Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Going camping

Well, it's time to bite my bottom lip and plunge into the deep end, head first. I had the day off today as my obligatory "Thanksgiving" work holiday. I spent most the morning doing laundry, scrounging up food from our woefully empty cupboards, gathering camping gear, sorting clothing and stuffing my sleeping bag in its stuff sack. That last chore was a particularly evil beast. Either I am going to have to get much better at that, or I am going to have to allot a full hour and about 200 extra calories each day during the Ultrasport to sleeping bag duty.

The plan is to leave the house around 5:00 p.m., when the city is already shrouded in darkness, ride 30 road miles out to the glacier trail, and continue to ride, probably by doing out-and-backs on the glacier trail, until I am ready to go to sleep. I will then crawl into my sleeping bag/bivy combo, sleep as much as nature will allow, and then get up and ride home. That's the plan. I hope it works out as something similar. The forecast tonight calls for clearing skies and lows north of the Mendenhall Valley in the teens. In my camping spot, with the wind wafting off that big glacier, I could find local temperatures near 0. Hooray!

This is the food I will be carrying: Five assorted power bars, baggie of Wheat Thins, six fruit leathers, random old airplane snack and a thick peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Carbolicious!

I'm not going to take a stove, because I'm not sure whether there will be snow out there or not. Instead, I'm taking my filter bottle and planning to drink out of streams. I'll sleep with the empty bottle in order to keep the filter from icing up. The top picture shows my bike completely packed up for the night, minus the Camel Bak I will be carrying with little more than water and a camera. That, for the most part, is nearly everything I hope will serve me well during the Ultrasport, minus, of course, the stove, extra clothing and food. But everything else is in there: -40 sleeping bag, bivy, sleeping pad, entire change of base layer, two pairs extra socks, extra hat, extra mittens, aforementioned food, eight batteries, tube, repair kit, tire levers, pump, multitool, knife, lighter, first aid kit, chemical hand warmers, camera and cash. I have to say, those frame bags that Epic Eric makes are amazing. Time will tell if this is the stuff I want to use in the race, but the pursuit of knowledge is the reason I'm heading out tonight. That, and it's going to be lots of frosty fun.

Wish me luck! And have a great Wednesday/Thursday.