Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Epic / Revelate Handlebar harness drybag goodness

Possibly the longest title on this blog so far.

Any one who has used a dry bag on the handlebars either with straps or a fancy harness you will know that long, thin bags work best to keep them out the way of the cables and off the front tyre.

I have been using the Alpkit Airlock XT (and the previous version) in the past but with the increased kit to carry on the TD the 13L bag is a little short and fat and unless I add freaky long cable outers to the brakes (and I guess the Jones bars don't help) it precludes the use of the front pocket which is a handy place for kit you need to hand.

Having looked about the obvious option is the Revelate dry bag from Eric, but I found the LOMO dry bag available in the UK and for £7 so I thought I would give it a go. First inpressions are that it is a lot longer and skinier than the closest Alpkit size bag. The fabric is much tougher and thicker than Alpkit and has a rip-stop n' clear window / end to it.

At the end of the day its a bag with a roll top closure for little money and it will keep my kit dry. I have loaded it with the TD kit I plan to carry (fleece, merino T, longjohns and socks, waterproofs, arm / leg warmers, Sealskinz gloves and socks, beanie, glove liners and buff. It all fits great and a little room to spare and much lower profile meaning I can stash food in the front pocket that I can now use.

£7 for a bag....and I'm happy. Easily pleased as always.


Thursday, 9 September 2010

Loosing teeth and weight...

...and gaining bags. No I am not suffering from some terrible disease but amassing kit for the Tour Divide.

First up is a lovely Velo Solo singlespeed sprocket in 18t, 2 lower than I have been running for a while. While I will miss the winch-ability up loose climbs I hope that training with a harder gear will pay dividends when I fit all the bike packing gear and swap back to the 20t.

Weight loss comes courtesy of Mountain Warehouse. I was after some light weight baggy shorts to wear over my cycling shorts as the Lycra look is not always welcome, especially with legs like mine! So I looked at all the usual suspects and found that a) they came with various pop-in liner shorts that I did not want and b) had so many useless pockets, zips and buckles I would be suffering from Betty Swallocks in about 10minutes (as Nepal taught me!)

So I was toying with the Endura Humvee Lightweight but at £45 a pop it was a lot to spend to see if they were any good. Mountain Warehouse did some shorts in lightweight fast drying material for £10. Fit is good and they are not too baggy.

The bags in question are the frame bag and gas tank from Eric at Revelate. The frame bag is a little wider for fitting extra water in, mesh side pocket for little bits and a removable divider at the back. The gas tank has plenty of room for snacks, camera and other stuff you need to hand.

Other news is that some of my words have been published on the Alpkit website, I hope to keep them abreast of my preparation so keep an eye on their website.

Looking forward to trying all three out, weather depending, and will report back onhow it went.


Saturday, 4 September 2010

Where did it all start?

I guess it started years back with the first GDR race with MikeC and PeteB out front, while I was in awe of those guys I knew I could never jump straight in to that kind of race so I looked for something with a little more support but still plenty of tough riding. I found it in the MTB Himachal 2007, 9days of riding in the Indian Himalayas, with you kit transported for you along with tents, hot showers, tech support and lots of great people.

The 2010 MTB Himachal is being run from the 22 - 30 October this year, entry fee is still really cheap and flights are not to bad this far in advance. When I raced it it worked out cheaper than doing the Trans Wales with "Gold" support! Crazy! The food, tents and facilities, people and terrain made it the best event of any kind I have been to.

More info can be found here