Sunday, January 25, 2009

Time up

Well I'm out of test time. Heading for the Arrowhead today, mandatory gear check tomorrow, race starts Monday morning. Hoping this doesn't turn out to be another pushbike race. Hope to finish...and if that goes well, I hope to finish sometime early Tuesday morning.

A box of goodies from Epic Designs was on the counter when I got home from the Triple D. The frame bag here is going to be a year round fixture for all my adventures. 2 liters of water, spare tube, tire levers, patch kit, microtool, large pot and MSR Dragonfly for melting snow, 22oz of white gas, 4.8Ah LiPo battery stuffed in a beer coozie for my light system, super utility shears, a little room to spare, and a little pouch on the other side for small stuff. Really nice bag.

I also ordered a set of poagies, Super twinkie seat bag, gas tank, and handlebar harness. Pretty much kitted up.

The poagies are super deluxe, pouches top and bottom, anti sag staps inside, reflective stripes across the front, super duper warm. I've got my goggles stuffed in the bottom pocket on one side and my heavy fleece balaclava on the other side. Headlamp, sunscreen, and compass in the top pockets.
The gas tank is the logical place for food, behind the stem, easy one mitten operational double zip flap. I'm still fiddling with how exactly to organize food. I'm prolly carrying too much. I've also got my GPS backup battery in the gas tank, and a thermometer on the zip pull.
Super twinkie does indeed defy gravity, living up to its frameless seatbag claims. Super twinkie is the largest seatbag Eric makes, and yet it seemed a bit small compared to the original gear pile I had layed out. I've pared my pile down, simplified, and now still prolly have more than I need, but there is a little room in the bag. I've got three sets of ultralight polyester tops, three heavy weight microfleece bottoms, three sets of heavy fleece socks, and three sets of fleece hooded mitts in the main compartment bagged up in slide lock bags for easy base layer changes at the three checkpoints. I've got matches, small first aid supply, IB profin, four sets of toe warmers, fire tinder, zip ties, tp, and spare batteries all neatly packed in a ziplock and stuffed in the top pouch of the seat bag. Seat bag is 7lbs packed.
The handlebar harness was originally designed for summer roll use, but I had Eric make it with extra long straps for my winter roll. Unfortunately my huge sleep roll rubbed tire and there were too many buckles to mess with in the cold. I was also having issue with my headlight reflecting off the roll when mounted on bars.
The solution to all this was a superlight custom front rack/light mount/fender.

I also made a massive Tyvek rolltop duffel bag to tidy things up a little. Still looks huge, but it works really well. I've taken to throwing my down jacket and pants in there too so I don't have to fight stuffing them into the seat bag, and it simplifies my order of events and organization for bivying. Front roll contains a Stevens Warmlite bag in a Nemo GoGo 1person tent, down pillow, 2 peices of closed cell foam for hips and shoulders(if I'm in a hurry, if not I'll spend +20minutes airing up the down air mattress), Feather Friends down jacket, and Mountain Hardware compressor pants, all rolled up in a tyvek roll top duffel weighing in at 12.5lbs.

I'm using vapor barrior socks and a jacket, so my insulating layers won't get soaked, but I still wear a light baselayer as a rash gaurd on top. It'll be awfully nice to change out that baselayer during checkpoints. I'm using a lightweight waterproof shell pant over the heavyweight microfleece that should proove a little more versatile than my tights. I may keep the RBH insulated vapor barrior socks on for the duration of the event, but I wanted a backup with the fleece socks. My feet are my weak point, but I think I may have that solved with a two part solution:
A)Steger Mukeluks, 2 sizes big/doublewide(size 15 doublewide!), two 9mm felt insoles and a 9mm felt boot liner per boot. Inuit ninja boot these are.

B)MKS Grip king pedals with power grips. I've become accustomed to being able to spin and pull up on the pedals with clipless. It has become a big part of how I got started on barely rideable surfaces. Massive platform pedals allow me to keep my warm feet and Power Grips allow me to spin, brilliant.

These Inuit ninja boots have really soft soles, hence you start to feel the pedal profile after a few hours.
Solution to this was custom carbon insole. Still enough flex to keep circulation in my feet, with a little help spreading the pressure a bit. Old school meets new school.

Ok...there's more...there's always more, but I'm in International Falls now and I really should get some sleep. Testing resumes... for the next two-ish days.



Ari said...

good luck Dennis,

your pal,


sydney said...

Good luck, Dennis! Can't wait to hear about it, because I'm never ever going to go out in the cold like that. ;)

Iowagriz said...

You won't see this until you finish, but here's wishing you luck.

Iowagriz said...

3rd place! Congrats on a nice race. I can't wait for the write-up.

mattonne said...

Good Luck Denni!

(cripes yer a MADMAN!)

Paul said...

Awesome job Dennis! Trans Iowa will be a breeze!

Cornbread said...

Hope it went well!

Doug said...

Congrats Dennis on a super Arrowhead ride!! I hope you take the time to write it up for us.