I always get asked about what I take with me on the big rides.  I’ve covered my packing list in the past with my CTR equipment list.  This year’s AZT was MUCH warmer than last year’s and the CTR, so a few things were different.

On my back I carried my Osprey hydration pack with a 100 oz. Camelbak bladder, my non-functioning SPOT, multi-tool, arm and knee warmers, an empty 1.5 liter platypus bladder (I used this once), spare shorts, a spare pair of socks, sunscreen, spare AAA and AA batteries, and PI rain jacket (packed more for warmth than rain protection).  I later found out that at the bottom of the pack I had an extra pair of arm warmers.

On the top tube, I carried as many snacks as I could as well as my cell phone and my gopro HD3….The Black!  I took more pics this year, but they weren’t all that.  On the bars I carried my full length neo air pro pad, tyvek bivy, and my 30 deg bag…..which I could have gone without.  In the bar pouch….extra glasses with clear lenses in a hard case, and my hygiene kit.

In the top frame bag I had another 100 oz. camelbak bladder in a fabric sleeve to prevent punctures.  Also in that compartment were 3 MRE meals and heaters with some MRE crackers, cheese, and bread.  I packed a wool tee and a light weight beanie cap.

In the bottom compartment….2 bottles of Stan’s sealant, one tube, 2 Big Air cans, 6 lipo Ayup batteries (24 hours total), Pur Hiker (now Katadyn) water filter, and my Fenix LD 20 flashlight, a micro LED blinky light, and my tire repair box with Leatherman micro, Crank Bros mini pump, needle and thread, plug tool, spare brake pads, chain master link and spare links, super glue, and patch kit.

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That’s it.

Each day I’d start off with a small snack and a bunch of water and walk a short distance before jumping on the bike.  Sometimes I’d remember to lube the chain….but using ProGold Extreme usually meant I could go a day and a half before lubing.  Eventually I’d stop for a more substantial snack and brush my teeth.  When the sun started coming up I’d apply sunscreen.  I tried to eat as much as I could when riding, but after the first store stop, I seemed to be out of bars and other items that are easy to eat while riding, so I seemed to stop a lot to eat.

Before going to sleep, I always made sure my belly was full, my ass and crotch were clean, and my teeth were brushed.  My second night was tough because I had downed 3 big glasses of Coke so it took me a while to go to sleep.  I should have ridden longer to get that stuff out of my system, but the camp spot I found was just too awesome to pass up.

On the bike I ran my favorite tire of all time….the WTB Weirwolf LT 2.55… on the front.  This tire is now about 5 years old and had 750 miles on it.  It held up great and still shows little wear.  On the rear, I ran a brand new WTB Exiwolf.  I had run one of these for 750 miles on the CTR and the Coco 250 with ZERO issues.  For this effort it got cut early in the ride.  Aaron Boatman gave me a tough time about using WTB tires as their quality has been hit or miss for the past few years.  Some tires made in Taiwan, others in China.  Some in different factories in China.  Some with sidewalls so thin they started showing thread immediately after installation.  Some with 60 tpi, others with 120, and others with 31 tpi…???  Whatever.  I’d love to be able to afford EXO Maxxis tires, but I even saw one of those with a stitched up sidewall.  I honestly believe that getting a cut sidewall is just pure lack of luck…..and sometimes lack of skill.  Looking at past AZT’s and this year’s AZT, the best riders get cut sidewalls.  How you deal with it is what makes the difference.  Having some mad stitching skills will pay off.  I had some practice before via a Stan’s clinic I gave in El Paso.  I gave a clinic the weekend after AZT and took a knife to the rear tire I used.  I was able to stitch it up and it held air at 40 psi (in pic below).  I rode it around my neighborhood a little and it still held air.  Practice is important so you know what you’re doing when crunch time comes.

slashed sidewall stitch repairI was super amazed at how well my feet, butt, and hands held up.  My hands started getting numb as I approached the Gila, but nothing compared to last year when I had blisters on my palms.  My feet did real well also, but three days after finishing, both my big toes went numb and I’m still having some issues there.  My butt didn’t bother me much at all and I only applied Okole Stuff once.  I got a bit nervous when I went to apply as it was the same container I had used for CTR and Coco 250 and I’d yet to replenish it.  It was almost empty.

The biggest equipment mistake I made was on the last evening when I stuffed my sunglasses into my top tube bag instead of in a sunglass case.  The fabric inside the bag wore off the mirror coating in a couple of spots.  I’m horrible with sunglasses.  Someday I’ll figure out how to make those things last.

I have no secrets to hide, so if you have any questions, ask and I’ll do my best to give you an honest answer.

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