It’s a start:
A few notes:
The seatbag is an inexpensive drysack. It worked, but only just. It’s wide, and so my legs rubbed against it while riding. A small annoyance in a 3 hour ride. It could drive me batty over the course of a couple of days. It’s not exactly the most convenient option, as getting anything out of it requires the entire bag to be removed from the bike. Which in itself takes a vexing amount of fiddling. But, it does work. And will be my back-up plan if my primary seatbag option does not work out. Inside the seatbag is my sleep system: Lafuma 600 down bag, Therma-Rest 3/4 Pro-Lite pad, and Outdoor Research Aurora Bivy.
The handlebar bag is a Granite Gear stuff sack (size XS). Inside is a synthetic wind shirt, down vest, rain jacket and a few toiletry items. There was still had lots of room for any other clothing—arm warmers, stocking cap, extra socks—that I will most likely include in the kit. It stayed put on the bars even when descending some fast and bumpy dirt road.
The Mountain Feedbag is one of my favorite little accessories. I carried a water bottle for my test run, but it’s much too useful for that. I’ll fill it full of food, spare batteries, and possibly a small charger for the Garmin unit on race day.
The set-up rode quite well. Nice and balanced. I’m still futzing with my pack, and still trying to answer the million dollar question: how much water do I carry? There should be plenty of resupply options—either filter or spigot—on route. But how often, and what sort of terrain separates them is still a variable I am trying to solve. I carried 6L in my pack on my test ride and it was… absurdly heavy. Considering the amount of space it filled, and that I did not carry any food at all, I’m thinking that a smaller capacity, or at least, carrying less, will be a better option.
As much as I like the little 26er pocket rocket, it’s compact design eliminates any frame bag options. While that’s not a major factor going into the Dixie-Lite, for something more ambitious, like the Dixie 311, it could certainly become an issue. Even without the water bottle cage, my small frame pack simply will not fit. But that’s a riddle for another day.
The rest of the puzzle will be coming together this week. In the meantime… it’s back to the maps.