Great bungee inline technique

After a lot of punishment to my back last summer prior to my expedition, I was getting tired of having expensive bungees wear out, get snagged, and crank on my body.

After research and seeing what other people have done, I cut this little video to show how the bungee is actually integrated with the line, cutting the hard edge of having the rope hit you.  It’s easy to do.

For those towing tires or sleds for cardio and leg training, this is a great way kick your butt and get it in shape.  And, you won’t hurt your back from rope shock in the process.

Bungee in harness trace for pulk or sled

One problem I’ve had with my harness traces is loading shock to my back.  I’ve tried a loop and drop method like this.

Bungee Harness trace loop drop method
Bungee Harness trace loop drop method

Whereas in the below video I show a harness trace design that doesn’t put a static line shock into my back.  This method is much nicer because the bungee almost completely prevents the line from ever becoming taut, the source of the shock.

When I’m towing my tire on a surface with a large drag force, above about 30lbs, having a bungee in the trace line is actually annoying no matter what.  The tire doesn’t slide at all, so with a smooth walking or skiing motion, there’s never any read shock.  But in the 5-25 pound drag force realm, where I expect to be in Antarctica, the sled or tire slides forward with my motion all the time, causing this problem.

With really heavy bungee, this seems to work quite well.  Also, another bonus is the line

Coiled bungee harness trace method
Coiled bungee harness trace method

and bungee don’t get snagged on anything, as they’re not dangling as in the above photo.  I definitely prefer this coiled trace harness bungee line method.

This is now my preferred method for reducing shock in a tow line.

Towing in hail and lightning

Towing in hail and lightning was a good physical and mental exercise for the challenges I’m going to face down south.  I wasn’t too worried about the lightning, as I didn’t see any cloud to ground strikes.  However, with clouds just overhead, that can change in an instant.


I hid under a tree on the side of the road for a moment to grab my iPhone to get this little video clip when my boots almost took a little swim.  The heavier rain and hail above me on the hill began channeling down the side of the road, creating a mini-flash flood.  Nothing too severe, just something to get my footwear muddy.

When you spend time in the desert and you see storm clouds over the far-away mountains, you always keep watch because that moving water can come up on you in an instant.  This looked just like something out of the desert, minus the hail.

Add rocks

To make towing up the mountain more difficult, I’ve added 8lbs of rocks to my tire. I was afraid it was getting too easy.

The rocks are a nice addition for the psychological component as well. The first time I had them in there, I wanted to throw in the towel. The drag force was strong enough that I could still flex my legs to pull, yet not so much that the only thing to do was to lean forward and hope it slid. It was just right.

These rocks allow me to regulate the difficulty both going uphill and downhill. I can make going downhill more difficult than having an empty tire going uphill.


Barrier broken

I was able to get back under the 27 minute mark for my 1.5 mile tire towing distance. 3 miles per hour is where I got to last year, prior to leaving for Yellowstone. This is a huge benchmark for me to hit.

Consider that a few weeks ago, I was pushing nearly 40 minutes for the exact same distance. Shaving off 25% of the workout time is a huge improvement.

The death hike up San Jacinto paid off in spades. Every time I do a big, tough trip up some mountain, my training times improve. Just like last year, when I started riding my bike up the steep hills of Carlsbad, California, pushing the limits made training much easier. Or, at least, I’m able to move faster. Towing a tire in the street never seems to get easier.


Smoothing out the towing

After training for several months for an expedition to Yellowstone, I’ve been searching

Bungee elastic in trace to harness
Bungee elastic in trace to harness

 around for how others have changed the shock of dragging a tire or a sled.  As the rope pulls taught, the lower back and hips take the impact of the full weight of the sled or tire I’m towing.

This makes you a little tougher but over mutliple days, it’ll kill your back.

Enter bungees. Continue reading “Smoothing out the towing”

Still on this side

My legs and cardio are still on what I call this side of the Rubicon.  The Roman reference is very loose but it works for where I want to be.  Once you hit a certain level of being able to do something, you don’t want to slip back and have to repeat the grueling part just to get back where you were.

That’s no fun.

What is fun is staying at that new level and trying to push past it.  Without getting hurt, that is.

This morning’s tire towing session was excellent after having a sniffle on Sunday and Monday.  It was 50 degrees out and I was sweating up a storm in shorts and t-shirt.  That’s a good workout morning.