What is bike packing?
Best put it is the combination of mountain bicycle riding into the wilderness loaded down with backpacking gear. Over the last few years the concept has infected many. There are now off-road races that are timed using month long calenders in place of a stop watch. These are races that don’t allow support. No wimpy Tour de France team racing next to you and handling you food and water. Nope, just a rider and the gear that rider is willing to carry.
And yes, this is something I’m wanting to do.
My rookie sEason -2016
I live near the coast and have a 3 hour drive to get into the Texas hill country. Training in a town at sea level and fat makes things difficult but not impossible. Part of training is knoladge and another is mental. I know you think I’might mental for being excited to ride into the mountains with no support. You have to train for bear attacks and lighting strikes and become a bicycle mechanic. Well one of 3 is something one must study. Getting deep in the woods on a bike is great. Having to hike that distance with a gimpy bike is not great.
The big goal is the Tour Divide race from Canada to Mexico. This is the race I wish to ride but need to build up to it. The beauty of the bike packing events is thee is no qualifying criteria and no burden to race with the best racers in the world.
When you hit the trail you are tracked by satellite. A rider can ride the day of the main race or can do an individual time trial (ITT). These satellite timed results are compared to other racers of the same year.
What races to ride
A few races have my attention right now.
The Arizona Trail 300 starts close to Mexico and runs close to Phoenix. It’s big brother is the AZT 750. Basically take the 300 and add 450 miles and a climb into and out of the Grand Canyon. Once you hit Utah you are done. Top contenders I’m these races complete the adventure in 2 and 8 days respectfully.
Next, the Colorado Trail. This is the 500 off road trail from Durango to Denver. You can also run it the other direction. Most races will alow you to do that.
There are some other day long races that look fun.
So my next thing to do is get the lungs in shape, upgrade the bike, and take a wilderness cpr class. I get to ride at San Angelo State Park often. If someone wants to go out and train let me know.
I’m very interested in hiking the Lone Star Trail. I’m only wanting to hike it because they have banned bikes from the trial. It runs for about 100 miles in the Big Thicket National Forest. Check it out in east Texas.