riding due south wasn’t much fun between the garbage truck that we leapfrogged about 10 times along with all the folks in a hurry. We finally had a respite as we started climbing through Granville Gulf, and the temps started to drop as we neared the ponds at the top. We found a burst of energy down the back side and made good time to Hancock where we sat for dinner at the Hancock Hotel / Restaurant. A quick stop in the general store across the street for some camp snacks and to camel up with some water (I wanted to avoid treating if we could), and we started climbing up Middlebury Gap on 125.

On our ascent we picked up some discarded paper and cardboard on the road and stashed it to help start a fire. We climbed to the Texas Falls entrance road, made a quick stop by the overlook, then rode further into the woods along the brook on a quiet, but sometimes steep forest road. We walked a bit of the loose rough stuff – Greg was on his Pacer with 28s and was having traction issues that he didn’t want to muscle through late in the day. A few campsites appeared close to the road, and after about ~44 miles from our meet up we found a nice meadow camp site, high up in the hills.

Setup went smoothly, except for the rocky ground that I had to stake down my Tarptent into. Greg hung in his Hennessy Hammock in the trees – so only had to deal with crossing a stinky / slimy ditch and clambering over downed trees. We built a fire, snacked, and gathered downed wood while watching the stars and chatting until sometime after 10, when the wind whipped up and changed direction, now blowing directly into my tent front door. I didn’t have the mental energy to re-pitch the tent, so I battened down the lines and snuggled in. I slept fitfully – feeling like the tent was trying to fly away with me on several occasions, and then listened as the rain came down for a few hours.

In the morning we made breakfast as we broke camp, packed gear and then headed north further along the forest road. We found several much nicer camp sites that we’ll keep in mind for another visit – and several areas large enough for group camping. At some point we came to the end of our road, realized we should have made a turn into the woods, and back tracked. We followed a VAST trail (marked as a 4×4 trail on USGS maps) for about 2.2 miles and crossed Texas Gap, topping out at 2200 feet in elevation. This was one of the more memorable moments – we were riding in the woods on a sometimes single track (Greg on his pacer with fenders and 28s!), far away from anywhere with the smell of fall in the air – although the leaves have only started to change – and we came upon a moose. It bolted before we could get cameras out – but it was 50-75 feet off trail from us.

We eventually connected to a dirt road, which we hoped to follow to the valley. This of course meant climbing a bit – but it was easily graded, until we came to a missing bridge. We heard a generator running – but with no one working on a Saturday morning we clambered around and down through the construction and started our descent on West Hill Road. We had a ripping ride to the Clark Brook trailhead where we stopped to note some more campsites and Greg paused to clean the mud from his fenders. This stretch from our camp back up through the Gap and down to the valley is one of the most memorable parts of this trip. Lovely dirt roads, some trail, wildlife, and a feeling of isolation from the world.

After we reached the valley and VT 100 we made a quick stop at the Granville General store, which was celebrating its one year anniversary – so we enjoyed free coffee and donut holes. Warmed and fueled with second breakfast we started a climb back over Granville Gulf. For the rest of the ride we’d get showered on a bit – not enough to want to put on rain gear – but enough to keep the camera stowed and the arm warmers and vest on. Our return north followed most of our journey south the day before – a stop for third breakfast in Warren, then a soup stop at Red Hen for lunch as we parted ways. Greg took off for points east and home, and I arranged to meet the family in Richmond so we could get dinner and run a few errands outside of our usual haunts in Burlington proper.

~139 miles
~10,000′ in climbing
Pave, dirt, gravel, forest road, single track
camp fire, exploring, spending time with a good friend.
An excellent way to spend less than two days.