Hello Everyone! Thank you so much for taking it easy on Matthew and being so awesome taking on the new Three Little Sisters Route. He had a wonderful time answering all the Bikepacking questions and I hope you all learned a little more about what he is up to and What Bike Packing is all about.
We have currently signed up as a Duo Team for the Big Lonely Ultra Bikepacking Race in Bend Oregon
Its going to be a new adventure for me, But one I wouldn't do without Matthew... Here a recap on all the questions He answered..
1-What is Bike packing really?
- Bike packing and bike touring are very similar. Bike packing is when you are on a multi-day bike trip were you carry all your gear, including a sleep system or safety sleep system, nutrition and anything else you need to ride for multiple days / over night.
2- what does it mean to be self supported versus unsupported versus supported?
-selfsupported means you are sourcing all your needs along your route by yourself without having any pre planned or knowing support from others. You can resupply anywhere where everyone would have the same opportunities.
-supported is where you have outside help that is pre planned before the ride.
-unsupported means you have to carry everything from the start to the finish of your route without any support or resupply.
3-Do you usually do events unsupported?
-most the events I do are self-supported. Where I would resupply at gas stations or stores in the towns we ride through, but no pre-planned support from a support team.
4- How did you get into Bike Packing?
-when going to college in Durango CO at Fort Lewis I would ride parts of the Colorado Trail all the time. Learning the distance of the trail and how common people bike packed and thru-hiked the trail it got my interest to do something similar. My first trip was my own created route from Utah/Idaho border all the way south to the Utah/Arizona border. Also the film Ride the Divide inspired me.
5-What events have you done in the past?
- I have done two semi-supported bikepacking trips North to South Utah in 2019 and the Colorado Trail in 2020.
-I have done two events Pinyons and Pines 2021 (300 miles) and Utah Mixed Epic 2021 (800miles)
6-Have you done your own bike backing trips, why? Do you think it prepares you for the events/races.
- Yes, NoSo Utah and Colorado Trail. These first trips differently helped me understand what it took to ride all day long for a week. They also helped me understand what I wanted my gear setup to be in order to dial it in for events when I’m wanting to push the limits.
7- Colorado Trail- Explain this and what you did, miles and how long
-When I did the Colorado Trail in 2020 we started at the end of summer in Durango riding north to Denver. The trail is about 550miles with 73,000 feet of climbing. I rode it with a group of 3 other friends. We averaged about 60miles per day finishing on the 9th day. Some days were longer than others depending on the weather, where we had a lot of rain during the beginning half. Some days started at 4am to beat the thunderstorm over high altitude passes (13,000ft).
8- Ride across Utah-
-After being inspired to bike pack from watching Ride the Divide documentary and seeing people complete the Colorado trail and moving back home to Utah. I wanted to create my own route from north to south of all of Utah. I spent the whole winter of 2018/2019 connected as many dirt roads and trails as I could to ride from Idaho to Arizona through Utah staying on the mountains and off the main roads. Being my first trip I planned it where my friends and family would meet me each night where I was camping. This definitely helped me make my first steps towards self supported bike packing.
9-What events do you have planned for this year?
-This year I am going back to Pinyons and Pines in Flagstaff at the beginning of May. This event is 300 miles making one large loop around sedona staying at the high elevation of northern Arizona. It is mostly all off-road and using parts of the Arizona Trail. Planning for the route to take 2-3 days. I will be using my titanium Chumba mountain bike.
-I will also be doing Gravel Worlds Long Voyage. This event will also be around 300 miles on the gravel roads of Nebraska. Planning for the route to take 24hrs. I will be riding my spry Pyxis gravel bike.
10- How do you train for such long day in day out miles?
-Most my training is very similar to that of road racing or xc mountain biking, but I will mix in occasionally some much longer rides 6-12hrs.when 1-2 months out of an event (Once or twice a month) I will also do some standard rides (not super long) were I start later in the evening and spend the night using and testing my gear to make sure everything is functioning how I would like, and then ride back home the next day.
11- Do you have a tracker.. if so what is it and why as well as how do you use it?
-Yes, I use a Garmin InReach. This tracker allows for my dot to be followed by family for safety purposes. It also allows me to contact help or emergency when I am out of cell service. These events use these trackers as well for fans to watch the event take place by watching the dots of the riders on the map of the course, usually viewed on trackleaders.com
12- what is your set up:
-I have a titanium Chumba hardtail mountain bike that I use for the majority of my trips. I have alloy wtb wheels with a sine wave dynamo hub that generates power for my light and to help recharge my electronics during the day.
-I use a wahoo roam fro navigation.
-I use REvelate designs bar bag and saddle bag. I also have a custom designed from bag from a local bag maker in Park City.
-Ive also found it is very important to have the right footwear. Lots of the routes I have done require lots of hike-a-bike so I choose a shoe like the pearIzumi X-alp Summit shoe. It has a nice soft Vibrum sole that makes hiking and pushing my bike a lot easier and comfortable.
13- what is the most important things to bring on multi night events?
-Bivy or lightweight tent, Sleeping pad, and sleeping bag. Also very important to have a set of dry clothes to switch into if you run into any bad weather. A good headlamp and riding light is also important just in case you happen to ride through the night more than you may have intimated and to set up camp in the dark.
14- How do you pack it?
-My sleep system is usually all packed into my saddle bag. Before I pack I will take everything out bivy, pad, and sleeping bag. I will put the pad deflated and bag into the bivy and tightly roll, or stuff into the saddle bag. So all I have to do is pull it out, change clothes and hop into the bag. This makes setting up and breaking down camp fast so I can get back on the bike without wasting too much time have to unpack and repack.
15- What have you found that best works for you as far as set up.. did it take some trials to find out what worked for you?
-I have gone through multiple sets of bags and sleep system gear, I have found it is important to have bags that will be very stable and not bounce around while riding Mtb trials. I also have different setups depending on how many nights and how fast I expect to be riding. When I’m racing ill bring more a set up that is light weight and make riding fast, when Im bikepacking just as a trip I will bring a few more items and slighter heavier sleep system that will be more comfortable. Where racing I bring a sleep system that gives me some comfort to rest for a few hours.
17- What do you Pack *the most important
-other important things that I pack are, first aid kit, toothbrush/toothpaste, water filter (Katydne Befree), battery banks, and sunscreen/chapstick.
18- Food: what are the to DOs and the DONTS? What are easy packing foods?
-freeze dried meals are good to bring when you plan to bring a cooker, but usually for my events I will only carry food that doesn’t need to be cooked and anything that I can find at a store or more commonly gas stations. My go to for a quick meal for dinner or lunch is a frozen bean burrito that will warm up in my bag. I also choose items that won’t break apart form the rough bouncing roads or melt in the heat. It is very important to know where your next resupply point is to know how much nutrition and water you need to carry. I always allow for more capacity for water and food than I think I need at its max.
Now We are back to the Two times for our smash sessions (7am mdt and 8:45am mdt). Make sure you are signed up and I encourage you all to spread the word around and invite your friend to join along. It is most definitely Worth it and you can gain a lot more strength, power through the route based workout that I guide you through live and in the moment as well as gain knowledge around the reason to why I am asking such certain efforts, cadences and energy systems.
This week we are going long and getting in another SUPER FRESH new route to get in a solid base build with some efforts as well as check off another route badge whilst at it!
This Week is the 52km Eastern Eight Route in Watopia. Relatively flat with four main efforts