Monday, July 21, 2008

Logistics of a Biking and Camping Trip

If you've been following previous posts, you'll know that we bought new touring bikes and panniers for our two-year anniversary. (I think normal people go on a cruise or celebrate in Mexico. We buy bicycles and gear to haul around. Yeah, we might be a little nuts.) Anyway, we coordinated the celebratory trip the weekend before: I picked the trail and Florin made campsite reservations at Cliffview. The working week passed by and Friday night was upon us. There was suddenly much to do! There was camping gear to find, food and clothing to be selected and packed, and gear preparation that was sorely behind schedule.

Truth is, I was a little concerned because I was afraid that our Jalco rims wouldn't be able to support the large 700x38 tires and tubes I had purchased specifically for this trip on crushed cinder. (Turns out that I had nothing to worry about. The larger tires were a very good idea, fit fine into the deep-V rims, and worked amazingly well. What a relief!) I was even able to show Florin a few tips and tricks for making tire-changing easier and faster. (Yes, Florin did his and I did mine.) We then cannibalized our existing camping and backpacking gear to meet our needs. I grabbed my compression straps off of my hiking backpack, pulled out my down sleeping bag, and rolled up our Thermarest pads. Check, check, and check. Florin found his down bag, his backpacker's tent, and his white gas backpacking stove (which is awesome, for the record). Check, check, and check. Now, to fill the panniers.

If food is tricky for backpacking, in my opinion, it's even tricker for cycling. Yes, we have panniers, but we want to pack relatively light but also nutritionally dense. Cycling takes a lot more energy than hiking. In past cycling events I've participated in, I've recorded up to 1,000 calories burned in an hour. I figure we wouldn't burn calories at quite that high of a rate, but it would ultimately depend on terrain, temperature, and effort. We opted for Cliff bars, GORP (trail mix), Gala apples, Clementine oranges, and beef jerky for the snack 'ums. For dinner, we packed both the MSR "Mac and Cheese and Chili" and the MountainHouse "Oriental Dish" RTEs. (For the record, MountainHouse meals are FAR superior in taste, texture, and amount.) Breakfast was going to be leftover fruit, hot cocoa, bagel chips, and cashew nut butter. For me, that food plan was plenty sufficient. For Florin, there's no doubt he needs REAL food a lot more often. I suspect it has something to do with the difference in our "natural reserves." :)

I thought the GORP would be the constant hit of the two-day party, but surprisingly it was the Clementine oranges and the hot chocolate that were in constant and high demand. (My God, those were sooooo good.) Of course, I really didn't pack enough of either of those. We got by all right. We also each rode with 3 bottles of water, but refilled at every chance we could (which was at Cliffview and again at Draper). It wasn't particularly hot, but if it had been, we would've been hurtin'. I'm thinking about packing potable water tablets or bringing along a backpacker's filter, just in case. Probably not a bad idea. (Would make a good Xmas gift -- Hint, Hint!)

I'd probably also change what I wore. I'd definitely keep the Keen cycling sandals. (Those are possibly the single best clothing purchase I've ever made.) I would've opted out of my normal spandex shorts for something more "civilian friendly." Normally, I don't care about what I'm wearing as long as it works. It's fine when I'm straddling the bike and it's obvious that Spandex is for a reason. When you reach the campsite, however, you're walking around without your bicycle. Weaving through 5 campsites full of Boy Scouts, I felt a little awkward in my all-Spandex getup. I have two fantastic pairs of SkirtSports' Compression Fit BikeGirl cycling skorts and I didn't think to wear them on this trip. Next time, I most definitely will. It's either that, or I'm going to bring one of those ever-useful Terry wraparound skirts.

Stuff I would bring next time that we didn't have this time:

  • Flint & tinder
  • Potable water tablets or water filtration system
  • More fruit (apples & oranges)
  • Silk sack/liner for my sleeping bag (ideally the Cocoon Ripstop Silk Mummy liner, found at REI for ~$65, Item #735819)
  • My GSI Backpacking Cook System
  • My GSI 11-Piece Kitchen Set

No comments: