March 25, 2016

Cycling Prescott to Seligman and Back

To most families, Thanksgiving is a time of celebration and togetherness, and of course to be thankful for all the wonderful times and moments they shared throughout the year. However, for people such as myself, when all is quiet, and the wind blows over empty roads, it is a time to get outside and test some gear. The mission was simple enough: to cycle from Prescott to Seligman and back in 3 days. The total distance was 164 miles, and over the course of 3 days and 2 nights; it proved to be a bit more of a challenge than I had anticipated. The forecast over the next 3 days was supposed to be 55 as an average high and 17 as an average low. 
Moderately sunny with winds at 15mph was to be expected for day 2. I started at 8am, I needed the Sun to come out and help melt all the frost that had been accumulated throughout the night. I cycled for 46 miles before coming to a stop at around 6pm. It was getting dark and I wanted to conserve the battery on my light, and I didn’t feel 100% comfortable about cycling a new road that I had never been on, in the dark. I knew it was going to get cold, but it got so cold that all the gear was covered in ice.The Zirkel  kept me warm all night long, and so I wasn’t aware of the freezing temperatures that were taking place outside of my shelter. The tent held up really well in the winds I wasn’t even remotely rattled or shaken. 

For being such a light weight tent I thought for sure we would be sacrificing a little rigidity for weight, but I was happily mistaken. The tent held up like a champion. Most car camping tents can’t even compare. My life saver was the down jacket. That thing kept me warm all morning while I’m drying out the gear, and working on defrosting my water supply. The biggest issues ended up being that all the water froze overnight. I wasn’t able to thaw out all the gear and food until 10am on day two. A later start gave me a huge disadvantage towards day light hours. I knew that I was going to be riding through the night, but thankfully I made it to Seligman by 3pm and was able to start riding back home at 4. I knew that I had covered close to 90 miles by the end of the second day, and I was tired. I was so exhausted and it was so dark that I just found a spot to sleep by making sure it was flat, and I just blew up the sleeping pad and fell asleep right on top of it without even setting up a tent, or any type of shelter. If it had rained, I would have been on another level of hurt.

On the morning of the third day I found out the temperature had reached a low of 13 and I didn’t even realize it. The sleeping bag is well insulated and the pad is also insulated that even below the temperature rating for sleeping bag, I was still able to comfortably sleep, and wake up feeling rested. Just like the morning of day two I had to get a late start because of the gear freezing. This time however I was smart enough to put all the water in the foot of my sleeping bag, so that it wouldn’t freeze. The sleeping bag had accumulated dew throughout the night, and at the coldest time it had frozen that moisture. The down held up perfectly, and within a few hours of sunlight everything was dry, and I was ready to roll. It was going to be an easy, but very cold 50 miles. For the first half of the day I was riding with the Shovelhead, and I didn’t even feel the cold. I had finally made it home by 4 pm on Saturday. It was the first time I was able to actually train, and test out the gear that would be traveling for over 4500 miles from Mexico to Alaska. The next big trip will be after a climb of the 3rd highest peak in North America, and I will love to test out the gear at altitudes greater than 14,000 feet in elevation.

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