Friday, June 13, 2008

Where's David?

Note: The race begins June 20th at noon.
As a nice little surprise before my departure. Dave and Heather sprung for a Spot Satellite Tracking device. This is a first generation unit which makes it both heavy and impressive. You can go to my SpotCasting page and see a Google map of my progress. If you right click (control-click on mac) the latest spot message it will give you a menu that includes elevation profile; which should explain why I am moving so slow. The terrain feature is a really nice way to look at the map but the satellite will show the beautiful scenery I am enjoying.
I have been playing around with this unit for a couple of days and it is really simple to use. I just turn it on every day and it begins transmitting every ten minutes. Not every message goes through due to clouds, trees, canyons, etc. but from the bike riders I have seen using the system it does a very good job.
The unit and service are quite expensive so If you are around the Bistro drop a few bucks in the bucket to help with the cost.
P.S. I just noticed the Google Quote of the day.

"The best way out is always through." Robert Frost

Phot0: Ben Tobin

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Verbal High Fives

Time for me to get this bike ride under way. To follow along, check the Great Divide Race and MTBCast websites. There are 24 call-in points along the route so there is regular updating of the racers positions. Also check out the Endurance Forum because there is always some good info about the race including the occasional spreadsheet analyzing the race.
Be aware that this year there are two races. The Tour Divide starts a week earlier and adds the Canadian extension from Banff. I am not in the Tour Divide I am in the Great Divide Race. Got it?
Now it is time for me to insert the "thank you to all those that have helped" though these words hardly cover the debt I owe. It is humbling to realize just how many people make some kind of effort to get me to the start of this event.
Erica and Lydia...I have tried to write this sentence so many times that the delete button may be getting worn out. There is nothing that I can say that matches the feeling I have for the support they provide. My only goal is to make them proud.
My parents and siblings have allowed me to hijack holiday dinners with monologues about Wyoming weather patterns, down versus synthetic and bike frame engineering. Next year we can go back to talking about other subjects not related to the GDR.
Dave and Heather Dupree (my bosses) didn't even blink when I told them I was going to go M.I.A. during the busiest time of the year. I have the best job in better still be there when I get back.
Brian from Mountain Gear who keeps me in line with his admonishing about my lack of bicycle maintenance as well as keeping me warm and dry with the best outdoor gear and clothing.
Dave Nelson who gives me free bike parts and if that wasn't enough also maintains the local trails so that I can ride those components into the ground.
Simon from Wheelsport
Tom McFadden (the best mechanic in town)
Jeff Boatman from Carousel Design Works
Ben Tobin the only training partner I have ever had. There were a lot of rides and a lot of laughs together in the last year and a half. Now this is over no more long road rides on mountain bikes. Dirt! Dirt! Dirt!
In about two minutes I will think of a dozen more people like BumbleBar and Cateye who have helped me and the numerous people I have met through this project. It really is a bike community. Verbal High Five to Everyone.

Monday, June 9, 2008

GDR 08 Gear List

For those interested in this sort of thing, here is my gear list for the GDR:

Independant Fabrications Steel Deluxe 29er with Rock Shox Reba Race
Phil Wood hubs/ DT Swiss tk7.1 rims, WTB Nanoraptor tires
Race Face SS Crank with Surly Chainring and Wipperman Chain; ACS Freewheel
Time ATAC pedals Sidi Dominator Shoes
Surly Torsion Bar with Ergon Grips
Thompson Stem and Seatpost with an old WTB Laser V Saddle
Avid BB7 Front Brake, Paul Comp Brakes Rear, Paul Comp Love Levers

Carousel Design Works Seatbag, Handlebar Bag, Frame Bag and Map Case
Wingnut Adventure Backpack
Three Water Bottle Cages and Three Platypus Hydration Bags
Klearwater Chlorine Dioxide Water Treatment
Two Cat Eye Enduro Computers
Princton Tec EOS Headlamp and NIte Rider LED Handlebar Light
4 tubes, 6 patch kits, chain lube
Black Diamond Lightsabre Bivy
Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45 Sleeping Bag
Thermarest prolite 3 Short pad
Two pairs of shorts
1 full zip jersey with base layer
two pairs of smartwool socks
showers pass rain pants
O2 rain jacket
lightweight smartwool longsleeve shirt and pants
Neoprene Booties
arm and leg warmers
warm gloves, fingerless gloves
sunglasses with tinted and clear lenses
multi tool, leatherman, nail clippers and zip ties, duct tape
sunscreen, toliet paper, benedryl, toothbrush, tooth powder, Dr. Bronner's Soap, Bag Balm
bike hat, warm hat
small notebook, pen, calling card
credit card and money.

As for the weight, I do not know. I have made decisions independent of total weight. I did not ignore the weight issue when choosing products but I never got carried away with it. Everything I am using is an old familiar favorite. Whereas my GDR run may be a one time event I do look forward to continuing my love of bike touring. This bike and this equipment will see many miles beyond the end of the race so durability is key.
Some last minute reconsideration is taking place with the weather looking so wet and so cold. I have already added the neoprene booties and may add a midweight smartwool shirt and trade out the O2 rain jacket for my Arc Teryx with a hood that fits over my helmet.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Three Day Shake Down

Tangle of driftwood and bikes on Lake Roosevelt.

I got away from work to do the last real shakedown ride. The route was all road but included 5 long climbs in a 400 mile 3 state loop. The climbs ranged between 2000 and 3000 feet in gain with the highest point being just under 5000 feet above sea level. The point of the ride was to practice more than to train. The pedaling was the easiest part. I can turn the cranks over without problem but there are so many other things that can go wrong. One of the biggest lessons I have labeled "personal maintenance".
A surprising amount of time must be dedicated each day to washing and drying clothes, washing body parts, applying sunscreen, applying bag balm to my backside, brushing teeth, stretching and massaging. All of this is in addition to bike maintenance, navigation, shopping, purifying water, eating, pissing, shitting and of course biking.
The bike worked great but I did decide that I will add some bar ends to the inside of the handlebar like mini aero bars. The purpose will be to provide some additional hand positions more than to lower my body position. I like to ride upright. Even on my drop bar bikes I never ride in the lower position regardless of how windy it is. Too late to develop a new position now.
It was nice having Noah along for the ride. Having someone with me helped me push the second day when a decadent refueling stop in
Sandpoint forced us to ride until 11:00 p.m. to reach our mileage goal.
The next couple of weeks will involve more off the bike
chores than training. I still have to finish the map project and do some last minute bike modifications. It is becoming harder and harder to focus on things not related to the trip. My mind is locking down on the task and soon it will not allow me to think about anything else.