June 19, 2012

PALM Part 1: Preparing to Pedal Across Lower Michigan

An approximation of the route across Michigan
This weekend I'll start biking the PALM (Pedal Across Lower Michigan) tour. Most people have reacted with something between skepticism and curiosity when I tell them that I'll be taking a week of vacation time to bike across the lower peninsula of Michigan. The most common question is "why?" It's a question many endurance athletes get, I'm sure. For me it's the idea of attempting something big and preparing for it with lots of little achievements along the way. It's just as much about getting ready for the event as it is about the event itself. This one poses its own unique challenges when planning for it.

This tour will be different from others I've done because it involves a lot of time and camping. I'm sure my (total lack of) camping skills will play a role in how well I fare as the week progresses. The camping aspect also makes the tour an interesting challenge in logistics. I'll have to pack pretty much everything I'll need for the whole week. The PALM tour has a support van that will shuttle our luggage from one site to another, so weight and size isn't limited by what I can fit on my bike, but still, one doesn't want to bring more than they can carry. The mileage each day for PALM is about 40-50 miles per day, which isn't too bad. I anticipate the biggest challenge being not the individual days, but the sum of them over time. 

I learned from TOSRV that even with best efforts, a lot can get packed for a multi-day tour. Here is the latest, ridiculously long list of stuff I'm planning to take on PALM.

In my duffel bag:
  • Nutrition
    • Pack of Muscle Milk
    • A pack of 24 gels (Gu's and PowerBar)
    • A pack of 24 mini PowerBars
    • A pack of 24 Stinger Waffles
    • 6 Nuun tablets
  • Clothing
    • Tri suit
    • Arm warmers
    • Jersey
    • Ear warmers
    • Rain shell jacket
    • Compression socks
    • Shoes
    • 3 pair socks
    • 2 undies
    • 2 tshirts
    • Shorts
    • Conversion pants
    • Light fleece
  • Assorted toiletries
  • Headphones (for after the bike ride)
  • Towel
  • Sleeping pad
  • Sleeping bag (55+ degrees rated)
  • Tire pump
  • Chain oil
  • Ear plugs
  • Cycling glasses case with multiple lenses
  • Kindle (for after the bike ride)
  • Bluetooth keyboard for iPhone
  • Plastic bags (I learned about the value of water-proofing stuff from TOSRV)
  • Small pillow
  • Tent
  • Tarp for under tent 
  • Mini laundry soap
In backpack (Camelbak backpack)
  • Multi tool   
  • Spare inner tubes
  • CO2 cartridges
  • Tire levers
  • Rag
  • Bike lock
  • Phone charger (of the solar persuasion)
  • Baggies (I learned about the value of water-proofing stuff from TOSRV)
  • Wallet
  • Keys
  • iPhone
  • Sun screen
  • Nutrition for the day
    • Small baggie of dried apricots
    • 4 Stinger waffles
    • 4 Gu's
    • 4 Mini power bars
On me
  • Cycling shoes
  • CamelBak (see above)
  • RoadID wristband
  • Cycling socks
  • 2 water bottles
    • 1 Nuun tablet
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Bib shorts
  • Jersey
  • Gloves (fingerless)
  • Cycling glasses 
  • Helmet
  • 1 Bike 

Part 2 --->

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