Day 1: Cowboy Dinner Tree
Continuing from my introduction to the topic of bikepacking, is the next topic, logistics. Logistics for bikepacking, or any endurance ride, takes on many different topics. A book I got for Christmas, Endurance: How to Cycle Further, by Mark Beaumont opens with this topic as the first chapter. Mark is an adventure rider who holds world record times circumnavigating the globe and traversing Africa, North to South. Suffice it to say, he knows his stuff. If he says start with logistics, that seems like where we should go.
Breaking up the route
Where did I want to start with logistics? I thought I’d start by estimating how long the route would take. I tackled multiple imperial centuries last year, both solo and with friends, but none on gravel. One luxury I would have on this route would be selfishness. There would be no chores or parenting to do once I got off the bike. Instead there is freedom to focus on setting up camp, rest, and recovery. Based on that, I made an assumption that 100 mile days were likely within my reach.
I started with familiarizing myself with the “official” bikepacking route. This is one of RideWithGPS’ Ambassador Routes (a route with a lot more detail than just a map, photos, key stops, etc.). Quickly one attraction became a must do, the Cowboy Dinner Tree. Lots has been written about this restaurant elsewhere, I’ll just sum it up with this: There are two menu items, a ~30oz steak, or a whole chicken.
Why not start with dinner?
The Cowyboy Dinner tree is abou 115 miles from the start, and I knew I wanted to be there for dinner. That meant I had to decide, did I want to get there on day one or two? If it was day two, that would mean two days of only riding 60 miles. There’s plenty of people for whom that’s a huge day in the saddle, but as I said. I am a husband father, and a 60 mile per day average would make that 6 days of cycling, not to mention the first day of travel and the last day to get home. I didn’t want to be away from my family for 8 days. So, I made my day one route destination the Cowboy Dinner Tree (with a few miles after, assuming camping in the Silver Lake Park). This seems doable.
Up next, routing, day 2.