CTR Anxiety

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.

This is the bike I've been training with all year.  A 2014 Specialized Hardtail Stumpjumper.
This is the bike I’ve been training with all year. A 2014 Specialized Hardtail Stumpjumper.

Even though I’ve trained with this bike all year, we’re planning to switch bikes altogether.

Even though I've been training with a Specialized Hardtail Stumpy all year, last minute, I've decided to switch to this S-Works Epic.  Maybe.
Even though I’ve been training with a Specialized Hardtail Stumpy all year, last minute, I’ve decided to switch to this S-Works Epic. Maybe.

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!!!

When you're a little person, you have to be a little inventive to make this work.  A custom plank to hold the Sweet Roll and lights!!!
When you’re a little person, you have to be a little inventive to make this work. A custom plank to hold the Sweet Roll and lights!!!
Here, I took the Sweet Roll off so you can see
Here, I took the Sweet Roll off so you can see “the plank” better.

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.

Kerry at K-Lites has been super helpful with the Dynamo hub/USB charger/Light setup.  Great product.  Simple set up.  Outstanding customer service.
Kerry at K-Lites has been super helpful with the Dynamo hub/USB charger/Light setup. Great product. Simple set up. Outstanding customer service.

In my Sweet Roll, I keep almost all of my sleep setup.  Including a Mammut Ultralight Bivi, a silnylon tarp, Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite 3/4 length Woman’s Sleeping Pad, and ZPacks 20 degree bag.  This might seem a bit… excessive, but I get super cold at night and CANNOT sleep unless I’m warm.  I’ve tested several sleep setups, and this is what works for me right now.  The entire setup (including the Sweet Roll) is right at 3 pounds.

What's inside my Sweet Roll?  Mostly my sleeping gear.  Zzzzzz.
What’s inside my Sweet Roll? Mostly my sleeping gear. Zzzzzz.
ALL of my sleep gear, opened up.  A lot fits in that Sweet Roll!!
ALL of my sleep gear, opened up. A lot fits in that Sweet Roll!!

Also on the handlebar/cockpit are Revelate Feedbags (x2) and Gas Tank. The feedbags hold my Spot Gen3, extra straps, sometimes a tube and plenty of food.

The Feedbags and Gas Tank provide extra storage and can carry over 10,000 calories of food (depending on food/how its packed etc.)
The Feedbags and Gas Tank provide extra storage and can carry over 10,000 calories of food (depending on food/how its packed etc.)

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.

2L water, water treatment, chain lube, rag, batteries, backup charger, emergency bivi, charger cables, guidebook... 7.14 pounds total.  Better to carry this weight on the bike frame than on your back!!!
2L water, water treatment, chain lube, rag, batteries, backup charger, emergency bivi, charger cables, guidebook… 7.14 pounds total. Better to carry this weight on the bike frame than on your back!!!

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.

Using the Camelbak to carry clothing instead of water.  Much light and less wear on my backside.
Using the Camelbak to carry clothing instead of water. Much light and less wear on my backside.

This bag attaches to the front of my seat and holds toothbrush/paste, TP, Bag Balm for chamois, music, sunscreen….

All my toiletries, medicines etc.
All my toiletries, medicines etc.

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.

Raingear.  Rain happens up there... a lot.
Raingear. Rain happens up there… a lot.

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.

Me, with a puffy face from sleeping at 11,000 (near Kokomo Pass) under a tarp all night.  But I slept!!!
Me, with a puffy face from sleeping at 11,000 feet (near Kokomo Pass) under a tarp all night. But I slept!!!
Advertisements

3 thoughts on “CTR Anxiety”

    1. I have a special recipe! It’s a mixture of coconut oil, peanut butter, honey, chocolate, coffee, chia seeds and milk powder. I can share the recipe sometime if you like. Super calorie and nutrient dense.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s