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  Topic Name: Dave's Hairy Monster. Reply #20 on: November 01, 2009, 09:15:50 PM
MikeC


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« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2009, 09:15:50 PM »

Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about this trip.

First, the route track, waypoints, and cues can all be found at Dave Harris' TU site

I used a Garmin GPSMap 60cs.  I've owned it for 3 (4?) years now, and while it is far from perfect or even really good, it is predictable and functional and I don't want to buy a new one.  Yet.

Next, the total distance we covered was ~302 miles, with ~38,000' of climbing.  Note that TO and I did NOT complete the entire planned route--we stopped short due to TO's wheel failure.

Here's a profile of our route, with mileage on the horizontal axis and elevation on the vert.


And here's a coarse overview.

Looking at the above it'd be hard to argue with Hairypants' assessment that his course covers a 'spectacular chunk of planet earth'.

Next, all of the pics and vid on this trip were shot with a Canon A2000IS.  I like this little camera for a few reasons.  Primarily that it is small (like that's a big deal anymore?!) and easy to carry and access.  But I also like that it cost me ~$180, so if I kill it I can replace it and not worry too much about the $$$.  My last favorite feature about it is that it uses AA batteries, so I can use NiMH rechargables in warmer months, and lithium when it's colder, and I can get batteries for it pretty much anywhere.

TO shot this, er, shot a few days into this trip.  My camera is in the black neoprene sleeve on the right shoulder strap.


I've learned enough about photography (<-not very much at all!) the last few years that I can easily see all of the flaws and inadequacies in my shots.  Most of them are user error--this little camera takes amazing shots if you let it.  But even when I get everything right there are still some unavoidable pitfalls to cheap p&s cameras: Way-too-high pixel density, barrel distortion, whacked ISO and white balance, blown highlights, etc...  These are unavoidable when using a point and shoot--even the high $$$ p&s cameras are going to have the same flaws. 

In order to 'step up' and get rid of these flaws I'll need to spend the $$$$($) and lug along a DSLR and at least two lenses, plus a filter or two and the attendant stuff needed to protect, clean, and keep it all clean.  Right now, and for the foreseeable future, this seems unappealing.  I'm not out there to create perfect images.  My focus (<-snort!) is on experiencing some of the world outside, having a little adventure, moving light/fast/efficiently, and recording the trip to jog the memories later in life.  Imperfect photos seem a small price to pay for the convenience and cost of the camera I'm using. 

Some folks that know a helluva lot more than I do about photography hold out hope that the recent introduction of micro four thirds cameras will bridge the gap and provide a decent solution for those of us looking for quality without the bulk and hassle of a DSLR.  I'm happy to play wait and see on that one.

Next, the bike.

Obviously this is not the bike as it was packed for *this* trip--I don't seem to have a pic of it set up that way.

It's a '10 LenzSport Leviathan 4.0, with a RockShox Reba 120.  Wheels are DT Swiss 190 hubs laced to Stans Arch rims, with 2.0 Comp spokes and DT Prolock alloy nips.  This wheelset is three seasons old now, and gets used for all of my alpine/XC/bikepacking rides in summer, as well as CX and road duty all winter.  The rear shock is a Rock Shox Monarch 4.2.  It has a platform feature (Motion Control) that I don't feel much need to use on this frame.  It is lightly active, supple on small stuff, maintains traction well without blowing through travel when you stand and burst, and can easily keep up with the extra inch of travel afforded by the Reba up front when hauling the mail.  Hard to imagine wanting a different bike than this one for pure XC *or* bikepacking--it just seems to do everything really well and without drama.

Component highlights include SRAM twisters, Phil Wood square taper BB, Middleburn cranks, Action Tec ti rings in 20 x 29 up front, an 11-36 spread out back, and Egg Beater single ti's.  Tires were/are tubeless (Bonty 29-3 up front, Specy Fasttrak Control 2.0 out back) run with a 60/40 blend of Stans goop and Tubeless Slime at ~23-24psi.  No flats or air loss throughout the trip.  They're good, solid, predictable XC tires with a decent combo of volume, grip, and rolling resistance.  Everything else should be easily visible by clicking and zooming on the pic.

Here is a *different* bike, but packed pretty much identically to the way I packed my Leviathan on this trip with TO.


Frame pack was custom made by Eric at Epic Designs to fit the Lev's main triangle.  I used a Sierra Designs 30* down bag, Big Agnes Primaloft insulated 2.5" thick sleep pad, Osprey Talon 22 pack, and a handful of other things that have been proven to work (by me, for me) on similar trips.  Among these are a pepsi can stove, MSR filter, Fenix L1T AA LED light, Crank Bros multi tool and mini pump, custom Black Sheep 28" wide x 20* swept ti bars with 8oz of fuel stored inside, WTB Vigo saddle, Oakley Radar glasses w/polarized lenses, Lake MX90 shoes, head-to-toe wool from Ibex and others, and my newest favorite, the Tak shell from Loki.

At the start, fully loaded with ~7 days worth of food, fuel, batts, 140oz of water, fly rod/reel/flies, zip ties, chain links, lube, spares, etc, etc... the bike weighed ~38lbs and my pack was ~18.

Hope that helps--don't hesitate with questions.

MC
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  Topic Name: Dave's Hairy Monster. Reply #21 on: November 01, 2009, 09:24:28 PM
stevage


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« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2009, 09:24:28 PM »

Wow, I'm even more impressed by your photos now, knowing they came from a $200 P&S.

I notice that your partner was using a hardtail. Any comments about how each held up in technical terrain vs smooth climbs? Does the rear suspension make a big difference to your comfort at the end of each day on a multi-day trip like this? It's a noob question, but then I've never toured with any kind of suspension at all Smiley
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  Topic Name: Dave's Hairy Monster. Reply #22 on: November 02, 2009, 07:03:25 AM
ScottM
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« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2009, 07:03:25 AM »

Thanks for the additional details.  I was going to ask about the '10 4" Lev.  Any comparisons to 'the bastard'?  Is that a QR Reba or Maxle (can't tell from the pic)?

Looking at the profile, I can't help but think you guys went the wrong direction.  Good lord was that a reverse shuttle or what (start - 2000, end - 8000)!?  6000' is a good start at appeasing the MTB gods after all your lift served shuttle monkery this summer, though.   Wink
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  Topic Name: Dave's Hairy Monster. Reply #23 on: November 02, 2009, 07:21:52 AM
bmike-vt


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« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2009, 07:21:52 AM »

thanks for the write up and the break down on the gear and bike(s). it is very helpful for someone just dipping a toe into the BP world...
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  Topic Name: Dave's Hairy Monster. Reply #24 on: November 02, 2009, 07:24:23 AM
FeloniousDunk


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« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2009, 07:24:23 AM »

MC,  

Thanks for all the details.  

I like the gearing.

How do you store and access fuel in your handlebar?  That's a new idea on me.

And does anyone else about pass out by the time they get their Big Agnes sleeping pads blown up or is that just me?

~Shaun
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  Topic Name: Dave's Hairy Monster. Reply #25 on: November 02, 2009, 07:39:10 AM
bmike-vt


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« Reply #25 on: November 02, 2009, 07:39:10 AM »



I like the gearing.

How do you store and access fuel in your handlebar?  That's a new idea on me.

And does anyone else about pass out by the time they get their Big Agnes sleeping pads blown up or is that just me?

~Shaun


love the gearing as well.

i've been looking around for info on the fuel storage, as i carry a trangia or homemade stove.

and yes, sometimes i feel like passing out or needing a hit on my inhaler.
debating picking up one of these bags to help with inflation.



anyone pack their big agnes pad with their bag in the same compression sack?
even still inserted (but deflated) in the bag?
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  Topic Name: Dave's Hairy Monster. Reply #26 on: November 02, 2009, 08:11:15 AM
stevage


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« Reply #26 on: November 02, 2009, 08:11:15 AM »

Wow, how did I miss that gearing? I upgraded from 30:34 granny to 26:34 and thought that was ok. 24:34 I thought was verging on ridiculous. But 20:34???
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  Topic Name: Dave's Hairy Monster. Reply #27 on: November 02, 2009, 08:21:08 AM
DaveH
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« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2009, 08:21:08 AM »

Wow, how did I miss that gearing? I upgraded from 30:34 granny to 26:34 and thought that was ok. 24:34 I thought was verging on ridiculous. But 20:34???

20:36 you mean?  Smiley

Combine that route profile with bikepacking gear and that gear gets to be just about right in a lot of places.

MC, thanks for the super series of posts.  Makes me really want to do Trans Utah now, but I think it is snowed out for the season!
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  Topic Name: Dave's Hairy Monster. Reply #28 on: November 02, 2009, 08:47:05 AM
stevage


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« Reply #28 on: November 02, 2009, 08:47:05 AM »

>20:36 you mean?

Dear god! You realise that for the rest of us, every hill we ever go up we'll be thinking "yeah, it's tough when you don't have the right gearing"... What an eye-opener though, I had no idea you could get 20t chainrings, and I didn't know you could get 36t sprockets...

On the flip side, the highest gear is 29x11? I guess for that terrain, that's fine as well - on the descents, it's not like you're trying to push the speed up.
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  Topic Name: Dave's Hairy Monster. Reply #29 on: November 02, 2009, 10:11:09 AM
MikeC


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« Reply #29 on: November 02, 2009, 10:11:09 AM »

As expected, the more detail I give the more questions pop up.  Fortunately, I'm between wheel builds and looking for an excuse to hang out in the relatively warm office for a bit longer, so...

Gearing: For multiday stuff I really, really like having the 20/29 x 36 granny.  Keeps me on the bike much longer on the steep/fun/techy climbs, even keeps me in the middle ring (preferred!) much longer before having to drop to the granny.  I can spin the 29 x 11 up to ~22mph for short bursts, so it doesn't seem to be much of a limiter.  I'd have to seriously increase my horsepower (which would require that dreaded four letter word: training) to need a bigger top-end gear.  You can certainly go bikepacking with less-friendly gears or one gear, you'll just need to be comfortable with the inherent compromises--more walking on steep climbs, more flapping away wildly on false flat descents.  I don't think there's much of an overall speed difference between super granny and single speed--other factors make a far bigger difference here.

As far as FS vs HT, what was the question?!   icon_biggrin  I won't pretend that there's any 'one' solution for every rider/trail/race/region, but for where I live, how I like to ride, and how beat down I feel after one day out on the bike, I can't imagine going back to a HT.  Like moving from a world full of color back to B & W.

As far as packing, my packing theory is nothing new: I *try* to get the heavier stuff onto the bike, and the lighter stuff on my back.  This can be (is) confused by certain light things (sleeping bag) being too bulky to go in the pack, or needing easy access to things that would better fit inside of the pack.  But who wants to keep taking the pack off?

So, on the bike I have the sleep pad under the bars, with a fleece hat and 6 spare batts in a separate hand-sewn pocket.  Sleeping bag is under the seat, along with a few freeze dried meals.  Frame pack holds all of my trail snacks in such a way that I can access and eat 'em without stopping.  Also in the frame pack are arm warmers, two sealant-filled tubes, mini pump (wrapped in duct tape), spare bike parts like cleat bolts, chain links, der hanger, 4, 5, and 6mm bolts, set of brake pads, zip ties, super glue, patch kit, chain lube and rag.  Basically all of the stuff that I want 'close at hand'.

GPS is on the bars, tilted in such a way that I can see it day or night without glare from sun or headlamp.

Inside the pack are the fly rod/reel/flies/knife/foil/spices, water filter, knee warmers, stove/pot/lighter/primer cup, 9' x 9' tarp and two stakes, jacket w/integrated hood/mitts/gaiter, more freeze dried meals, 4 liter bladder, a sleeve of Nuun, first aid kit, toiletries, headlamp, camera batts, etc...  Basically each item in the pack is there because I'll *probably* be stopping to take the pack off if I'm going to use that item anyway.  Example: to filter water, I need the pack off to access the bladder, so I can dig the filter out at the same time.  In order to put on the jacket, I need to take the pack off, so the jacket is in the pack instead of on the bike, etc...

I'd dearly love to have more frame pack volume, simply to get more weight off my back as well as to make that much more stuff easier to access.  Not too likely to happen, but for folks that are just looking at which bike to buy for singletrack touring/bikepacking trips, add front triangle space as a potential point of consideration.

No doubt my load could be severely lightened in size and weight if I were racing or otherwise speed-focused.  But I'm in no hurry these days, and the above represents my best compromise of gear for efficient, comfortable, and fun two-wheeled trail travel.

Cheers,

MC
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  Topic Name: Dave's Hairy Monster. Reply #30 on: November 02, 2009, 10:26:46 AM
MikeC


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« Reply #30 on: November 02, 2009, 10:26:46 AM »

Thanks for the additional details.  I was going to ask about the '10 4" Lev.  Any comparisons to 'the bastard'?  Is that a QR Reba or Maxle (can't tell from the pic)?

The Bastard was such a rare bird, never to be repeated, that it'll probably only confuse things to make comparisons to it.

The Reba is a QR version, with which I use a DT 9mm RWS thru-bolt.  It's a good compromise between the flimsiness and ease of use of a standard 5mm QR and the extra mass and stiffness of a 20mm.  I would greatly prefer to have the stiffness and confidence that thru-axles give on both ends, but then I'd notice how whippy the wheels are.  If I built the wheels with a burlier rim (like a Stans Flow) to increase their footprint and stiffness, thus giving me a level of confidence to match the thru-axles, then I'd probably want beefier tires so that I could go from a 'float-like-a-butterfly' riding style to more of a 'point, shoot, and sting like a bee'...  But then I'd want more braking power, necessitating larger rotors, which means yet more weight...

See the conundrum?  Sure, you could easily build up a 5" x 5" dual-thru-axle bike with 8 x 7" rotors and make it a good touring bike.  But then you'd have added ~4-5 lbs of mostly unnecessary weight, IMO.  I *love* having all of that technology at my disposal (plus a dropper post, and coil sus, and... and...) when day-riding, but the focus shifts just enough on overnighters that I like the tradeoff of a light and fast bike with a little bit of give that isn't quite up to bashing and flying.  It boils down to the fact that in the backcountry you (I) really need to ride more prudently anyway.

As far as bar/fuel storage, the details on that one aren't quite worked out.  The bars have welded on end caps, with threaded holes so that you can open one end completely and vent the other to decant.  The theory works better than the practical thus far, at least when it comes to decanting--it can be messy, with some waste.  I've gone through two iterations thus far and while on the VRRT I had a brainstorm on how to greatly improve the ergonomics of the third version.  Now I just need to find the time to finish the drawing and send it off to someone capable of doing the work...

MC
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  Topic Name: Dave's Hairy Monster. Reply #31 on: November 03, 2009, 09:58:41 AM
ScottM
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« Reply #31 on: November 03, 2009, 09:58:41 AM »

Agreed on the 'more prudently' and staying lighter.  It's interesting to see what choices you make.  I think the 4" Lev is in my near future, and I suppose I can switch my Reba to 120mm mode, too.  If a DT 9mm 120mm is good enough for you, regular QR might work for me.  I'd have to get a new hub to run the DT 9mm, right?

Re: fuel in the bars.  I do remember a few times being asked to light the stove since you had alcohol all over your hands.  Smiley  Cool idea, for sure, and hopefully you get it perfected.
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  Topic Name: Dave's Hairy Monster. Reply #32 on: November 03, 2009, 10:20:53 AM
MikeC


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« Reply #32 on: November 03, 2009, 10:20:53 AM »

I think the 4" Lev is in my near future, and I suppose I can switch my Reba to 120mm mode, too.  If a DT 9mm 120mm is good enough for you, regular QR might work for me.  I'd have to get a new hub to run the DT 9mm, right?

Re: fuel in the bars.  I do remember a few times being asked to light the stove since you had alcohol all over your hands.  Smiley  Cool idea, for sure, and hopefully you get it perfected.

Your Reba is easy to convert to 80/100/120, and only marginally harder to micro-adjust to any number in between.

Your front Lev hub is a 240s, right?  If so, it can easily be converted (end cap swap) to 9mm. 

As far as alcohol on my hands, that happened *once*, Mr. Embellisher...!  But yeah, the solution hasn't been implemented yet.  And it may not be a solution for many, as custom ti bars are expensive.  I just prefer to keep as much weight as possible off my back, and that inside-the-bar space is being wasted, so...

Worth mentioning is that it'd be easy to epoxy a crude plug into *any* alu bar (hint: oversized bars have more storage space!) to try this yourself.

Soon I'll have Kool Aid inside my tires and Hornitos inside the frame tubes, but only when riding with you and Chad.

MC
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  Topic Name: Dave's Hairy Monster. Reply #33 on: November 03, 2009, 10:34:12 AM
bmike-vt


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« Reply #33 on: November 03, 2009, 10:34:12 AM »



Re: fuel in the bars.  I do remember a few times being asked to light the stove since you had alcohol all over your hands.  Smiley  Cool idea, for sure, and hopefully you get it perfected.

might need to set up an IV line from the bar to stove, with a shut off, ala camelback.
plug it on the end, rock bike to side, open the valve on bars.
hose over stove, open iv valve on hose.
pinch of tube, rock bike back to get excess fuel in the hose back into the bars.
close valve on bars.



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  Topic Name: Dave's Hairy Monster. Reply #34 on: November 03, 2009, 12:35:18 PM
wookieone


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« Reply #34 on: November 03, 2009, 12:35:18 PM »

As has been the case for a few years running, those were some super bad-a$$ pictures MikeC, word, Jefe
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the impossible just hurts more...
pedaling is my prozac...
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