Friday, August 8, 2008

The Calm Before the Sto.... I mean FUN!!!

We're pretty much just wrapping up small details at this point in preparation for our two week family bike tour. It was rather entertaining when Nickie and I were wrapping up the night before last and we started to list off all the major preparations we've made in the last 1.5 months to get ready for our trip through the Colorado Rockies. All I have to say is PHEW!!!

Things we've bought (excluding materials for things made by us:

  • Wide loaders for the llama
  • Extra sunshade for the kids on llama
  • Various spare bike parts (brake pads, tubes, etc)

Things we've made (this list is a bit more extensive):

  • Ultralight down bag for our toddler, good to about 15F and weighs 8oz.
  • Centerstand for the llama much better stability when (un)loading kids and gear on all types of terrain.
  • Rain cover for the kids on the llama
  • Two 60L rolltop waterproof duffels out of silnylon, weigh about 5oz a piece.
  • Made some improvements to our ultralight two person (plus baby) down quilt just under 3lbs. including stuff sack and also good to 15 degrees
  • Snapdeck kid seat with sunshades, weighs about 15lbs which is 15lbs lighter than trailer, lower rolling resistance, single track, allows conversation with kids, and more aerodynamic.
In truth, while this is all part of preparation for the trip, much of these things were part of our ultimate transportation direction with the kids for the next few years.

We've made lists, lists, and more lists, crossing things off, adding new things on. Its been a refining process, but our aim was to have a couple days before leaving to actually just chill so we're not starting out ragged.

So back to the title, preparations are now winding down and the remaining items on the list get more and more minute and less critical if we decide to scratch and just chill till departure day.

All the weight saving measures and ultralight gear construction has paired our total gear/food/diaper weight (for 2 days without restocking) down to just under 40lbs, which all said and down is at least 25lbs lighter than our first couple camping trips up to the mountains by bike.

So onto the tour itself...

We're taking two weeks to ride up from Longmont towards Rocky Mountain National Park, up over trailridge road, down through Granby, over to Kremmling, down South ultimately to Keystone. We'll be meeting up with family there for a couple days, then turning around and heading back the way we came unless we change our minds.

The route involves three significant days of climbing with somewhere in the ballpark of 13,000ft of total elevation gain and just shy of 370 miles of riding.

Generally what we've found works best with the kids is to do a 1-1.5 hour riding stint right after breakfast, then stop someplace convenient and play with the kiddos for a couple hours, eat snack and lunch, then hang out another 45mins-1.25 hours and then load up for another 1.5 hours of riding during their usual nap time. Between those stints we can cover all planned mileage most days, except the 3 days of heavy climbing. Those days we'll be waking the kiddos early giving then a quick snack and loading up so we can get some riding under our belts before they fully wake up, then the rest of the schedule is pretty much the same.