Bikepacking, Canada

Mon grand sentier part 2

There is no reason to be scared, or are there? The trail is official, the government advertises it as complete, what am I afraid of? Not afraid, but just on the edge and trying to take good reasonable decisions. I carry way too much food and water, have clothes for all conditions and I packed a safety blanket and first aid kit.

I have already done a few bonus climbs (oups!) taking wrong turns, but nothing too bad. I had to check and recheck Garmin, Google, Trailforks, “the great trait” app a few times and always found my way. The trail is well marked, but the grades and level of difficulty are not that well advertised. I will shorten some planned days to make up for some varying trail conditions and take the time to enjoy them more.

I almost road off the trail into the river today (oups!). I was enjoying the reward of that 70km rail grade climb and going pretty fast downhill when the trail disappeared into the river. Trails have suffered this winter, there are a lot of land slides, rock slides and some flooded area.

I got to log in 2 days in a row of more then 130km on mostly trails with lots of climbing. It’s fun to vary the terrain and difficulty. The shorter more technical days were a different kind of fun and I would go back to redo these trails anytime.

Now that I am sitting in my hotel room and reflecting on the last few days, I realize how lucky I am to get to ride to all these remote places and enjoy all that amazing scenery.

Thank god for hotels and hot tubs! Don’t get me wrong, I like camping, but I love hoteling! After riding 130km of Gravel 2 days in a row, I think I deserve a bit of luxury 🙂

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Bikepacking, Canada

Choices, choices!

A few months ago I heard Craig Dalton, on the Gravel Ride podcast, say that the best bike for a good gravel event would most likely not be perfect for the entire event. I tend to agree with him!

My adventure isn’t a race, but I still want my bike to be fast. The chosen distance is a bit excessive, so the bike needs to be comfortable, carbon fibre please 😁 this way I can keep the weight down. I will carry all the gear for my self supported adventure, so lots of mounting points are essentials. I am short, so I need a small frame, but not so small that I cannot use the inside of the main triangle. I want it to be fun on singletrack, but still stable since a fully loaded bike is harder to handle.

I chose to go with the Salsa Warbird on this adventure. It feels as fast as my regular cyclocross bike, but has clearance for wider tires and made to be ridden for more the 45 minutes at a time. It has all the attachments for mounting fork racks, a third bottle mount and a big enough triangle for a good size bag.

It won’t be perfect for all the trails I will ride, 🇨🇦 is a big country and no bike can be perfect for all the different terrain I will encounter.

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