Monday, June 28, 2010

TransWisconsin - Day 0

Some people have recently accused me of being a little too Type A when it comes to my cycling prep. With that in mind, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that my Thursday AM packing routine consisted of nothing more than loading my bike on the top of the Explorer, throwing my backpack in the passenger seat and tossing a cooler in next to it.

I had been riding around town with my TransWisconsin items on my bike and back for close to five days prior to leaving. I had gone through and pared things down to what I had considered bare minimums, ending up with a 5 lb sleeping roll, a 13 lb Egon BC3 backpack, and another 3 lbs of stuff in a small frame bag. I went to Rasmussen's for a bit in the AM before meeting Courtney at his house in West Des Moines. We loaded up Courtney's mountain bike, backpack and rear rack, stopped to fill the cooler with ice and drinks and left for Wisconsin. The drive up was uneventful. Lots of discussion of rides, tire choices and what to expect over the next few days. We had some spare time in our schedule, so we stopped in Dubuque and visited my friends Gary and Patty. We arrived with zero fanfare in the town of Hazel Green, but had issues finding any cyclists. It appeared that, even at 6 PM, we were early. After peeking in the windows of the local antique store and tdriving to the park to see if anyone was around, we headed back to Gangster's Bar and Grill where we found David, Andy and some others enjoying some tasty food and beverages.

After polishing off a bacon cheeseburger and a Spotted Cow, we were back at the park looking at bikes, setting up camp and discussing the event. Joe stopped by to see us as well as drop off phone numbers so we could post audio updates to the web site. Soon Joe was off for the evening, as the race organizers had comp-ed his costs for a hotel while we camped in the park. :) I slept well in my hammock, other than having my head facing towards the security lights instead of away from them. We did have to deal with a fairly good sized storm that rolled through overnight, but I just hunkered down in my hammock watching the trees blow while some of Duluth crew decided to move to the safety of the shelter.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


I am back from Wisconsin. Unfortunately, I only rode slightly over half of the route before I pulled out of the event. I'll have some write ups for the event coming over the next few days, but one of the items I brought back was a good case of ulnar and medial nerve irritation that makes it difficult to use my right hand. In the meantime here are some photos from the trip. I'm already making plans for next year's attempt.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Have the packing pretty much done. Missing some small, non-essential stuff, but the important stuff is all taken care of. I'm sure some experienced bikepackers could whittle this down a bit more. I'm still hoping that I can figure out a way to mount the stuff sack so that I can completely remove the racks from the Fargo and shave a few pounds off the bike.

Here's a quick breakdown of stuff I'm taking and aggregate weights for anyone that's watching from home. I've left off the obvious tubes, pump, lights, and multitool.

Waterproof stuff sack (4 lb 14.75 oz)
  • Hennessy Expedition Asym Hammock
  • Hennessy Rainfly
  • Lafuma 40F down sleeping bag
  • Tyvek ground cloth
Jannd Frame Bag (1 lb 10.25 oz)
  • Garmin 605
  • External AA battery pack
  • Camera
  • Knife
  • Bug spray
  • Advil
  • Cell Phone
Ergon BC3 Backpack (13 lbs)

Personal Items (22.63 oz)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Sunscreen (SPF 75)
  • Deodorant
  • ToothPaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Flask w The Macallan 18
  • Towel
  • Soap
Cookset (11.9 oz)
  • Cup
  • Stove
  • Pot
  • Fuel
  • Spork
  • Matches
  • Foil Lid
Clothing (4 lbs)
  • Rain Pants
  • Leg Warmers
  • Arm Warmers
  • Shorts
  • Bibs
  • Jersey
  • Socks
  • Socks
  • Windbreaker
  • Oakleys
  • Spare Lenses
  • Eye Glasses
Misc (12.75 oz)
  • Zip Ties
  • Stakes
  • Dykes
  • TP
  • Patch Kit
  • Tire Lever
  • Compass
  • Chain Lube
  • Backpack rain cover
Water (4 lbs)
Ergon BC3 backpack (3 lbs)

Monday, June 14, 2010


I'm in the final stages of prep for The TransWisconsin. After what I can only describe as a complete blast to my physical systems and psyche in Kansas two weeks ago, I was really close to withdrawing from this event. After taking some time to reset myself, I decided that not going would be the worst thing I could do. So here I am, feeling less prepared than I want to, but ready to take on the challenge of 620 miles of Wisconsin's finest gravel roads and single track. My Salsa Fargo will be my home for the journey. I have a complete multipurpose sleeping system compressed into a sub 5 lb waterproof bundle and everything else that I need will either be in my Ergon BC3 backpack or my Jannd frame bag. Food will be gathered along the way and cooked at night, or eaten in whatever restaurant/gas station/farm we can find food at. I'm still working through some last minute issues, but I'm hoping to pull both the front and rear Nice Racks off to drop a few pounds of of the bike. Fenders are staying on. I'd kill for one of the soon to be released Salsa Minimalist racks right now, but they're not in the cards until fall. I do know that I'm looking forward to a few days on the bike to clear my head out. Plan is to pedal, eat, sleep, and fill up the memory card on the camera.

Highlights (for children)

I'm behind on a lot of things right now, including race reports. They're coming. Brief summary:
  • TransIowa V6 - Made 1st checkpoint @ mile 44 by 2 minutes. Out at mile 59
  • Almanzo 100 - Finished in 6:51. Good enough for 57 out of 267.
  • Chequemegon 100 - Got lost at mile 45. Saw black bear cubs. Enjoyed every minute.
  • Dirty Kanza 200 - 4:15 to 1st checkpoint @ mile 58. Out at mile 85 with chills and goosebumps in 95 deg heat.