Saturday, July 25, 2015

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tour Divide Cost Summary

I don't normally post about financial things, but I have had a number of people who were curious about the costs I incurred during this year's Tour Divide Race, so I'm going to post this quick summary. 

Days in hotels - 15
Days camping - 9
Food - $1300
Lodging - $1018
Bike Parts / Repairs - $565
Travel to Banff - $362
Misc Expenses - $140
Medical - $85
Shipping - $60

Total costs - $3532

Average cost of just under $150 / day

I had originally planned between $100/day and $1/ mile. Excessive stays in hotels definitely drove the average daily cost up a bit. The hotels in Togwotee, Steamboat, Breck stand out as being especially expensive, and I was only able to split those room costs with others for one of those stays. I had also expected to spend some amount on bike repairs during the race, but the bill in Steamboat added up to a bit more than I expected.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Tour Divide Race Info

Tour Divide Race Info (for those interested)

I fly from Des Moines to Calgary on June 8th, arrive in Banff on June 9th, and the race starts at 8 AM CDT on June 12th.

Follow the race progress at  -
You will be able to click on any racer's name to follow them, or leave comments on their individual Facebook thread. My track will update every 10 minutes or so. Blue dots for men, pink dots for women. Topographic maps, satellite maps and a bunch more.

Detailed Race Discussion - - Tour Divide Race Thread
LOTS of general race chatter going on here and maybe photos as riders pass through certain areas.

Audio Call Ins - MTBCast Tour Divide Page
MTBCast provides a toll free number for racers to dial into and leave recorded messages for friends and loved ones to listen to. More info on their various listening options.

Happy blue dot stalking. :)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Some adjustments...

Weird weather patterns the past couple of weeks have seen Colorado and New Mexico receive nearly record amounts of rainfall for the month of May. For Colorado, that means 8" and for New Mexico, 4"+. That has meant quite a bit of snow at elevation and mud where the snow has left off. I've been watching Billy Rice's progress and videors from his NoBo ITT, which he aborted due to snow in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, as well as that of Tiana Tallent, who has started a SoBo ITT. Based on what I've seen, plus the mid-term forecast, I'm opting to bring some slightly more waterproof gloves as well as some taller, waterproof socks. This might end up being a bit of overkill, but I'll certainly be more comfortable with them than without them.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Nutrition and Hydration

The TD route is all over the place when it comes to food and water resources. The northern part of the route has a many mountain streams and lakes to refill from water, and the stretches in between potential food resupply points aren't too large. The southern part of the route becomes a lot more arid and the towns along the way are more spread out, as well as smaller. It's important to know where you will need to carry large amounts of food and water, as well as have a means to carry those supplies.

To cover my hydration needs, I'm leaving Banff with the ability to carry up to 7L of water. I will have a 4L MSR Dromlite bladder in the main compartment of my frame bag, with a hose running out the framebag to drink from. The hose has a couple of quick disconnects inserted inline so I can quickly refill the bladder without removing the hose. I initially used a standard camelback bladder but it wasn't as thick and abrasion proof as the MSR bladder. Since the MSR bladder is a little tougher on the outside, I won't be afraid to mount it somewhere outside of the framebag during the more remote sections of the route if I need more space for food. The remaining capacity will come from three 1L SmartWater bottles. Each fork blade holds one bottle in a Topeak Java cage. The third one is in a King Ti cage on the downtube, and is secured with a toe strap to keep it from contacting the wheel or bouncing out. The SmartWater bottles are a lot lighter than a regular water bottle, and hold a lot more water. These will likely stay empty until the southern sections of the route where surface water becomes more scarce. The ability of these bottles to withstand a healthy impact and remain attached to the bike has been tested in a couple of real world situations since installation.

For treating water, I'm using a Sawyer Mini water filter with a 1L bag. I filtered water from streams and lakes with this for a week in Montana with no health issues. My only complaint was the small bag 16 oz that came with the filter meant refilling took longer than I would have liked. This was easily fixed by ordering a larger bag. If a water source needs pre-filtering, I will use my cloth bandana for that task.

From a nutritional standpoint, most of my rides in Iowa are fueled by convenience store foods and I'm fortunate to have an "iron stomach", so I will be able to eat just about anything along the route. I've been testing out some TD staples such as Sour Patch Kids during training and races the last 18 months just to make sure I know how my body will react to them. I know can ride a long ways on nothing more than nuts, fig newtons, water, simple sugars, and some caffeine. The time honored strategy of stuffing myself at a diner and taking food to go will definitely be employed. If I run into a grocery store or a fruit stand along the way, I won't hesitate to grab some fruit and store it somewhere as an extra source of fiber and potassium. Ice cream and pie will be consumed wherever I can find them. :)

My primary nutrition storage will be the Porcelain Rocket pocket on the front of my sleep roll, along with my jersey pockets. Secondary storage will be wherever I can stuff things - primarily, spare space in the frame bag and spare space in my Mr Fusion bag. I also have a 20L Sea To Summit Ultrasil Daypack in my Mr Fusion seatbag for extra food/drink capacity for the long stretches between resupply points, like the Great Basin. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Tour Divide Preview - Bike and rider repair

The saying goes "You pack for your fears". This is is never more true than when trying to pack spare parts and tools for the Tour Divide. Your sources for bike parts and repair may range from a hardware store that carries the basics, to a full blown bike shop with top level mechanics, to something in between. Access to healthcare is sporadic. There are large stretches where you'll be on your own to repair your bike, or yourself, in a variety of conditions. While you can't afford to pack for absolutely every problem, you can plan for the things that are most likely to happen. Everything else can hopefully be adapted to or fixed when you get to a town.

Spare parts list
  • In Jerrycan
    • Spare Cleat w bolts
    • Brake cable
    • Shifter cable
    • Fiberfix Spoke
    • Spare length of chain
    • Chainring bolt 
    • Misc bolts (4)
    • Vulcanizing patch kit
    • Tire boots (2)
    • Tubeless valve
    • Quicklinks (2)
    • Zip Ties (multiple)
    • Brake pads (2 sets)
  • In Framebag
    • Stan's sealant
    • Gorilla tape
    • Spare tubes (2)
These parts don't take a huge amount of room and should get me out of the most common situations, and maybe even some less likely ones. I will be running my Race Kings tubeless to start the race. I plan on checking/refreshing the sealant at whatever shops I may stop at along the way. Even if my bike seems to be performing well, I may take advantage of a shop just to have a second set of eyes look the bike over. Since I'm not running suspension, brakes, tires and driveline will be at the top of the list of things that will need constant care and attention.

  • In Jerrycan
    • Tireiron
    • Presta/Schrader adapter
    • Multitool w chainbreaker
    • Mini lineman's pliers
    • Small pocket knife
    • Old toothbrush
  • In Framebag
    • Small Rag
    • Chain Lube
    • Lezyne high volume bike pump
    • Plastic putty knife
A small number of tools to allow for field repairs of the most common things as well as daily maintenance. I picked the linemans pliers up in a small pack at a local hardware store. A little more bite than a pair of needle nose, plus I wanted a decent pair of cutters to be able to trim cable and zip ties. 

Health / First Aid
  • First Aid Kit (seat bag)
    • Advil
    • Benadryl
    • Imodium
    • Z-pack
    • Curved needle w dental floss
    • Safety pins
    • Super glue
    • Neosporin
    • Butterfly bandages (5)
    • Alcohol pads
    • Tweezers
    • Gauze pads (3 x 3")
    • Gauze pads (3 x 2")
    • Medical tape
    • Rubber gloves
    • Bandaids
    • Moleskin
  • Framebag
    • Wet wipes
  • Mountain Feedbag
    • Deet
    • Sunscreen
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
This should cover most of the basics. The curved needle and dental floss is actually packed for sewing up sidewall cuts in tires, but in a highly unlikely pinch, it could be used for crudely stitching me together. The wet wipes will be used for a quick wipedown before bed, especially the seat area, and for other cleanup purposes. They pack flat and can be replenished along the route. I'll keep the used ones in a freezer bag until I get to a place to properly dispose of them. Advil for pain management until I get to a c-store and can buy more. Benadryl for allergies or bad bee/wasp stings. Imodium to try and quell diarrhea if it sets in for some reason. The toothbrush and toothpaste are unnecessary, but a quick brush every two or three days will help me feel a bit more human.