I’ve had an interesting winter:
•200k mixed terrain in CT/Westchester
•did my first race (Marty’s Fat 50)
•bought a fatbike
•200k to Bear Mtn. and back on the new fatbike
•raced again with the fatbike (D&L Fat Epic 80)
•250k mixed terrain loop on Hypnotoad
•80k climby gravel jawn
Theres a good amount of blog-worthy stuff in there, but a lot of it was too cold to operate a camera, or it just hurt too much to think. Basically I fucked up. My bad.
I did a lot of talking about doing the Tour Divide, but the more I thought about it the more I realized my desire to do it was “because I can” and not necessarily because it was what I truly wanted to do. I have no doubt that it would be an incredible epic journey to be told till I’m on my deathbed, but it boils down to a super long gravel race. The more I ride my bike in the woods, the more I like singletrack. Plus if I’m being honest, I didn’t have enough time to bring myself to the level I wanted to be at by the time of the grand depart in June.
I had told myself and others (perhaps this was a self-fulfilling prophecy) that if I didn’t do TD I would do some smaller trips that were more diverse and based around singletrack. This is where I’m at now, planning my year on the bike wandering the earth. The first trip was planned on being a route in Oregon for about a week and a half. 350 miles composed almost entirely of gnarly rainforest PNW singletrack, but the timeframe didn’t fit for June (the time I had already taken off for TD), as there was likely to be snow in many of the mountain passes, so it was pushed back to mid-August.
A few months ago I bumped into a friend I used to work with in the hallway, he was telling me about this job that he probably wouldn’t be able to do, but thinks would be right up my alley, and it was. I went to an interview, took some phone calls and sent some emails and got the job. They’re gonna pay me money to go to weekend events and do stuff, but the key element here is that they pay for my all my travel expenses, and are flexible when I decide to come back home. JACKPOT.
I signed the contract, and my first job is in Mesa, AZ – Apr 28th.
Surely you all know what I’m planning on doing with this already. I spent a couple days trolling my bookmarks and forums and blogs and I decide this will be big bike trip #1 in an alien land. I was talking to Dan about a small 3 day trip out there solo, and he mentioned he would love to come but would compromise time from work set aside for Oregon…
We could replace Oregon (which is pretty dependent on when we go) with an equally gnarly trip in AZ! I did some more trolling of the interenetmachine and behold:
After about a day of thinking (probably less) we were all in. I’ll do the job on the weekend, most likely nervous and distracted the entire weekend about my bike, my gear, the weather, navigation, and wondering if I brought enough clean underwear. Once the event is wrapped, it’s off to the desert shredding the gnar battling dehydration, rocks, and plants that want to stab millions of holes in us. We’ll probably hit some extra curricular singletrack jawns in Sedona, and spend like 8 seconds in the city to see what that’s all about. Maybe people there don’t suck as hard as they do here? I’m not holding my breath.
On this trip I’ll be taking the fatbike, Gossamer. I built it a new set of B+ wheels with a dynamo hub to charge my electronics, and added a squishy fork.
I’ve never spent enough time out on the bike that I needed more than one battery backup
I’ve never flown with my bike anywhere
I’ve never been in a desert
I’ve never been to Arizona
Basically the only thing that will be familiar to me will be riding bikes, eating, shitting, pissing, and sleeping.
Stay tuned for incremental updates along the journey and a full write up when I get back about my gear, how many times I bust my ass, where not to take a crap in the desert, and what my favorite trail food was.