Pre-adventure fun or obsession?

So James Olsen from the Torino Nice Rally just confirmed he received our card in the mail. Unless more than 300 women will register and he will do a draw, we are in.

Apart from the fact I am about 1000km behind on training, I can obsess like no other on the rest of the preparation. Or should we just call that pre-adventure fun? Because let’s be honest… the obsessing about any piece of gear can be so much fun.

Setup for 4 day Green Divide bikepacking trip

Sleeping kit

One thing I have been obsessing about since last September when I decided to enter the TNR this year, was “do I bring sleeping gear or not?”.

I like camping to some degree, but I like sleeping more. The plan is to ride from hotel to hotel (or other facilities). Seems doable, and it was confirmed by other participants. There was just always a BUT that kept creeping back into the discussion.

  • “…but there was this occasion where I couldn’t find a hotel and had to backtrack to find a place to sleep…”
  • “…but there was this amazing spot and I wish I could have camped for even just one night…”
  • “…but sometimes it’s nice not to stress out about mechanicals or weather or time and be able to sleep at any time…”

So I’m slightly inclined to bring some gear. No tent, just a bivvy bag, a mat and a sleeping bag. I have most of that stuff anyway, so it’s just a matter of convincing myself that it’s worth bringing the bulk and weight. One thing that would help (and bear with me, I’m a professional obsessor of details) is a system to carry the sleeping bag in front, without ruining my headtube, like it did my previous bike.

See… it was bad…

But one of my obsession tactics is to study other riders’ gear and I found (among other things) this nifty bag from Ortlieb. It keeps away from the handlebar and headtube. It’s 11 litres and presumably fits perfect when you have narrow bars and a smallish bike (mine is 52cm, that’s not that small, but in the bikepacking world.. you’re mostly screwed).

More things from the obsession list:

  • Shoes. I have the best riding shoes in the world… I think they will just suck at walking. Therefore I will probably compromise with hike-a-bike shoes.
  • Drinking. The thing I liked about bikepacking was nothing on my back. But I remembered all the alpine rides we did in the past and how much I appreciated a water pack to be able to drink whenever I wanted. Getting a bottle from a cage is sometimes tricky when the ride is rough and I tend not to drink enough. But instead of a backpack, I choose the Evoc hip pack. I hope not to be disappointed.
  • Bike bag. Another thing I added to the list because of the nice people I stalked on Instagram is the Fairmean bike bag for transport. Handmade, really small and very lightweight.