My daily trip to the post office have been more exciting than normal in the past few weeks. I’ve received all sorts of Tour Divide gear in the past week and I’m slowly preparing my Surly Krampus for the upcoming
sprint slog to New Mexico.
While I still have a few more weeks to sort out the particulars, the bike is slowly starting to resemble a Tour Divide-ready bikepacking rig. Here’s a look at what I’ve done so far.
Preparing my Surly Krampus
On yesterday’s training ride, I hit a section of very rocky singletrack for the first time this season. I was ripping along, letting the 29+ Knard tires monster truck over the obstacles I was barely trying to avoid. My mind did it’s lightening fast calculation and figured my handlebars were a touch wide and likely not going to clear the gap between two trees. Sadly, the neuro-messages didn’t relay the message to my brake fingers in time. My right hand smashed into a tree, twisting the bike abruptly and launching my sorry ass half over/half beside the handlebars and into the rocks.
These handlebars are wide, but it’s practically required for all the gear that gets bolted, Velcro-ed or hung in the rider’s cockpit.
- Ergon GP2 Grips – it’s been a long time since I rode a fully-rigid steel bike off road. After just a few training rides, I realized my hands were getting punished with the stock grips, so I swapped them out for a set of Ergon GP2 grips. I’ve ridden these on my FS race bike, too, and know they’re wicked comfortable for long rides. The two-finger bar ends help with touch climbs and protect the hands from incoming objects.
- Oval Aerobars – I discovered a set of aerobars in my shed, leftover from when I converted my sister’s former triathlon bike into a road specific ride. I decided to slap them on my Krampus to see how they felt. After one ride, I was completely sold. As I am planning 14+ hour days in the saddle, the aerobars provide a comfortable way to reposition, cut headwinds, and ease weight on the saddle bones. They should be considered essential gear for the TDR.
- Revelate Design Mountain Feedbag (2) – designed to carry a traditional waterbottle, my Mountain Feedbags will serve two distinct purposes. The bag on the left will house either junk food or fizzy drinks that I’ll want on hand to facilitate a quick energy boost. Think coca-cola, snickers, snoballs, and morning java. The bag on the right will be my camera carrier. I’m hoping that it’ll provide a relatively vibration-free ride and leave the camera easily accessible.
- MEC Mercury Bag – as it stands now, I have this bag in place to carry extra goodies; however, I am very tempted to switch it out for a top tub bag like the Sci’con Phone Frame Bag if I thought I could have the iPhone’s USB cable plugged in while riding.
- Porcelain Rocket Mission Control Handlebar Bag – I’m still sorting out the packing essentials to distribute weight evenly across the entire bike, but the Mission Control handlbar bag is built to fit a 10L drybag, so it’s a safe bet to hold my sleeping bag among other necessities. The front pocket will act as a traditional handlebar bag and hold my SPOT tracker, wallet, and other essentials.
Saddle Sores no More
This bike is a beast and it seems Surly thought that meant it required a real brute of a saddle. I rode on the stock seat a few times but one of the first changes I made while preparing my Surly Krampus for this ride was swapping the saddle out for ol’faithful.
I rode this Brooks B17 Narrow Saddle clear across Patagonia, through Mendoza’s wine regions to the Bolivian Altiplano. It’s safe to say it’s molded to the shape of my backside and provides the most comfortable seat imaginable.
Underneath the saddle is a Porcelain Rocket Booster Rocket Seat Bag designed to both look cartoonishly large for a saddlebag and to hold 11L of camping essentials.
More changes to come soon, but this is starting to look like a true ultralight setup.