preparations underway + some fun

I’m going to post up some of my preparations as I obsess about my upcoming adventure and start to prepare. I did a couple little experiments this weekend and thought I’d share.

Food – I love it. This will be a challenge on GDR. I’m not decided for sure, but I’m thinking I’ll go without a stove. As a friend tells me, this is a race, not a tour and I think he’s right. I’ve been discussing this with several people and they are divided. Some feel that the comfort provided with a stove is worth the few ounces of an alcohol stove and a titanium mug. Personally, some people live off of gas stations, restaurants, and shelf stable foods their entire lives, so what’s 20 days?! My experiment Saturday was to get food for an overnight and get it all at a gas station. I’ll have to admit that gas stations in a highly populated area of SoCal carry a lot more options than one in the middle of nowhere might. The first pic is what I found at the Shell station at the bottom of the mountain. There were also 2 bananas, but I ate those and the red vines barely made up the hill. The jerkey, good for me. The hot spicy noodles I’d cook up right there at the gas station and throw back before getting on my bike. The nuts – good and the marathon bars…score.

I also stopped at a grocery store to figure out some things that I’d pack with me or mail to myself – shelf stable stuff. I realized that two of these fig newtons packed 120 calories – worth their weight I think. Also, I tried a new tuna in a packet – teriyaki tuna steak! As it said on the package, “Restaurant quality Seafood Entree in an instant”. Dang…why do people cook at all?

When I got home to pack up for my overnight, I realized that Brendan wouldn’t be done working (yeah it was Saturday!) until late so we canned the overnight and I decided to hang out with him instead. Besides, check out this valentines gift he got me…he’s worth it afterall!

So, instead of doing an overnight Saturday, we stayed up with pizza and a friend and watched the season of curb your enthusiasm. That was equally fun.

My other quandry is to bivy or not to bivy. We went to a gear store Sunday in Riverside so I could do some hands-on research. There are lots of superlight tents and tarptents out there, but man, a bivy is so light and packs so small. So, last night, Brendan set up a tarp on one side of the yard (which he advocates) and I set up a bivy on the other. I’m sure it was funny to passers by. It was close freezing out and misting all night and the bivy was pretty darn comfy. Everyone I talk to though, dissuades this idea. They say that 20 days is a long time and if you have to get out of the weather during the day, you’ll go crazy. I’m not sure yet, but that one night in my yard wasn’t bad, for what it’s worth.

Needless to say, I’ve eaten all the shelf stable food, didn’t get a ride in, and am glued to the computer for the iditarod progress. If I could just get back out and ride, this could be an exciting season.


12 Comments Add yours

  1. Matt McFee says:

    Good work, Mary. It’s gonna be fun to live (race) vicariously through you. 🙂


  2. Mary Collier says:

    Oh yeah, i forgot the bag of dried mangos that I already ate too. Found those at the Shell. I’m working up to the vienna sausages and other high calorie shelf stable meat products that I might find in the middle of nowhere.


  3. sirenbicycles says:

    Vienna sausages- good gravy!
    I’m really gonna freak if you bust out the Funyuns & Newports!

    my take on tarps: they rock, if you have the patience & experience to set them up right. Knowing how to tie a good sliding knot is always good for party conversation, too.


  4. Cellarrat says:

    I’m a tarp fan…. + you can always roll your self up in one..

    When your to tired to set the tarp up =)


  5. Chris says:

    I’m a bivy’er. There is always hotels if you have to get out of the weather. If it’s raining, just don’t stop 🙂


  6. Anonymous says:

    Rock on sister. Sounds like you will be building an iron stomach to incinerate calories! The beef jerky brings back some good memories from the Boundary Waters… If you want to do any training rides in the OC, let me know. #002


  7. ojulius says:

    I love your Valentine’s Day gift!! How special. 😉

    One of my favorite gas station foods? Peanut butter crackers.


  8. Chris says:

    Beef jerkey is the bomb. I swear by it in my long efforts! Don’t forget granola bars (Nature Valley) — they’re usually the only “energy bar” you’ll find in the middle of nowhere gas stations. Have you read through the blogs of folks who have gone before? Last year’s weather was rough, may give you some thoughts on shelter?


  9. Danielle says:

    I am totally addicted to Paul Newman fig newtons. I think I went through 3 packages within two weeks when I was in California.

    Good luck with everything!


  10. Chris says:

    On yea if you really want to carry a small stove/pot, I’ve got a setup that weighs under 2oz and it’s cheap. A few esbit tabs should get you through the whole GDR worth of boiling water for drinks or soup.


  11. Matt says:

    Awesome Mary! Shoot us a note if you need anything Check out the Grandmas Oatmeal Cookies too – good cals for the price and at most gas stations. That and V8 will help. At some point that can of Spam will look good too. 😉

    You rock!


  12. Chris says:

    Hey, while you’re doing research, pick up “Ultra-Marathon Man” by Dean Karnazes. Amazon has it for under $10 — he’s a runner, but some of his inspiration/lessons apply! I can’t see you ordering pizza to an intersection in the middle of nowhere, but you never know!


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