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  Topic Name: HT550 2020 on: November 27, 2019, 11:37:14 AM
Lizzyrides


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« on: November 27, 2019, 11:37:14 AM »

Hi all, first time poster, and also relatively new to bikepacking/racing. I am a veteran of various types of ultra/long one day races but only just getting into the wonderful world of bikepacking. Of course I instantly fell in love and am hooked. I live in Durango and have the CT in my backyard, but I know too much about how hard that trail is so I haven't yet attempted the CTR. Maybe 2021.

So surprise to me when I applied for and was offered a spot for the Highland Trail 550 this May 2020! I am both excited and terrified. I know it's easy to get bogged down in the details of gear/route logistics/etc. when really all I have to do is go ride my bike and have fun, but aren't we all on some level Type A'ers?

So I don't know how much of an international audience this forum gets, but thought it'd be worthwhile to reach out and see if there are any veterans of this race or anyone else planning on riding it this year? I would love to geek out on gear choice, bike choice, etc. and get any tips. Also since I live in SW Colorado I know practically nothing about taking care of myself in rainy environments...

Cheers/Slainte!
Liz

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  Topic Name: HT550 2020 Reply #1 on: November 28, 2019, 06:25:02 AM
davebarter


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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2019, 06:25:02 AM »

Hi Liz

I know the route only too well.

https://phased.co.uk/the-highland-trail-550/

https://phased.co.uk/highland-trail-race-2015/

https://phased.co.uk/the-highland-trail-first-winter-attempt/

And may even see you on the start line next year;-)  Don't be put off by my scratches, I've been unlucky with weather, many others have had days of glorious sunshine.

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  Topic Name: HT550 2020 Reply #2 on: November 28, 2019, 10:14:50 AM
Ron Thomson


Location: Sequim, WA
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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2019, 10:14:50 AM »

That's awesome Liz!
I'm sure you will have an amazing experience regardless of the weather.
I've had a couple of goes at it and have finished both times although 2019 I picked up a disqualification for missing a short section of singletrack. I'm happy to answer any questions I can for you and will see you at the start next May!  icon_biggrin thumbsup
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  Topic Name: HT550 2020 Reply #3 on: November 29, 2019, 04:28:51 PM
Lizzyrides


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« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2019, 04:28:51 PM »

Great! I can't wait.

davebarter, your links unfortunately didn't work.

I think right now my big worry is judging weather and how to deal with rain, as I'm used to much drier climates. I'd like to run light, and wondering if I could get away with just a tarp and ground cover versus a tent? And here's a really stupid question, are there enough trees in Scotland to tie off a tarp? All the pictures I see it's wide open terrain. I know I can use my bike, but I'd have to take that into consideration on which tarp to buy.

Thanks!!
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  Topic Name: HT550 2020 Reply #4 on: December 01, 2019, 02:13:08 AM
davebarter


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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2019, 02:13:08 AM »

They will now Liz, there were some issues with my hosting company.

In terms of the weather you need to expect everything. Many abandoned last year by going too light in what was horrendous rain and cold. Other years it has been a heatwave. Scotland cannot ever be relied on in terms of weather. But there are bothies/hostels/hotels that can be used with the right strategy and it would be worth looking those as part of your plan. In some places there are lots of trees, in others, nothing. A tarp, small pole along with a bivy bag would give you a ton of options.
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  Topic Name: HT550 2020 Reply #5 on: December 03, 2019, 02:04:56 AM
NewRetroTom


Location: Chamonix
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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2019, 02:04:56 AM »

Hi Liz,

I just took a bivvy bag when I did it, but with the plan of keeping going until I got to a bothy or some shelter if it was raining hard. This strategy does require some commitment though, as you need to judge before you go into one of the wild areas which may take 5+ hours to traverse what the weather is going to do and whether you have the energy to keep going until you're through.
Definitely do some research into what shelter there is on the way round. The bothies are free to use and provide a dry place out of the weather for sleeping. There are also some youth hostel type options.

See you on the start line next year!

Tom
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  Topic Name: HT550 2020 Reply #6 on: December 03, 2019, 06:59:30 AM
Lizzyrides


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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2019, 06:59:30 AM »

Thanks Tom!

And thanks Dave, those were some interesting and entertaining reads. Sorry about your injuries. I can sympathize with the "arse" injury, that got me as well when I rode the Smoke n Fire in Idaho. I renamed the route the Dust n Washboard. Now instead of obsessing on types of shelters, I'm trying to figure out how to keep my bum dry.... icon_biggrin

The idea of having an emergency bivvy but planning on sleeping in the bothies is enticing. After reading Dave's posts, it sounds like a shelter where you can be totally enclosed is preferred due to the midges. I'd like to keep going as long as possible as well, and will look at the locations of the bothies.

Snow is falling in the Rockies, it's a great time to sit inside and plan this out.
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  Topic Name: HT550 2020 Reply #7 on: December 05, 2019, 04:06:11 AM
kiwidave


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« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2019, 04:06:11 AM »

Lizzy - I'm lining up too as a Rookie and am going with the bivvy and ride to shelter option. I'm taking an anti-midge head net to deal with them as my bivvy has no screen.

Any idea of tyres? I'm thinking Ikons or Mezcals.


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