Arriving at my dad’s house in Arizona, I excitedly opened (or rather, my little half sister and brother excitedly opened!) some of the new items I am trying for the Arizona Trail Race. Thanks Milltown! Check it out:
I am really excited to try the Osprey Sirrus 24. I see Osprey packs everywhere now, and I’ve been wanting to try one. This sturdy day hiking pack will not only carry extra food/water but also my BIKE, if and when I hike through the Grand Canyon. I guess that aforementioned Analects quote will be one of my anthems – “The ‘Cry of the Osprey‘ expresses joy without becoming licentious, and expresses sorrow without falling into excessive pathos.” 🙂
My Bontrager/Trek multisport shoes. These are women’s specific. Because 1/4-1/3 of the trail will require hike-a-bike, I need shoes that can handle rough terrain! I’ll also need blister repair supplies, no doubt. 🙂
The Maxis Ardent (with EXO protection) seems to be the tire of choice for the rocky, cacti-strewn Arizona Trail, which eats tires for breakfast. EXO technology is “An extremely cut-resistant and abrasion-resistant material added to the sidewalls of select mountain tires. This densely woven fabric is also lightweight and highly flexible, ensuring that the performance of the tire remains unaffected.”
I am attaching two of these AA-battery powered Bontrager/Trek handlebar lights to my bars, as backup lights (in addition to a head lamp and iPhone light). Battery powered backups are a good idea, since my main light (a helmet mounted Exposure Diablo) has a limited burn time and requires recharging, via a wall socket or my AA-battery powered USB chargers. Plus, extra light in rough terrain is not a bad idea, especially since I plan to do a lot of night riding.
This final item may prove to be essential. Large seat bags (the norm for bikepacking) do not work so well with small 29-er frames (i.e., there is rear tire rub, as soon as the terrain gets tough). So, instead I am attaching a large dry sack on the platform of this lightweight Thule touring rack. So, bike bags are as follows: a top-tube mounted feed bag, a small frame bag (Revelate) and a handlebar bag (Revelate).
Now that I am potentially ditching my tent and getting the bike weight down to the low 30’s, I will have plenty of extra space for food and water. I’m packing super light. Part of the reason is just the sheer difficulty of this trail (the lighter the better). But also, I finally feel like I have enough bikepacking experience to narrow my supplies down the bare essentials and to forego a lot of conveniences. This is me getting serious, I guess. 🙂 It could be a total disaster, but, hell, I want to make good time. What else can I say? I do hope I can stay in a hotel here and there, but it won’t be a frequent thing.
I will provide more updates as the date (April 15) nears. I still have to get the bike all ready, log some more intervals and do some decent route planning, in addition to a philosophy workshop (this weekend in Sedona) and colloquium talk in Flagstaff the night before the race. The talk is definitely on the wrong side of the course. 🙂 The chances of my getting a lot of sleep right before the race? Slim to none. Oh well.