Sunday, June 7, 2015
Here's the good ship Haluzak ready to tour. I don't think I'll use the Burley this time, however. I'll be using the Radical panniers that carried me so efficiently across the USA in 2007. Here they are hanging on my dearly departed Street Machine--Mojo:
This photo was taken in western Arizona on the big day from Kingman to Needles, one of the great days of that cross country epic. The back route through Oatman is one of the best rides anywhere. After doing the calculations, I just couldn't resist the temptation of losing twelve pounds. Also factored in there is that my partner, Danny, is a monster. He's been doing triathlons and hitting the podium in smaller races for his age class--a couple years above me. He's fitter than most fiddles and has the added climbing speed of an upright, so I need to stack the deck in my favor. Here's the look of the new rig tricked out:
As I unloaded for packing into the truck, I weighed all the stuff, including a full 3 liter hydration bag. It comes to about 50 lbs. That includes the weight of the bags, trunk pack, straps, EVERYTHING. I don't have a hanging scale, but I figure the bike with fenders, seat pad and all is in the 30+ lb. category, so we're looking at a fat load, which will go up a little once we add some lunch and dinner stuff. Oy. Still, I took it out for a shakedown spin, which includes a mandatory 11% stinger getting home, and all was well. Yeah, it's work, but that's the point, right? I'll be fine. To deal with the big climbs and heavy loads, I popped on my Stonich shortened mtb. cranks:
That's a 22t granny. I would have liked to put a 12/36 on the rear, but I'll get by with the 11/34. It shifts great, and I'll need that bottom for sure.
Here's an uninspiring photo that represents a pretty good struggle:
X marks the location of a tiny tiny itty bitty puncture in a Thermarest pad I might loan to Danny. This leak would take hours to deflate the sleeping pad, which I struggled with during the big winter tour. I'd have to get off the pad in the dark AM and pump a few breaths in so as not to bottom out--ugh. I had to use a few inches of water in the tub, pump the pad up to the max, fold it over a couple of times, THEN put all my weight on it to finally discover the friggin leak. I've had this pad since before my cross country ride in 2007,
Here's another challenge met today:
Not impressed? I put toothpaste INTO the small tube, a paste transfusion, if you will, from the big to the small tube. Living life on the edge, I tell you what.
This ain't my first rodeo, but it's surprising how keyed up I've been today getting ready. These big rides are always exciting even if it's familiar terrain. We had originally planned to ride a big loop in N. Cal. and S. Orygun. The more I thought of it, the less excited I was about the full 8 hour drive to get up there, basically two full days sitting on our butts, not pedaling. I convinced my partner with a brief phone message that we could start in Bishop and do an alternate tour:
We may not include the bottom loop, but I would like to slog up Tioga Pass to the Yosemite entrance as I missed that last time we did this, back in 2011. God, has it been that long? Stop, demon time, stop! Well, one way to stop it is to plug into these massive climbs, and that is what we aim to do. This tour has some genuine epic passes. One must-do is Monitor Pass, one of the greatest ascents in N. America, for sure. The descent to Markleeville is life changing.
Well, I should be able to post a little from the road, so stay tuned for some updates. I'm bringing my Windows tablet and a solar charger to keep things fueled. We'll see how it goes.
Ride on, ladies and gents, ride on.