Another Crash

I had hit my chest, ribs, and shoulder hard as I ever did before. The sudden pain that I felt lying face down on the single track caused me to scream wordlessly several times. Blaine had been riding his bike just fifty feet ahead of me on Chris McKearney’s Trail in the Rockland Bog. Blaine backtracked to assist me as I laid face down moaning, and  encouraged me to collect myself and take time getting up. Everything had happened so fast. I recall two immediate thoughts: I didn’t hit my head and no bones seemed broken.

Mudded up Ice Cream Truck

I was apart from my Surly Ice Cream Truck so my winter boot cleats must of released upon impact.  Blaine remarked that the rubber o-ring on my Bluto fork indicated that it had compressed to maximum travel. I was a hurting unit.

The crash happened at the end of a Saturday morning ride, which was not my usual weekend mountain biking schedule. Normally, I ride at 9:30 every Sunday morning with The Bubbas-a tight group of bike nuts that have banded together to ride three times a week, year round, for the past couple decades or more.

I decided to ride with Blaine and Monica because a snowstorm was predicted for Saturday night into Sunday, with a range of 4-8 inches forecasted for the area. Even though I have five-inch-wide lugged Flowbeist/Dunderbeist tires on my bike, I’ve put in enough winter riding to know that 5 inches or more of fresh power might not be very pleasant to move through. Clear ground on Saturday was my choice.

Except that winter Midcoast Maine trails  can suck.

Landowner might be pissed

Most of the leaves that had fallen off the hardwood trees had been blown off the path. Wet (and slippery) bare roots were running across the ground, as were the rocks, ledges, the moss, slimy lichens, and the sticks and branches that fly up and can get jammed into the drive train. The usual stuff for this time of year.

I need to listen to the quiet tiny voice in my head that knows better than me when to back off. I ignored three quiet warnings yesterday.The first message came in the form of my Saturday morning heart rate variability (HRV) measurement. HRV is the physiological phenomenon of variation in the time interval between heartbeats. My iPhone holds the app, which links to a heart rate chest strap for a three minute collection of HRV data.

HRV screen

HRV is becoming a useful tool for not only tracking the training adaptation of athletes, but for gauging the body’s readiness for pushing or backing off the intensity of training sessions. Mine was down some 20 points from my usual status, indicating that it was sub-optimal, suggesting that I engage in a more moderate level of physical intensity for the day.

The second message that I ignored was contained in my morning iChing reading.

According to Bill Scheffel, ”The I Ching, arguably humanity’s oldest book, conveys a wisdom that requires no belief, is not part of any organized system or religion and comes to us as a kind of DNA of how we experience time and its events and ourselves as a unique matrix of energy.” My hexagram suggested that, “We are not meant to memorize a path then slavishly follow it.” Which leads to the last message I ignored.

Monica, Blaine, and I were resting a bit at the entrance to McKearney’s Loop on the way back to my car. I was sipping water from my Camelback when Monica said, “ I think I am going to pass. You guys can go and I’ll wait right here for you. I’m beat.” I was also fatigued at that point, at the end of a decent ride where my heart rate was at or above 145 beats per minute for 53% of the 7.7 mile ride.

So, a couple days after the crash  I’m here packing ice on my shoulder and ribs and intermittently dosing with ibuprofen. I’m hoping the throbbing will settle down for the holidays so that I can get back on the bike and share the local trails with my two sons, Lincoln and Arlo, who will be in from Montana and San Francisco for a bit.

It’s so hard for me to listen to inner counsel, but with 500 combined hours of biking and hiking in 2017 so far, and just one serious bike and one bad backing fall this calendar year I think I am not going to beat myself up too much about it. Even so, I am presently acutely aware that so much can happen in just one second.

I already have my New Year’s resolution ready to go. For insurance I plan to tell my hiking and biking buddies to remind about it.

Why is backing off so difficult ?

A Most Pleasant First Trail Ride on Mount Pleasant (2017 version)

The first 2017 group ride with The Bubba to the top of Mount Pleasant in the Warren/West Rockport area had it all- mud, ice, stream riding, and even more snow than expected.  The approach from Route 90 departed from the old parking lot at East Coast Rover’s now defunct location, newly recycled as another car/truck repair facility.  Thanks to Bubba management for gaining permission for us to park there after work hours.

I was very pleased with my ride today- the most successful technical excursion up and down Pleasant ever for me.

Very pleasant on top today.

Atlantic Ocean overlook

Not only did I clear the challenge of ascending Baby Head Hill, I was finally able to loft the front end of my Surly Ice Cream Truck up a pesky little ledge on the section from the Three Way op to the power line after the screaming descent off the summit.

Here is a video of the crew maintaining a controlled skid on the steep, rock-strewn line off the summit itself. 

Today, it might have even helped to have stable ice and refrozen snow smoothing out the trail a bit.  The Bubbas take climbing in stride- in fact if you can’t tolerate climbing forest trails in this part of Maine, you’ll stay home.  S


Veloviewer/Strava connection of this ride

Most of the Bubbas carry folding saws in our packs.  We clear trails as we go, especially this time of year.

Craig Nelson and Nate sawing up fallen tree while John Anders supervises.

Later, we transitioned to riding up the stream that put us on the backside of the mountain just below the blueberry field that set us up for the finish of the ride.

This last wet climb set up a relatively long decent that was a fitting ending to a spring day blissfully absent of the impending blackflies, mosquitoes, and heat.

A most Pleasant morning was spent at my personal Sunday Church of Two Wheels.

Riding Ragged

“The graying of The Bubbas,”  is real.  Nate said it.

It was humid and the roots were just a bit slimy and slick, but it wasn’t a problem for nineteen Bubbas in The Woods this past Sunday morning.  We broke some kind of  record for attendance today with the help of additional folks like 73 year old Rhode Island Bruce pushing us along.

Our special guest today was Carol, who came up Massachusetts up to Midcoast Maine to “ride Bubba”  again. And here’s Carol herself, front and center as we celebrate her riding with us today.

Carol, front and center !
Carol, front and center !

We’ve been at if for decades, and with the advent of modern bike technology, there’s hardly a frame breaking all season. It’s even a rare event to even have “a mechanical” anymore.  Maybe a broken chain, or a flat, but that is about it.
We ride out of habit. We ride to rack up those Strava PR’s (Personal Records).

The Ride
The Ride

We ride to commiserate on the climbs.  We ride to get our weight down. We ride to sip beers tailgating in the parking lots. We ride to be with other riders.

I’m riding still because I can.

Fat Tire Bikes Are Not Just For Snow

I prefer to ride my fat tire bike right now, leaving my full suspension 29″  Santa Cruz Tallboy and my converted Diamondback Apex “road” bike in the garage.

Why?  Because each and every bike has a personality and a bike’s personality speaks to the rider in a special language.

Do read Rebecca Rusch’s one page submission from Dirt Rag #189, just like I did this fine Maine morning.

Illustration by Chris Escobar
Illustration by Chris Escobar

Here it is:  RUSCH JOB: ZEN AND THE ART OF FAT BIKING | Rebecca Rusch .” Fat biking is not a fad. It’s here to stay and has opened the doors to a whole new…”

While Rush’s article reflects her impressions of riding on snow, it captures the essence of moving through the wooded trails here in Midcoast Maine, anytime of year.  There a bit more calmness to “riding fat”, as The Bubbas call it.  For me, at my age and stage of life,  riding on 5 inch wide tires sporting 5 pounds of pressure at 5 mph is fine.  I’m riding difficult trail sections that were impossible for me to clear on 2″ tires.  I don’t steer and aim so much when riding fat.  I let the bike slide and hop a bit until it finds it’s own line.  It’s intuitive rather than calculated.  These same trails are seen differently.  I like to notice that.

It’s been hot and humid here, since I have returned from hiking the Portugese Camino this June.  It’s still cool out here at 6:45 AM on this fine summer day, and I’m free to enjoy it right now.

I’m heading out the door to swing my leg over my Surly Ice Cream Truck right now : out the door, over the hay fields, rocky streams, and onto the snowmobile trails that I keep open to ride up and around Moody Mountain.   I’m happy to be riding fat again this morning.



Midcoast Maine Fat Biking: Ride Local, Ride Often !

Hosmer Pond Jan. 2015
Ian and Buck on Hosmer Pond-  Jan. 2015

The real deal is never the same as the ideal.
Take fat-tire bikes for example.

Advertised as the children of snowy Alaska’s Iditabkes, these newly minted cash cows of the shape-shifter bike industry have a magical draw when they are viewed in real life, as opposed to in magazine ads or Instagram photographs. Fatbiking in Alaska The bikes themselves are borderine cartoonish.

Hoar frost holds up the Pugsley
Hoar frost holds up the Pugsley

With blocky, simple frame lines, it’s the wheels, no – the tires themselves, ballooning out to five inches in width that elicit broad smiles, and then chuckles on first sight.  Then you eventually ride one, and that chuckle becomes a laugh and you are hooked.

Except you don’t float like “a magic carpet on wheels” over just any old snowscape.  Snows of up to a couple, three inches are not even worth discussing.  The bike goes. However, once the snow gets to be about 5” deep the magic of riding these chunkers fades and we enter the world of sweat, work, and subsequent exhaustion.

Pace line over Coleman Pond
Buck, Andre, and Erik riding over frozen Coleman Pond in 2015

At least it is possible to move with a fattie under you, but once you enter deeper snow this happens: you pedal and then experience the disappointment of being propelled forward for a meager distance. The promised magic morphs into a grunt.

Which is not generally a problem for me. I have the 100% package of the Polish suffering gene, which propels me well into longer periods of low level leg work.

A  friend of mine just bought a Surly Pugsley. He was surprisingly frustrated that it took hard work to pedal the thing in 5” of snow.

The winter track beneath a bike is best experienced when someone or something has packed puffy snow down.

Love that tractor!
Love that tractor tread!

The packing hierarchy goes like this, from best downward:  snowmobile, 4WD truck tread, ATV tread, snowshoe tracks, ski tracks, footprints, and the occasional winter game trail.

So, we pack our own trails to ride on the snow. Last Saturday, I spent the morning helping my next door neighbor Matt cut out an overgrown discontinued snow mobile trail.

Matt had a full compliment of gear, that we hauled into the woods for the morning:  chain saw, limb trimmer, axe, files, rope, even a stump vise.

Matt and the gear heading into the woods
Matt and the gear heading into the woods

Years ago, the winter landscape around this part of town was punctuated with the sounds of snowmobiles, day and night.  Not so much anymore.  Times have changed- the snows are often slim, and when there is snow on the ground, many of the locals pack up their sleds into enclosed trailers and head up north to Jackman or Rangeley to ride the snowmobile superhighways that make Quebec an easy haul.

So, we cut away a path for our bikes, and then walk them a bit , and then ride them some more until they are in a state where forward motion is not only possible, but productive.

The moral of this story is find some folks who do regularly ride winter trails where you live and make an effort  to contribute to packing a better path for those that will follow.

 Bubba ride from Jan. 2014
Bubba ride from Jan. 2014

Right now in Midcoast Maine, that’s the Rockland Bog.

Rockland Bog Trails from Bog. Rd.
Rockland Bog Trails from Bog. Rd.- Photo from John Anders

The network of trails at the bottom of the Rollins Road in Camden is now fast, but a bit icy at the start.

Snow Bowl lot to Rollins Rd. trails
Snow Bowl lot to Rollins Rd. trails – John Anders photo

Word has it that Camden Hills State Park is getting good and that Tanglewood 4H Camp is ridable but I plan to personally checked those out his week.

And then there’s this project I am working on with my nest door neighbor, Matt. Hopefully, we’ll turn that into something good.

Ride Local, Ride Often!

First Fat Ride in 2016

BubbasinBogTen riders set out the morning of January 1 to kick off the first day of The Bubbas’ 2016 mountain bike riding season.

Weather conditions from the top of the ground up were perfect for January: temps around freezing, sunny patches on the ground, blue skies, no wind. If you didn’t wear too much today, you would be warm and dry, without feeling too much like the rolly-polly Michelin man.

However, from the top of the snow down to muddy earth below, the conditions were not as good.

People hear about “snow bikes” running on 4-inch and even 5-inch wide low PSI pressure tires and assume that anytime there is snow on the ground you can get out there and have a magic floating experience. Not really.

Take this morning for instance. As we started the ride the air temperature rose above freezing. What was solid and grippy underneath before the sun did its thing started getting soft and mushy- the snow started loosening up. Translation–>I’m puting out twice as much physical effort to move through 4″ of snow that is loose than if it were packed and refrozen.

Here’s a video of one of our most excellent Bubba riders, Ian, making the Bog entrance segment look easy when it really wasn’t. Notice the sideways front end throw and the correction at 0:04.  Upper body  engagement is the hallmark difference between summer and winter riding in these parts.

Nowhere is the riding experience between a stationary bike (think Spinning) and riding outdoors on an actual trail so pronounced as it is under these conditions. The upper body and lower back are engaging repeatedly, in order for forward movement to occur.

Here’s some info about my personal experience today on my Strava. The distance/moving time/elevation/suffer score tells it all. Wearing a heart rate chest strap today, I was pleased to see that my average heart rate was close to 100 beats higher per minute for the whole ride than is my normal resting pulse rate. The 400 calorie measure was definitely an underestimate.      :

screenshot 10

I’ve ridden this loop over 100 times, and it still brings me great pleasure to move through these woods.

By the look on Blaine’s face,  he’s enjoying it as well.

Periennially photogenic Blaine.
Perennially photogenic Blaine.

The day was fun.  It was tougher than usual out there, but as someone says on every one of these rides, “It sure beats the couch.”

Here is Nate the Great heading out.

I’m definitely coming back here on Sunday, where we’ll see the benefit of 10 riders who took the time to pack a fast, solid track today.

Definitely a happy New Year.

Bubbas Riding The Bog – Dec. 26

Wierd warm weather brings me teetering to the cusp of 2016.
I can’t ever remember riding my mountain bike through the midcoast Maine woods and waters when it was this warm. It’s sweet calm today at fifty-seven degrees, windless, with blue skies.
I ride bikes with a regular dozen and a-half of local mountain bikers- The Bubbas.  We’ve been at it for thirty years, riding year round except for hard rain or most snowstorms.

This time of year, riding might involve the whole gamut of weather from dusty dry in the summer, to a winter like last when record breaking feet of snow made the snow-covered trail more difficult to move through.  In typical winters, multiple layers of lesser snowfalls thaw and refreeze, resulting in a much firmer tread underneath.

It’s my first pain free ride since October 6, the date of my first night ride of the cold season.  On that dark evening, I pulverized the skin of the top of my left shin when my bike threw me sideways while I was riding across a fairly shallow, but rocky stream. There was a loose layer of freshly fallen leaves obscuring the true nature of the nasty path underneath.

I learned two valuable lessons that next morning.
First, if you need to close a wound, you better get it stitched within an 8 hour window, a medical fact that least one emergency room doctor cited in his decision to leave my wound open. However, I was sent home with with enough really big band-aids, extra gauze, and enough leukotape to fill a paper bag. Second lesson: “Scabs that are really vast, deep, and wide may stick around for almost 3 months.”

There were six of us riding in the Rockland Bog today, with five of us on fat tire bikes and Buck on his 29er. My Surly Pugsley is grinding into its 6th season this spring, and churn it did today, through black pools of thick, cold water with various depths of mud underneath.  Here’s an example of a wet area here in The Bog.

At the end of this post, you’ll see this 100 foot bridge in action.

I kept the rubber on the ground today, and rode well enough to get my third best time heading up The Bog Road Climb.

Sometimes it’s wiser to walk than ride. Here’s Craig and Rigger walking a stream today.

Stream Crossing on The Highland in the Bog
Stream Crossing on The Highland in the Bog

On these group rides I often ride behind Rigger.

Rigger- ready, and in control.
Rigger- ready, and in control.

Rigger is known for steadily getting through mud, tough climbs, and impossibly rocky twists. He sometimes lifts his bike to fly when he launches off a ledge’s lip on a steep downhill.

Signing off with a video of Rigger and Craig riding that bridged section that Chris McKearney built so well.

Eight to twelve inches of snow is predicted tomorrow. While the terrain will be dramatically different in a whiter shad of pale, we’ll definitely be back at it again.   Soon, I hope.

Return to The Bike

Any December that I can ride my bicycle over the trail and ledges that head up to Mount Pleasant is fine with me.  When that ride includes two old friends like Craig and Rigger and we are riding on four-inch wide tires churning mud and gripping rocks both up and down it is even better.  Today’s ride up to Mt. Pleasant was punctuated by encountering three  four-wheeled drive vehicles right at the summit:  a jacked up off-road pickup truck and a couple of guys riding all-terrain vehicles.  Here’s a photo of Rigger, powered by his less than one horsepower legs going around the truck as he worked his way up to the Peasant summit.

Rigger moves along
Rigger moves along

There was a lot of mud that got churned up by our four wheeled friends today.  I got stuck in this rut heading up to the always challenging ” shit chute” .

Yup. Stuck standing.
Yup. Stuck standing.

The temperature dropped to below freezing last night, so this morning there was still ice to be avoided on the higher segments of trail, and everywhere the path was still in shade.  If  bright sun hit the earth, we were good to go.

I am so ready to put November behind me. Right at the start of the month on my first night ride of the Fall season, I went down hard and bashed my left knee on one sharp rock while crossing a stream bed in the Rockland Bog.   I suffered a deep gash, reaching down to the top of my shin bone.   I waited too long to visit the emergency room. It would have been stitched  if I went in before I went to bed that Tuesday night.  I was forced to take the next five weeks off the bike.

Six weeks later, a thick, unsightly scab is still lingering, and the bruised bone still hurts. I learned an important lesson six weeks ago-  wear my G-Form knee pads every time I am on these rugged midcoast Maine mountain biking trails.  Protective gear doesn’t help when it is  left in the van.

Here are some more photos and one video of what I call the Sunday morning Church of Two Wheels.

Nelly schooling Rigger overlooking Penobscot Bay from summit of Pleasant.

Mountain to the Sea
Mountain to the Sea


Rigger and Nelly ready to head up the power line

Here’s a 40 second clip of Nelly and Rigger clearing Nelly Falls while heading back up to Backside Blueberry Field on the north side of Pleasant.

Here is the map and the profile of one great ride anytime you can get it, but particularly so in December.

screenshot 6Good call, Nelly !

My ups (and some downs) with Strava

I began tracking my biking, hiking, and walking efforts with  the Strava app on Christmas day back in  2011.  According to their website, “Strava lets you track your rides and runs via your iPhone, Android or dedicated GPS device and helps you analyze and quantify your performance. Strava provides motivation and camaraderie”.

I had been using the free version of the program until Dec. 31 of this year when I decided to pony up the $59 a year Premium fee and avail myself of the additional features at that level.  Three Premium features that I have used so far include GPX file downloads and transfers. I have not yet downloaded any other hiker or rider routes to my Garmin eTrex 30 GPS, but plan to do so in the next few months.

I also sometimes strap on my Garmin chest monitor and record my heart rate, which converts to a Suffer Score, which quantifies my suffering and allows me to visualize exactly how hard I have worked on a particular hike or ride. My most intense workouts yield a a special class of Points in the Red.  My Polish suffering gene interfaces well with the Suffer Score.

But the one feature that convinced me to pay for the use of the program is the ability for me to set goals and monitor them.  On Jan. 1 of this year, I took the advice of my son Lincoln, where I set a goal of 1 hour a day of either biking, walking, or backpacking for the whole year.  Strava allows you to set goals for distance or time.

I religiously track my progress week over week.  Simply put, I need 7 hours a week to stay on track.  I often take a day off between particularly hard workouts to recover, and things come up so it’s good to have some way of sticking with the program, even it it is an hour a day.  I often put in a longer ride or hike a few hours at the end of any week where I was slacking  in the beginning.

Here’s one of the visual presentations that has encapsulated my progress from Jan. 1, 2015 up to today:

Hourly achievement to date ( 2015)
Hourly achievement to date ( 2015)

As a psychologist, I am awed by the power of the reinforcement of this cart- to me.  To others, it may mean nothing.  This is the real data deal.

What is also satisfying about the program is the ability of Strava to aggregate data and present it in a manner that compares not only hourly progress, but progress within repeated walks, hikes, or rides.

There are stories about individuals that become obsessed about moving up the rankings for speed on segments of popular rides.  For instance, there is a Strava segment of the climb up Moody Mountain Road, which is just 1.2 miles from my doorway.  There are 87 people that have recorded their effort climbing this 1.8 mile section of 4% grade of 383 feet of elevation gain.  All are ranked in order, and there is one King of the Mountain on the top of the list.    I am not motivated by moving up the list, but I am motivated by knowing that I  am improving on my own performance.

For 2015, I am shocked and pleased  to see that I have broken 67 personal records,  when I compare my times since Dec. 2011.  Most of the time, I feel that I do pretty well out there, but there are days like yesterday when I nearly bonked on a ride that we call The Bog From The Pit.  Here’s that data:

Sunday ride
Sunday ride

But I didn’t totally crash and burn out there yesterday. If I had lost my mojo and landed on the ground in a weeping heap, then either Rigger or Kevin would have picked me up and helped me out.  I really enjoy riding with these Bubbas in the Woods, a group of Midcoast Maine faithful who have included me in their thrice weekly mountain bikes rides for close to 30 years now.

Bubbas in The Bog
Bubbas in The Bog

The big picture is what Strava offers me, and I like it.

Between Strava and The Bubbas, I am still moving along.

Prepping For My 50 Mile Hike of the Appalachian Trail

I am taking out three clients on a Half The Hundred Mile Wilderness backpacking trip next week through my Uncle Tom’s Guided Adventures business.

Sign at start of the Hundred Mile Wilderness
Sign at start of the Hundred Mile Wilderness

Now is a great time to be doing any business that involves communication. As a starting point, I sent my clients a copy of the excellent book Lighten Up: A Complete Handbook for Light and Ultralight Backpacking. It’s been easy to stay in touch with clients about how they best prepare, train, and consider gear recommendations.  We trade photos and gear talk via texts and e-mail. I will fill in their kits with the additional gear.

For example, I am supplying three different types of air pads that I will encourage them to switch out and try, including two Big Agnes Air Cores, and a Thermarest Neo Air.

I am also providing stoves and cook sets. I have a brand new Bushcooker LT2 multi-fuel unit that two of them will share. This will allow the group to try out cooking with alcohol, solid fuel tablets ( hexamine), and biofuel( wood). There will also be a MSR Pocket Rocket/ isobutane canister stove for comparison.

I had a disappointing experience in my purchase of a two person pot set at LLBean last week. Bean’s is going downhill.  Their book selection is 1/10 of what it used to be, and is leaning toward coffee-table tomes.

A month ago, I was exploring buying an Osprey hydration pack when I asked the salesman about the lower zipped opening.  He informed me that it held a waterproof pack cover, which seemed like a great idea, however when I got it home, it harbored a tool roll, and not a pack cover !

Last week, I told the salesperson that I was a backpacker who was looking for a larger cooking setup to take wilderness backpacking.  He steered me to the GSI Outdoors® Pinnacle Dualist Cook System.  277013_0_42 However, it was out of stock, so he helped me get it sent to my house (with my Maine Guide’s discount) and with free shipping.  So far, real good.  After I opened the box and checked out  the product, I was surprised to see how much plastic and rubber there was in the unit, including the pot and the pot lid.  Thankfully, I  actually read the directions.  I was shocked to learn that the pot and lid , “.. is intended for stove top use only. Not for use with open campfires. Never expose handle to direct flame.”  I like to cook with wood and will also place my cook pots on established campfires or coals,  where flames sometimes creep up the sides of the stove.  There was no way that I was going to keep this backcountry cookpot impostor !   It’s going back.

It was obvious that neither product was actually used by the salespersons, which could be a  dangerous practice for any business, let alone LLBean.

In truth, I might have done better just to strip the label off a 28 ounce can of tomato puree, punch a couple of holes through the top edge, and fashion a bail handle out of a short length of wire, and saved myself a trip down to Freeport to The Flagship Store.

One new product that I will be packing is a foot care item recommended to me by Joe Niemczura, a rural nursing guru who is also a very decent backpacker. Joe was enthusiastic about New-Skin Liquid Bandage, in either paint-on and spray form. According to Joe, it leaves a Krazy Glue-like residue that protects the skin from breakdown. Joe uses it in advance, along with duct tape.

Today, I’m dehydrating the first of my two supper choices. I have a lot of fresh corn right now so Campo Corn Chowder will be one choices. photo 12 My favorite is Smoky Mountain 6 I picked up a 4-tray electric dehydrator a few years ago at a yard sale for $4. The recipes are from Lipsmackin’ Backpackin’ by Tim and Christine Conners.

I am also fine tuning my own fitness for the trip. Last night I pushed out a hard two-hour mountain bike session with The Bubbas in The Woods up and around Ragged Mountain where I was able to ramp up my heart rate and maintain it between 145- 175 beats per minute for over an hour.

This morning I put 20 pounds in my backpack and did close to a 5 mile hike at a pretty good clip, targeting a two run repeat of the steepest hill I can walk to from my house (Moody Mountain).

I like to view my biking and walking results on Strava.  Today’s elevation profile is highly reinforcing !  photo   On the hike next week, I plan to hold the group to a 10 mile a day average, spending 4 nights and 5 days to complete the 50 miles.

Here’s my own packing list for this trip. I have whittled things down to  a 15 pound base weight, meaning what I have on my back, without food or water.   Do check out Lighten Up: A Complete Handbook for Light and Ultralight Backpacking.   That’s how I got lighter.  It’s got a lot of cartoons to get the point across.  It’s less than $7 in Kindle format and retains those great cartoons!