Colorado Trail Northbound, 460 miles in eight days.
Post-ride analysis in italics
– Surly Karate Monkey 1×11 (30:11-42), Ardent 2.25 front and rear Gear range was sufficient for my load. Anything lower and I would’ve been pushing anyways. Tires held up great, no need for fatter with front suspension.
– Cleaveland Mountaineering frame bag. So much storage space! Contained stove, food and occasionally layers.
– CM handlebar harness. Solid, especially with extra ski straps securing it. Contained tarp, sleeping bag, sleep layers. Front pouch contained water filter, CT Databook, phone.
– CM gas tank. Gummies and peanut M&M’s straight in the pouch for easy access.
– CM “Daddy’s Little Helper” hikeabike strap. Absolutely freaking crucial, will never go without one now.
– Osprey 22L. Perfect size. I cut some sleeping pad to ease shoulder pain while hikeabiking. Contained jackets, sleeping pad, not much else. Mostly protective in case of going endo and landing on my back. Wind drag was a bummer on wilderness detours.
– Pringles can taped to downtube. Cardboard rotted, should’ve used a tennis ball canister instead. Contained both spare tubes.
– Cateye Velo 7 computer. Doesn’t register anything below 1mph, so only really good for wilderness detours and as clock. Next time, a GPS watch.
– One 750ml bottle, cage ziptied to toptube/seatpost junction. Convenient spot. Yeah, I only carried 750ML at any given time. A couple rough spots, but sufficient otherwise.
– Patagonia Hybrid 20 down half-bag. Coupled with 8oz down jacket, this was sufficient.
– Golite poncho tarp, ti stakes, P-cord. Set up once, but glad to have it.
– Reflectix car-sunshade sleeping pad from van buildout. Next time, bring an extra square to double up the hips.
– Pearl Seek VII hikeabike shoes + Eggbeater cleats. One Euro size too big. They got heavy after a while. Achilles pain was an intermittent thing; should’ve moved cleats bag.
– Poly gote sox
– Merino sleep socks
– Zipoff pants. I accidentally only brought one pant leg! Left these at the first resupply.
– Bike shorts
– Poly tights. Wore these every day under bike shorts as a knee sunshade, never even changed out of them at night.
– Poly Button-down shortsleeve
– Pearl Sun sleeves. Super helpful and cooling when dunked in a stream.
– Fingerless leather gloves
– Thin merino gloves.
– Patagonia quarterzip longsleeve. I would wear this at night, then in the morning, then tie it to my pack to dry in the evening.
– Cycling cap. Looks preppy but super helpful.
– MHW Ghost Whisperer hooded down jacket. Crazy light and warm!
– OR Helium shell
– Sunglasses. Ditched at the first resupply … I hadn’t worn them for five years and couldn’t get back into it. Plus the amber lenses made everything look stormy.
– Helmet. Petzl Sirroco climbing helmet, haha. Dual rated and the lightest thing I had.
– Crank Bro’s M19 multi. Thumbs up.
– Tire levers (2). Also used as spoons.
– Tubes (2)
– Patch kit
– Pump. Fell out of frame bag at Tennessee Pass when inverting bike for tarp setup.
– Gorilla tape
– Gorilla glue
– Zipties (8)
– KMC missing links (2)
– Spare cleat and bolts
– Voile rubber straps (2). Super handy, cinched the handlebar harness down quite nicely.
– Headlamps (BD Spot and Ion). Good enough, but I’d rig a bar light next time.
– Extra batteries. Burned through three sets total.
– Minimal First aid kit
– Sunscreen stick. Never used.
– Burt’s Bees chapstick. Constantly used.
– Lighter + dryer lint
– CT databook. Easier to read southbound …
Cooking and Hydration:
– Vargo Ti alcohol stove + 750ml ti pot. Hot food!
– 4oz denatured alcohol
– Sawyer Mini filter. Slow flow … will consider Lifestraw next time.
– 750ml bike bottle, 1L Platypus softbottle, 0.5L Sawyer softbottle
– Phone + earbuds. Bluetooth buds would’ve been nice but at a higher battery drain. Forgot my USB battery charger … that would’ve been nice to have. Charging at resupplies was adequate.
– RideWithGPS CTR Nobo maps. Helpful for northbound route, consulted occasionally.
– Spotify Premium offline playlists created by friends
– ESV Study Bible and Infinite Jest e-books
Food: two pounds per day
– Breakfasts: instant oatmeal, dried fruit & nut mix
– Sugar: gummy worms, Honey Stinger waffles, HS gummies, Snickers, yogurt-covered raisins (favorite!), peanut M&M’s, Justin’s maple almond butter packets
– Salt: chili cheese Fritos, crunchy Cheetos, cool ranch Doritos, Slim Jims, pepperjack cheese sticks, honey mustard pretzel bites, tomato basil tortillas, Yellow Carrot Dgo sweet potato chips (favorite!)
– Dinners: instant potatoes and summer sausage, ramen noodles, breakfast burrito dehydrated mix
– Friend’s vehicle at Molas Pass
– My vehicle at Spring Creek Pass, which I left with a “CT Thru-Bike Trail Magic” sign
Thoughts for Next Time:
– Go southbound.
– Use some sort of GPS system that tracks mileage more reliably than the Cateye.
– Start with brand new brake pads and bring two sets of spares.
– Resupply in Breck, eat a meal in Copper (but not philly steak mac n cheese again, ugh)
– Find a higher-flow alternative to the Sawyer Mini. Still bring Betadine.
– Bring driducks rain pants instead of zip-offs.
– Bring an extra square of Reflectix sleeping pad for the hips.
– Be thoroughly rested and not-sick before leaving.
– The Leadville bike shop doesn’t stock Tailwind; load resupplies accordingly.