Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Camelbak packrat

Date: May 30
Mileage: 14.4
May mileage: 168.9
Temperature upon departure: 49

Today's ride was short and sweet, punctuated by some swimming to give the day a little more meat. I've made some great progress with my knee following my joint-shredding vacation to Utah (the exercise suggestions that people sent me have really helped. Thank you!). But I'm back on a bit of a plateau. I've gained quite a bit of strength but I still don't have the range of motion I need to turn pedals comfortably. I probably should take some more non-bike weeks for healing, but I'm dubious about the whole notion of that ... if only because I'm in less pain now that I actually use the joint from time to time. Got to get blood flowing to the cartilage somehow.

Earlier today I was digging in my Camelbak to look for a bandaid, which I didn't find. This surprised me, because I'm used to finding just about everything else under the sun in that pack. I'm prone to lugging around an impressive assortment of useless stuff on nearly every long ride and hike I do. So today, out of curiosity, I emptied my Camelbak to see what was inside. Surprisingly, it's actually fairly normal right now, culled down mostly to stuff I actually use. (In the past, I have been known to carry everything from Happy Meal toys to several ounces of sand.) Still, it remains excessive. This is the current state of my Camelbak:

Random food that has been stuffed in there so long it has lost most of its nutritious qualities: because it is so old and squished and gummed up with stale rainwater, the chance that I actually ever eat it is pretty slim. Still, I keep the deformed Clif Bar, slimy GORP baggie and wad'o'fruitsnacks just the same. When you think about it, it's the ultimate workout food. It's great insurance against the omnipresent bonk, and you don't have to worry about the temptation to crack into it when you're simply feeling snacky.

A memento from an old race: I tied a Susitna 100 tag on the outside of my pack before a recent flight because it has my name and address on it. But after it fell off, I stuffed it in one of the pockets and now I can't bring myself to throw it away.

A ballpoint pen: I always think inspiration is going to hit me when I'm out riding, but it never does.

100% DEET: This is usually a permanent fixture in my pack, regardless of the season. I can not bear the thought of getting caught unshielded in a bug storm.

Iodine tablets: I've had this bottle since 1998 and I've never cracked into it. But it's gone with me on nearly every adventure I've had since then, and now it has more sentimental value than my Susitna tag (not sure if it has any bacteria-killing value anymore, however.)

Sunscreen: Also something I rarely crack into. But hope springs eternal.

Bear mace: It's arguable that that this is the most useless thing I carry, because in the time it would take me to wrestle the canister from the nether regions of my pack, a grizzly would have already eaten me several times over.

Loose change: One time I cleaned out my Camelbak and found no less than 34 pennies at the bottom, along with another $5 or so in dimes, nickles and quarters. You'd think this would teach me about the weight perils of throwing my gas station change in there, but it hasn't.

Bike tool: You know the Boy Scout motto. Unfortunately, with my mechanical skills, it is about as useful as 34 pennies.

Chap stick: These randomly multiply, too. The most I have ever carried is seven.

Old wrappers: And receipts. And folded-up sections of newspaper. And pieces of notepaper, always blank. Like I said, the muse never strikes. Why is that?

Claratin: When I lived in the Mountain West, I used to get hay fever every May. Now it waits until July to hit. Everything in Alaska comes late and leaves early, except winter.

Mountain bike tube and tire lever: For the longest time, I've only had one lever in there. I sometimes ponder what happened to the other, and what exactly I'm going to do, when the inevitable flat-changing time comes, with just one lever.

Comb and hair tie: This is probably the equivalent of hauling lipstick around the trail - but, hey, you never know when you might need to look your best.

They say a woman should never reveal the contents of her purse, but ya'll already know that I'm a spill-you-guts sort of a person. So ... what's in your Camelbak?