Well… I’m 1 weekend into my tapering before the Colorado Trail Race. …and I’m super anxious. So, I decided to start blogging to help deal with my anxiety.
For those of you who do not know: Colorado Trail Race, this year, starts on July 26th at 4am in Durango, CO. Its is approximately 540 mile trail race, completely self-supported (you must find your own food, water and shelter) with 71,000 feet of vertical elevation gain. Its big. Its the biggest race I’ve ever done. How do you begin to create goals or expectations with a race like this? Most of the trail more than 10,000 feet above sea level with the crazy storms and weather that go with it.
Just to show how much thought and preparation goes into this, I decided to share with you all the gear I’m planning to take with me on this epic adventure.
Even though I’ve trained with this bike all year, we’re planning to switch bikes altogether.
S-Works Epic is, hands-down, my favorite bike. Its the bike I’ve been racing XC with for the last 2 years and it fits me like a glove. Last years frame would not fit any frame bags at all, but this years frame seems to fit a frame bag perfectly. If I can get all my gear on this frame, it will be the bike I roll with for CTR.
Now, on to the gear:
First of all, my bikes are all too small for a handlebar bag. Every bag sits too low and rubs my tires. Tyson (my boyfriend) invented “the plank”. Its a metal plank that extends from the head tube and the handlebar bag (here a Revelate Small Sweet Roll) sits on top without rubbing the tires.
Also, because my handlebar is so tiny (as is my stem), there is simply no room for lights. So, the light (a K-Lite Bikepacker PRO) is also attached to the plank. Genius!!!
In my cockpit, I have my Garmin Edge 800 (maps and route pre-loaded from ridewithgps.com) so I can Strava-bomb the crap out of every Colorado Trail segment there is (STRAAAAAVVVVVAAAAAA!!!!). We installed a Dynamo Hub (SP PD-8x with 15mm thru axle) to provide power to a USB charger (installed in the top cap) and/or the light. There is also a box-thingy (maybe a capacitor or something) with a switch on it that lets me have high-beam lights or low-beam lights.
I made the mistake of carrying 3 liters of water on my back in a Camelbak when I did Kokopelli this summer. Ouch! Lesson learned. I prioritized finding a way to carry water on the bike frame. This bike frame bag full to the brim with 2 liters of water and supplies weighs 7.14 pounds!!!!! Putting the Camelbak bladder in the frame bag is awkward, but better than carrying on your back for sure.
Now I can use my Camelbak to carry lighter gear, like my sleep clothing, dry socks, puffy jacket, arm/leg warmers, my Buff and random gear that doesn’t fit anywhere else. Plenty of room left to stash extra food if I need to.
This bag attaches to the front of my seat and holds toothbrush/paste, TP, Bag Balm for chamois, music, sunscreen….
And last but not least… the saddlebag. Again, I have very limited space because of my small bike. I have 3-4 inches of clearance between my rear tire and the saddle. I would love to have a spacious Pika saddle bag, but alas…. I have hand sewn a few different versions of saddle bags, but to no avail. The tire eventually hits the bag and rips it to shreds (good thing I have extra space in my Camelbak to carry rain gear). I took apart a brand new Blackburn bag and attached nylon straps to the top. The straps help keep the bag compressed down and attached to the rails of my saddle… let’s hope this version stays intact.
Well.. can’t believe you made it this far. Its late. I’m going to bed. Hope this gives you some insight into all the planning it takes to get through this race.