Saturday, 26 May 2018

Iditarod 2018 - Bike setup part 2

Welcome to part 2 of ITI bike setup. We've checked out the cute and cuddly front half of the bike, now we get down to the spiky, greasy and smelly end.

Custom Revelate frame bag, 3 compartments. Has done 4 ITI races now and still in excellent shape.


Top pocket contains all my food, the stretch panels on the zips allow the bag to be nearly at bursting point.


The lower pocket has the 600mL fuel bottle (I always leave the pump attached and bottle pressurised, ready to deploy) stove shield, flint knife and firestarter kit.


The point of having all of these items grouped on the bike as a system, is so I can do a very quick trailside cookup with a minimum of fuss, all items accessible whether the bike is leaning on a tree or laying on the ground. You can see in this pic too, the tether strap I use to attach the camera to the pogie. HOT TIP: Tether EVERYTHING! I stow the camera in the pogie for one handed operation.


I use the lid of my 600mL pot as a base for my Whisperlite.

Boosting meals with other ingredients is key - adds variety and gives you something to look forward to, or think about combos as you ride/push/yell at the snow. Noodles into freeze dried, bacon into instant mash potato, sultanas into oatmeal, Apple Pie Bonk Breaker into oatmeal, gummi bears into oatmeal... 


Here's another hack - I used an old neoprene pencil case our daughter no longer wanted (she had many sizes to choose from) - makes a perfect food cozy. The dimension of this was chosen so I could close off the freezy bag, then zipper the cozy shut and stow the lot in my jacket rear pocket, would keep warm and edible for about an hour. Once eaten, I'd leave the empty packet inside and use it for my next meal of oatmeal or instant mash. Food is fuel - no matter if your oatmeal tastes like last nights tuna.


Another '54bilt' item is the downtube bag from the late 2015 collection. Carries my bike spares, extra stove fuel (in a mouthwash bottle, so it's light when empty), Ride Mechanic Bike Cream chain lube, tubeless tyre repair kit.


You can also see the lower lift strap in this pic - used for when forward motion is slowed to the point where it's perfectly acceptable to have trail tourettes and your speed is measured on a calender.


...and another one on the top tube for general use.


This little musette bag I made up out of some silnylon and bias binding for the shoulder strap - I even made up a small ITI logo, printed it out and heat bonded it on. It's a super stowable bag for multiple purposes - carrying overflow food from Cripple/Iditarod drops, or going into a checkpoint I can carry all my bottles for a 1 trip fill:


...or into a cabin for a quick meal:


...or for collecting snow to melt for water:


 Crunches up nice and small and stows in the front of my framebag.


Moving to the back now, is my Revelate Viscacha - it carries my Outdoor Research synthetic puffy pants and  Feathered Friends -40 parka - rapid deployment for the moments you stop for meals or quick bivvies. With the Viscacha remaining connected to the bike, unlike a holster style seatbag such as the Terrapin system.  I also run a strap (black strap with 2 reflective strips) from the seat rails back to the top loop of the rear rack - this prevents sway. The Viscacha can be completely empty with this setup (ie, all heavy insulation layers worn) and riding the bike with no issue. Seat is a Selle Italia MAN GEL Flow, seatpost is Muru ti Telegraph post with 25mm setback - it's lighter than a RaceFace NEXT SL carbon post.


On top of the seatbag is a Revelate mesh Spocket - holds my spare headtorch (Petzl Tikka), main first aid kit and the GPS Trace unit that all racers carry. The Trace unit is best mounted on the rear of a bike - too many people mount them on handlebars and then have conflicts with their nav GPS unit. When on the rear, it receives a far better view of the sky and satellites.


 Underneath the Viscacha, I have a large Revelate Pocket. It simply straps around the Viscacha, I have a thin plywood deck on the rear rack to isolate the pocket from the tyre. Again, when I have all of my heavy insulation layers on, the use of the bike is not hindered with flapping bags going to spokes.


In the pocket go my puffy mittens, 2nd pair of knicks (yep, I only wear 2 the whole race) and change of socks (liner and bulky wool).


 The RH rear pannier is for overflow food. Just like the front rack and pannier system, this weighs in around 300g dry (2 panniers and the rack) and is very slim when you are beside the bike and pushing.


The LH side pannier is for extra clothing layers. Due to the wedge shape of the pannier, it works a bit like a compression bag. I carry my RAB hot socks, Arcteryx synthetic vest and overflow layers (leggings).


Strap hack - Pringle holder!


That's about it for the ITI 2018 bike setup. Next phase is the story telling of the race itself. This will be the first telling so should be fairly truthful...but give it a few years and the story will become a grandfatherly tale of when it was 60 below, we postholed barefoot through 8 foot drifts, we didn't eat for 5 days and we had to ferry our bikes up over Rainy pass bolt by bolt.


They won't believe you. 

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