BRAG 2016 Final Prep

Today is the day I leave for BRAG 2016 and I feel like I’m well prepared. This serves as an update to my initial post on BRAG Prep and the decisions I’ve made since then. My prep list was as follows and I’ll follow that sequence here…

  • Packing list and packing
  • Tires and brake hoods
  • Tablet or computer
  • Bag, backpack, or no
  • Geocaches and location-based reminders

Final Packing List

Item Make/Model
Tent Kelty Grand Mesa 2
Fly Kelty Grand Mesa 2
Poles Kelty Grand Mesa 2
Stakes MSR Groundhogs
Sleeping pad Klymit O-Zone
Sleeping bag Marmot Nanowave 45
Camp light Snow Peak SnowMiner
Knife/Multitool Leatherman Squirt PS4
First-aid kit Adventure Medical .7
Ultra-sil bucket Sea To Summit UltraSil Bucket
Multi-soap Sea To Summit Wilderness Wash 1.3 oz.
Cooler Kelty Toto
Underwear Ex Officio Give-N-Go Boxer Brief
Shorts (street)
Shirts (street)
Swim Trunks
Clothes Hangers
Towel MSR Pack Towl
Bug Repellent
Lip balm w/ sunscreen
Wet Wipes
Rain jacket
iPhone Charger
Straps Sea to Summit
Charger for iPad
GPS Garmin eTrex 10
Battery Charger
Camera Sony HX-50
Extra batteries for camera
Eyeglasses/Sunglasses Case
Hydration CamelBak Bottles
Cable lock Abus Combilock
Dry bags
Chain lube

On some of the BRAG instruction that I’ve received, they suggested that we line our bags with garbage bags if they were not waterproof so I decided to buy a dry bag. I searched quite a bit, locally and online, but ultimately purchased the Kwik Tek Dry Pak Waterproof Duffle Bag from Amazon for $50. All packed, it’s weighing 23 lbs so I’m counting on about 25 lbs by the time I’ve thrown in my last little bits.

Dry-Pak Dry Bag

Kwik Tek Dry Pak Waterproof Duffle Bag

Tires and Brake Hoods

The Michelin Protek Urban tires have replaced the white Vittoria Randonneur II and there are positives, but mostly negatives. On the positive side, the Michelins are slightly thinner and, while it’s probably just a mental thing, I like that. But on the negative side, I really miss the white tires for the overall look of my bike and the Vittoria’s really felt more solid overall. The Michelin’s really feel like a city tire (hence the name “Urban”) while I felt like the Vittoria’s were quite at home on trails as well as pavement.

Putting the black, SRAM brake hoods back on in place of the white, Hudz brake hoods feels like relief as the Hudz just never did fit correctly. When you compare the two, they seem to have the same form-factor and have the little, interior bosses in the same shape and place, but it’s just not the same. The rubber used in the Hudz is softer and stickier so the SRAM hoods feel better all around. The installation of the SRAM hoods took just a few mins; stretch them over the brifters and then massage them into place. Some of the tutorials on YouTube suggested using rubbing alcohol so they slip on easier, but I didn’t find that necessary. The black hoods on my white bars with white tape doesn’t change the look of the bike near as much as changing from white to black tires does so I’m happy overall with this change. (Since I bought the Hudz, I’ve learned that SRAM makes white brake hoods so I may try those in the future.)

Tablet or Computer?

I’ve decided to take the iPad Mini. I ruled out the Windows 10-based Dell tablet after only a few hours to get reacquainted with it; I just  didn’t want to take frustration with me. And I’ve ruled out the Macbook Air because I worry I can keep it safe in the duffle bag having to throw it on the truck each day. The iPad Mini is a very tough device inside a case and I can then place that inside my clothes for cushioning.

So, that decision means that I have no way to manage the geocaches on my handheld GPS unit. So be it.

Bag, Backpack, or No?

I decided to mount the Ortlieb Ultimate 5 handlebar bag and run the bike in light touring mode. It’s going to make me even slower, but I’m taking the gamble that this group I’m riding with will not launch into hammer mode. Of course, I can always take it off and relegate it to the duffle bag if I decide that it’s more negative than positive.

Here’s what I plan to carry in it…

  • ID, credit cards, and money
  • Pen and replacement logs for geocaching
  • Sony Hx-50V camera
  • iPhone
  • Cable lock
  • Hand sanitizer, lip balm, (sunscreen on longer rides)
  • Eyeglasses
  • Cleat covers

The camera, iPhone, and cable lock actually represent a bit of weight. Even slower.


Surly Cross-Check in Light Touring Mode

Geocaches and Location-Based Reminders

I experimented with the location-based reminders on the iPhone and, while they technically work, they don’t work well enough to warn me of upcoming geocaches on the route. I’m guessing that iOS or the Reminders app has a relatively long polling time to preserve battery life so you may be past an area before the alarm goes off and the alarm wasn’t that noticeable anyway. To be honest, there were very few caches right on the route so I decided it really wasn’t worthwhile trying to figure out how to grab them along the way. Better to focus on cycling with the group.

Now, searching for 1 mile around all the rest stops did yield quite a few caches; none at about one third of  the rest stops, but a few each at the others. However, I’ve decided to not bring my handheld GPS on the daily ride and will probably just check the app on the iPhone for targets of opportunity at the rest stops.

So, that means that I’ve decided to preload the handheld GPS unit with caches around the final stops each day. I created a pocket query for each location that included traditional, virtual, earth, and webcam (there are none) caches within four miles of the location and excluding disabled caches. I think that will give me more than enough targets to have a bit of fun in the downtimes. I’ll just have to see how it goes, but my current plan is to retrieve my bag and grab a spot (outlets) and then head out for a bit of geocaching before I get cleaned up and the group goes to dinner.

Let’s Do It

So that’s it. Time to load the duffle and the bike and drive to Atlanta. If all goes well, I’ll be posting along the way. If not, I’ll update on the other side.

This entry was posted in Bicycle Touring, BRAG2016, Camping Equipment, Cyclecaching, Cycling, Cycling Equipment, iPad, iPhone, Packing, Touring and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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