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Support on rural ride

Old 07-14-19, 05:34 AM
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billyymc
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Support on rural ride

So - I planned out a route I want to do in September with a couple friends that takes us out away from civilization a bit for much of the ride. We have an opportunity to stop to resupply at two places in the first 40 miles or so, but in the last 68 there are virtually no convenient places to stop for food/liquids without adding at least a few miles.

My thoughts on solving this are 1) carry what we need, 2) stash what we need along the way, or 3) find a SAG driver willing to meet us in two or three places.

Any other solutions? Thoughts on what would work best?
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Old 07-14-19, 05:49 AM
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You could probably carry all the nutrition you ever need just fine. Why risk it, have a SAG.

Not only for convenience....but in the event of either mechanical emergency you cannot fix roadside; or worse medical emergency. The best worst-case scenario....having a group touch-wheels, and no cell-service, and having to race a steeple-hill chase 5 miles into hills and headwind to find your SAG to get them to drive someone to an ER. Especially on rural roads with basically zero daily traffic.
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Old 07-14-19, 06:13 AM
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You should be able to carry plenty of food but you may very well need one water refill during the final 68. One option would be to scout for a church or public building with an outside faucet. A single meet up with a SAG vehicle would also work. A stash would be my last choice, people will mess with anything for no reason.
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Old 07-14-19, 07:54 AM
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108 miles just require some high density food and plenty of water depending on temperature.

Scout out water supply or take a filter with you to use natural water from creeks etc.

Obviously have spare parts and tools as needed and plan an emergency communication in case if accidents. Find out cell phone coverage in wherever that is.
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Old 07-14-19, 08:10 AM
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Camel up at the 40mile mark, 3 full water bottles, some packable nutrition, and someone on standby to call in case of emergency or needed repair. Wouldn't that cover the final 68? I'm assuming it's not going to be blistering hot and that there's cell coverage.
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Old 07-14-19, 08:49 AM
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Short story, a backpack.

In the summer, I drink a LOT of water. I carry 2x32 bottles in my frame and one or two in my backpack along with food that is still edible after sitting in a hot pack for a few hours. A backpack is not for everyone but dropping off prior or having a SAG is not an option for me in the rural routes either. My pack is a hydration type but I find it easier to just carry bottles in it instead of using the actual bladder and hose. I swap out frame bottles as they empty. The thought of having to wear something on my back for the main purpose of only carrying 32oz of additional water makes no sense to me and not worth it. Wearing a pack on a humid 95 degree day in the sun is also not ideal but so is running out of food and water. I've done solo isolated centuries with one and got used to it. You can even get hiking based fanny packs that can hold two bottles and have room for tools and some food (not enough for a long ride though). You won't win any style points and violate like 5 roadie rules with that option but consider those "rules" are not based on an unsupported rural century and not like there is an approved lycra wearing based plan for that.

Last edited by u235; 07-14-19 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 07-14-19, 09:06 AM
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Frame bag! I recently bought a Topeak Midloader for this exact kind of ride-- and it's great. Easily fits 100+ miles worth of supplies.

But if you have someone willing to drive SAG, then by all means do that.
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Old 07-14-19, 10:30 AM
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Sorry I didn't provide a lot of detail on the route. It's 108 miles yes - not normally an issue at all for me or the small group I regularly ride with. But there are a few factors making it a bit more challenging.

1 - it's got 10,100 feet of climbing. 2 - a LOT of the course is on dirt roads, a few of them are essentially double track forest roads - seasonal use roads that are closed in winter. That's part of why we end up having resupply issues. Between those areas is a lot of farmland with the occasional crossroad. 3 - because of the nature of the ride we will be out there quite a while...definitely more than a quick flattish century on decent paved roads.

There will be cell coverage about half the route by my guesstimate. I haven't been everywhere along the route but I've been over a lot of it on hikes, skiing, in a car, or riding.

I think I'd prefer the hydration pack route, plus water bottles and a frame bag. Then have SAG on standby just in case. There will be places where we COULD diverge from the route if we needed something - it would cost us maybe 4 miles and at 5 or 600 feet of additional climb to divert then get back on route.
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Old 07-14-19, 10:43 AM
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I've personally ridden centuries (and ridden them a slot slower than you would, right through the hottest part of the afternoon) wearing a backpack, but I'd still argue for getting as much on the frame as you can.

Two bottles on the frame, two bottles behind the seat post should get you pretty far. Could you just put two 20-24 oz spring water bottles in your jersey pockets for the first 20 miles of the 68, to augment 2 on the frame and 2 behind the seat or even on the handlebars? You'd actually be hauling more than a gallon at the start of that segment. (Or put bottles on the forks touring style, if the dirt means you'll not be going at speeds where aerodynamic matter as much)

For many of my rides I end up stopping at a gas station or convenience store and I just buy a gallon jug of water to refill my bottles. The more people you have, the more sense that would make, ie you might end up with 2 gallons spread among three people or whatever.

I have thought about the stash thing, but never done it. If I was going to do it I'd use factory sealed bottles or jugs (to know if some joker messed with them), label them, and hide them in the shade. And I'd only do it for a case where I had a backup plan I could use, but don't want to. For example, both the centuries I've ridden and the one I'm planning required repeating the initial segment to bump up the distance. It's occurred to me that I could hide a gatorade bottle or two on the initial part, and pick it up on the repeat - should it be gone there is a gas station that I've been to once that is way down a hill I don't want to descend only to have to climb back up again. Next one planned has a grocery store at the start so I'll just duck in there before setting out for the second time - actually kind of tempted to set out with only what I need to do the initial segment in early morning conditions instead of a full load, but it's flat and I'm used to hauling more and really dislike running out of water with any distance remaining. Real question might be if I take my usual frozen sandwiches or try to buy food then, will probably stick with my usual.

Or this one could be fun... Get yourself some box wine and enjoy it. Then thoroughly wash out the bag and put it in a cheap string backpack. Disposable hydration pack, or perhaps compact enough you could roll it all up and stuff it somewhere when empty.

Last edited by UniChris; 07-14-19 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 07-14-19, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
Sorry I didn't provide a lot of detail on the route. It's 108 miles yes - not normally an issue at all for me or the small group I regularly ride with. But there are a few factors making it a bit more challenging.

1 - it's got 10,100 feet of climbing. 2 - a LOT of the course is on dirt roads, a few of them are essentially double track forest roads - seasonal use roads that are closed in winter. That's part of why we end up having resupply issues. Between those areas is a lot of farmland with the occasional crossroad. 3 - because of the nature of the ride we will be out there quite a while...definitely more than a quick flattish century on decent paved roads.

There will be cell coverage about half the route by my guesstimate. I haven't been everywhere along the route but I've been over a lot of it on hikes, skiing, in a car, or riding.

I think I'd prefer the hydration pack route, plus water bottles and a frame bag. Then have SAG on standby just in case. There will be places where we COULD diverge from the route if we needed something - it would cost us maybe 4 miles and at 5 or 600 feet of additional climb to divert then get back on route.
This to me sounds like definite SAG pickup truck territory.

If someone has a mechanical you cannot fix and you don't have cell service--how long would it take to get aid out there? An hour? 2 hours? Would you be able to steeple-hill chase to civilisation to summon aid in a timely manner? What about medical?


To put it in perspective, this year on Tour de Nebraska there was an officially sanctioned gravel/MMR route. On a 60 mile day, 30 miles to go. Afternoon. A group hit a patch of goat head thorns. Within half a mile, over a dozen prepared cyclists had entirely exhausted their supply of tubes on their own rigs nevermind others. Did I mention this was an official route? Yes there was SAG, but it took well over an hour before anyone could even get a cellphone signal to summon SAG to go out there and try to do anything. No one got hurt, but it took a very long time to ferry the riders and their bikes back....some gave up waiting and were able to nurse their way back in stopping to handpump every 1-2 miles.

Last edited by Marcus_Ti; 07-14-19 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 07-14-19, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
This to me sounds like definite SAG pickup truck territory.

If someone has a mechanical you cannot fix and you don't have cell service--how long would it take to get aid out there? An hour? 2 hours? Would you be able to steeple-hill chase to civilisation to summon aid in a timely manner? What about medical?


To put it in perspective, this year on Tour de Nebraska there was an officially sanctioned gravel/MMR route. On a 60 mile day, 30 miles to go. Afternoon. A group hit a patch of goat head thorns. Within half a mile, over a dozen prepared cyclists had entirely exhausted their supply of tubes on their own rigs nevermind others. Did I mention this was an official route? Yes there was SAG, but it took well over an hour before anyone could even get a cellphone signal to summon SAG to go out there and try to do anything. No one got hurt, but it took a very long time to ferry the riders and their bikes back....some gave up waiting and were able to nurse their way back in stopping to handpump every 1-2 miles.
Well - first I'm not even sure any of my riding buddies will do this ride. haha. We recently attempted a 101 mile 10,500 foot day that unfortunately turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year in our area - heat index in the high 90's. Very high humidity. And only one of us finished the ride. I had to quit at 73 miles and ride 9 back to the start - finished with 82 miles and about 9k feet of climbing. The heat overwhelmed me - my body was just burning up.

Anyway - the ride I"m planning we will try in cooler weather ( or possibly I'll try it alone!). There isn't any point where you're more than a few miles from a road where you could find some kind of help reasonable quickly. Some of the dirt roads would be 4wd with decent clearance only. A true medical emergency would be an issue, but that's a risk that the guys understand and are willing to accept. I think the biggest reason for SAG is so if someone can't make it they have a way out / home and the rest of the group can continue.

As for mechanicals - everyone is responsible for making sure their bike is in good order before the ride. We can deal with most common issues - flats, chains, shifter cables.
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Old 07-14-19, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by billyymc View Post

I think I'd prefer the hydration pack route, plus water bottles and a frame bag. Then have SAG on standby just in case. There will be places where we COULD diverge from the route if we needed something - it would cost us maybe 4 miles and at 5 or 600 feet of additional climb to divert then get back on route.
This seems like a sensible plan.

I've got a decent idea of the kind of ride you're talking about - we've done some similar adventures in the Driftless area, though gravel rather than dirt, but with similar issues for sources of nutrition/water and cell coverage. On one occasion, Farmer John came to the rescue with water for half our group We run self-supported, but with someone's wife/husband/brother on call for emergency SAG.

Three water bottles per person will probably be okay, unless it's not; depending on how large the group is, you might encourage one or two of the stronger riders to also carry a hydration pack (that can be shared if people run out of water.) I like to ride with a small handlebar bag (specifically, the Jandd Bike Bag) that includes extra tubes, tools, pump, nutrition, Band-Aids, etc., as my frame is too small to hold both a frame bag and two water bottles.
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Old 07-14-19, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
There isn't any point where you're more than a few miles from a road where you could find some kind of help reasonable quickly.
This is also very good.

If you don't mind sharing, where is this ride taking place? It sounds...fun.
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Old 07-14-19, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
This is also very good.

If you don't mind sharing, where is this ride taking place? It sounds...fun.
Rough idea of the route - starts in Maine, NY then goes through Newark Valley to Shingagin Hollow State Forest (not far from Ithaca), from there through Hammond Hill State Forest, James Kennedy State Forest, and then back to the start through Center Lisle NY.

Not sure when we will do this - probably early September.
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Old 07-14-19, 11:37 AM
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A couple of water bottles, something to eat, bicycles in good working order with the ability/tools to change a flat, and a cell phone.
SAG? Seriously?
Did I miss where you mentioned that you are going through Death Valley. In a post apocalyptic world filled with flesh eating zombies...
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Old 07-14-19, 11:58 AM
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Shouldn't be that complicated. Food, IMHO, is a minimal concern. Water is much more important.
I carry a lot of water but I also carry a Sawyer filter. But with that, I will not drink water downstream from civilization unless I have to and then, I chemically treat it too. Although the filter will filter out bacteria, it will not take out viruses.

For instance. I ride Banff Ab. to Elkford B.C. Single track trail, a lot of gravel roads and perhaps 10 paved miles. 110 miles total distance. Bolton store is close to half way through which is good to top off water and get some food. It takes me 10 hours to do that on a mountain bike loaded with gear. That is tent, clothing, sleeping bag, etc... I normally have a pair of bottle holders ty-wrapped to the front fork with a couple 1L collapsible bags in my backpack or in my frame bag. If I need water on the way, I have a Sawyer filter and there are many ice melt streams on the route.

The next day gets tricky as Sparwood is 20 miles out of Elkford before heading up Flathead Pass, Cabin Pass and Galton Pass where there are no services anywhere. Water becomes the #1 concern then over food.
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Old 07-14-19, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
A couple of water bottles, something to eat, bicycles in good working order with the ability/tools to change a flat, and a cell phone.
SAG? Seriously?
Did I miss where you mentioned that you are going through Death Valley. In a post apocalyptic world filled with flesh eating zombies...
Cell phone coverage non existent a lot of the ride. Plus, who wants to rely on that?

If you can ride 65 miles with about 6,000 feet of climbing on two water bottles, good for you. I can't. I can do 65 on two water bottles with just a couple thousand feet of climbing but even then I'm usually dehydrated at that point.

108 miles with over 10k feet of climbing isn't an easy ride for me, or the guys I ride with. If there were refill/refuel points every 25 miles it wouldn't be an issue really. There is a bit more risk of injury due to descents on gravel and double-track forest roads, but that's an acceptable risk.

Sorry if that's a typical ride for you. I fully understand your sarcasm and mocking then.
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Old 07-14-19, 12:25 PM
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Camelbak, & if it's not too far away, stash a water jug beforehand, in case it's hot on the ride day.
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Old 07-14-19, 12:42 PM
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The Katadyn BeFree 1 liter water filter is simple, compact and has excellent flow rate. It has served me well on long gravel rides in the middle of nowhere.

Last Tuesday I did 80 miles with 8000+ ft climbing in a very remote area and stopped twice to filter for a total of at least 7 liters. Two bottles in the triangle contained water and a Magnum bottle on the fork was used with Nuun for electrolyte drink.

A small frame bag contained pickles, two turkey wraps, a can of pringles crushed and poured into a ziplock bag and Lara bars, pump, Katadyn filter and jacket.

A top tube bag contained gels, blocks, Endurolytes and Nuun tabs.






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Old 07-15-19, 02:14 AM
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Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
So - I planned out a route I want to do in September with a couple friends that takes us out away from civilization a bit for much of the ride. We have an opportunity to stop to resupply at two places in the first 40 miles or so, but in the last 68 there are virtually no convenient places to stop for food/liquids without adding at least a few miles.

My thoughts on solving this are 1) carry what we need, 2) stash what we need along the way, or 3) find a SAG driver willing to meet us in two or three places.

Any other solutions? Thoughts on what would work best?
1) Carry what you need. It's only 68 miles.
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Old 07-15-19, 02:50 AM
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This is only 100 miles. Just plan ahead and carry what you need. Make sure everyone in the group tunes up the bike before the trip, and is "ready".

If you have 3 or 4 people, you may be able to pool supplies somewhat. For example, if 1 spare tire would work for the group, then carry 1 spare for the group. A few tubes. Patch kit. Etc. Fiber Fix? Tools? Boots? LIGHTS. Emergency overnight supplies, matches, water filtration, etc.

I personally wouldn't use a "SAG", but it never hurts to have a couple of check-in points, and a preplanned route left with someone that will come looking if you don't show up. There are very few places that you couldn't overnight for a single night, but someone should come looking if you don't show up by noon the following day.

Don't take excessive risks that might send you and your group flying off a cliff face.

Pack-it-in, Pack-it-out. Don't be exceptionally rude on the road, and hopefully if you have a true emergency, the locals will be willing to lend a hand.
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Old 07-15-19, 03:26 AM
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Ok - so seem from lots of posts I was over thinking this ride.

I guess 108 miles with 10,100 feet of climbing, with no points to resupply water in the last 68 miles is just another ride for many of you.

Carry on.
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Old 07-15-19, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
Ok - so seem from lots of posts I was over thinking this ride.

I guess 108 miles with 10,100 feet of climbing, with no points to resupply water in the last 68 miles is just another ride for many of you.

Carry on.
I think some people need help with their reading comprehension skills.

Good luck! Sounds like a neat ride. Last month I was touring in MT and ID. I had one day where there were no services between campgrounds. Mileage was only in the 50s, but there was a lot of climbing, with a max elevation of about 5,600'. I got an empty soda bottle and filled it with water to make sure I had extra in case it was hot like it was in 2017 when I did the same route.
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Old 07-15-19, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I think some people need help with their reading comprehension skills.
Ha - I'm not sure if you mean me, or someone else indy!.

In any case - for me the ride I'm planning is not a walk in the park, and before now I thought I was a reasonably strong rider. I can do a normal century on paved roads without much forethought at all, especially if I'm somewhat familiar with the route. I have one century route that I do regularly with about 2800 feet of climbing (so really flat) that I'm trying to achieve a non-stop solo sub 5 hour ride on this year. My best is around 5:28 (moving time) plus one stop, but that was early in the year on tired legs so I think I may be able to achieve the sub-5 non-stop. I have to go back and analyze my ride the last time I did it so i can see where I need to push it a bit harder, and I also need to carry enough liquid so I dont' have to stop.

I appreciate the various points of view and will incorporate what I (we) need to do the planned ride. Thanks everyone.
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Old 07-15-19, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
Ha - I'm not sure if you mean me, or someone else indy!.
Definitely not you.
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