Tuesday, 15 April 2014


Triple W....Sounds like basketball terminology, I only wish this game of choice was on a 94' x 50' piece of smooth hardwood! Even though I can't dunk, I might have a chance of getting from point A to B quickly and unscathed in this particular activity of choice.

The Triple W I am alluding to is what I have been experiencing this past week and what I expect to be a major issue on the 4418km Tour Divide. They are:
WIND. Doing much of my bike training over the last 20 years in aero positions riding on indoor trainers or outside on a very light and efficient triathlon bike I didn't really worry about wind too much. This past week on my loaded up Salsa Fargo, the Cadillac of bike-packing bikes, I certainly recognized the difference and was challenged to fight through the wind harder on this heavier ride. My legs felt the effort through the final hour of my four hour ride last week and for many hours afterward. The bike is sturdy and the packs  'attract' a lot of wind making it even more difficult to propel.

WEIGHT. This is the enemy! Body weight, equipment weight, bike weight, unnecessary gear = extra weight, food weight, water weight. Weight is a huge consideration (no pun intended). Trying to find the right mix of light weight as it relates to comfort, the elements, the terrain, nutrition, hydration, and sleeping is mind boggling and although I am comfortable with my set-up I continuously play with options in my mind and am still considering alternate items like a bivy over a tent and a couple less clothing items. Ounces add to pounds and I gotta tighten up on things. Losing a few more lbs myself is also on the menu.

WATER. There could be regular 100+ mile distances between civalized worlds on the trail. With the exertion required through our 10-12 hour cycling days for 25 days it is imperative to stay hydrated day in and day out and my plan is to have more water on the bike and in my hydration pack than I can drink. I am prepared to filter and de-contaminate ground water as necessary but would rather not do so. Staying hydrated and being hydrated going into the next day will be important. With the water comes the weight too but some things   are too important to do without and this will be one of them.

The Triple W's are inter-twinned. Water adds Weight, Weight struggles in the Wind. Water takes up extra bike space capturing more wind. Wind slows you down requiring more exertion and sweat which in turn necessitates more water. Did I mention the regular change in elevation, snow in the mountains, regular rain days, the heat in New Mexico, snakes, bears and....!!! Yikes.

This is really a humongous puzzle and likely one that will be pieced together through the days after June 13 that won't be solved until the week following July 6.

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