Under the moon, in the dark, playing with the camera.
Lake Champlain was a moonscape last night. The cold of last week and the wind of the last few days pushed the ice into cones and mounds of ice on North Beach.
I really like these impressions of my ride captured by the GoPro. Blurry trees, hints of the trail, and what feels like far more speed than I can maanage on the single track in the dark.
And, I’m still in love with the Jones Loop bars – the extra hand positions are great for climbing, and Depot St. is nearby to get a few reps in and get the heart rate up.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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#
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).
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)
Glasses in case with cloth cleaner
Contact Case eye drops
Maps / Cue card
Knife (in mesh in Feedbag)
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
First aid kit
Tiny travel towel
Snow Peak Ti700 Pot
Snow Peak double wall cup (if ‘luxury’ camping…)
Snow Peak Gigapower stove with Piezo ignition
MSR fuel canister
Bear (critter) bag and line with carabiner
Aqua Mira drops
Sawyer mini inline filter
Nuun tabs for flavor, electrolytes
Sleeping bag big agnes fish hawk 30d down
Sleeping pad big agnes insulated air core
Derailler hanger (if Fargo)
Brake pads (1 set)
Rain pants or MUSA knickers
Showers Pass jacket
Thin ibex woolie
Shoes Pi x alps pro
Rapha jersey (got to be fashionable)
Wallet / iphone
Cycling gloves (if dirt road / single track)
Since my bikepacking trip I’ve been looking for some mojo. Lots of rain here in VT, lots of damage and flooding from the hurricane, and lots of cold, wet, weather settling in. I always go through some downtime as the seasons change… and being in the cold and rain for the VT Fall Classic last week seemed to reinforce that the body needs time to acclimate each year. Come spring I’ll be shedding layers in this morning’s temps…
Have to find some time for some bike maintenance. The Fargo’s rear derailleur was tweaked somewhere along the Fall Classic. Shifting suffered over the final 12 miles. My chain wouldn’t drop out of the largest cog without some persuasion on the pedals, and it never dropped down into the smallest. Looks like the replaceable hanger is bent – but no adjusting with cable tension nor limit screws seems to help. I’m likely to swap to flat bars and 1×9 for the winter – so it seems this fix will just speed up that process.
The Pugsley is going to get my Titec H-bars. I have cable ready and waiting – just need the time to focus. The bars on the Pugs will go to the Fargo for the winter. Also need to re-pack the rear wheel, and check all the bearings, etc. Want to be ready to roll when the snow flies.
The IF needs a cleaning. And I’ll mount up my spare wheelset with my trainer tires for indoor roller duty. This bike has been ridden maybe only a handful of times since the Fargo arrived. Sad, maybe. But I’m just digging the fat tires now, for pretty much everything…
Some things I learned on my longest ride to date this year:
- I’m in better long distance shape than I’ve been giving myself credit for. Yes, I’m still 20 pounds over my ideal event weight, and I had a tough winter with adjusting to fatherhood and medical issues – but I’ve dropped 22 pounds since the holidays and I’ve been consistent on the bike for the last 3 months. Cruising speed needs to come up – but overall ‘get it done’ at all costs stubborn endurance is there.
- I (will always) need to improve my climbing speed. I’ve been holding off on adding too much intensity to my workouts for fear my ‘base’ wasn’t large enough. I think I’m there. Time to put the hurt on 2 days a week with tempo and hill work, saving my weekends for the long stuff. Irish Hill, Bolton, and short bursts up Depot St. – here I come.
- Nothing really hurt. There was no time on the ride when I needed to stop and solve fit or contact point issues. I had some minor saddle irritation that was helped with a change into fresh shorts, my hands were good with minor numbness if I hung out in any one position for too long, and my feet were comfortable (if wet) for the entire ride.
- Clif Shot Bloks – sometimes they work, sometimes they upset the tummy. This ride I think they were part of my distress climbing to Killington. They gassed me up on the 200k as well – a ginger ale solved that issue. These will move from ‘go to’ to ’emergency only’. I downed 2 packs of these within 30 miles of the end – knowing we didn’t have time to stop for real food and they do work…
- Clif Mojo Bar – Peanut Butter Pretzel – I discovered this on my solo 300k through the Adirondacks last year. Winner for overall best bike food – tastes good and stays down. Four of these propelled me over the 24 hours – I could have used another two.
- Lantiseptic Skin Protectant – it is a rear ends best friend. Of all the potions, creams, and goop that I’ve tried – this stuff works. Yes – I’m trying to get away from padded shorts on long rides – but if its wet, and if I’m uncertain about comfort, setup, conditions – the Lantiseptic goes on. Add a bit of Assos to the pad – and I think I have a winning combo.
- Acorn Boxy Rando Bag – a great addition on the Mark’s Rack. It was nice having access to food, arm warmers, camera, etc. – all right up front. I did not do enough navigating to need the map case – but it does get wet inside, and as I learned on the 200k – it does not fit an 8.5×11″ cue folded in half. I had to tri fold and clip the edges. Not a deal breaker – but a bit of a pain. I liked the map case on my Ortlieb more – I might have to retrofit some snaps to the Acorn. Not having a decaleur (VO is still out!) didn’t affect things all that much – with a rando load of food and clothes up front the bag was stiff enough using the cord ties to the handlebars. Not ideal – but workable.
- Acorn Medium Saddle Bag was a great addition to the rear- we carried extra clothing (bulk) – and having the luggage to do it made the ride that much nicer. I kept my tools, spare tubes, mini first aid kit, and night riding gear tucked away. I had more room if needed, and the rear flap can snug over a jacket or base layer. There are also rings for lashing to the outside, and the leather tailight clip is just perfect – couldn’t ask for it to be in a better spot. I think this will be a perfect bag for 200k and century rides – and currently is still on the bike.
- Edeluxe – what a light. Not sure what else to say. Glad I dropped the bills for it. Rain, country roads, high traffic roads, 30 mph descents in the rain at night on country roads – it does it all. I ran it in senso mode with the overcast skies and can say for sure that it is bright bright as I watched one of my teamates roll up at dusk. If the rack comes off, the light will go back on with my Terracycle mount. It is too convenient and bright to keep off.
- Ixon IQ – I lent my battery powered Ixon to Jim – it was bright enough – but he complained of descending in the rain. Not sure if he ran it full blast or if he needed to fine tune its position (something I did with my Edelux mid ride) – but I’ve found that in a winter of town use and spring mornings on the rando bike it is very serviceable as a do all light. Not quite as bright as the Edelux – but damn near close if you don’t want to run a SON hub.
- Reflective gear – It works! I love my Cactus Creek vest with all around visibility and pockets in the back, and I will probably pick up some Riv ankle bands (even though my jogalites probably work fine).
- Planet Bike SuperFlash – I mounted a ‘stealth’ to my rig this spring – absolutely love it so far – and having dropped behind my teamates on some climbs in the rain – it really does stand out – whether in blinking or steady mode. I’ll be adding a second for the 400 and 600k.
- Wool, it works – I had a combination of jersey, arm warmers, and shorts. The main (and only) regret on this ride was not carrying an Ibex Woolie base layer. I missed it when the sky was sprinkling and it was cool. The arm warmers I carried were too warm… from now on I’ll be carrying or wearing a thin wool layer.
- Shower’s Pass Elite 2.0 – was absolutely perfect when the temps dropped below 55 or so. A bit too warm when it was in the 60’s. Perfect for getting rolling in the cold rain – but I found myself shedding it during the night (it stayed in the 60’s). I wore it through the last 25-30 miles as it was raining buckets and the temps dropped 10 degrees.
I’ve been putting off the rigging of my Edeluxe for some time – the Ixon IQ I run for short rides is plenty bright and has good run time – and comes on and off the bike quickly for errands and stops around town. Our Flèche is two weeks away – and I’ll need all night light – so I finally broke down and clipped the wires to the proper length and got the Edeluxe up and running. The light is simply outstanding – test runs in the morning and on the MUP late at night have really impressed me.
Mounting the light has been a bit of an adventure. I use a Mark’s Rack for my rando bag up front. The Mark’s Rack doesn’t have any fittings for front / low light mounting (save for the goofy tab on the end of the rack). Previously I ran dual E6 lights from the lowrider bosses – but with only one light (the brightness of the Edeluxe easily surpasses dual E6s running full steam downhill!) – I want to minimize wheel shadow as much as possible. I purchased the fork crown mount with the light but can’t run it with the bag, debated the lowrider mount, thought about mounting it euro style to the skewer, and purchased a Terracycle mount that works on the fork. None of these felt right (the Terracycle mount comes closest – and if I remove the rack this will be the system I use).
Rummaging through my parts bin I came up with what should have been obvious – use the spare bolts that come with the struts for rear mounting the Mark’s and get the light just below my bag. To do this I had to track down an M6 coupler nut – an email to a friend brought a link to McMaster-Carr (and plenty of time browsing all the cool hardware they sell). I had hoped for the coupler in stainless – but the black oxide variety is the proper length to keep the light tucked under the bag with enough clearance to the strut. I added lock washers towards the strut and a serrated washer towards the light. After some positioning play all seems well. Plenty of light, minimal wheel shadow, and so far rock solid. The mount will get a good workout this weekend – the usual suspects are planning 75 miles of dirt – 3 long and steep climbs, 3 covered bridges, views to the Green Mountains, ADKs, and the lake.
The Surly CrossCheck on the Winooski pedestrian bridge. New On-One Mary bars – still sorting out the stem. Ergon grips – wow! Studs will go on tonight. Ixon IQ is proving to be a great battery light (I’m spoiled with a SON dynohub on the IF). Planet Bike Cascadia fenders could work better – but they are serviceable.
I picked up a Petzl e+Lite about a month ago at my local EMS. I really like this little light – I’ve been using it on after dark runs, on my cycling helmet, and even while installing a ceiling fan. I’m using the e+Lite as a helmet mounted compliment to my Schmidt powered lights. The combination of the white and red LEDs in the same package sold me – white light for repairs and as needed for extra road illumination – and red light (which preserves night vision) for reading cues and cockpit illumination.
The light runs on 2 Lithium CR2032 batteries. They fit in the head unit behind the LEDs, are easy to change, and appear to be available in most convenience, hardware, and grocery stores (I’ve been checking locally). Published run times are 35 hours on maximum and 45 hours on economy. I’ve gone through about 20 hours of use and have not noticed a fall off in brightness on either setting. With batteries installed the published weight of the light and strap is 27 grams.
Light is generated by 3 white LEDs and 1 red LED. White has 3 settings – maximum, economy, and flash. White maximum is bright enough to read street signs at some distance on a moonless night while cycling, as well as fully illuminating my handlebars and a patch of ground directly in front of me. White economy puts out ample enough light to run along the unlit lakefront MUP on a moonless night, read my cyclocomputer, make adjustments to my bike, or fuss with the digicam. Red has two settings – maximum and flash. The red light is perfect for cockpit illumination and cue reading when helmet mounted – and would work well mounted to my stem or a cue holder. It has also worked well for off bike rummaging through my seatpack. Flash for both colors works as advertised.
The e+Lite comes with an elastic band for head wearing, as well as an integral clip that will work on hats and helmets with some creatively placed strapping. The body of the light swivels on an integral ball / socket connection to the clamp. Positioning the light exactly where you need it is easy – no tightening mechanisms or special cams to deal with – although the light is small enough that this is a bit clumsy to do wearing lobster gloves for winter cycling.
I’ve had the e+Lite out for several night runs and both short and long night rides. Currently I’m not in need of cue navigating on my local routes so I’ve been using it primarily for cyclocomputer reading and off bike lighting. It works perfectly for this – and I plan on adding this to my long distance cycling kit.