Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Geeking on Gear

Partial gear check.

Sometimes it's almost as fun to get geeked out on the gear as it is to actually use it.  This is the mode I've been in the last couple weeks with Tuscobia and Arrowhead coming up.  I've been tweaking my clothing, gear and setup based on lessons learned from last year's races and current test runs and I'm liking how it's coming along.  I've ditched the panniers this year for a handlebar bag, which will be less kludgey and will force me to be more selective with my gear.  I still have to put my rear rack back on to hold my sleeping bag, and add my gas tank and feed bags to the mix, but otherwise I've got a decent shakedown of how I'm storing stuff.  A quick breakdown of my setup from tonight's test ride (not complete at this time):

Handlebar bag
- Bivy sack
- Self inflating matress (won't self inflate in the cold according to what I've read, but I can blow it up)
- Mid-weight merino wool long underwear
- Fleece pullover
- Wind vest
- Lobster gloves (might look at swapping these for mittens that fit over gloves)
- Down jacket
- Tuscobia Beanie

Frame bag
- 1 pint titanium pot
- Esbit stove (in pot)
- 12 Esbit tablets (in pot)
- Matches (in pot)
- Aluminum foil for wind screen (in pot)
- Light winter gloves
- Mid weight winter gloves
- Mid weight fleece balaclava
- Cold Avenger mask
- Glasses case
- Peanut butter (3000 calorie required minimum food)

Other bike gear
- Aero bars (handy for pushing a heavily loaded bike up steep hills)
- ATV bar mitts
- Bar ends (a must for me on flat bars)

Clothing (note: I was pretty overdressed for the temps that were in the mid teens.  This was intentional since I'm playing around with temperature regulation right now)
- Long sleeved, mid-weight base layer (synthetic)
- Long sleeve thermal jersey with full length zipper
- Mid-weight fleece with full length zipper
- Light balaclava
- Lightweight glove liners
- Bibbed shorts
- Lightweight, synthetic long underwear
- Soft shell pants with zippered leg vents and suspenders.  I'm really digging the suspenders.  Makes them comfy like bibbed shorts
- Mid-weight wool socks
- Insulted hunting boots sized 1.5 sizes larger than I normally wear for extra sock room
- Safety glasses
- Helmet

I was only a couple miles into my ride tonight before I had my top two layers almost completely unzipped and my leg vents open.  I figure this setup should be comfy at zero degrees and possibly down to -10F. With the extra layers I had on board, I figure I would have been good down to the low end of Arrowhead extremes, with the exception of my feet.  That may just be a matter of more socks, but worst case I have some overboots on the way that should get me down to those temps.

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