"Better To Travel Than To Arrive"- Planning for a Long Solo Ride
“Sometimes it's a little better to travel than to arrive”
Being self-supported means you carry everything you need on your bike and body and resupply at public places along the way. This takes planning and a roll of the dice to decide what to take and what to leave at home. Here are a few of the items I took on the 2018 DKXL to finish 1st female and 3rd overall. My team and I will be teaching these at Rusch Academy- #GravelLessTraveled camp in June. Hopefully these tips will help you on your next backpacking adventure- including, no matter where it might be.
BIKE Set Up
Bike- Niner RLT9 RDO. The “RLT” means “Road Less Traveled” so this bike was literally made for heading into the unknown, off the beaten path and towards adventure
Wheels- ENVE G23 700c Gravel Series Wheels
Maxxis Rambler Tires, 700x40c EXO/TR
SRAM Quarq power meter
SRAM Chainring and Cassette 42t Front, 10x42t rear- I went down in chainring size for this event. I normally ride a 44 tooth and went down to a 42. I was really glad I made the change for an event this long.
Saddle: Wilderness Trail Bikes Koda saddle
Brakes: need type
Handlebar: Truvativ...need type
Frame Bags: your key to freedom and adventure on a bike!
Frame bags have opened up a whole new world for cyclists. Instead of having heavy gear on your back, you can now load gear onto the bike which means you can go further and more comfortably. With efficiency in mind, I try to set up the bike so the things I need the most while riding are accessible without stopping. There is logic and planning to what goes in each location. The back saddle bag is where I keep tools, mechanical stuff (the things I hope I wont ever have to use) wrapped neatly in a Camelbak bike tool organizer roll. This includes a chain-link, extra brake pads, tire plugs, tire boots, duck tape, zip ties, extra pedal cleats. Heavier items like batteries, water, tubes, I use the Revelate Tangle Frame bag. - I like to keep the heavier items in the main triangle of the bike. The Revelate Gas Tank bag sits in the perfect spot on the top tube for my snacks and nutrition while in the saddle, like the GU Roctane, GU chews, BCAA tablets and electrolyte capsules. I use the Revelate Mountain Feedbag for all of my technology, like phone, cords for charging, GoPro batteries.
Sinewave Cycles Dynamo Hub- A key to the event is being able to charge your devices. I run the hub on my ENVE wheel and every stroke powers my USB port that is in my Revelate Mountain Feedbag. I need to make sure all of my essentials like my Device-Garmin 1030, phone, and lights are able to stay charged. Using a generator hub allows me to minimize battery weight on a long ride. The only hitch is you have to keep pedaling to stay powered.
I burned 10,895 calories over the 28:28:25 hours. Yuri Hauswald has a great article on nutrition in this magazine and he and I follow many of the same principles, so I won’t repeat them all here. Some basics that I plan for are 25 oz of water and about 150 calories per hour. I started the ride with my normal GU nutrition, but since you can’t carry enough food and fluid for the entire event, you have to rely on what you can find at convenience stores along the way. You can always find Red Bull there, but sometimes the other offerings aren’t that great and you’re forced to choose between the lesser of two evils...the hot dog warming under the lights or the bag of gummy bears. I tried to find the best nutrition possible there, but I also .carried 6 packets of Roctane drink mix to have at least one reliable source of calories for much of the ride.
Assos Laalalai Shorts s7
Assos Mille GT Wind Jacket
Smith Trace Helmet
Smith Attack ChromoPop glasses
Audiobooks- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
I often ride with no music or sound because I like to listen to the bike, to think, to unplug. However, for a long ride like this, it’s nice to have something to keep your mind engaged especially at night during the wee hours when your body wants to sleep. I chose this book and it was the perfect choice for a long, solo endeavor like DKXL...here are a few of the quotes that really resonated with me while I was out there pedaling!
“Is it hard?'
Not if you have the right attitudes. Its having the right attitudes thats hard.”
― Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values
“In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.
On a cycle the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.”
― Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
You can watch my gear video from last year's DKXL for more tips and tricks on long ride gear preparation.