Friday, September 12, 2008

Prepping for THE 600k

On Saturday at 4 AM, me and at least 20 other randos will be rolling out from Eatonville, WA, on a 600 kilometer (372 mile) brevet.

I've been a bit nervous about the ride all week. Actually, not nervous about the ride itself, but being scared of something getting in the way of even doing the ride. What if I fell down stairs, and broke an arm? What if I got sick and couldn't make it? That just wouldn't be acceptable!

But it's the day before the ride, and I'm feeling good. "All systems pro" as Dennis says.

Upon checking the ride page for Jan & Ryan's upcoming 600k, I noticed this ominous note:

A mini-survival blanket is required - available at mountaineering stores. A breakdown at night on a mountain pass could result in hypothermia.
OK, so that's just a tad daunting, wouldn't you say? While Seattle is gearing up for a hot weekend, 4,000-5,000 feet above sea level can be quite chilly! And since no on-course support is allowed on these rides we would indeed have to fend for ourselves in the case of an emergency. Not to mention that we'll most likely be doing at least White Pass in the dark.

During last year's High Pass Challenge, I remember freezing my ass off up at Windy Ridge (which we'll be visiting again during this ride), and that was during the day! But on a positive note, a rider from this year's HPC said that it was about 75F up at Windy Ridge, so maybe we'll get that good weather as well (and maybe I'll actually be able to see the St. Helens this time too)

Packing List
  • jacket
  • leg warmers, arm warmers, rain pants
  • heavy wool socks
  • reflective stuff (sash, ankle bands)
  • tools, patch kit, etc (the usual things, and even a denim strip for a just-in-case tire boot)
  • emergency bivvy
  • two plastic QFC bags (for under my booties in case we get heavy rain somehow)
  • long-sleeve wool jersey
  • winter hat
  • shoe covers
  • long-fingered gloves (SealSkinz), short-fingered gloves
  • two full-size water bottles
  • to wear/carry: SiR short-sleeve wool jersey, bike shorts, light socks, tube, glasses, money, etc

So how will I be carrying all this stuff? In the smallest way possible. I just hope the seams don't bust on the Cape Roll!

Here is my Rapha jacket, tools, and the emergency bivvy, all to be stuffed into my Carradice Cape Roll:

This week I got a new Velo Orange bag in the mail, ready to be stuffed with way more crap than you'd think could fit in it. About to put in a long-sleeve wool jersey, a winter hat, light booties on top of the rain pants I already have in there:

Oh but there's more! Much to my amazement, I was also able to squeeze full leg-warmers in there as well:

The full-loaded bike can be seen below. Maybe a bit minimalist for a 600k setup, but I think I learned the lesson of "Don't carry too much crap" on the last 600k I attempted. After all, we'll be ascending four full-fledged mountain passes on this ride!! Gotta keep that weight down, but at the same time be self-sufficient:

I thought about using an Ortleib handlebar bag at first, but didn't like how high it ended up (needed extra clearance for my E6 lamp). With the bag loaded (mind you only with clothes and the bivvy), it felt strange with all the weight up so high. Eventually I'd like to have a nice handlebar bag on the Pacer, but I'll need to re-position the E6 lamp first.

So you might be thinking, "That's great. But what about food and other goodies?" Well my friend, that's what jersey pockets are for! That and my stomach is a great place to store food. And by "food" for this ride I mean mosty peanuts, jerky, V8 "fusion" drinks, and a "mystery-meat" sandwich or two from gas stations. Oh and Tim's Cascade super-salty chips. Nothing fancy, but enough to keep going. (I've learned the hard way that sugary items, like candy bars & soda, only lead to an upset stomach)

So what's the terrain on this ride gonna be like? One only has to look at the elevation profile to gauge that:
Those big spikes are the climb up to Paradise (did that one on the RAMROD), then up to Windy Ridge, then White Pass, and finally Chinook Pass. I'm looking forward to Chinook, as it's the only one I have yet to do. I actually enjoy rides with gigantic passes in them; adds a few punctuations to the ride that let you know where you are along the route.

Here's a bikely map of the route: link.

Also a few riders have posted about their pre-rides. Both stories are great reads!

  • From Green Hornet Rando blog: link
  • From Ryan's rando blog: link

Btw, if you're reading between 4:00 AM PST 9/13 and ~4:00 PM 9/14, I'm probably still doing the ride!! Good luck to all the other riders, and thanks in advance to Jan & Ryan for organizing this whole crazy thing.


Anonymous said...

very cool -- have a great ride! will look forward to a post-ride summary.

Anonymous said...

Loving the new Surly!