Jeny and I have been looking forward to a late winter adventure since the temps started dropping last fall.
Riding a few hundred clicks of the Iditarod was the goal, but for many reasons we leaned away from it. Wanted to stick closer to home, see more of our own backyard.
Little by little we lasered into an omniterrain desert route, in and through Canyonlands and Glen Canyon, out the Dirty Devil. Roughly equal amounts of distance covered on wheels and in boats. Camping under the stars and all that.
Originally the route included lots of rough jeep trails, and for that we knew that 29+ wheels and tires were ideal. But then as we tweaked the route, poring ever deeper over every topo and aerial map we could find, we found a way to skip 40+ miles of jeep trail by riding ~30 miles of dry creekbed. Oh, and maybe a little bit of a slot canyon... What could go wrong?
Lots, actually, including pourovers and impassable-with-bikes cliffs that cannot be seen on the maps, no matter how closely we look.
So we've added a day of food to the larder -- in case we have to backtrack and go to Plan B -- and we've installed 27.5" fat wheels and tires onto the bikes. "B Fat", as they'll likely come to be known. Jeny has 4.0's on her bike, I have 4.5's on mine.
With just a few quick shakedown rides on them, my initial impressions are that 26 x 4" just became completely obsolete -- except for kids. As with the 29" wheels that most of us have come to know and love, the B Fat setup rolls over everything better than 26 x 4. Where we live and ride, and for where we're heading on this trip, rollover is The Most Important Thing.
Note that I'm talking about non-snow adventures here. Should Trek come out with a 27.5 x 5" or 29 x 4.5", I reserve the right to try them in the deep and then punt my current 26 x 5" setup if they're no longer up to snuff.
Anyhoo -- here she is, loaded for bear. 6 days of food, 4.5 liters of water, a boat/paddle/pfd, 16oz of denatured alcohol in the bars. I have a ~12L daypack (not pictured) with 2.5L of water, a stove, DSLR, spare UWA lens, 5 batteries, intervalometer for time lapses, and light puffy jacket. Oh yeah -- and an iPhone 5 w/Gaia in the Gas Tank for navs -- really slick.
She may look trim, but holy effing eff is she dense.
Back in a ~week.