Saturday, November 21, 2009

Midwest Expo

Today I gave an hour long presentation "Introduction to Bikepacking" at the annual Midwest Mountaineering Outdoor Adventure Expo. I used my experience training for and racing the Tour Divide as the conduit for the experience and shared the gear that I used and am using still.

A big Thank You to everyone that filled room 25 at the Humphrey Center! This was the first time I've presented anything like this and I was pleasantly surprised by the attendance and participation. I'm thankful that we have such a great outdoors community here in the city. Midwest does an incredible job building and serving this community.

For those that came to see me speak, I'd like your feedback! What worked? What didn't? What could I have done more/less of? I can take it, give it to me straight. I want and need to hear(read) it.

Finally, what questions did you have that didn't get answered? Let's keep this an ongoing discussion. If there is enough interest, I'll do a series of posts to answer those questions.

Otherwise, get out and ride!


Tim, Miker, and I got out for an overnighter this past week. I had made plans for one the previous week, but ended up with a bad cold that had me thinking staying indoors was a better idea.

We left work around 5pm, made a quick stop at the butcher shop for beef sticks, sausage, and chocolate milk; then headed for the trail.

It was good to get some night riding in. I've been commuting with my P-Tec Apex, but haven't ridden much singletrack with it. I'm continually impressed with the output in such a small package. Light and battery technology has come a long way. In the late 90's my first light had a battery the size of a waterbottle and nowhere near the output.

I had a campsite planned for the night, I hadn't visited it, but thought it was worth a shot. After a short bit of bushwack we made camp next to a lake, but nestled in the woods. First priority was getting a small fire going for the evening. There was a bit of debris in the area and we found a small steel barrel to make a fire in.

After setting up shelter we settled in for dinner and conversation. Relaxing on a unseasonably warm November night in the woods.

Overnighter Campsite

After boiling water for noodles on my alcohol stove I tested my first proto woodgas stove. This little woodstove is based off the Bushbuddy, but made of easy to find food cans. I'll dig into the details in a future post.

Woodgas Stove

First testing passed. It took roughly 10 minutes to boil 16 oz. of water after getting the fire going. I broke up small sticks and continually fed them into the fire chamber during use. After boil I added some tea and left it on the stove. The fire burned down quickly and kept my tea warm while I enjoyed it.

Testing and refinement will continue on this little experiment as more overnighters happen, but I'm quite pleased of the results. For just a few dollars in canned goods this little stove is great!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

An excerpt

I started writing this months ago. I came across it today and thought it both informative and humorous. Perhaps you had to be there for the humor part...


The rain ricocheted off the roof of the garage at Red Lake Wildlife Refuge that I called home that night. I bedded down on top of rolled out fiberglass insulation after washing my bike and gear of the mud that stopped me in my tracks at the village of Lakeview. Dinner consisted off gas station fair; Chocolate muffins (600 calories), Frito’s (3200 calories per family size bag), and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups (300 calories). I rationed another muffin and a few chips for breakfast, enough to make the 30 miles to Mack’s Inn.

Sleep was heavy and comfortable that night. I woke to the sound of rain on the roof in the early morning. Needing to urinate and not wanting to o outside I grabbed my empty water bottle for a latrine. Feeling guilty, but knowing the road would be a crunchy peanut butter consistency, I climbed back into my bag for another hour of sleep. Just before 6am I woke to first light, ate my rationed breakfast, and packed my gear. The park ranger’s light was on, so I meandered over to thank him for a roof over my head. I never got his name before hitting the road for Idaho. Trail Magic.