Klein Attitude

So the story goes, my Dad owned a Klein Attitude before I was born... he had to sell it to pay for my birth. 

My Dad has always loved bikes, thats why he named me Grafton, after Grafton Components. (They made cool anodized parts in the early 90s.) I've always had my eye out for one to replace what he had to sell for me and this year I finally found one. When I found this bike it was rough to say the least. When I got the bike, it smelled like it had smoked 2 packs a day for the entirety of its life, you could hardly see the beautiful paint behind the black sludge, had a spray painted white fork (including stanchions), and a wonderfully heavy, smelly, and crumbly solid rubber tire up front. I offered the craigslist owner $100 of his $400 asking price and he accepted after telling me about how he had been towing scrap steel with the bike to try and make some money. After the exchange happened he got into the back of a Chrysler mini-van and told us to "watch out for the Grant County cops". Feeling a bit like I should've filmed that entire interaction I tossed the bike in the back of my van and went about the rest of the day wrestling over what to do with the bike. 

Originally the thought was that I would keep the bike and make myself an awesome townie... like a need another. "The frame is a large... why did I buy that" that was my second thought. Then I started scheming on how to flip it. The hard part about Klein is that the history bounces all over. If you can find one that was built in Chehalis, WA before Trek bought them then you struck gold. This one is seemingly in a bit of a grey zone. It still came oe with a sticker that said built in Chehalis but it is also an "Attitude Race" which insinuates that it was built after Trek had bought Klein. I've come to the conclusion that it is a 1999 frame which definitely puts it post trek owned but also before the factory in Chehalis had shut down. After a bit more research I decided that it had to be a project I'd take on for my Dad. The more I thought about the idea the more excited I got. 

Upon getting the bike home I stripped it to the frame and donated most of the parts to a local charity bike shop. I decided that if I was really going to run with the build then using the ano blue parts on my Surly only made sense. Right then and there the Chris King hubs and headset came off the surly and were set aside for the Klein. In searching around for what else to buy I decided that some good ol Paul brushed silver brake levers and the Simworks Little Nick Bar were necessary. I had the parts for a 1x9 drivetrain laying around so thats what ended up on the bike in addition to me building up the King hubs on some "de-badged" Velocity Aero-Heat hoops. Schwalbe nobby nic tires round off the wheels to make capable of just about anything the bike may come across. They might not shine on tarmac but thats not what this urban single-track commuter build is about. The manitou fork that's on the bike I came across from a customer who wanted to donate a bike to me. It couldn't have been a better color match. 

All in all, I'm stoked about how the bike turned out. Building it was quite the fun process and in gifting the bike to my Pops earlier this month it all came full circle. Now I just hope to see him out riding it! 

Long Awaited Spring

This year spring has been more like and extended period of winter. With snow in the mountains well into May, the bikepacking season is just beginning. On April 30th, my friend James and I decided we would tackle our first overnighter on bikes for the season and head up to Bead Lake just north of Newport, WA. As we started our drive up we already knew that we could very well be doing quite a bit of hike-a-biking due to how much snow we could see up high. We continued on and arrived at the trailhead around 3:30 in the afternoon. At this point sunlight was at the back of our minds and we figured "18 miles, we can just ride the loop to the back side of the lake and camp somewhere around the 12 mile point, it can't take that long"...

The loop around Bead Lake starts with a long fire road climb up into the mountains surrounding the lake. Once at the top, the views are phenomenal. You then ride a long stretch of fire road away from the lake heading north to an entrance to single track that descends upon the backside and takes you through some very lush forest. Needless to say, we only made it about 5 miles on the fire road before worry about losing to much sunlight while hike-a-biking through about 2 feet of snow that was left across the road. 

Feeling a bit defeated and like the 3" tires I had were simply not enough, we turned back. We rode back down to the trailhead and this time instead took the single track entrance we were planning to finish at. We rode along the lake through massive cedar groves and through highly exposed sections of trail. There are definitely a few rocky/technical spots where the risk of falling into the lake fully loaded while touring doesn't outweigh the reward of bragging rights. We continued down the trail until we found a little spot tucked into a cove with space enough for us and a few friends who hiked in to join us. The rest of the evening was spent around a fire drinking good whisky and enjoying conversation with great friends. That evening it cooled down quite a bit and I was definitely glad to have a few down layers. However, my new club ride bamboo button up was by far the most outstanding piece of gear on the trip however. Its rare that I decide to ride and hang around camp in the same shirt but the Go Long button up really dries quickly and doesn't smell since its bamboo. While on the trip I was also reviewing the Reid Vice 2.0 for Bikepacker.com. You can go read the review and little more about the trip here

For now, here are a few more photos from the adventure. I can't wait to go out and do a few more overnighters and hopefully even a little tike-packing with our little man before too long. Now go on, get out and ride yer bike!

"Adventure"

Adventure - an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity. Thats how Google defines the word at least. However I'd argue that adventure is a mindset, an attitude. I've had my fair share of "typically hazardous" excursions and embarked on backcountry treks that most might not want to take on but I still think that to be a real "adventurer" you need find that same spirit in the more mundane things about life. 

Mundane - lacking interest or excitement; dull. Quite the opposite of the definition google gives for adventure. Driving to work is mundane, hell half the time work is mundane for a lot of us. So how can we make any of those things adventurous? Drive a new way to work each day, ride your bike to work instead of driving, talk to your barista for once, order something different, etc. I get asked often times how I find time to do fun things still after getting married and having a son. The answer is (aside from my wife being amazing) I prioritize a spirit of adventure in all that I do. 

Spokane (the city I live in) was recently ranked as the city with 4th most depressing winter.  Grey skies, the sun goes down at 3:58 in December, and constant snow make for a recipe for a city full of vitamin D deficient people. As you read in my last blog post I chose to combat this with a fatbike. This fatbike has been awesome. My friend Sean and I have gone on some awesome rides this winter and discovered the whole new challenge that riding through snow brings to cycling. Hopping on your bike when its single digit temperatures outside doesn't always sound like the most exciting thing but once you do and you start pedaling its hard not to smile. 

Some of my favorite winter adventures have been ski trips for as long as I can remember. This winter we took a trip out to Leavenworth, Washington and skied Stevens Pass for a few days. Though I still absolutely love skiing, cycling has grown on me immensely. I find so much joy in even a short ride! That said, this winter has been far from depressing. I'd encourage everyone to join in and spend more time outside during the winter months! Weather is just weather after all. 

All this said, here are some photos of a very "mundane" midday adventure.  Even taking a short hour ride on your lunch break can bring some artificial vitamin D your way.  Here are some photos of bikes to do the same. i write these to inspire you to get out there, we all know being bored sucks so why be content with that.

go check out clubrideapparel.com for more riding inspiration and the clothing thats in these photos. They work hard to keep me out riding daily and I believe in their product fully!

Sunny-side

All too often I hear people who love outdoor activity complain about the weather. Well guess what... you're a cyclist... you're a skier... you're an outdoorsman... weather is weather and theres nothing you can do to change it.  You can however be well prepared for it! This blog post is related to cycling directly but I'd argue that in just about any weather situation you can choose to be on the sunny side with the right gear and attitude.  

Winter is a time when most people get off the bike, put on a few lbs and do whatever else they enjoy for the season. In the eyes of many (including myself at times) it is an "off season". this season however I have a goal in mind to change that. I recently purchased a fatbike and have decided that I want to be a 4 season cyclist. for much of my life i have put the bike away and skied my days away but now with a little one at home its become a little tougher to sneak away for an entire day of skiing whereas a few hours on the bike is convenient and (i hate to say it) just about as fun.  

winter riding does however come with its own set of challenges... you're no longer trying to keep cool or make sure that you have enough water because you're sweating so much but instead its finding the perfect balance between being too hot and sweating vs. plain old being too cold. sweating can be the cause of your downfall when all of the sudden you're a block of ice due to your sweat freezing. winter riding is also limited by the conditions of the trail and mandates good gear. sometimes you'll strike gold and the trail will be perfectly firm and fast whereas other times you may be the first maniac to hop on your fat bike and end up blazing a trail for others. that said, at times there is a lot of walking involved. having a solid pair of waterproof, warm boots is so important. i've also found that having a good set of pedals (if you're running flats) is crucial. i've had my pedals ice over and my "spikes" not grab my boots at all so I think the next upgrade may be to invest in more "spikey spikes".  

the clothing you wear and layering is so very important. as i said before you don't want to be too warm when you're out there but you also would hate to not have enough on. i start things off with a club ride technical jersey and chamois. (always stray away from cotton... should be a no brainer but just in case.) from there depending on the temperature i'll wear long underwear and a club ride technical riding hoodie. to finish it off i wear my club ride riding pants and a packable down jacket. wool socks are a must and I also like to wear a wool cycling cap. to keep it light heres a little gif of me looking like a sims character. 

the steps of layering.

accessories can make or break a ride in the cold weather as well. again, depending on temperature i would definitely recommend wearing a neck tube. anti-fog glasses are important, especially the anti-fog part. some sort of cap is necessary unless you have a huge head of hair and even then i'd highly recommend one. this brings me to gloves. i don't struggle with poor circulation so i just wear a pair of 45 nrth sturmfist-5 gloves but many like to use their cobrafist or some other bar mitt system. lastly but definitely not least we need to talk about footwear some more. as you can see in the video i'm wearing muckers... i actually do wear these when the conditions are really wet but more usually i choose my 45 NRTH japanther boots. I've found that they have been plenty warm in just about whatever the northwest can throw at me but they definitely make a few more heavy duty boots for longer treks. 

anyway, thats a little about the gear i think it takes to enjoy the outdoors in the frigid single digit temperatures we experience in the inland northwest. as for the attitude thats all up to you. it really is as simple as choosing to stay on the sunny-side of life and pursuing happiness even when the sun sets before 4 pm. stay warm and happy out there and ride your bike! life's more fun that way. now look at these photos of my bike and tell me you don't want to go play in the snow.

Fall Riding

The leaves change, the dirt achieves hero status, and you're in pretty good shape?! What could be better. bikes are always fun though right? even in the winter i'd argue, anytime you can get out on two wheels is great. great for your health, great for your spirit, and some would argue that if you're riding a bicycle when you might otherwise be driving a vehicle that you're making the world a safer and cleaner place. 

this fall i've found a new love for riding my bike. in previous years as the cold weather and rain came i would slow down on how many days i'd ride to work or not get out on the dirt as much simply because i didn't enjoy the adverse weather conditions. as many of you may know i've always been a skier and the cold isn't foreign to me growing up in montana, but i just couldn't find the motivation to continue on in riding through the fall/winter months. this year however is different.

maybe it's just growing up. maybe it has always been a part of me, but after the hot springs loop this summer i've learned that i love doing tough things. it could be as simple as taking the stairs that are next to an escalator and i'll do it just because i feel like i need to. now, let me be clear, this is not to say that i'm better than or that i have something going for me because i work hard... no. in all honestly if anything this bend towards taking the route otherwise less traveled leads to less company and lots of people wondering why the hell you would want to drive an hour to go out riding when its pissing rain. theres something much more rewarding about the warm shower after while you watch the dirt roll off your legs when you've felt a little more struggle for it.

so with all that said who wants to go spend a few nights under the stars this winter freezing our asses off just to come away with a few great memories and to say we did? 

morning shred

anyway, i named this post fall riding so i could tell you about some of the things i've been learning and enjoying from behind bars this fall, but on the photographic side it might boil down to a lot of photos of one particular bike... my surly crosscheck.  i built it for the cyclo-cross season this year but have found myself riding it the most at the moment. its got the party spirit of a mountain bike but can be a little bit serious when you need it to be like a road bike. that said, the internet is in love with this bike. especially the bar-tape for one reason or another. (psst, its deda elementi bar tape and i can sell you some.) so here is a little gallery of my most recent two wheeled build and some other fall riding   

images of me by sean tobin and micah estelle

Well I hope you're stoked about bikes. that said i want more friends of mine to ride bikes. let me help you build one so we can all partake in the fun of two wheels. cuz really... fun is the best. and if you get off to type two fun a little more like i seem to, then congratulations, you're crazy like me too. here's to creating memories and stepping out of our comfort zones for them! keep on praying for snow... its coming.

My Ass Hurt From My Saddle. My Cheeks Hurt From My Smile.

The Idaho Hot Springs Loop was full of 5 things.  

Elevation change, smiles, numb fingers, sore asses, and chamois butter (+ tea tree oil... try it).  

this journey was by far the largest adventure any of the 3 of us had ever embarked on.  That brings me to the 3 of us.  I (@grafton) reached out to Blake (@blzke) earlier in the year just trying to put the feelers out for if any of my friends would be crazy enough to want to bikepack with me.  Once Blake and I had decided upon the Idaho hot springs loop as our route we decided we needed a 3rd member to join in the fun as having 3 of you back there is much smarter than 2. So I asked James (@pn_nizzy).  James didn't have a mountain bike yet, never had really ridden mountain bikes, and originally thought bikepacking was crazy.  Much to my surprise he was all in.  within a week or two he had bought a bike and was very excited to spend sometime in the mountains on two wheels.

stanley lake, nestled below McGown Peak

We chose to embark on this adventure in the middle of august. sounds hot right? no, we woke up to frozen water after our first night under the stars and continued to wake up in 35-45 degree temperatures each morning after. leaving our nice warm hammocks was quite possibly the hardest part of each day (apart from actually getting on your saddle...)  

we all come from different parts of the northwest, myself from Spokane, blake from Salt lake, and james from Boise. That said we decided we would meet and begin our route in Stanley.  We stayed our first night at stanley lake, a lake that sits at the base of the sawtooth mountains.  From there we rode north west through rolling hills for the first half of the day before coming to the base of our first mountain pass.  

day 1's views

That first half of our first day on the road was full of gear adjustments (to be expected) but we also hadn't taken into account how long it would take us to actually get on the road.  My original goal (which was quite lofty) was to ride an estimated 80 miles or so and end our day at warm lake... we did not achieve this.  finally getting on the road as 11 am approached was our first setback.  That first mountain pass was only a taste of the mountains to come, we were high in elevation but started over 6000'.  the descent after that climb was beautiful however.  once we dropped over the cape horn summit it was as if we were truly in the backcountry. prior to the pass we were quite close to highway 21 and we were now headed over the mountains and into the next valley.  

once we had hit what seemed to be the valley floor of the bear valley we thought we could really make up some ground on our lost time.  we were wrong.  the roads had all been recently graded and watered so our time was filled with lots of pedaling and little ground covered. we made our first stop for water at the bear valley campground.  water was one of those things I was actually quite worried about.  I knew I could carry enough food for the trip and I knew that once we made it back into any sort of town we could, but with all the energy we were putting out I was most worried about staying hydrated.  That was silly.  the route is not only littered with hot springs but also littered with water.  rivers, creeks, lakes, springs, they're all over this route.  I ended up only filling my 3 liter bladder half way each time we'd stop to save on weight.  along with us we had one msr water purification system and it worked quite well in keeping all of our bottles full. For my bladder however I chose to use a sawyer inline water filter on the hose.  it made stopping and filling up so easy, just dunk my bladder in the stream and close it up.  no wait times of pumping or waiting on your tablet, no strange taste, and very lightweight/compact.  the only downside i could give that little guy is that it won't last as long, but at less that $30 I can't complain.  

talking about something random because what else can pass the time

purified water... one ounce at time... 

we didn't stop for much of a real lunch on day 1.  my nutrition consisted of huma gels, gu chomps, and some good ol' trail mix for the day.  I tried packing along those little squeeze pouches of apple sauce but they ended up being much to acidic and giving me some crazy heart burn.  at this point in the day we were quite certain that our original goal had no chance of being reached.  a couple of other riders on the route had caught up to us and after passing one another a few times back and forth they proposed we camp with them.  

james ready to celebrate with some hooch after a long day

that leads me to the people we met on the route.  every cyclist we ran into was so nice.  in general everyone in the idaho backcountry was abundantly kind to us (minus calling us crazy or saying that our bikes were defective because they didn't have a motor).  so we stayed with Matt and Rebecca our first night on the route. we found a little spot right below the deadwood summit.  it was late in the evening and we knew we would run out of light before making it over the next pass so we stood defeated on our goal for the day and quite possibly a little surprised at just how difficult riding your bike all day on washboard roads could prove to be.  

attempting to dry our chamois and set up camp

thanks to vessel coffee roasters for keeping us well caffeinated.

photo by blake 

The next morning the saddle sores really started to settle in.  I swear I woke up to my fingers being more numb than they were they day before.  we woke up early; we wanted to get a little better start than we had the day before. packing everything up along with cooking breakfast takes a surprisingly long amount of time.  we knew that we were in for two big passes right off the bat that morning so we drank plenty of coffee, downed our oatmeal, and chamois buttered up before getting back in the saddle. james had made the silly mistake of trying to ride through creek just before we went to bed the night before and ended up with soaking wet cotton shoes for the next morning.  

discussing map options

photo by james

top of the deadwood summit

photo by blake

rolling through the alpine meadows between deadwood and warm creek

So we then started up the deadwood summit.  the morning was absolutely gorgeous.  the climb wasn't easy by any means but it wouldn't be the toughest we'd see. after summiting we got to ride through some awesome high alpine meadows that seemed just continue on for days. it was funny being in what seemed like a valley right after having climbed up the pass.  we then traversed along the valley until we came to our next pass, warm creek summit.  warm creek summit is currently under construction and being paved so we had a nice little break waiting for our pace car to come around (their pace quickly out ran ours of course). it was honestly quite refreshing to have a little pavement in the route after so much sand and wash board.  as paving trucks passed us they all looked at us as if we had lost our minds (the breed of bikepackers might all be a little crazy, i'll give them that).  As we reached the summit of the pass we were all ready for some downhill... not to mention this portion of the pass was now freshly paved.  the whole way down i was wishing my strava was going just so i could see how close we could come to grabbing a KOM on our 70lb bikes.  

we were soon rolling down into warm lake.  not sure if you'd consider it a town, a resort, a location... the center of the universe... whatever that little place is, it was a piece of heaven at the time.  we had heard from others on the route that they have the best burgers.  i'd love to go back and try one when i'm not extremely exhausted and baked by the sun to find out their true taste but hey at the time i'd completely agree.     

waiting to take on the summit in a construction line.  we were fine waiting

photo by blake

me at the end of a dock trying to make a phone call... it didn't work

photo by blake

much needed beers and country music

photo by james

continuing onward we were headed for the lick creek mountains.  i full well knew that this pass wouldn't be easy but i was no where near prepared for just how "relentless" (as a fellow hot springer put it) this pass would be. the views on our way down the south fork of the salmon river were nothing short of amazing.  by mid way through our descent down along the river I knew were going to end up really low in elevation by the time morning came. 

overlooking the south fork near poverty flats... weird name huh

photo by james

pretty nice i'd say

photo by james

serious face

soak

photo by blake

along the south fork we knew that there was one hot spring we couldn't miss.  at mile point 16 there is a little hot spring down by the river with a mix of spring water and river water that is the perfect temperature.  we rolled on to the hot spring in the middle of the afternoon with high morale and for how much we'd eaten, pretty high energy. we contemplated setting an alarm for when to get back on the road to stay on track for time but decided we'd chance enjoying ourselves too much.  much like the community surrounding bikepacking, the community of people that soak in natural hot springs is very unique.  at this pool we met two couples.  one couple was on their honeymoon heading north from colorado in their toyota tacoma while the other was from star idaho (a now near suburb of boise that was once the middle of nowhere) and were on their utv.  they were asking all kinds of questions about where we'd come from and where we were headed. when we said we were about to head up the lick creek summit the couple in the utv wouldn't stop talking about how hard it would be. (i'll drink to that!) so we sat in a pool, drank our free coors lights we got at warm lake and listened to how much our lives were going to suck within the next 24 hours. "you're just in a hole right now" was a common saying until we really did start climbing the next morning and we all slowly realized how right he was...

we ended up setting up camp on the secech river just before what we knew would be the beginning of our climb. 

end day 2

photo by james

day 3 begins... time for oatmeal with maybe a little gu mixed in and maybe a little bit of some left over half pop or maybe some trail mix... really just whatever calories you can get in there.  team morale was pretty high for being with no one but each other for the past 48 hours.  we packed up and were ready to roll faster than any other morning i think (might have been because we decided to pass on coffee in an attempt to hold off on bowel movements if possible).  we started riding.  on our way out i keep on wondering "when is it going to become relentless?" a few miles down the road and the mountains surrounding us just keep on getting bigger and there doesn't seem to be any feasible saddle summit anywhere close by.  we start up what seems to be the big climb.  blake climbs everything like he's a mountain goat.  he just gets to that uncomfortable spot and stays there, perfect little circles all the way up.  

up up up.  the whole way up I was looking for potential saddles we might be dipping in to and finishing off our climb with but none of them were our way out.  we kept on climbing up into an area littered with alpine lakes and granite peaks.  if you ever get the chance to go to the lick creek, do it, its the shit.  it seriously looks like idaho's version of yosemite. 

when i reached the summit blake had already stripped down to his bibs and was laying out with his bike on the ground.  under most normal circumstances climbing 3500' over 15 miles first thing in the morning is tough... climbing 3500' over 15 miles first thing in the morning on 70lb bike... its another beast.  

way way way up.

all the way up.

downhill should be rewarding right?  usually feels good after a big climb.  this descent was much the opposite. we knew we were on our way into mccall but we weren't ready for just how washboardy the road was. (i believe thats a real word) our entire bikes were trying to rattle themselves apart.  we couldn't wait for pavement and good food in mccall. 

uhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhuh... washboard sounds

potty break at little payette lake

we arrived in mccall.  felt like finally.  we had only ridden about 35 miles for the day and we all were exhausted.  fish tacos and a few beers lifted our spirits before heading south for donnelly.  we stopped off at the gas station to get food and more beers for our last night on the route.  with 12 beers evenly divided and enough brats to feed us plus some we were off.  

a wall near the grocery where we re-fueled.  we ran into another hot springs looper riding a recumbent fat bike

we rolled into a "primitive" (complete with split wood in bundles and a bathroom) campsite on the west side of lake cascade where we would stay the night. we decided it'd be best to cut out goldfork hot springs and ride down the west side of lake cascade and onto highway 55 due to time.  

joe to get things rolling

photo by blake

that night we celebrated around a fire and woke up with "fresh legs", heartburn, and ready to begin our last day in the saddle. we took off down west mountain road for more of the same washboard roads.  all of this time the pioneer fire was burning in the area that we had sort of skirted around in the boise national forest.  we had seen very little smoke but this morning it started to roll in.  

we were able to put in quite a few miles this morning without any stops for gear adjustments or nutrition stops. our gear was getting lighter as we ate more and more of what we had been weighing us down and i'd like to think that over time we had become better at setting up everything properly to stay in place.  that morning we had a choice of whether we would risk climbing another pass and down onto the middle fork of the payette or just ride down highway 55 on the north fork.  either way the plan was now to end at the dirty shame saloon in crouch where we would meet up with an old friend who would have cold beers ready and take us back up to stanley. we decided we'd rather play it safe on time and ride the highway.  i'd driven this highway many a time but i'd never thought much of what kind of shoulder it has. well it has none.  needless to say that was a fun white knuckler on down to banks before turning for crouch.  a stop mid way at cougar mountain lodge for some comfort food in the "town" of smith's ferry was much needed.  

 

   

more chamois butter please

its like rumble strip... but constant and unavoidable at times

photo by blake

ahhhhh

once we turned at banks we had a measly 9 miles left. seemed like nothing compared to the 235 we had already completed but the worst part was that we had mile markers telling us just how far we'd gone.  

morning mid ride "fish" tacos

photo by blake

we finished.  late afternoon and we arrived in crouch.  we waited on our ride with a few beers and very little conversation.  all in all the trip was physically draining as well as emotionally.  take two of your best friends out in the backcountry and physically exert yourselves all day for 4 days in a row, you'll understand how.  the good news is we're all still friends.  great friends.  we plan to continue in bikepacking and all avenues of bicycle touring.  if you've ever considered it I would highly encourage you to take the steps necessary to make it happen!  a lot can be learned while sweating profusely riding uphill for a few hours alone in the sun. 

type two fun is the best isn't it?  thanks for reading, continue in following along for more cycling nonsense and other "adventurous" (whatever that means) content.

cheers!

What We Used and Where We Went

So last month Blake (@blzke), James (@pn_nizzy), and I finally decided we'd take ourselves seriously as "adventurers"... and maybe more so as "adventure cyclists."  It took a lot of planning (probably should've planned even more) and preparation to be in the saddle for 4 days.  

The scenic views were few and far between... said no one ever.  

Here's a short list of what was necessary to make this whole adventure happen.  

 

the hard part was picking your bike back up

Bike Build:

  • Frame: Voodoo Hoodoo 26” steel steed
  • Fork: Specialized Direct Drive CroMo that I sandblasted and speckle painted.  (thanks to elephant bikes for adding some braise-ons for extra bottle/flask cages)
  • Headset: Cane Creek
  • Handlebar: Titec J-Bar
  • Grips: ESI
  • Stem: RaceFace
  • Brake Levers: Avid Dial      
  • Brakes: Shimano XTR    
  • Shift Lever: Sram gx 10 speed      
  • Rear Derailleur: Sram gx 10 speed long cage
  • Crankset: Truvative Stylo with a North Shore Billet 30T Chainring      
  • Bottom Bracket: Sram gxp      
  • Cassette: Sun Ringle 10 Speed 11-42
  • Chain: Sram 1071
  • Pedals: Crank Bros Candy
  • Saddle: Brooks Cambium C17      
  • Hubs: Mavic Cross Land
  • Rims: Mavic Cross Land
  • Tires: Continental Mountain King 26x2.2

 

photo by blake

Camping and Sleeping:      

 

"that burger at warm lake did me in..."

Bike tools/Spares:

  • Multi-tool: Full Windsor The Nutter
  • Tire repair: Lever/Tubes x3/Stans Sealant/Gorilla Tape/Dollar Bill/Glue
  • Chain: 1x Master link/Chain lube
  • Spares: Kool Stop Brake Pads
  • Straps: Chums Stowaways/Voile Straps
  • Essentials: Lighter/Zip Ties/Extra Cables/Extra Spokes
  • Bikepacking Bags/Storage:      
  • Seat Pack: Timbuk2 Saddle Bag      
  • Frame Pack: Jandd Frame bag      
  • Feed Bag: Topeak Bento Box      
  • Backpack: Camelbak Mule
  • Drybag: Alps Mountaineering Dry Compression Sack

 

what is this thing?

Tech:     

 

Personal Care:

 

downhill into camp before climbing the deadwood summit.

Clothing:     

Our bikes all started weighing in at somewhere between 23-26lbs.  Post loading our bicycles up to be "tour ready" they weighed in at somewhere between 60-70lbs.  My original goal was to ride from Stanley, Idaho along the Idaho Hot Springs Loop around to Idaho City, Idaho. Due to time and my lofty aspirations on how far we could ride each day we had to make a few short cuts.  

All of this said, we finished up our journey riding banks-lowman road slowly watching the mile markers go by as we pedaled into Crouch, Idaho.  A few pints later we were picked up by a dear friend and headed back to Stanley for one last night under the stars.  

I wish i could say I drew that

Stay tuned to hear more about the hardships and joyous moments we met along the route.  Just to give you an idea... my ass is still sore and my fingers are still tingling.  Special Thanks to Club ride, Stanley, thermarest, MSR, 45Nrth, teravail, o2 rainwear, Chums, beyond coastal, Vessel Coffee, high westfleet feet Spokane, and Velofix spokane for all of your support in helping us along the route.  We couldn't have made it all happen the way it did without you!

Preparation

Preparing for a trip is always fun.... said no one ever.  Of course you cant wait for the trip to begin but wouldn't it be nice if all the before stuff just happened on its own?  As many of you reading this may know, my friends and I will be embarking on a 4 day bikepacking trip tomorrow on a portion of the Idaho Hot Springs Loop.  Couldn't be more stoked!  But yesterday, the procrastination for packing was real.

In preparing for most trips, you pack food... clothes... cameras... toiletries... and some amount of gear.  This trip is no different except everything will be carried on our bicycles.  

Of course we did have some fun while packing... Skids and wheelies will do that to you.  

 

Thanks to Sean Tobin for the photos.  Follow along for more!

anniversary getaway to the wallowa mountains

Looking onto the wallowa mountains from the north end of wallowa lake.

My wife and I have now been married for one full year.  !!  Seems like the year has gone by so quickly and I wouldn't change a thing.  As many of you may know we are due to have our first child this November.  We recently found out that...... ITS A BOY.  Blue birthday cake forever.  

It poured rain on the way down.  Made for some nice soft light.

 

Anyway , back to the trip.  I surprised Brooke with a getaway to the Jennings Hotel in Joseph, Oregon.  We first visited the town last year shortly after our wedding and I quickly fell in love.  Someday we (I) really hope to have some property in Wallowa county.  If you've never been I highly suggest it.  

Looking on to the lower section of rattle snake grade from the Washington side.

The grande ronde river

Our journey began with the drive.  I had never driven from Spokane to Joseph but I knew it wouldn't disappoint.  The scenic views and winding roads we're nothing short of what I'd hoped for.  The grande ronde river runs from the snake through the south-eastern most corner of Washington before dipping south into Oregon.  At the very bottom there was a little restaurant called Boggans Oasis... next time (hopefully by bike) a stop will surely be in order.  As we continued out trek into oregon it only began to rain much more.

Glowing.  Right?

Cooking a baby makes you quite tired it seems.  

Once we arrived in Joseph the rain had stopped and we were gifted with a nice overcast night filled with mountainous fog.  The town is photogenic to say the least.  Big thanks to the Jennings hotel for housing us and all of Greg's hospitality.  It really is a rad project and you should all go check it out

It's easy to feel small nestled in mountains so large.  

In closing, we had a wonderful getaway.  Here's to a year of marriage and the many more to come.

_cheers

The eagle cap wilderness butts right up against town.  Its 565 Square miles and covers the Wallowa mountain range.  The area is littered with glacial fed lakes and is quite the evergreen playground.  We only went for a short day hike up the west fork of the Wallowa river on the Chief Joseph Trail.  I'm eager to head back and plan some sort of backpack trip through the area.  (maybe with a little kiddo on my back)