GDMBR

Discussion in 'Bikepacking' started by mike, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. mike

    mike MTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Great Divide Mountain Bike Route
    https://www.adventurecycling.org/ro...ute-network/great-divide-mountain-bike-route/

    Shell Money said it – it's the most beautiful bike ride in existence. For sure it's one of the longest and most notorious "MTB" routes. For bikepackers, it's pretty much the holy grail. And Shell would know – he lives every year on the route rather than paying rent between seasonal jobs. I'm pretty sure he owns the singlespeed record on it. We met him on his way south, heading for Antelope Wells to start a S-N run to Rooseville MT.

    The notion that one bike ride from the Canadian to Mexican border is not enough seems a tad excessive – it probably is. But some people have a distinct inability to distinguish mediocrity from moderation. They live by Size Matters, for better or worse.



    As one of those afflicted with unreasonable concern for aesthetic matters, I'm feeling the pull of the Divide.

    I rode on it for a week by myself, then (finally) tandem'ed it from border to border with the Weasel in eight weeks. That was years ago now...long enough to forget any reasons why that form of living is not what everyone does on vacation. So, I'm aiming this year to re-trace the path that wifers and I rode; 2400 miles of the GD, the US portion. No Grand Hoohah start, not racing. Just riding to my heart's content every day for a month or more.

    ...and getting psyched to build a bikepacking single bike. Suspension? Front optional, rear needless. I'm starting with an El Mariachi, so should be pretty hard to go awry with a purpose-designed bike.

    Nothing on my back is a goal this time, a first for me on a single bikepack. Running a small rack/panniers in the back?...it would be fun to freak out the purists, hehe.

    My CO buddy Colin will probably meet me for some trail time. I would be down with any of my other bike homies hitting some Divide mileage with me. (I can briefly abandon my affinity for solo biking.)

    On a bike is a great way to see the country and the countryside. After several days you enter your own time zone, in the awesome world where you are alone and a stranger. Just throwing your leg over your bike at the Canada border knowing this ride will end at Mexico is a buzz all its own. It's like stepping off the ground at the face of El Capitan. Size matters, ya know.

    Yea, get psyched, cuz knowwhat? Yer gonna die. :)

    gdmbr_12.jpg
     
  2. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors MTB Addict

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    I watched "Ride the Divide" and the one comment that stood out was the female saying "It's so BORING!!!"

    6-8 weeks by yourself on the Divide...more power to ya. Not something I could do. I would kill my enjoyment on the bike - become more of a duty.

    That's just me, of course.

    Enjoy the trip!!
     
    Cyclotourist and mike like this.
  3. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS
    I would so love to do something like this.....solo adventure....perhaps with a buddy.

    Unfortunately my job doesn't allow me that much time off.....and I gotta work.
     
  4. mike

    mike MTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    A long bike ride is one thing, but being by yourself for a long time is another. The alone-ness thing...some people like to stay connected, some have to check out periodically. Our society is set up for constant connection until retirement. I've never been able to stay with it. I quit an awesome job to ride my bike – with no regret.

    There are no boring activities. There are only boring people.
     
    littlewave, kioti, Oaken and 6 others like this.
  5. rossage

    rossage MTB Addict

    Location:
    East Sacramento
    Name:
    Ross Lawson
    Current Bike:
    Highball
    Go camping by yourself for a few days. No cell phone or internet coverage. You will earn a lot about yourself and your ability to be alone. Some people thrive, some panic.
    I could do a GD run, but I cant do it June/July/August because that is our busiest time of year. Someday....
     
  6. MCB2K

    MCB2K Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Castle Rock, CO
    Name:
    Brian Kiggins
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc
    Once your itinerary is baked... be sure and post it. Probably no packing for me, but might be up for a day jaunt along some segment.
     
    littlewave, DangerDirtyD and mike like this.
  7. mike

    mike MTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Rossage/MCB, I may be hamstrung for some or all of summer, and I'm looking at a late start option (exact date TBD). That works great up north, but could be the undoing by southern CO/NM where there are still 10k' passes. It's a gamble I'm willing to take. What's the worst that could happen? Cutting the ride short at 1700 miles, boohoo... :cool:

    MCB, some fine sections near you – Boreas Pass, Marshall Pass, Cochetopa Pass...some of that riding we skirted on the tandem, and I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

    AYE


    PS: Hey, if you have an area/location idea in mind, I'll snap a pic of the map/el profile for you to psyche on. Six two-sided maps...lots to psyche on!

     
  8. mike

    mike MTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Divide-worthy base unit:

    image.jpg



    Bloody 'El Mar v2 about to begin...

    image.jpg

    image.jpg
     
  9. mike

    mike MTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Holy transformer, Batman...look what showed up...

    IMG_1179.jpg
     
  10. mike

    mike MTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Well, I have to put that 26t direct-mount thingie somewhere...

    FullSizeRender.jpg
     
  11. Faust29

    Faust29 MTB Addict

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Steve
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon & Highball C
    Between you, me and Berni, we must have 1,000 different possible Salsa combinations. They really are do-anything bikes... I'm still debating whether or not to throw the gears back on for the Redlands ride. (@mike & @bigringrider101)
     
  12. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS

    26T chain ring???? Say What???????

    You planning 26x12 or 26x14?
     
  13. Faust29

    Faust29 MTB Addict

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Steve
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon & Highball C
    I'm betting that signals the end of the single speed el Mariachi...
     
    Cyclotourist likes this.
  14. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS
    Already????? :notworthy:
     
    Faust29 and Cyclotourist like this.
  15. mike

    mike MTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Haha, it's a El Mar, it does everything! I have a 30t also. I gotta see what's gonna work for the GDMBR. Many shakedown rides to come soon...
     
  16. mike

    mike MTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    EM v2

    BloodyEl_v2.jpg

    The short ride I did yesterday completely vindicated the weeks of noodling and expense of the upgrades. Though it was my second trail ride on a singlespeed MTB, it crystallized that this direction is for me. It feels like a hybrid of bikes I've owned...BMX, cruiser, rigid HT, 29er FS...and it's just pure fun to ride. No intention of putting gears on it unless something physiological goes awry.

    I put a freakishly low gear on it for now, 26/20, but like the temporary extended steerer, just working to find the sweet spots without injury. I was surprised to find this setup easy and comfortable to mash for extended time out of the saddle. I pedaled up virtually everything I can on my 1x11, and no doubt in less time.

    The Easton EC-70 wheels – in combo with the gear – do a great job of spinning up instantly, which enables trials-like low-speed climbing through rough terrain. The bike went from 25.1 to 24.6 lbs, which helps, but the weight savings is largely in the spinning weight, which double helps.

    Evdog was right about not being able to endure a rigid fork. (Not that I was going to try.) The 100mm fork disappears, and the remote lockout is IMO a worthwhile inclusion for a SS tourer. Did I say SS tourer? My conversation with myself has become more about why I wouldn't run SS on the divide rather than would.

    Upper Holy Jim is not necessarily (haha) the terrain I set the bike up for, but it handled this mercilessly-rough trail with all aplomb one could hope for. I slammed the seat to the water bottle bolt and had a ridiculous blast with just a few dabs. I was surprised by the confidence of the 2.2 Nobby Nics and normal sized rims after coming off 35mm wide/2.35-4. A worthy shakedown trail.

    The whole ride I could not shake the vision of grinding long forest routes with panniers and a frame bag. I'm almost dead set on this combo for the divide. I have the traditional bikepacking bags, but they lack some of the advantages of rear panniers:

    - easy access/top-loading
    - low weight distribution
    - keeping fork snappy
    - staying away from cables/housing
    - rack for additional items/overflow

    I plan to use the small front rack/panniers on the rear, which weights 3.5 lbs. altogether. New Salsa dropouts and Axiom seat collar will get me the attachments points for my Old Man Mountain rack. Not sure of the ci capacity of the panniers or frame bag, but with a map case and a couple small top tube bags I should have no problem keeping my back free of a pack. There's so little technical terrain on the divide, traditional bikepacking setups are somewhat irrelevant.

    These front panniers:
    gdmbr_09.jpg

    Still a few odds and ends to fiddle with...grips, saddle, pedals, seat post, gears, cockpit, but this is essentially a bike I think I can ride daily for 4-5 weeks. TIA for insights on gearing for endurance riding and all. I'm not at all gunning for time, but going from Rooseville to Antelope Wells in little over a month will help avoid weather for a late-season start.

    Bikes R Fun!!!


     
  17. mike

    mike MTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    PS:

     
    mtnbikej likes this.
  18. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist MTB Addict

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    Great video, Mike!
     
    mike likes this.
  19. Faust29

    Faust29 MTB Addict

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Steve
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon & Highball C
    I love it! You've got me scouring Craigslist for another frame. It will happen some time this year...

    Your gearing is really low, but you are smarter than I am. I started with 32 x 20, and killed myself for a couple weeks before I figured out that it was too damn hard for the long haul. I settled on 32 x 22, and have been riding it for the last several months, including all of the local climbs around us, and the Temecula endurance race. If I were going to climb all day, I might consider something even lower. It's easy to spin faster than it is to mash too much too often.
     
    mike and Runs with Scissors like this.
  20. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors MTB Addict

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    You, sir, are correct. I am seriously considering reducing my chainring to a 32. Or at least keeping the option.
     
    Faust29 and mike like this.
  21. Faust29

    Faust29 MTB Addict

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Steve
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon & Highball C
    I found that I didn't miss the "road gears" at all.
     
    mike likes this.
  22. mike

    mike MTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Reducing? : 0 Sounds tall. Whatcha running in back?

    I'll get in the ballpark with more riding, but for something like the divide I can't see avoiding a compromise somewhere. Trying to figure out the relationship between climbing mellow trail (HJ) unloaded and forest roads on the divide loaded (after successive hard days?) Throwing up a difficulty per mile estimate today at 1.33:1.

    Invaluable input, Faust and RwS – thanks. :thumbsup:
     
    Faust29 and mtnbikej like this.
  23. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors MTB Addict

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    I've got a 34t up front, and an 11-36 cassette. The short steeps kill me. I can climb all day on a 6-10% constant grade...but if you throw Weir Canyon/Chino Hills stuff at me I'm dead. :eek:
     
    Faust29, mike and mtnbikej like this.
  24. mike

    mike MTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Anatomy of the bike

    Moving along with things...I'm pretty much done with the basic bike, and slapped on some panniers today.

    ElMar_panniers1.jpg


    • Cranks still have the teeny 26, but that will change. It works pretty well for trail riding with no long flat sections.
    • I had so much bomber wear from my/our DMR Mag V12 pedals, that I decided to try the updated version. A little thinner and larger, bearings not quite as huge. Not very exotic, but it feels perfect so far.

    ElMar_panniers2.jpg


    • I splurged on the SID WC fork and have no regret. I've never been a remote fork guy, but it might actually be useful on the divide. I'll chop a little more off the steer tube later.
    • The 23° Salsa Bend bar is hitting the spot for me – not too wide, no rise; perfect for seated cruising or standing. And though I have come to like the thin lock-on grips, I'll likely swap out with some Ergon GX1 or GP3 I have.
    • 90mm stem from my parts box.
    • Easton EC70 Trail wheelset. I would have been fine with Arch or Crest, but these were new/used, cheap and local. They feel incredible on the trail, and do as well as you could hope through chunk on a HT. Spin up crazy fast. Earlier gens of some Easton wheels had hub issues, which hopefully are well behind them with this modern set.
    • Deore brakes with 160 rotors. The only stock part left on my bike along with the seat, rear cog, headset and stem spacers.

    ElMar_panniers3.jpg


    • Syntace HiFlex P6 post. It's impressive. Just enough give to "feel" it without feeling anything. I chopped an unneeded inch or so off. The side walls are thinner than the front/back walls of the post, which gives it the flex. Not really an offset, but super long bottom clamp for adjustability – feels positive.
    • I like this stock Volt saddle for trail duty, but will swap out my leather Selle Anatomica I used on the divide in '14.

    ElMar_panniers4.jpg


    • Old Man Mountain front rack and Ortleib Backroller front panniers – awesome fit and capacity for the plan. Both used on the front of our tandem in '14. I drilled two holes in the forward rack crossbar to attach the steel stays I poached from a Blackburn rack. The bags are attached permanently to the rack. I gutted half the weight off these by ditching the silly mounting system. The rack and bags together weighs 3.2 lbs – not feathery, but tough, proven gear.
    • Axiom seat collar with socket cap bolts.
    • I fashioned the fender from a light piece of plastic wall board, which will keep the rack from wearing hard on items strapped to it (which perforated my drybag last time).
    • The bottom rack stays connect to the Alternator dropouts using a sweet kit from Salsa.
    The bags are filled just enough to check for heel strike. The vert compression straps I run criss-crossed, and they do an okay job. The hrz straps I added – those are key to pull the bags toward center and further compress. I affixed them so that if I needed to use the straps for something else they would be easy to remove (two small zip ties).

    ElMar_panniers5.jpg

    ElMar_panniers6.jpg

    ElMar_panniers7.jpg

    ElMar_panniers8.jpg


    Singlespeed cog with Surly spacer kit. This setup will most likely be modified with a chain tensioner and two-speed crank spider for manual shifting between two front rings with around 16-20t difference. A 20t is on the back now. Either that or ditch it all for SRAM 1x10 I have in the shop.

    ElMar_panniers9.jpg


    The tires are some 2.4 Speci Purgatories pilfered off our tandem wheels. These are nice for local riding – I've run them on this bike down stuff as techy as I ride with any bike. For the divide I have a set of 2.2/2.3 Bontrager XR-3 Team Issues, which worked too well on our tandem to not go with again.

    I haven't ridden this bike with the bags, but will soon. I'll be able to determine what other bags I need once I do a packing run. I'm thinking I should be able to get the lion's share in the panniers and on rack with maybe just a frame bag or tangle bag otherwise. I'll run a generous map case and a couple little top tube bags for at-hand items.

    Still have a couple moving targets to actually belly up to the 2600 miles, but might as well act like I am rather than getting caught scrambling. Not like this stuff is going to waste...

    More later!
     
  25. mike

    mike MTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Please nix dupe post, Mikie. Thanks : )

















     
  26. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS
    Nice write up Mike.....looks like your previous experience is key to knowing what works and what doesn't.

    If you haven't already got it....you are gonna need a new dropout with the hanger on it for tensioner/derailleur.
     
    Faust29 and mike like this.
  27. mike

    mike MTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Roger, Captain. Geared dropout sitting in the shop now :thumbsup:

    Have to say that repeating this ride is adding a lot of confidence to do it solo. No mystery = lower stress. Plus, it would be kinda harsh to go off on some cool vacation for a month without the Weasel. She knows how much work she's getting out of :D

    AYE!!!!
     
    Faust29, rossage and mtnbikej like this.
  28. kioti

    kioti MTB Addict

    Name:
    Jim Jennings
    Glad to see you're running panniers. Way better than current bags being used, IMO. I personally like front panniers for compact, heavy stuff like tools, but probably hard to use with a suspension fork. Lots of miles with panniers on road tours and they kept the bike's center of gravity low and bike handling issues minimized. Plus not a lot of weight on your back for better breathing and less upper body fatigue. Looks good Mike.
     
    littlewave and mike like this.
  29. mike

    mike MTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    I'm with ya, Jim.

    Easy to access, load and unload. I think low COG is more key for standing pedaling. Sick of my bar bag effing with my cables/hoses, which is exacerbated by the Bend bars. No backpack : ) Singletrtack handling? N/A on the divide. Plus, a rack is awesome for overflow provisions and hanging laundry. Like you don't know any of this...

    Admittedly, I love to deviate from the purist bikepacking nazis. :sneaky: Like you, I cut my teeth with panniers many miles before getting the newfangled gear. I think they're currently underrated.

    :thumbsup:
     
    littlewave and kioti like this.
  30. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS
    Shouldn't be so much of an issue when there is no cables and only one hose on each side. :Barefoot::D
     
Loading...
Similar Threads - GDMBR
  1. mike
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    250