Sunday, January 24, 2010

Trip Planning, Gear Lust & Bad Ideas

Wow! Its been a long time since my last post. I've been using the weather as an excuse to be lazy so far this off-season. In my defense, its been unseasonably cold and worse than that, WET. I feel guilty riding the local trails lately because its very muddy out there. In the meantime, what's an outdoor addict supposed to do? Answer: research, plan & lust over gear...

Here's where I've been spending my off-time lately:

Research & Planning:
Backpacking Light - BPL is a fantastic resource for gear, technique and gear swap. If you think a 3lb tent is pretty light you need this website. - This is a great resource for getting your kit tuned to explore on your bike. I'm using it to plan my record breaking on the Tour Divide. ;)
Andrew Skurka - Somewhere between research/planning & passion. Andrew's adventures are exciting and creative. He does a fantastic job of posting journals to the web. If you're feeling lazy, watch one of Skurka's videos. You'll be ready to head out for that long hike this evening.
29 Inches - Guitar Ted's site is a great resource for the latest gear for 29ers. Big wheel bikes are becoming more mainstream every day but they're still not quite the norm. Websites like 29 Inches helps keep you up to date on the latest goodies.

Gear Lust:
Epic Designs - Eric's bags are on the top of my gear lust list. Sweet frame bags for your next epic bike adventure.
Mountain Laurel Designs - I currently use a MLD tarp / mesh tent combo and pack. Ron's gear isn't cheap and it doesn't come fast but its the best - hands down. I've reviewed some of Ron's gear in earlier posts.
Shawnee Trail Bikes - I ride RDs cranks on my singlespeed. He either re-purposes your XTR cranks or will sell you some from his stock. They're modified to serve as single speed cranks and his ceramic coating is BOMB PROOF. RD is also working with ISAR to offer sexy chain rings and cogs with the same bomber ceramic coating. I'm currently riding an ISAR chainring from RD and have a few cogs on the way. You can also catch him on Facebook here. I posted pics of RDs cranks on my bike in earlier posts. Sexy stuff!
Caldera Cones - Really simple and efficient alcohol stoves that integrate a wind screen and pot support in one UL package. You know how I feel about simple. I'm currently using the UL version that fits inside of my SnowPeak 700 pot.

Bad ideas:
The Clemson Freeride Club is hosting their 5th annual downhill race at the end of February. In my college days I entered the Clemson DH race here (different course) on a rigid geared 26" bike. I was even protested! I overheard that there's no way I got down the mountain that fast on a rigid bike. Sometimes stupid overcomes good. I'm seriously considering entering this year's race on my rigid singlespeed just to be a grouchy old goat. The odds are high that I'll do something that would be a lot of fun to watch (if you're not me). If you're in the area you should show up and support the Clemson club and root for me (to eat it). Even better maybe you should loan me your helmet cam so the world can see the carnage in first person HD glory.