Bike Melding

Specificity.  It has many applications; one of my favorites is something I call "Bike Melding."  With an important race coming up, the idea is to ride only the bike you will race.  If training includes intervals, that's fine, they just get done on an MTB.  With KTR coming up, it's especially important because after the pre-ride, I decided to go with the 29er Dos Niner.  Except for the first 2.5 hours of climbing, the course is ideal terrain for the big wheels.  Lotsa sand, legdgy stuff, classic desert riding.  I'll miss the Fuel in the singletrack at the end, but the Dos overall is a good choice.  If it only had 3" suspension...

The route today was the last long ride before the race.  Starting from Durango, head north to the Hermosa Creek trail, take that to Salt creek where it becomes doubletrack (and under Hermosa creek right now anyway), backtrack to Jones creek & hit that climb then descend Mitchel lakes & spin back down the valley.  This has become my standard "taper" ride the week before the big day and it's served me well.  It's got some of everything: graded road climbs, paved climbs, tons of singletrack, big singletrack climbs, semi-tech terrain, and one crappy steep jeep road descent.  This time I made it extra special by starting at 4AM, packed like it was a 14 hour ride, and filtered water out of Hermosa creek.

I'm happy to say the Dos is fine shape, and what's more, the bike melding is on.  It felt sorta strange the first two rides last week as I haven't touched it after the OP testing...but today, it was a dream.  It helped to have Radiohead guiding me along.  One of the issues with the Fuel last week was with a loaded Wingnut, the front end was too light, I couldn't keep it on the ground on the steeps and that was way annoying.  It's probably because I've altered the bikes geometry a bit with the 100mm Reba...the Dos handled the steeps like a champ, steady as a rock, and traction to spare - I forgot about that part!  Steep rubbly climbs were no problem, and that's good cause KTR is littered with them. 

There are a lot of eyes on Hermosa creek trail in the dark!  I haven't done these trails yet this year, and was pleasantly surprised to find them in great shape (except for Jones which has been rooted by motos) and most downed logs cut away.  The views from the top of the Jones creek climb (going towards Mitchell lakes) are so worthy...I leave you with this shot of the Animas Valley from my perch of 9600'.

Published Sunday, May 07, 2006 1:58 PM by Dave


# @ Sunday, May 07, 2006 3:43 PM

Breaking out the 29'er huh :-)

Jeez, that's your taper, 14 hrs. and one week to go! Last week it was 142 miles in two days. Freak!

I have been rooting for the Wingnut 3.0 to be the pack of choice for me at KTR but sadly it probably will not make the cut. The straps dig into my shoulders way too much. I rode and worked on trails yesterday w/ weight in the pack and found it quite uncomfortable almost from the get go. Admittedly it was a LOT of weight...guess what I might be attempting!

Today I rode with the trusty Camelback HAWG that I've had for years but have not used since I got the Wingnut about a month ago. Same weight I used yesterday. My shoulders were quite sore today from the Wingnut straps and I expected the CB to be at least a little uncomfortable - turned out, not a bit! I loved it. The minute I put the pack on today I knew the CB would be making the 15+ hr. journey next week.

Even if the weight were lower I'd be worried about the straps on the WN after 8+ hrs. in the saddle.

5 days.

Ed E


# @ Sunday, May 07, 2006 3:57 PM

You mean you didn't do a ride like this today ?? :-)

Seriously, it was only about 6 hours. I just hauled everything under the sun, loaded down the wingnut, and even filtered water out of Hermosa creek.

That's a bummer about the shoulder straps on your wingnut. Are you using the waist belt? There is some of the weight supported by the waist belt on my setup, and it's comfy. One of things I like best is the mp3 in the gu pocket on the shoulder strap...glad the CB works for ya though, otherwise you'd have to mount some panniers.


# @ Sunday, May 07, 2006 4:01 PM

One thing I forgot on the 29er thingy...SAND. Wow. Last week on the pre-ride, sand would just about bring the Fuel to a standstill at times. Today I hit some pretty deep sand intermittenly for a couple miles, and the Dos just floated right over it like it wasn't there. With an ACX 2.2 up front, it handles great.


# @ Sunday, May 07, 2006 4:14 PM

Oh, you're right, I misunderstood the "packed LIKE it was a 14 hr. ride." Got it. You were scaring me :-)

My ride was a two hour mellow affair today.

Yup, I tried fiddling with the waist belt and moving the pack up and down a little. All to no avail. The straps would tend to bunch up in the front shoulder area and become like ropes, not nice. Might be my body type too. It's disappointing because I really like the WN features such as the shoulder strap pocket you mention and the wing pockets are great. But in this case convenience is going to lose out to comfort by a long shot.

The 29'er will definitely handle sand better and there could be plenty of it. Did you see the forecast for next Saturday? High of 89 and sunny.

Ed E


# @ Sunday, May 07, 2006 8:10 PM


I am thinking that around 21 lbs the wingnut 3.0 starts to become counter productive. I loaded the 3.0X up with about 23 lbs, and wore it around the house, after a few minutes the strain on my shoulders was pretty noticable. In fact I started to get a bit of a headache. So it may be that the sweet spot for that pack is in the mid teens.

Have you considered supplementing the straps with any sort of padding?

Adam Lisonbee

# @ Tuesday, May 09, 2006 10:27 PM

Hmm... I'm wondering if the <a href="">Adventure</a> would be better suited to the all day application. From the pictures it looks like its shoulder straps are a little beefier, more like a CB. It's hard to tell from a photo though...

Travis Swicegood

# @ Thursday, May 11, 2006 7:51 AM

I emailed Scott over at Wingnut to get his opinion on this topic and here's my email and what he had to say:

Hey Scott,

I was following the discussion on Dave Harris' site about the Wingnut's and the KTR (at Seems some of the guys are having issues with loaded down backs and the shoulder straps starting to put too much pressure on your shoulders. From the photos it looks like the Adventure pack has more padding in the shoulder straps and might fix some of that issue. Does it have more padding?

Any thoughts on the comfortable packed weight range for the various packs?


=== response ===


The low rider system provides for alot of adjustment. We also have a second smaller size for 5'4" and under. BUT a 5'6" person with a thin torso is also candidate for smaller sizing.
The fine tuning of the straps actually need to change (ideally) as the pack load increases or decreases. I have a feeling the strap issues are partially due to an improper fitting. It is a catch 22 as a mfg to provides such an adjustable system. I think it's simple enough though to be handled.
When the pack is adjusted properly to remove the cantileverd weight on your back, the straps shouldn't carry any load and your back acts like a shelf on which the pack rests. The straps carry a minimal weight and really do more to prevent shifting.
Ed E. (guy with issue) has the "H" part of the yolk up on his neck, it should be in between his wing blades. He either needs the smaler strap size or should readjust the yolk into the proper position.
That being said, if you look at the line there is a bag gap in volume between the 3.0 and the Adventure (approx 800 cu") we have a 3.0X design which is being tested and the hold up is the shoulder straps, weight vs. comfort. It has been a hold up for the line for a while and a tough balance to find, but we are almost there.
Bottom line, the straps are removeable and can be replaced or upgraded easily for a charge. The rest of this e-mail maybe more than you need to know.
I think ed is pushing the limits of the 3.0 and has a miss sized yolk or wrong adjustment. either way it is easily fixed.
i[f] you want to repost this to Ed E. or any others having issues i would appreciate it.

Travis Swicegood

# @ Thursday, May 11, 2006 8:10 AM

Thanks Travis! I was planning on talking to Scott after KTR about beat me to the punch. Good info, maybe it'll help Ed dial it in (after KTR of course).


# @ Thursday, May 11, 2006 10:02 AM

Good luck Dave! Looking forward to the race report.