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Olympia Cycle & Ski, 1813 Portage Ave

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lindsay's 2012 Iditarod Adventure - cont'd (now w. pics)

Linsday Gauld, founder of Olympia Cycle & Ski, is off on another adventure: The 2012 Iditarod is in some sense the most extreme biking competition on the planet.  You can read more about it on the Iditarod Invitational blog here (where you can find lots of post-race reports from previous competitors, and information about this year's event, plus much more).

Immediately below are some more of Lindsay's thoughts as he comes close to final preparation time. Tomorrow we'll add a couple of picks Lindsay has sent us to this post. (Edit: Pic's are now posted to the bottom of this write-up).  To check out his first shared thoughts on the event you can visit an earlier posting by clicking here.

I’m writing this on Sunday the 19th. At this time in a week I’ll be 4 ½ hours into my adventure at the Iditarod Trail Invitational. I am leaving for Anchorage this coming Thursday so I’m really in the final stages of preparation.

I went to the store with my bike set up and it weighed in at 65 pounds, with some of my food, one liter bottle of water and a sat phone that I’m going to rent still to be added. I’m expecting it to weigh in at about 70 pounds. I’m presently 129 pounds,  so I’ll be pushing a bike that is well over half my body weight.

I keep thinking if there are items I don’t need and I’m sure there will be but I remind myself that my first order of business is to finish and I’d rather carry everything I might possibly need in order to do that. To that end, I’ll be carrying a set of crampons to get over something called the Post Glacier which is a steep sheet of ice on which my friend Lance Andre fell last year and broke his arm. ( this is an amazing story as he had earlier cracked a bone in his leg. He continued on and finished with a broken leg and arm. Truly impressive) I’m also carrying a pair of Neos Voyageur high booties to cross some streams that can be problematic on the way down from Rainy Pass. Both of these add weight and I’ll only use them for a few minutes in 5 days but I’m not prepared to risk going without them.

The rest of the weight is taken up mostly with clothing and food. The list of my gear is as follows:

Clothing – I’m a believer in sticking with old friends when I go into “battle”. I’ve used Sporthill pants and jackets with 3SP fabric for about 10 years and still haven’t found any other garments that I trust as much. They are windproof by weave up to 35 mph  and at the same time they breathe better than any of the softshell garments I’ve tried. The same holds true in terms of underwear. I’ve had some Swedish wool undies by Ullfrotte that I’ve used in cold conditions for the same length of time. In 2002, I competed in the Ukatak winter race in the Charlevoix region of Quebec. It was the worst weather I’ve ever experienced and profoundly changed me in many ways. Sporthill and Ullfrotte saw me threw that event and I’m sure they will again.

Smaller clothing items include 3 different weights of balaclavas, three toque of varying weights, neck tubes to pull up to keep my face warm, socks by Wigwam made of wool and silk, and various weights of mitts and gloves to wear in side my cozy pogies

For my eyes I’m taking a new set of glasses/goggles by Casco, a smaller set of sunglasses by Atmosphere and a new pair of Smith Goggles that I just got for the really bitter conditions that I hope never to face but have to be prepared for. They have a nosepiece that directs your breath away from he lens to keep them from fogging .

For footwear, I’ve chosen over my years at the Arrowhead to go without cycling specific shoes. I look at a race where I average 10 km/hour and feel that a clipless system just doesn’t matter. The ITI is much longer so I put a high priority on keeping my feet comfortable and warm. To that end, I was able to get some new North Face boots from my friend Jay Harrison who’s the sales rep. This is a new model that is rated to -60. I got one of Jay’s samples which is size nine so I can comfortably wear two pairs of socks. As an emergency measure, if my feet got cold I can put on the Neos over my boots to add some extra warmth.

I’ll be carrying or wearing lighter underwear by Craft as well as it tends to be fairly mild at the start of the race at Knik. I’ll also have several different weights of midlayers to adapt to differing conditions during the race. I’m carrying an outer wind layer to put on in extreme weather. I’m also carrying my old beaten up North Face down jacket to be put on if I have to stop on the trail to change a flat, melt snow or something else that finds me stopped for more than 5 minutes.

Food – I hope to keep it fairly simple with my own home made power balls, balls of cookie dough, gels by Gu (courtesy of my friend Gary Crandell) , breakfast bars cut in half, Triscuits as I sometimes crave something salty and Hammer Perpetuum to mix in my water. I’m looking to consume about 300 calories per hour. I’ll no doubt burn more than that but that’s all the body can handle and assimilate. At the aid station at 57, 90, 130, 165, 210 and 300 miles I will eat whatever I can comfortably consume to provide some variety. I will also be taking along a good supply of Succeed Sicaps which are a buffered electrlyte capsule to replace the electrolyte lost through sweat.

Other essentials – I’m carrying my -40 sleeping bag and bivy sac as well as an ensolite pad for sleeping. Some of the checkpoints have indoor sleeping but the one at 210 miles will involve sleeping in a tent. If conditions are slow, there would be a good chance I might need to sleep between the checkpoint at 210miles and 300 miles. This stretch will also stretch my water supplies so I’m carrying a stove and a pot to melt water. Obviously, a first aid kit is a must and I’m carrying a large amont of leukotape for any blisters I might end up with on my feet. There will be long sections of walking so I’m not totally comfortable about how my feet will stand up but leukotape will see me through. I’m carrying Aleve that I’ll take about every 8 hours. We are not meant to go for about 20 hours a day for up to a week  so I take the Aleve to limit muscle and joint inflammation.

As I write this, it gets me keyed up so it’s time to pack it in for the evening . I’ve got my Fatback packed away so I’ll be riding a limited amount in the next few days to keep loose and basically rest up. Think good thoughts for me.


Lindsay training on the Assiniboine near Headingley

Swollen and taped feet after Lindsay competed in Ukatak