Amanda Delcore
Great Divide
Sparwood, BC

July 30

Adjusting to backpacking life

The first 5 days on the bike have been amazing, but getting used to life on a mountain bike is no walk in the park.  I'm as psyched as the next person to rip down washed out, barely maintained roads after laboring up 2,000 feet in 5 miles with everything I need to eat, sleep, and survive in the wilderness... But, it takes an adjustment... Or many.

Here are some of the trials and tribulations I wasn't necessarily thinking about pre-­trip:

● Packing everything by weight so it fits nicely and hangs tight on rugged terrain (read: creek crossings, rocky wash outs, steep and fast pass descents);

● Packing everything by frequency and order of use to avoid unpacking a whole bag just for one item (sounds obvious, but it takes a few days to figure out when you will need what items at what time of day);

● Thinking ahead to pack non-­ritualistic items on top (e.g.,don't bury your passport the day you will cross a border);

● Finding the ideal mix of the above mentioned items for optimal efficiency and minimal frustration;

● Remembering to eat according to output energy and time (I can forget to eat and appropriate amount during hard efforts, especially in jaw ­droppings mountain ranges, which is never good 2 hours later); and remembering to have a good attitude in rainy conditions.Nothing rains harder on a good day that an afternoon/evening shower that soaks you and everything around you such that setting up camp becomes a delicate operation of segregation between wet and dry items. A joke and some old fashioned sarcasm go a long way in these cases. And I'm super thankful for a riding partner that can help me with that.:)

Some me things that have been working out really well so far: 

● Reading the elevation profile enough to know roughly what to expect that day, but not tracking the feet left in a mountain pass. It might just be me, but sometimes I find that ignorance is bliss before a hard day's bike ride.

● Really taking a good hard look at the landscape, and not just to take a picture. I want to be able to communicate my journey, but I also know that the experience is totally different without a lens between myself and the world.

● Wool, wool, wool ­ what they say about wicking, quick­ dry,and odor­-resistant is all true. Of course, it won't smell like clean laundry,but both my Giro cycling jersey and my Inji toe socks have kept me feeling somewhat civilized. 

● Blackburn Outpost Handlebar Roll ­ it may look like an awkward log when it's stuffed with my 20 degree bag, Klymit sleeping pad (rolls up to the size of a soda can!), inflatable pillow, Platypus water filter, and bike repair kit, but it holds firmly in place during the bumpiest descents. I found that tightening the cinch strap that encompasses the whole roll is key to keeping things in place.

● Relevate Designs Feedbag ­ so this thing makes me blissfully happy, mostly because it is the like the kangaroo pouch I never had.  I mix up a bunch of different snack foods like dried cranberries, mangos, nuts, unwrapped starbursts, sweet sesame treats I found at a market in Chinatown, and whatever else... Then I have a grab bag of pick me ups between meals.


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Amanda Delcore

Gear List

- My Ride -

- My Blackburn Gear -






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Amanda Delcore
  • Genesis moment for the trip I was visiting the Radavist website and I saw the Blackburn #outthere banner ad. Congratulations… the marketing worked. I was probably at work, day-dreaming, like most outdoor enthusiasts. I had always wanted to hike the Continental Divide in Colorado… Prior to learning about the Blackburn Ranger program, I even blocked out a month in my work calendar to hike the CDT in a sort of act of defiance. Seeing the Blackburn Ranger program got me thinking… why not bike it? I did some research, I admittedly didn’t contemplate the consequences, and started scheming furiously about how to make a killer application video.
  • Have I traveled by bike in the past? Yes I bike toured parts of Maine and New Hampshire solo. I biked from Portland, Maine to the White Mountains of New Hampshire; I camped, did day-trip summits in the morning and rode to the next spot in the afternoon. I also bike toured the Blue Ridge Parkway in early spring.
  • Goal for the route? I’m not one much for goals. I shy away from formally setting goals, because I find that reward is fleeting and there’s not much else to do but set a new goal. And in units of time, the route to achieving a goal is almost the entirety of the experience. For me, the real reward is the process of following an interest or a curiosity. I am interested in inspiring other females to bikepack; to this end I’m running a Women’s Bikepacking Series in my hometown of Philadelphia. I am curious to see if I can replicate this series in some way during the tour. I am also keen to ride with friends and make new connections in the cycling community; as a start, there are at least three different people riding with me during different parts of the trip.
  • Hope to get out of the journey? A deeper understanding of myself and my capabilities. I hope to learn how to endure the extremes of nature and everything in between. I think much of our lives are setup to spend most of the day indoors, and we miss out on how pleasant and how ugly nature can be. On this trip there will be mornings that are cool, clear, and sunny, but there will also be afternoons of thunderstorms or intense heat. I hope to gain an appreciation for the full spectrum of nature and the patience to roll with it.
  • What’s in my bag? I’m not there yet in my packing…. : / I think they are going to be my lumbar pack, a thumb piano or another tiny musical instrument, a bandana, and ??? I’ll try to figure this part out in the next week and a half.


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