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Pacific Coast
PRE-TRIP LESSONS Looking ahead I saw the pavement rise and my heart sank. It was a long, steep hill 85 miles into my ride. It was hot out, buggy, I was tired and we were racing to get back to the house in time. I tried to think positively by recalling the images of the laundry hanging out to dry in rural peacefulness, galloping deer along the Wisconsin farm and and my appreciation for the quiet roads.

But I could feel my breathing become labored as my asthma started to present itself. I gulped some air. When we left the house it was to go on a 78-mile ride. Once out in the Wisconsin landscape of smooth pavement and peaceful farmland a different return route was chosen using our map. We were unsure of the new total distance yet had to be back by 3pm. We needed to get back to the house to drive to the airport to pick up arriving relatives. We started early so this seemed like plenty of time. The new route was 89 miles. Not much of a difference but it also awarded us with a lot more in elevation gain.

As I looked ahead, I then focused on smooth pedaling and even breathing. This lasted for about a third of the hill until I decided it would be okay if I got off my bike for a break. As I was walking, I thought, just imagine in 10 days I will be on the road again but my bike will have approximately 40-50 extra pounds in provisions, clothing, camping equipment and additional supporting accessories. In one week I need to pack my bags. Any extra weight will be a burden over the course of the trip and especially when cycling up any steep long hills in the hot sun. It is easy to say “what if” or “this would be nice to have” and bring extra stuff along.

At the top of the hill, as I got back on the bike to finish off the ride, I mentally reviewed what I can take away from this stressful moment. In addition to the discomfort of a heavy bike there are the issues that come from being on a bike for long stretches. During this ride everything was going fine until around mile 60 when my boyfriend developed a small patch of saddle chaffing. It was noted at mile 60 but we had no chamois butter with us. By the time he got home 29 miles later it hurt enough that he thought he would not be able to ride the next day.

• It is okay to be spontaneous but understand the route choice as much as possible. If taking an alternative route along the way, review the information on terrain type and distance

• Channel determination and yet allow myself to be realistic and self-compassionate. Touring a great distance like Canada to Mexico is challenge unknown to most of us when we start.

• Listen to my body and prepare myself mentally. Do not judge myself too harshly when I need to take a break or even take an unplanned day of rest.

• Pack a light load. Be pragmatic and disciplined in packing.

• Be diligent about cleaning my bike shorts and using chamois cream to prevent saddle sores through the long hours on the bike.

• Most importantly… Keep perspective, I am biking because I enjoy it and am excited by the path the bike unrolls.

• Enjoy the moment. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the accomplishment

- TWITTER HIGHLIGHTS -

- IMAGES OF THE ROAD -

- PACK NECESSITIES -

BARRIER PANNIER

Barrier bags let you dream big, and go big, with highest level protection for your gear – that’s welded seam waterproof construction. Roll and waterproof zipped openings provide keep the elements out and allow you to enjoy the ride. LEARN MORE
  • FROM: Portland, OR
  • DOB: 12/14/1970
  • Single w/1 dog (Oscar)
  • OCCUPATION: Apparel Designer
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? The inspiration came from a reach out by a friend via Facebook. She put the idea out there, I spoke with Nick (the head Ranger) and the desire for a long bike adventure has taken hold of me.
  • Have you traveled by bike in the past? I have done two short trips by bike. My first trip was a solo adventure in New Zealand. I rode along the west coast of the South Island, around 389 miles. The road was pretty much quiet and the places I stayed either empty or full of group travelers. My second trip was more of an urban ride--I rode from Portland to Bend which is around 180 miles. Both trips I camped and in New Zealand I also stayed in backpacker hostels.
  • What is your goal for the route? My goal is to turn the pedals enough times to get me from Canada to Mexico. My goal is to have fun riding my road bike and to make biking an even more integrated part of my transportation/vacation choices. I am signed up for Cycle Oregon in September, a supported 505 miles. This will be excellent training.
  • What do you hope to get out of this journey? I hope to wake up somewhere refreshing, like in a campground near the ocean, many times over. I look forward to getting away from habits and exploring my "local" area in an intimate physical way. And I look forward to simply being responsible for myself and the spontaneity and routine that I will find in that. I look forward to meeting people and hearing their journey of choices along the way.

- MY MUST HAVES -

  • BUG EYES
  • Aero Press
  • Wet Ones
  • Pearl Izumi Arm Warmers

- CARRIE SURIANO: BLACKBURN RANGER -

Gear List


- MY RIDE -

- BLACKBURN GEAR -

- BIKE SPECS -

  • FRAME 2008 Trek Pilot 1.2
  • FRAME SIZE 48cm top bar to inside seat stem
  • FORK Bontrager
  • HEADSET stock
  • CRANK FSA triple
  • BOTTOM BRACKET stock
  • PEDALS Shimano XT
  • CASSETTE stock
  • SHIFTERS Shimano Tiagra
  • BRAKES Tektro RX2.0
  • WHEELS Xero lite, XSR-3
  • TIRES Gatorskins
  • SEATPOST Bontrager
  • SADDLE Bontrager
  • STEM Bontrager
  • HANDLEBAR Drop bar
  • ACCESSORIES Plastic fenders, front and rear

- PERSONAL ITEMS -

  • • baby wipes
  • • big eyes
  • • tooth brush/paste
  • • chamios butter
  • • nail clipper
  • • sunscreen
  • • sunglasses
  • • lotion

- TECHNOLOGY -

  • • Blackburn front light
  • • Solar charger
  • • Sansa player
  • • Galaxy note phone
  • • Cycle computer

- EQUIPMENT -

  • • Blackburn front rack
  • • Blackburn rear rack
  • • Blackburn Slick water bottle cages
  • • Blackburn lock
  • • Front panniers
  • • Blackburn Barrier panniers (2)
  • • Thermarest sleeping pad/ chair
  • • MHW 1p tent
  • • MHW sleeping bag
  • • Aero Press
  • • Jet Boil
  • • Fuel canister
  • • Maps
  • • Gaterskin folded spare tire
  • • Spare tube (3)
  • • Multitool
  • • Veleau Water system
  • • C02 tire inflater + 2 cartridges
  • • Bell Gage helmet

- CLOTHING -

  • • Titanium Lightweight rain jacket
  • • Mt Hardwear rain pants
  • • Wool blend short slv mesh shirt
  • • Nike neon yellow LS shirt
  • • Bra (2)
  • • Underwear (3)
  • • Padded bike shorts x 2
  • • Longer Pearl Izumi padded pants
  • • Pants
  • • Jersey (2)
  • • Lightweight down jacket
  • • Casual shorts
  • • Cotton tank top
  • • Skirt (2)
  • • Giro LA DND gloves
  • • Giro Monica fingerless gloves
  • • Giro Espada shoes
  • • Giro Hightower socks
  • • Giro Racer socks (2)