Since I’d picked up a CamelBak yesterday I decided to give it a try today, but only after removing the rack and bottle cages from my bike to make my bike as light as (realistically) possible. While I previously didn’t like biking with a backpack, one of the cycling-specific CamelBaks isn’t too bad. Yes, I got a good bit hotter and sweatier, but after the first couple miles I didn’t really notice it was there.
The lack of extra weight on the bike made it (much) easier to hop over logs and handle log piles, although I did find that the extra weight on my body caused me to stand up a little less, and my butt was getting a bit more sore. No numbness in a bit over 15 miles, though.
While reading a bit on line about cleaning CamelBaks I found that a number of people just empty the bladder then throw it in the freezer. This keeps things from growing in it between uses so one doesn’t have to wash/dry it every time. I tossed mine in the freezer and hopefully it’ll work out well.
It was also suggested to me that I try to ride in the center chainring more often, because it makes it easier to keep one’s speed up which is quite often the key to getting through tricky areas. I spent most of today’s ride trying this and it really did work out well, and I was able to make it through a particularly difficult uphill rutted switchback comfortably. I don’t know if it is this different gearing contributing to more speed, more experience, or both, but I’m feeling much more comfortable covering routes at Stony much more quickly. I hope this feeling of comfort on trails applies elsewhere.
Oh, I also brought my camera (the Coolpix 5400) along with me today. One of the nice things about the CamelBak is that there is plenty of room in it for my normal set of tools, camera, food (if needed), and things like that. Since I was out there alone there wasn’t much to take pictures of, but I did grab that photo above (also here) at the entrance to The Pines, a switchback filled but not too hilly part of the Stony Creek trails. I also grabbed this photo from the top of Mt. Sheldon, the highest point in the park, looking out at Crittenton Hospital in Rochester, MI.
If you’d like to reference things, here is the MMBA provided map of Stony Creek, and the entrance to The Pines is marker #6, the top of Mt. Sheldon is marker #25.