Good training ride

Did a good 28 mile training bike ride through Temecula and Murrieta this weekend.

Aaron on Specialized
Aaron on Specialized

Did end up slogging through the first part, as I had a power breakfast but not lighter sugars in it. I didn’t bonk but it sure made slow going. A stop at Juice it Up fixed that problem!

The weather was perfect for the ride.  Sunny and clear but not hot.  Normally it’s still insufferable during September in Temecula but so far this year, it’s been very temperate.  It was like this last summer, too.  No complaints!

Self in GTW

The Golden Trout Wilderness was one of the toughest backpacks I’ve been

Aaron in the Golden Trout Wilderness
Aaron in the Golden Trout Wilderness

on in the world.  It was certainly the most difficult I’ve been on in the Sierras, hands down.  The landscape was varied and wild, from wet marshes to recent lava flows.  Recent fire damage made part of the trail nearly impassible.  My only option was to wade through 2 miles of thorn bushes.  Not exactly the best experience.  But – it was downhill doing that part!

Somehow I think the mileage in the book isn’t quite correct.  I’ll check that against the GPS map and post.

Preparing for 80 miles in the wilderness

I’m collecting information, gearing up, getting permits and getting ready to do the

Forks of the Kern trail head
Late afternoon at Forks of the Kern trail head

Central Wilderness Grand Tour in the Golden Trout Wilderness in CA. The book Hiking the Golden Trout Wilderness has a complete description of this backpack. The book calls it an expedition. My plan is to do it in 5 days or less.

It’s not the John Muir Trail but I didn’t have time to arrange a drop-off and pick-up for that trip.  This is a loop trail, making it very attractive when I haven’t convinced anyone to drive insane distances for my shuttle.

The forest service has a very handy website ( describing all the current fires in the west.  I found that the Grand Tour follows the edge of the Lion Fire and the trail was just opened last week.  Good thing, otherwise I’d have to divert my trail.  It’s not a good idea with sense or money to go into the area.  The fine can be $5,000 for violating the closure area.

The Tom Harrison Golden Trout Wilderness Trail Map shows the book’s prescribed trail is actually unmaintained.  So this might be an interesting trip!

Acute Mountain Sickness strikes

AMS Victim
AMS victim hiking toward Fish Creek Saddle

On a backpack this weekend up the Fish Creek Trail to San Gorgonio (11,503′), my backpacking partner was struck with Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) on Aug 20.  As with all of the cases I have run into including the times I have had trouble, the vectors for the problem are consistent:

  • Hydration
  • Sleep
  • Training
  • Fitness
  • Psychology

Continue reading “Acute Mountain Sickness strikes”

Tyre training modification

After half-wasting another chain into metal dust, I carved a hole in the old tire with a 1/2″ drill bit. After a couple of cuts, I was able to punch through a link to the outside of the tire. Now I can either use the tire in difficult or less difficult mode.

To make the change between modes, I flip the chain around from being mounted high on the tread or low. If low, life is easier because I’m lifting up on the tire when dragging. For difficult, the tire is pulled straight if not slightly down, dramatically increasing the pulling force required to move the tire.

30 minute tire drag.  I’ve also begun logging my training in an Excel worksheet, as I have yet to find a good WordPress widget to track workouts with.

Tyre dragging vs the chain

After tearing through 3/16 chain in a half hour, I decided I needed to step it up with a

Ground through heavy chain

much heavier chain.  For this 40 minute session, I dropped by Home Depot this morning and purchased some beefy chain.

As I’ve seen others use chains to drag their tires (tyres for you Brits), I went with that.  This time I got some good, heavy chain in hopes that physics would somehow make the chain last much longer.

I was wrong. Continue reading “Tyre dragging vs the chain”

Breaking the chain

When purchasing a chain to drag a tire along the road, the first concern is to make sure the chain is long enough to wrap around the tire.  Virtually any classic chain will do.  At least I thought.

Chain ground down after one session

I wanted to make sure I didn’t have one of those weird twisted chains used on kids swing sets.  Those things aren’t really good for anything.  And the chain that can hold a 1,000 pounds is way overkill.  So there’s no reason to purchase a heavy-duty chain because there’s no way I’m going to pull 280 pounds of load.

That may be true, but.

Maybe I need thicker chain.  I’ll try that and see if the physics of the universe changes and the chain survives.  At least I know that if I’m chained to something, I can drag it for a half hour to cut it.  The chain does get blasting hot, too.

Rossignol BC 90 Positrack Backcountry Skis Review

The Rossignol BC-90 Positrack Backcounty skis ended up being a great ski for me on my

On the road in Yellowstone at -10 degrees

second expedition across Yellowstone in January 2011. In Jan 2010, I had the 189 skis with no skins and could not tow my sled at all with those skis. Originally, the thought was that I needed maximum floatation when traveling through the back country with those skis. They did have great float, virtually as good at my ultra-light snow shoes. Continue reading “Rossignol BC 90 Positrack Backcountry Skis Review”