Will Savitri on the 2022 Grand Depart

I decided in the Fall of 2020 that I wanted to undertake the Super 8 after my buddy Adin Maynard mentioned it to me. I figured it would be a great event to start training for, as my interests in bikepacking had been increasing, and my aspirations as a hobby adventure cyclist were growing. I researched the course, and set my intention to complete the full 8 in the fall of 2021 in under 6 days and 6 hours (a very big stretch for me). I got pretty focused in it and even posted reminders on my trainer and in my truck. Later that year I received the invite to one of my best friend's wedding which would be the same weekend as the 2021 Grand Depart, so I made a decision to put it off until 2022 with the same goal. It was a hard decision, but family first.

The 2022 Vermont Super 8 would be my first actual bike race, and I guess it might as  well be an Ultra. I’ve participated in lots of organized bike rides and gravel rides, and done a  handful of solo bikepacking weekends and a couple solid trips with Adin including an 8 day trip to Ecuador with him to hit some volcanos in May of this year. 

 

I spent too much time thinking about the route, gear, bike setup, logistics, etc., and now that it's over have a lot of insight into what worked, what didn’t go as planned, and what changes I might make for my next Ultra (hell yes I’m full in!) 

 

I originally intended to ride my Rodeo Labs Trail Donkey in bikepacking mode, but after  building up my Trek Supercaliber to bring to Ecuador (I felt I needed front suspension for that terrain), I decided that it might be easier on my body to have front suspension after hearing more about the Stagecoach road and Bayley Hazen sections. I put some Ritchey venturemax  XL drop bars and some Force AXS levers on the Supercaliber and got her ready. (Full gear list to follow)

Screenshot 2022-11-13 151332.png

Trek Supercaliber in Bikepack mode

As I said my original goal was 6 days 6 hours, but it had been almost 2 years since I set that, so I set myself a plan to complete it closer to 5 days (having no real experience with what might be possible for me on this course, or general Ultra experience with lack of sleep,  nutrition, and mechanical factors to be considered). The rough plan was to get past Pete’s  Camp on the first day. I found an AirBnB camp site around mile 134 and booked it. With the last minute route changes that location was no longer a great option, so I cancelled it and figured I would just wild camp somewhere around that same mileage. Day 2, I wanted to get to  Bennington before the sun went down and push on till around midnight hoping to get as far as Granville. Then next onto Montpelier and finish the south. In Montpelier I would have resupply and fresh kit in the camper and go for a bit longer sleep and good meal in Montpelier before setting off North. Then I planned to ride the first 150 miles of the North, sleep 4-5 hours and ride the rest. Could it be possible for me to get this done in 5 or 5-1/2 days? That would be  pretty insane since I had never ridden more that 132 miles in a go, and certainly not on little sleep on Super 8 terrain. Having ridden a good bit with Adin, I also just figured if I used the  strategy of “Try to keep up with Adin” I would be good. That way I would not over think it too much, but figured that would be real tough to keep up over the duration. 

Pre-Ride 

I came up to Montpelier on Thursday late-afternoon with my Scamp trailer, parked in the Dept. of Labor lot. I met Andrew Currier in the lot on arrival and we chatted it up and hit it off nicely.  Offered him the extra bunk in my camper so he didn’t have to setup his tent, and cruised into Montpelier. Stopped by Onion River Outdoors to sign my waiver and say a brief hello to the other riders and went out to dinner with some close friends who live just outside town. Had a  stellar dinner and caught up with friends and then headed back for a good night sleep. 

   

Part 1 Montpelier to Townshend

Grand Depart at the State House

Woke up, got dressed and pedaled over to Capitol Grounds for a coffee and breakfast sandwich. Then to the Capitol for the Grand Depart. Had a chance to chat with a few other riders and awaited the start. And we are off.  

   

The first day started off pretty cold, around 40 degrees, but not too wet which was nice. It never warmed up much. I wore every piece of riding clothes I brought all day. I pushed with  Adin and Alex Getty for a while with Adin in front and Alex and I bouncing back and forth throughout the day and chatting here and there. Then around Chelsea, Adin took off the front, and I figured having never paced myself for a race like this I would not push it too hard. I  stayed not too far behind Adin as best I could to Woodstock where I ran into Alex again and we chatted for a bit and decided to grab a sub together at Ramunto's and warm up and dry out for  a few. Next I would push on to Chester and wanted to get some pizza at Pizza Stone as I saw they were open till 10 and I rolled in about 9. I was already starting to experience some digestive distress from the constant eating and already ate more bars and gels than ever in a day. I ordered a calzone and some bread sticks and ate about 1/3 of the calzone and couldn’t  put any more down. The Athletic N/A IPA was real good though. Packed up the food in a zip lock and figured I would eat it later that night and for breakfast. 

After Chester I was pretty damn tired but pressed on. After, I passed Pete’s Camp and entered a hiking trail section I encountered my first real wildlife of the trip. An enormous bull  moose was standing in the middle of the narrow trail about 50 feet in front of me. This guy was  big, with a rack of at least 6 feet in diameter, standing over 9 feet tall, and well over 1000 pounds. He seemed like a leader of the pack and I wasn’t about to mess with him, so I stopped in my tracks and waited and watched him. There was no way around him so I waited.  He looked at me like he couldn’t care less. He stood there not moving for about 10 minutes,  then he casually started slowly walking down the trail in the direction I needed to go, then he stopped and he turned around and looked at me for a few minutes, then walked a few more  slow steps and stopped again, After bout 10 minutes of this stop and go I decided to blow my  bear whistle as I knew it was not rut season and he was very calm. Maybe it would startle him  and he would run off. It made no impact. He just stood there and I thought I heard him say  “silly human”. I turned on the strobe on my headlight to see if that would move him, and  nothing. We did this stop and go routine with me about 50 feet behind him for about 45  minutes until the trail came out to a road and he ran down the road in the opposite direction I  needed to go. Finally moving again. I had mentioned to Adin earlier that my Airbnb site didn’t  work out and he had told me he had a tent setup in Townsend that had an extra bunk and he  gave me the address, so I decided to shoot for that spot. The stairs by the Townsend  Reservoir were tough in the dark with such a heavy bike, and I was pretty spent by this point,  but pushed onto that camp site and rolled in around 1:30 AM about an hour after Adin and crashed.

 

Strava Stats 

  • 139.2 miles 

  • 17,444 feet of climbing 

  • 14:31:43 moving time 

  • 9.6 MPH average speed 

  • 9,975 Calories 

  • Longest Ride to date 

  • Whoop Strain 20.7 (highest strain day ever) 

Part 2 Townshend to Bennington

Adin and I both woke up around 5am and I was toast. I took a look at my Whoop to see  I got 3 hours and 4 minutes of sleep and a 1% recovery. Yikes. Adin got himself together and I stayed in bed for a bit longer questioning how to get up and go. I slowly got up and decided  my strategy of trying to keep up with Adin might be unrealistic, and I needed to take a few  minutes to get myself together. I had decided to bring my alcohol stove and a couple ounces of  alcohol and some good instant coffee as my 1 luxury item, so I heated up some water in my  stainless water bottle while I packed up my bike.  

Hot morning coffee 

I said bye to Adin and hoped to catch him in Montpelier before the North Lobe, but not going to try to hang on the front with him today. He pedaled off and I got ready and took off about 1/2 hour later. The push from Townsend to Brattleboro was pretty fun once I warmed up,  but my knees were pretty sore (old MCL injury). I hit the Vermont Country Deli to wait in a long  line and got a couple sandwiches, a big bag of gummy bears and about 8 Owl bars and a root beer. I ate one sandwich and had a root beer and took off targeting Bennington before dark,  which was seeming like it would be possible but tough. Stopped at the Green River Timber Crib Dam to eat my second sandwich in the sun, and chatted with a local rider Carter Robinson from Greenfield and we got connected, as I live just a town north of him. He  mentioned he was planning on the VTXL in October and now we are planning some gravel  rides together. I’m sure he will do the Super 8 some day. That area is my home turf, so I know that section of the route well, and knew the climbing coming ahead. I pedaled onto Jacksonville and found my friend Charles who lives in town there with a trail magic table of a huge container of water and a basket full of various granola bars with a big “Super 8 Super  Riders” sign. That was nice. I grabbed a sandwich from the general store, ate half and wrapped the rest for the road. I was disappointed the Harriman Reservoir section was cut as I  had scouted the route and found the logging closures and reported them to Dan a couple weeks earlier. I figured the route would be easier to Stagecoach with the changes, but I was  wrong. The wall of pavement outside of Readsboro was intense and I slowly spun up the hill,  appreciating that I decide to put a 30T chainring on my bike, and cursing the route change. I  realized well before this I would be riding Stagecoach in the dark, and that might really slow me down. Stagecoach was tough and wet. I certainly did not expect a shoes off stream crossing,  but it was kind of nice to get the cold water on my sore ankle. I started riding down the  stagecoach descent and not knowing how long it would be all chunky, I navigated it slow but did not want to walk the bike if I could safely ride down. Around 11PM my front wheel slid out  on a loose rock, and I took a minor fall. I checked myself and was good and gave the bike a once over and heard the sound of a puncture. The rock I slipped on gave my front tire a pretty good 1” sidewall rip, and I was in repair mode. Pulled the wheel and tire, wiped out my sealant  with a rag, and tried to boot it. Boot would not stick, tried gorilla tape with no stick. Tried superglue and tape, and no sticky. Got out the needle and thread, and sewed it up. Valve  stem threads got covered in sealant and it dried while I was dealing with the tire. It took way too long with pliers to get the valve stem out and a tube in. Got the tube in, aired up and  walked what was only a short way to better riding ground. Repair took almost 90 minutes. I should have walked it. Lesson learned.  

I got into Bennington around 12:30AM and I was toast. I decided it might be easiest to crash in a motel for a few hour as I knew of no great place to sleep near town. I called every  motel, and inn around and no beds anywhere. I was hating Bennington in that moment.  Decided to press on the route and sleep at the first place that looked decent. Heading out of  town I saw the elementary school and rode to the back corner behind the playground and got in my bivy for a few hours.

Strava Stats 

  • 80.58 miles 

  • 12,208 feet climbing 

  • 11:03:01 moving time 

  • 7.3 MPH average 

  • 6,296 calories 

  • Whoop Strain 19.4

Part 3 Bennington to Castleton

Slept 3 hours and 37 minutes at the back of the Elementary school nice and dry and 17%  recovery on the Whoop. I loaded up and found my front tire was flat. I realized I may have knicked the fragile tubulito S tube while installing in the dark, so I pumped it up and hoped for the best and got rolling. Outside of Bennington a car pulled up beside me and yelled “Are you  Will?” I sad yes and he told me I was riding great and offered me a cliff bar. I declined as I just  was getting going, but the gesture was unexpected and really picked up my spirits knowing  there were random people following along routing for us all. I checked track leaders and saw  Adin had gained a lot of ground and I knew I was well behind my target, but still hanging on.  Came across a nice orchard with cider donuts and hot mulled cider. I ate 4 donuts and filled my water bottle with hot cider. I also saw Alex was behind me and had slept up back on Stagecoach. I thought I should just push hard on the easier terrain and try to stay in front of  him as long as possible. Tire losing air. Every 10-15 miles I pumped it up not wanting to swap  the tube out with my last spare Tubulito. Kept pushing and the rail trail section was real nice. I  decided I needed to make it to Analog Cycles and buy another tube and maybe see if I could  get a better patch job on the sidewall. I also booked an AirBNB in Castleton while I was  stopped in Arlington getting bananas at Stewart’s Shoppe and decided I would try to get more  than 3 hours sleep, have a shower and push to Montpelier in the morning, I pushed on and  made it to Analog Cycles at 5:30, just 1/2 hour before close. It was a great stop. I got a nice fat heavy butyl tube to install in Castleton and a bigger hand pump, as mine was super tiny and  took forever to inflate my tire. About 5 minutes before close Alex walked in and politely told  them his rear brakes were out all day and he would appreciate it if they could look at it, but didn’t expect anything just before closing. What a gentleman. They put new pads on his bike,  and we chatted it up. Alex told me that he was thinking of calling the state park up the road and hopefully get a lean-to and avoid the rain that was starting to pick up. I told him my plan to hit the diner in Castleton and had an airbnb booked right on the route and he was welcome  to share the space. He was in for that, and we left Analog and hit the Diner for the best jalapeño poppers ever and a nice burger and fries. It was a great moment in the ride and Alex  and I were really getting along well. Then we went to the place, showered and dried out all our  gear under the ceiling fans. I swapped out the Tubulito with the butyl tube and felt good about the tire holding and went to bed. 

Strava Stats  

  • 82.63 miles 

  • 5,505 ft climbing 

  • 7:51:25 moving time 

  • 10.5 MPH average speed 

  • 4,248 calories 

  • Whoop Strain 17.4 

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Dinner at the Bird's Eye Diner

Part 4 Castleton to Montpelier 

6-1/2 hours of sleep in a real bed felt really good. I slept hard with 31%recovery on the Whoop  when I woke. Alex and I chatted over breakfast and coffee and decided to ride together to Brandon and get a big second breakfast and then likely break apart when one of us was feeling  stronger. My Achilles was really hurting but my knees felt better. I also found that 3 fingertips  on each hand were completely numb. Definitely nerve damage. Hopefully will go away in a  few days. I think I setup my bars too low and was craning my neck too much in the drops and  on the aero bars and cut off some nerves to my hands. Not pleasant, but not pain, so fine for  now, nothing to do except sit more upright when possible. It won’t be permanent. I hope. 

We got to Brandon riding strong together. It was great having someone to chat with, and knowing that he was only riding the South lobe, and the next rider Mike was a bit of a  ways back I didn’t feel pressured to try to drop Alex. We ate a great pile of food and got  another breakfast sandwich to go at Mae’s place in Brandon before hitting the Gap and kept  going toward Montpelier.  

Our pace together was solid, we pushed each other all day. When I was feeling strong he  would push to keep up, and then he would push and I would keep up (no drafting thank you very much). It felt great. We hit the Capitol together and it was a wrap of the South lobe.  Alex’s fiancee met up with us to pick him up and gave me some cookies. The finish felt awesome. Solo again.

Alex and I cross the finish of the South Lobe together

I looked up Onion River Outdoors hours, and saw they were still open. Headed there  and asked if they could possibly take a look at my front tire and get it back tubeless. They said sure and they would be happy to stay late for a Super 8 rider. Thanks again Onion River Outdoors!! The sewing job I did didn’t seal up so I decided to buy a new front tire so I could roll the North Lobe tubeless and not worry about pinch flats. They got me a solid new tire as close as possible to what I was running and I was off to Three Penny Taproom for a nice dinner  and then back to my camper to sleep. When I arrived at the lot Mike was pulling in with his  dinner in a brown bag and he looked like he was on a mission. We said a quick hello, and I  wondered how long he would stay in Montpelier before heading North. The competitive side in me kicked in and I felt like I was in a race. I had a real hard time falling asleep for some reason  and remembered I has some melatonin caps in the cabinet. Took 4 and fell asleep shortly after.

Strava Stats  

  • 86.98 Miles 

  • 9,245 ft climbing 

  • 8:35:41 moving time 

  • 10.1 MPH average speed 

  • 4,990 calories 

  • Whoop Strain 18.7 

 

Part 5 Montpelier to Bloomfield 

The next morning I woke up before my alarm with 4 hours and 39 minutes of sleep and  26% recovery on the Whoop. I was hurting and tired. My knees felt like I had rough rubber  bands inside them when I touched them, and my left Achille tendon that had been hurting bad  all day the day before was in rough shape. I got dressed into a fresh kit and questioned  scratching and going to see my family. I thought of all the folks who were supporting me doing  this ride, and I decided I needed to go for it and would be upset with myself if I didn’t press  on. I checked Trackleaders and saw that Mike had just left, so I got the hell out of there. I  passed Mike just outside Montpelier and said a quick hello and pushed on. Once I decided to go, I was on a mission. My target was to get at least to the lean-to at the top of Burke, and see what time it was and maybe press on. It took me a bit to get my legs under me but once I did I had one of the best days on the bike I have ever had. It was ZEN. I was pedaling with something inside me I didn’t know was there. I hit the rail trail to Saint Johnsbury and just decided to hammer as much as I could in my little 30T chainring. It was perfect. It felt great. I hit St. Johnsbury and decided I had plenty of food and water to push to Lyndonville for a big re-supply before the 100 miles of nothing. I hit up the grocery store in Lyndonville, ate hot bar  food and stocked up on a lot of food. Probably too much, but I really didn’t want to bonk before Island Pond and ideally be able to skip Island Pond and stay on route. I pushed on to Burke and hit up the Bike shop/cafe. I got a real deal latte and used the bathroom while a  heavy passing shower came through. I was nice and dry and left the shop to find an end to  end rainbow next to me as I rode. I rode into the rainbow and into my first taste of the Kingdom Trails. I floated through the berms and loved every moment of the single track until  the latte got me. My stomach was not well. I had to hop off the bike and dig a quick hole off the trail. That was the start of the rest of what would be some real digestive unhappiness and pain.

It was awesome to get through the Kingdom trails in the daylight. I was not expecting to make such quick progress. Is this how the whole North Lobe is going to be? The South just beat me down, and this was feeling fun again. The sun set as I was climbing Burke  mountain and I reached the second lean-to just after 8PM and was pretty amped. I couldn’t  see myself stopping there even though I know it might be the last dry spot to sleep for a while.  There was great cell reception so I checked the weather and saw it was going to be clear till 4am or so and then it called for cold and rain. I wanted to make the best of the good weather so I chilled in the lean-to for a bit, ate a sandwich, made a hot coffee, checked track leaders and saw that Mike was holding on about 10-20 miles behind me all day. Down the mountain I went targeting the West Mountain WMA camp site 123 miles in. It was a perfect night of riding  besides one Wahoo GPS freeze up that I didn’t notice until I was off course about 1/2 a mile. I  reset my Wahoo and used RideWithGPS on my phone to get back on track and continue while my Wahoo took forever to recover the ride. That sorted out as I pressed on. Backup navigation was key! I hit that mile 123 camp and found a bunch of dogs barking in the tents  that were there so decided to keep going and sleep at the next decent spot I found. A few  miles later I looked right off the road and saw a shelter. It looked too perfect. I turned down  the side road I had just passed and found the entrance to a wooden boardwalk trail to the  shelter. It was sweet, and covered with a nice big roof. I felt like the cycling gods were looking out for me and I had a stellar sleeping spot. Def a POI to add to the route. I saw that I had cell  service so I checked the weather and saw rain and cold coming. Also saw that Mike had  stopped back just past Burke and I had a decent gap now. It was about 1:30 AM and I was ready for some sleep.

Strava Stats

  • 120.03 miles (with some miles lost to Wahoo crash) so more like 125 15,049 ft climbing 

  • 12:47:02 moving time 

  • 9.4 MPH average speed 

  • 7,530 calories 

  • Whoop Strain 20.1

Didn’t sleep well. Woke up 3 times to run to the woods to the bathroom. The 450 granola bars 18 sandwiches, fruit, juice, and just so much food were all out, or so I thought. It was not pretty. This would keep up all day. I woke up with a total of 2 hours and 38 minutes of sleep  and a Whoop recovery of 10%. The morning was cold and rainy. I slowly packed up my gear  and hesitated leaving right away. Checked trackleaders and weather. Saw Mike was not going  yet, so I stalled. Finally took off at 7am. Stopped a short way up the road at a visitors center.  It had a hose. I cleaned my bike and filled my water. The next section through Silvio Conte  was beautiful, remote, and hard. Mentally I began to really struggle. I felt slow, wet, cold, sore,  and defeated. I had plenty of food and didn’t want to eat any of it, I forced myself to eat and I  had to jump off the bike to dig a hole every 10-20 miles. It was really tough going and I didn’t  feel like I could get any momentum all morning. By the time I was close to Island Pond I  wanted some real hot food and a place to warm up a bit. I got to the grocery store for 2  burritos, hot coffee, a bunch of various snack, and a porta-potty. I left Island Pond and  struggled all the way to Derby Line, hit up the gas station for some food and another real  bathroom, and my digestive distress started to feel a bit better. Something shifted on the bike  path to Newport and I hammered along hard to Newport planning to stop at the Co-Op for a  hot meal and assess where I would sleep for the night. I knew the Bayley Hazen section would  be slow and I wanted to get at least to Eden before making camp, and if I got back on the road  without too much sleep I just might be able to make my goal of 6 days and 6 hours. It would  be tough and unlikely, but possible. I had a great bowl of chili and cornbread at the Co-op and  chatted with some folks while I charged some electronics. The chili hit the spot, the cornbread  was delicious and my stomach was starting to feel a bit better. I didn’t have to stop every 10  miles anymore finally. 

I pushed on and started enjoying riding again finally. The climbs were happening. I was  a bit slow and could not really stand up and pedal with the pain in my achilles getting really  bad, but I spun that 30-52 to my hearts content, slow and steady. Hit the Bayley Hazen  section and did the hike-a-bike mostly jogging. It felt pretty good. I got to the end of the  descent and took stock. To stop in Eden and sleep, wet, cold, and have to get up early and  push hard to the finish. Fuck it, I’m riding to Montpelier. I had just ridden almost 100 miles and had 60 more to the finish. I had 2 hours of sleep, I’m wasted, my knees ache, my achilles is in  agony, but my camper is just 60 miles a way. Can I do it? How deep would I need to dig? I have certainly never done anything like this. It was about 9PM. I could be there by 3AM, maybe. I texted my new best friend Alex “I’m going for Montpelier” Full Zombie Attack Mode time. 

Hitting some pavement was nice. I stopped at the Eden General Store and saw a port-a-potty out back. Nice! Then got to the crazy bridge that was out and saw that I would need to carry  my heavy bike up a sketchy ladder to get through. I filtered water in the river first to stock up one last time as I was almost out. Crossed the bridge and pressed on. Pavement was nice,  hills were hard and hitting the rail trail from Johnson to Morrisville was invigorating and fun.  The roads to lake Elmore were refreshing even though I was slow and Soooooo tired. By that  point every time I saw a flat spot on the roadside or a covered porch my mind would picture  myself sleeping there. I needed sleep, but I wanted to finish more, so I pressed on. With 20 miles left I thought I was home free. No way I would make it by 3AM, but maybe 4AM. It’s only 20 miles. Then I hit the Class 4 section. It was awful. So slow. I rode the first bit, but was so tired I was afraid of making an error and crashing on the loose rocks so I walked a LOT more that I would have on a normal ride. It was wet, muddy, steep, rocky, and took too long.  Maybe I could be done by 5AM. Got to the end of the Class 4 and hit some nice gravel. I was moving again. The end is in sight, and then the Singletrack. I love single track, but I was not up for it at that point, but there was only one way to the finish and here I was. I walked a wooden bridge that any other day I would ride, but my coordination was off and I knew not to  risk a crash at that point. Take it slow, follow the line, don’t stop and look down at the leaves  because I know they should not be moving around like that. I’m tired, these are only mild  hallucinations, only 6 miles left. Three navigation errors in the single track missing turns, and  pushing the bike back up hill to get back on route. Can I make it by 6AM? Almost out of the single track, hit the pavement and turn on what little gas I had left as the sun starts to lighten  the day. Reached the State House at 6:14AM with no one in sight. I made it. It was over. I finished the race in 5 days, 22 hours and 14 minutes and second place overall for the Full 8. It was a good bit better than my target of 6 days and 6 hours, which I really thought would be a  stretch never mind the additional milage with the route changes. How much faster can I do this next time? Why the hell am I thinking that?  

 

I had left my camper keys in the back of my truck and told Adin he could crash there,  so I figured he might be there. I woke him up with quite the surprise just before he was planning to wake up. He made me a cup of soup while I got out out of my disgusting kit and  wiped myself down with baby wipes. I ate soup and drank a protein shake and passed out in  the camper for 7 hours. I slept good. I ran into Mike in the parking lot as he was packing up  and congratulated him on his finish and we had a nice chat about the bikepacking/ultra community, and then I hitched up and drove home.

Strava stats 

  • 157.32 miles (longest ride ever) 

  • 15,361 ft climbing 

  • 16:49:21 moving time 

  • 9.4 MPH average speed 

  • 8700 calories 

  • Whoop Strain 20.1 

 

This was by far the most challenging physical and mental challenge of my life, and I am very proud of my efforts. I learned so much about myself, what worked and didn’t work in  terms of bike setup, gear, nutrition, sleep strategy, wasting time in stores, how to be efficient,  and where my strengths and weaknesses lie. I will put together a gear list and some notable lessons learned along the way, but for now, Cheers to a great ride and one of the best adventures yet! 

 

 

Gear List 

Bike Setup: 

  • Trek Supercaliber 

  • Ritchey Venturemax XL drop bars 

  • Sram Force AXS levers 

  • Rock Shox SID Ultimate 100mm travel fork 

  • Sram xx1 AXS derailleur 

  • Sram 30t chainring 

  • Sram Eagle XX1 10-52 cassette 

  • Rene Herse 700x55 Endurance casing (front tire replaced with Schwalbe 700x2” for North lobe  due to sidewall damage)

  • Vap Cycling Butterfly 3 harness with Butterfly guns aerobars Expedo M8 Titanium pedals 

  • Jayhawker front wheel with Shutter precision dynamo hub Specialized Power saddle ti rails 

 

Bags: 

  • Custom Rockgeist Dyneema Frame bag 

  • Rockgeist top tube bag and feed bags 

  • Rockgeist Ultra PE Dry Bag (on Vap Butterfly) 

  • Rockgeist Horton front pouch 

  • Tailfin Trunk top bag 

  • Tailfin 3L V-mount pack (on Downtube) 

 

Sleep Kit: 

In Bar roll 

  • Borah Gear Cuben Bivy 

  • Thermarest X-Lite pad 

  • Big Agness Fussel UL quilt 

In Tailfin Trunk Top Bag 

  • Montbell Light Down Pants 

  • Mont Bell Plasma down jacket 

  • Montbell merino balaclava 

  • Goose Feet Gear Down booties 

  • Dry Merino socks 

  • Merino Boxer shorts 

Shelter: (in downtime bag) 

  • Zpacks Hexamid pocket tarp with carbon pole and 8 stakes (not used) 

 

Hydration: 

  • 2 Liter HydroPak Seeker in frame bag 

  • 750ml Bivo Stainless water bottle (great for hot drinks) - Katadyn BeFree water filter 

 

Tools:  

  • Crank Broz F15 Multitool 

  • Rene Herse Nuda Carbon Pump 

  • Dynaplug Race and spare plugs 

  • Tire Boot 

  • Gorilla tape 

  • Leatherman Squirt PS4 

  • Sram Eagle power links 

  • Sewing Kit 

  • Super Glue 

  • Zip ties 

  • Tubulito MTB-S tube x2 

  • A few links of chain 

  • Tube patch kit

  • Cut piece of 3M 8067 all-weather flashing tape (super sticky and strong and flexible) 

  • Dopp kit: 

  • 1/2 toothbrush 

  • Small bag tooth powder 

  • Wilderness wipes x5 

  • Earplugs 

  • Chamois Cream 

  • Electronics: 

  • Iphone 

  • Wahoo Elemnt roam 

  • 5,000ma nitecore cache battery (on aero bars) 

  • Klipsh headphones 

  • Garmin in reach mini 

  • charging cables 

  • Voltaic cache battery (10,000ma) 

  • K-lite dynamo charger (on aero Bars) 

  • K-lite bikepacker ultra K-lite qube tail lite 

  • Fenix PD-36R flashlight (on helmet) 

  • Spare Fenix battery 

  • nitecore headlamp (emergency and camp) 

  • Sram AXS battery x3 (used them all, and charges all in Montpelier) 

 

Clothing: 

  • Merino Socks 

  • Bontrager leg warmers 

  • Kitsbow RockStacker tights 

  • Veloccio bibs 

  • Veloccio merino long sleeve jersey 

  • Rodeo Labs Woolie Jersey 

  • Veloccio wind vest 

  • Sitka Vapor SD Goe-tex shake dry rain shell (worn almost all ride) 

  • Montbell versalite rain pants 

  • Shimano XM9 cycling boots (just awesome and dry) 

 

Gear that worked: 

  • I had dry feet!!! The Shimano XM9 are the best bike packing shoes I have found. They stay  dry in torrential rain. I usually carry an extra pair of merino socks so I can swap out really  sweaty socks after a few days and try to dry the other pair. 

  • Glad I bought a needle and thread. If not it would have been less fun trying to ride a tire with  a big sidewall tear all day. 

  • Boarah Bivy is the best one I have used in terms of condensation issues. It conditions are  dry at night I just use the bivy and quilt, but if rain I use the Z-Packs hexapod pocket tarp  that gives just enough coverage over me to keep dry, and only weighs 5 oz (plus 80g for 8  burly stakes). 

  • K-Lite system was flawless and was able to keep my devices topped off and a super good  light at night for the faster sections.

  • Supplemented k-lite lighting with Fenix flashlight on the helmet for the slower sections where  the dynamo did not produce enough power for lighting. Also needed to carry a 10,000mah  cache for topping up devices while sleeping. I charged everything in Montpelier after  theSouth but did not need any grid power for riding either lobe. I may have been able to  avoid carrying this if I used my phone only as absolutely needed. I used my phone much  more than necessary knowing I had the spare power. 

  • My sleep kit was great. I thought it maybe overkill to have a quilt and down pants and  jacket. It was nice to be toasty when it was below 40 and I was trying to get some rest. One  night I just slept in my kit and quilt/bivy when it was warmer and I wanted to get on the bike  quick in the am. 

  • Horton front pouch acted as my overflow food storage. Sometimes it was empty and before  the 100 mile stretch of nothing in the North it was overflowing with food. Normally on a race  I would not take this, but it was so nice not to run out of food or to have to stuff all my  pockets to over capacity. 

  • Overall cockpit. It was real nice layout and functionality. 

Gear that didn’t work: 

  • Bibs. Having to deal with bib straps and my intestinal issues was a nightmare. I ripped a  strap pulling them down without enough time to properly remove. The chammy was also  irritating me quite a bit. I threw them out and rode in my merino boxer shorts and Kitsbow  tights for the North Lobe. I will never wear bibs bikepacking again. 

  • Rene Herse Nuda pump. It was just too low volume for needing to top off my slow leaking  tire. Will pack better pump and sacrifice a little weight. Likely with the EDC 1 pump with the  inserted Dynaplug pill and multitool. 

  • Things I could have down without: 

  • I brought my alcohol stove and instant coffee. It was nice to have hot coffee, but probably leave that behind. 

  • I didn’t use the pocket tarp as I found shelter under roofs, or there was no threat of rain. I  would still bring it in the future. 

  • CO2 cartridge. Fuck those things.