GDR Tour: Final Preparations

Brett and Sean have been underway for nearly a week, but here is a post from Brett explaining his gear choices and how his last pre-tour shakedown ride went down. Follow them as they ride via Trackleaders. -Kid

As our departure date for the divide loomed closer, the chaos of preparing to leave built to a final crescendo—bills had to be paid; the house sitter had to be briefed; loose ends were tied up at work; final check-ins made with loved ones; the bike was packed; the gear list gone over and items removed or added, etc. For me, a general feeling of chaos and lack of sleep is always the predominant theme of the last few days before such a journey begins…

As part of my final preparations for this adventure I planned a final “shake down” ride for my Salsa machine and the equipment I would be using to sustain me along the way. Late afternoon on Father’s Day I left the house and rode 10 miles north on pavement until I hit a gravel road that would have me climbing nearly 4000 feet over the course of 13 miles. As is often customary for me, the weather wasn’t the typical Colorado blue bird skies with low humidity. After days of such weather with temps in the low 80’s and clear cool and comfortable nights, we were now experiencing a low pressure system with gusty winds, erratic rain squalls and falling temperatures…the perfect conditions for the “shake down.” Yes!

I have a reputation for attracting the most epic of weather—even when the forecast is calling for sunshine and gum drops. Whether its rain for days on end, gritty dust storms, blizzard conditions, or freezing temperatures, I have and will encounter it all while out in the wilds (those with me will be fortunate to experience such fun as well). The lesson I have learned from it all is that “You can’t be a weenie if you are going to be adventuring with me.” Hence, Sean and I will no doubt be experiencing a few of Mother Nature’s temper tantrums along the way, and we better have the proper equipment…


Salsa Fargo Ti with Fargo fork
Front Gear Sling (made and designed by me):
¾ Length Ensolite Pad (old school, but lightweight and will never leak air)
Ground Cloth
Camp Shoes

Toptube Bag (BD design):

Energy bars, Gu packets, and other easy-to-get-to small items (camera tripod, sunscreen, etc.)

Frame Bag (BD design):

Alcohol stove (made out of an Arizona Tea Can)
Cook set with small spoon and lighter
Small bottle of denatured alcohol
Single pole for a tarp (Trango Wedge)
Rain jacket and pants
Wind shirt
Arm and leg warmers
Wool Hat and gloves
Small repair kit (pcord, zip ties, duct tape, etc.)
GDR maps (map pocket)
iPod (map pocket)

Seat Bag (Revelate Designs):

Chargers for various electronics equipment (GPS, camera, iPod, etc.)
Fleece tights
Mid-layer top
Fleece vest
Extra pair of cycling socks
Small camp towel
Sleeping bag with wool socks (Marmot Helium 15 degree down bag)
Assos chamois cream
Small toiletry kit (tooth brush & paste, ear plugs, contact solution, etc.)

Additional items on the bike:

Garmin Edge 800 GPS Unit
2 SS King water bottle cages (for hauling water)
1 Salsa Anything Cage (Trango Wedge with stakes)
Waterproof map case
Bell (for chance encounters with bears and other creatures)

Camel Bak H.A.W.G.:

3 liter bladder
Small First Aid Kit (band aids, steri strips, sewing kit, vitamin I, etc.)
Bike First Aid Kit (multi tool, extra chain link, 2 tubes, patch kit, spokes)
Leatherman tool
Sunglasses case
Cell phone, passport, money, and other essentials
Small TP kit (TP, hand sanitizer)

On Me:

Cycling cap & helmet
Full-zip riding jersey
Cycling shorts
Cycling gloves
Mountain bike shoes
Cycling socks

With the above equipment packed and stowed away tightly I made my way up, up, and up into ever darkening clouds. By the time I reached the top of the climb and gained a ridge at over 10,300 feet, daylight was waning and the temperature was plunging. In a matter of minutes after getting off of the bike, my warmth from riding up the climb was sucked away by the brisk wind. The skies were heavy with some sort of devious precipitation. It was going to be tarp night.

Soon the Fargo was unloaded and I crawled into my shelter for the evening. Not long after I had changed into warm dry clothes, I heard the first “tink, tink, tink” of grapple falling on the tarp. Thank you Mother Nature—you never disappoint, even in mid-June.

And so went my “shake down” ride. I had great weather in which to test my equipment (high winds and a light dusting of snow fell over the high peaks with temperatures falling below freezing). The terrain was perfect for the intended use of the Fargo. It performed beautifully and is going to be great fun to ride. I believe I have the right balance of equipment in terms of weight and usefulness. Nothing needs to be subtracted from my list, and only one small item needs to not be forgotten…because it sure is tricky eating pasta with a tire iron.

This post filed under topics: Bikepacking Brett Davis Explore Overnighter Ride The Divide Tour Divide Touring

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Brett Davis

Brett Davis

I grew up in a military family where we moved 13 times before I left for college. Consequently, I have the continual urge to explore and travel having climbed, kayaked, and biked all over our amazing planet. My passion for the outdoors drives me to seek out adventures which often times combine multiple modes of travel or activities (i.e. biking to a wilderness area and then backpacking in to climb a high peak). "Keeping life simple" is a guiding motto of my life and for me, bike travel epitomizes simplicity.


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jp | July 1st, 2011

Beautiful pics.  Wish I could be on that tour right now!

On a differentn topic: any chance we’ll see an all-steel (i.e. no carbon fork) Columbus Spirit-tubed La Raza road bike at Interbike this year?

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beth | July 2nd, 2011

I am thinking of you both as you cross, and recross, and cross, and recross the divide! And…stay away from those bears. xxoo

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Brendan | July 2nd, 2011

Thanks for taking me out of work and into the mountains this morning. What kind of tires do you find works best on your adventure?

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Hollis | July 4th, 2011

Re: Columbus spirit roadie


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Ry | July 6th, 2011

Rdog and Ddog say, “we’re impressed, but you’re still a towel.”

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