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Warm Springs Road: Lord Nerd Beta

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A casual cruise featuring PRO Alex Howes to camping and (dirt) roadside hot springs.

 

You might have caught a hint of this had you been following along with Yonder Journal as we rode, camped, slept, hiked, joked, suffered, failed, succeeded and rejoiced our way through two years of Dead Reckoning: by this point we have found some clarity as to what this whole thing is about. This thing being adventure by bicycle. Call it bikepacking, call it adventure biking, call it human-powered two-wheeled multi-day natural experience recreation, call it what you will. What we’ve found is that there is no specific form, box, or template that I could hand off to you and say, “Here, this, you just do this.”

But perhaps then we can postulate two rules:

  1. You’ll need to have and ride a bicycle.
  2. You’ll need to experience the world.

“But where’s the adventure?” comes the call from the masses, “How is this different from smashing out a couple hours on a training ride or just rolling with some pals to the local craft brew fest?” At a base level it’s not, you’ve satisfied our two stipulated elements. We have no desire to be the Simon Cowells of adventure cycling, so if you want to call those adventures please, by all means—it could be argued that one of adventure’s best virtues is its scalability. But if you’re being honest with yourself and we’re being honest with ourselves then maybe your training loop isn’t quite up to adventure standards and maybe the craft brew thing doesn’t qualify either, unless of course you’re gluten intolerant and you indulge in a battery of hefeweizens; but isn’t that something different altogether?

So what else needs to be included in our list? It seems to me that the element of the unexpected plays a pivotal role in the making of an adventure, and by including the unexpected we can fit in all sorts of things: obstacles, challenges, wayfinding, foreign cultures, uncomfortable meetings, dead ends, unsavory characters, twists, turns, surprises, et cetera et cetera. Therefore I am going to go ahead and add it to our list. To recap we’ve now got:

You’ll need to have and ride a bicycle.
You’ll need to experience the world.
You’ll need to encounter the unexpected.

Now this list isn’t codified, there might be more to add. But for our current purposes we don’t need them, so let’s consider these the three tenets of bike adventure.

With this in mind our group descended on the great state of Idaho and more specifically Sun Valley. We were on a quest for hot springs and buffed trails. Our plan was loose; we knew we were going to hub and spoke out of the area near Frenchman’s Bend hot springs, we knew we were going to ride some trails, and we knew we would we do our best to fish, soak, cook, eat, hike, loiter, and take any other opportunities that arose.

Kyle Von Hoetzendorff, @newantarctica
Sarah Swallow, @sarahjswallow
Kelli Samuelson, @kellisam
Hahn Rossman, @hahn_rossman
Tom Swallow, @carbon10speed
Alex Howes, @alex_howes
Jess, @astronaut_jesss
Daniel Pasley, @yonderjournal

Nine FYIs

  1. When choosing to leave your car/van/camper behind in Sun Valley, we’d suggest visiting Sun Summit Ski & Cycle. One of their employees directed us to a little residential lot that isn’t too hidden but is also out of the way as a suitable place to park our vehicles. After two days camping we returned to town and everything was still there, not even a single Clif Bar was missing.
  2. If you camp at near Frenchman’s Bend then you are also camping near the town of Sun Valley, because town is only 10 miles east of the hot spring. What’s important here is that you’ll have access to town in case you run out of anything, like cheese, or bourbon, or garlic, or ice cream.
  3. Soaking at Frenchman’s Bend is a real delight. Nothing more needs to be said here.
  4. October is a shoulder season. It didn’t snow on us, but our water froze and so did our feet. Come prepared for cold.
  5. It doesn’t matter which trails you pick to go riding on because from what we can tell they will all get at that core pleasure dopamine trigger.
  6. In a battle between The Kneadery and Estas it just comes down to what you’re after. If you want Cowboy Kitsch then The Kneadery wins out, but Estas is this journo’s place to go for the best breakfast in town.
  7. The annual Sun Valley Trailing of the Sheep is exactly what the name describes. The sheep are preceded by thirty-ish acts of pageantry and pomp put on by various local shepherding groups, minor celebrities, and non-profit organizations. After all this has taken place a mob of sheep run (well, walk) through the street like someone spilled a bucket of furry, off-white paint down the road.
  8. While the off-white fur paint doesn’t stick to the road, the sheeps’ poops sure do. And man does it coat the road once the trailing is done.
  9. You might want to pick up your van in Sun Valley for the last night of sleep. That way you can get all the best food and drink items from the store and not have to worry about lugging them back to your campsite on your bike. We did and it was 100% the right thing to do.
01
Specialized Sequoia

02
Revelate Seatbag

03
Specialized Burra Burra Top Tube Bag

04
Sea to Summit Evac Stuff Sack

05
Specialized Burra Burra Handlebar Bag

06
Oveja Negra Frame Bag

07
Vintage Chrome Backpack

08
Poler Magic Tarpit

SPECIALIZED SEQUOIA

  1. Did Hahn know that we were going to spend the majority of our riding time on MTB trails? He did.
  2. Did that stop him from riding a Sequoia with 650B+ slicks? It did not.
  3. Did he shred all the trails with style, finesse and grace? It’s Hahn, of course.
  4. Can you attribute at least some of that success to the Sequoia? 1000 decisions were made exactly right so that this bike could fly, so yes.

REVELATE SEATBAG

  1. It does all of the things: straps, carries, protects, holds, manages, compresses.

SPECIALIZED BURRA BURRA TOP TUBE BAG

  1. I can tell you for a fact that Hahn wasn’t hiding any pants in here. I can do that because Hahn didn’t really bring pants at all, instead relying on a pair of merino leg warmers to keep his stems cozy off the bike. It must be said that his leg warmers/flannel boxer combination left a titillating crescent of skin between his boxers and warmers for the groups delight.
  2. All this is to say that Hahn didn’t put pants in his Burra Burra top tube bag. Importantly though, he could have, there’s plenty of room in there, he just didn’t.

SEA TO SUMMIT EVAC STUFF SACK

  1. I’m pretty sure that in addition to his sleeping bag and puffy, Hahn packed a mummified toddler into his stuff sack. Don’t know why he brought it, none of my business.

SPECIALIZED BURRA BURRA HANDLEBAR BAG

  1. While we only had ten miles to ride, it was important to not only Hahn but to the rest of us that Hahn’s sleeping bag, pad and other nesting materials made it to camp.
  2. Did Hahn entrust his Sea to Summit dry bag to the full capabilities of the Burra Burra handlebar bag? Yes. And you know that gear made it home safe and sound.

OVEJA NEGRA FRAME BAG

  1. A Monster Energy-inspired bag for a real riding monster.
  2. This bag can fit at least six Monster Energy cans (the BIG ones, baby!!!), not that Hahn needs any performance enhancing drinks.
  3. But if one of us lesser humans got stuck riding his bike, we’d probably need all the help we could get.

VINTAGE CHROME BACKPACK

  1. Years ago, Hahn went on a bike ride around Austin, Texas during which his group fought a Polar Vortex, rode long stretches of mind-numbing highway miles, overcame torturous backroads and more to arrive at a final destination that was more enraging than enchanting.
  2. Hahn got this backpack on that trip and it has survived ever since, just like Hahn.

POLER MAGIC TARPIT

  1. Honestly, this product is amazing as it was when Poler released it a few years back.
  2. It’s a tarp in cloak form with a reflective side.
  3. Which means it’s your bailout blanket, your hypothermia binky, your tent ground cloth, and even your solar oven.
  4. Just get one, you won’t regret it.
Packing List

Food

  • ITEM QUANTITY SUGGESTED
  • Freeze-Dried Meals 1/day Mountain House Pro-Paks (see FYIs for other meal info)
  • Instant Oatmeal 2/day Pack your own Bob's Red Mill oats in a ziplock with assorted nuts and dried fruits
  • Bar #1 2/day Clif Mojo
  • Bar #2 2/day Clif Kit's Organic
  • GORP 3oz/day Bulk aisle
  • Jerky 3oz/day Teriyaki or mangoes
  • Candy 3oz/day Haribo Gummy Bears
  • Chips 2oz/day Kettle Sea Salt
  • Coffee 3/day Stumptown
Packing List

Clothing

  • ITEM QUANTITY SUGGESTED
  • Bibshort 1 Specialized SWAT
  • Overshort 1 Mission Workshop The Stahl
  • Gloves 1 Specialized BG Ridge
  • Cycling Cap 1 MFS!
  • Socks 2 Outlier or Swiftwick Merino
  • Shoes 1 Specialized Recon
  • Helmet 1 Specialized Airnet
  • Shell 1 Mission Workshop The Meridian: Phase
  • Shirt 1 Mission Workshop The District (preferably unbuttoned)
  • Underwear 1 Icebreaker
  • LS Baselayer 1 Icebreaker
  • Puffy 1 Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer
  • Camp Hat 1 Pink Poler Rayon Jammer
  • Camp Shoes 1 Luna Sandals
  • Camp Shirt 1 Mission Workshop The Sector
  • Camp Shorts 1 Poler River Chino Shorts
Packing List

Gear

  • ITEM QUANTITY SUGGESTED
  • Seat Bag 1 Porcelain Rocket Mr Fusion
  • Frame Bag 1 Porcelain Rocket
  • Handlebar Bag 1 Porcelain Rocket MCA
  • Top Tube Bag 1 Specialized Burra Burra
  • Mini Tool 1 Specialized EMT PRO MTB
  • Patch Kit 1 Rema
  • Tubes 2 Freshies
  • Tire Levers 2 You have tire levers already, trust us
  • Bottles A few Specialized Purist of some sort
  • Pump 1 Specialized Air Tool Flex
  • Shelter 1 Snow Peak Fal 2
  • Sleeping Bag 1 Mountain Hardwear Phantom
  • Stuff Sacks 1 minimum Sea to Summit eVAC
  • Sleeping Pad 1 Thermarest NeoAir XLite
  • Knife 1 Leatherman Wave
  • Headlamp 1 Snow Peak Mola
  • Cup 1 Snow Peak Ti
  • Spork 1 Snow Peak Ti #sporklife
  • Bandana 1 Broken-in cotton
  • Book 1 Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
  • Dentistry 1 Your personal program
  • Lighter 1 Bic
  • Sunscreen 1 Whatever's your favorite
  • Lip Balm 1 Something with SPF
  • Sunglasses 1 Oakley Frogskins
  • Repair Kit 1 Needle & thread, sleeping pad patches, Tenacious Tape, etc.
  • Sharpie 1 Wrapped in Gorilla Tape
  • Wet Wipes 1 Soft Pack
  • Spare Parts 1 Extra tubes, patch kits, tire boots, chainlinks, nuts & bolts, derailleur hanger, etc.
  • Water Filter 1/2-3 people MSR Sweetwater
  • Soap 1 Dr Bronner's Almond
  • Stove 1/2-3 people Snow Peak GigaPower
  • Fuel 1/stove Snow Peak GigaPower 220g
  • Line 50ft Paracord
  • First Aid Kit 1 Homemade