Setup – some quick notes

I snapped some quick photos of my setup. I’m sorry this is so quick!

I was hoping I could hike without taking a wheel (or both wheels) off (given the smallness of my frame), but I’ve been dissuaded. In any case, the 37-lb rig (that’s right – it’s not as light as I had hoped!) felt okay on my back. (This was without food or water, which will add weight.) I’ve never hiked this way or hiked the Grand Canyon (for that matter), so I’m sure I’m in for a tough stretch. Maybe by the time I hit the rim I’ll feel in good shape. Or maybe not. Or maybe I’ll run out of time altogether. Honestly, I’m just excited to be riding the Arizona Trail!

I went with double strapping my saddle bag rather than running a rack. See straps (3rd and 4th pictures).

I’m running two AAA-bat powered lights and two Garmin units in my cockpit. I also have a helmet light and a headlamp. Electronics and I do not get along, so I’m all about the backups. I have a giant bag full of lithium ion batteries. I like to run simple, battery-powered stuff, when possible.

I have goggles and a buff, in addition to A LOT of allergy medication (prescription nasal spray, prescription drops, prescription pills, shot, etc.). Seeing an allergy specialist was a great move, even if it did take half a day and lots of painful testing. (The doctor I saw is a backpacker and Grand Canyon enthusiast. She did a little research and reported that, given my particular allergies, I should be fine on the trail right now. Ironically, my worst allergy is olive trees, and my dad happens to live next to an olive grove. So, basically, I just need to leave home!)

My strategy with the Osprey pack is to stash things I use a lot in it (as well as strap my bike to it). I also have two 100 ounce bladders inside, plus filtration drops – the kind that takes five minutes to purify your water. Finding water sources is a big deal on the Arizona Trail. I’m using cue sheets and the Arizona Trail Association iPhone app for locating water. Fortunately, I do well in really hot conditions and do not need a ton of water. Still, I need to be conscientious about hydration, reminding myself to drink a lot more than I would normally want to.

In my handlebar bag I have just my emergency sleeping bag and sleeping pad. The bag + sleeping system weighs under 2 lbs. Fortunately, the weather is looking good, at least to start. But the bag is blizzard proof, and I’ve tested it in well below freezing temps. (Those tests convinced me I need the pad, because the ground can get really frickin’ cold.)

I keep all clothing in my seat bag, so as to keep the seat bag light. I have ample rain gear and three base layers, plus my big beloved (red) primaloft jacket. I’m using my new Milltown kit (love it!), in addition to white sun sleeves and Arizona state flag socks. 🙂 I feel like Arizona-themed socks are a must – arguably the most important item.

I put the heavy stuff (two small dry sacks with my maintenance kit and first aid/toiletries kit) in my frame pack, where I also stash my pump, lube and drivetrain brush (and extra food, if needed). I also have room for extra food in my handlebar bag and backpack. Dried mangoes and cashews are my backup food.

Food I want to eat immediately goes in the my feed bag (on my top tube, in the “cockpit”). My little sister Christina and I went food and battery shopping this evening; I think she prefers My Littlest Pet Shop to lithium ion batteries. 🙂 One big motivation to actually finish this thing is that my family is planning to meet me at the end and go see the Grand Canyon.

Alright, I’m pooped (if you can’t already tell from this post), and I have my NAU talk in Flagstaff tomorrow. Off to bed. Let me know if you have any last minute suggestions! There’s not much I can alter at this point, but I can always worry more than I am already worrying. To be honest, I’m more excited than worried. I’ve never been so excited to ride a trail. Desert riding has always been my absolute favorite! Signing off …

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