Thursday, February 5, 2015

Fat-Bike, Ski-Mo, Sufferfest

Training starts at Bridger Bowl.

This February, I am riding from home in Bozeman, to Cooke City, MT on a custom 5" wide tire fat-bike, with skis and camping gear for a month.

This will be my seventh human-powered expedition, over 13 years. And my first expedition in winter.

My goals are:

To re-connect with the natural world in a way John Muir would respect.
Ride 150 miles in the winter on state highways, through parts of Yellowstone and the Paradise Valley.
Ski and ice climb in the Beartooth Mountains for a month.
And ride home, all under my own power.

(I plan on shipping extra socks, and food. Maybe even climbing gear? Just don't tell anyone.)

Will it all fit on the bike?

Spending time in the office.

Staying powered with Amazing Grass.

I will also be doing a ton of other stuff. Like test riding backcountry skis for Caravan and promoting a local brand in Bozeman.

Also made in Bozeman from Sklar Bikes, I'm using a brand new ski rack that's compatible with a Dyanfit ski binding. Hopefully this little beauty it will be on the market by next year. Yes, a tech ski rack for your bike.

The custom bicycle from Sklar Bikes is boasting many new features and a sexy new look. It's a second generation fat-bike with wider 5" (non-studded) tires, a one-by-ten gear ratio, Jones bars, XTR, and painted deep purple.

Traction on these bikes are incredible, and I will be attempting historic fat-bike mountaineering descents. This will be the comical trend of the year.

My camp, the dirtbag Shangri-La, will consist of one tent, and a snow cave with solar power. I will lock up my bicycle in the forest when I need to, and/or store it in town for a fee.

I will be near the towns of Silver Gate, and Cooke City, and I am excited to get to know the locals and be shown around town, and the mountains. I love Montanans, and it will be a cultural experience by getting to know the people. (And maybe I'll do a slide show at their school?)

Got out skiing and ice climbing last week with friends.

Riding the sluff. 

Following a fun pitch.

Found a new hat for the expedition. 

Re-connectting with the natural world,  I will be promoting human-powered endeavours that enrich our lives and enrich the world around us, without leaving a toxic footprint.

I will also be documenting the abundance of wildlife in the area and noting the existence of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This is the largest ecosystem of it's kind in the US, and there are MANY issues in Montana right now with the rapid growth of endangered species, caused by the constant pressure of our industries upon wilderness habitat.

As an athlete and storyteller, I find solace in the protection of the world we live in.
Thank you for reading. And thank you for caring.

I will return in a month, and I leave you with a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert's book The Last American Man;

"I think he's reached a plateau in his life. He's pushed himself as far as he can go using his charisma and courage, and now he needs to go on a spiritual journey. He needs to do something that is private. He's postured himself in public for so many years that he doesn't know himself. There are parts of his soul he can't begin to understand, and until he learns these things about himself, he'll never be the nomad he's meant to be. He's a brave man, but he's not a spiritual pilgrim yet. Until he goes out in the world, all alone, and cuts away the ropes and publicity and ego and bullshit and does something truly heroic, he's just blowing smoke up his own ass..."

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sklar Bikes

Last week I went down to visit Adam Sklar finish welding my new bicycle frame. So stoked to see this fat-bike come together. Then we went to the powder coaters and picked out the colour to match my new Caravan Skis.  (My idea not Adam's.)

Awesome! My new bike is being made less than 3 miles from where my skis where made, and less than 5 miles from my house. Yeah!  I love this Montana life.

The old GT Zaskar, packing for California in 2006 at dad's ranch in Missoula.

When I first started riding a bicycle to go skiing and mountaineering, I had no clue what I was doing. I borrowed a bike trailer and inherited a 13 year old hard-tail mountain bike from dad.

The trailer said it would hold 70lbs, so I packed 80. Roads in Montana aren't plentiful (thank god), so I rode on the Interstate Highways.

I didn't think anything of it. I just packed ski gear, ice climbing gear, and rock climbing gear onto the trailer and rode south to the Tetons. 500 miles later, my ass was sore.

My girlfriend allowed me a month long stay at the American Alpine Club Climber's Ranch right below the Grand Teton. I was starting to think I had it made. Then we broke-up, and I rode back to Montana.

By the end, riding north on I-15, then west on I-90, I consumed so much food, I ate my self out of house and home. At one cafe, I order lunch, then I order lunch again, and still wasn't full.

My dollars turned to pennies, and I wondered how much further I was going to make it? I hadn't worked in 6 weeks, my savings were dry, but I didn't care. I was on the open road, slowly crushing it, feeling like a million bucks.

It was also the start of summer, and my house painting business would be waiting. So would the stern eye of my parents and the loud echo of, "get real job, in the real world," as it floated through the Missoula valley.

So how do I get a real job, and be in the real world like my parents, and still be true to myself, and my wandering spirit?  Still working on it.

First-known tech ski rack for a bicycle.

Here comes big-fatty.

Fat-bikes have sexy back ends.

Just a set of wheels and a fork.

Final touches.


Adam the Metalworker.