Ryan and I have been planning a new adventure for a few weeks now and its finally starting to take shape. Next month we will embark on our first bikepacking trip. For those that don’t know, bikepacking is essentially backpacking on a mountain bike. We have been doing a lot of research on different blogs and websites to find out what to expect, what gear to use and how to plan for a trip. Thus far, everything we have read suggests starting out with a short, low mileage, overnight bikepacking trip. So naturally, we planned a ride from our house in Cave Creek to Prescott, which will likely be around 105 miles, with just shy of 11,000 feet of climbing! I’m pretty sure that doesn’t qualify as a short, low mileage trip, but neither of us are known to shy away from a challenge.
Actually, the ride itself won’t be much of a challenge for Ryan. The biggest challenge for Ryan will be dealing with me and my emotions. Confession: Riding bikes seems to exponentially magnify all of my emotions. When I’m having fun, its SUPER fun, but when I’m frustrated…watch out. Four letter words might be uttered, tears may be shed and ridiculous claims will be made. For the past year I’ve been working very diligently to control my cycling rage…it’s an ongoing journey.
This ride will be particularly challenging for me for a few reasons:
1. I am still new to mountain biking. I’ve owned a mountain bike for over a year, but I’ve only ridden it a handful of times.
2. I’ve only completed one ride over two hours.
3. I don’t like riding in rocky terrain.
4. My biggest day of climbing ever was around 6,000 feet (on a road bike).
5. My bike, without gear, weighs 40 pounds (1/3 of my body weight).
Despite the challenges and my love hate relationship with cycling the only thought I have is, bring it on. It took a little convincing to get Ryan on board with such a big trip so soon, but he finally obliged. I think it’s because he realized he could start buying gear sooner, or because it was a sure-fire way to get me out on the trails with him.
Two weeks ago we did a long ride in Prescott to get out of the heat and do a little course recon. We spent a few miles on the Senator Highway which will be part of our bikepacking route. All of the aforementioned challenges combined with riding at an elevation of over 6000 feet and climbing more than 3000 feet in just 12 miles made this ride especially tough. On top of that, there was a 2 mile section of hike a bike (due to my limited abilities), so we were moving a snail’s pace. However, the scenery was beautiful and the route is great for anyone looking to get in some serious off-road climbing. Below is a ride summary along with a few pictures from the day.
All in all we enjoyed a great day on the bike and learned a few things that will help us on our upcoming trip. For example, I definitely won’t be wearing the bibs I wore that day and I realized when I’m only moving at 6 mph I want to eat real food, not sports nutrition. After the ride we had an awesome meal at Cork and Cuisine, make sure to check them out next time you are in the Prescott area.