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Archive for the ‘cyclocamping’ Category

 

Well, as everyone knows… having a big fire is priority #1 after getting camp set up, and riding until tired. Last night, Tiffin, The Girl™, and I went out to the flats for a jaunt of night riding and camping. The night riding was fantastic! Being a little disoriented as to where you are is an interesting feeling. Without daylight, the same locations we always ride around look and feel a little bit different, but not scary different. Without being able to see as well, we ended up taking stray trails, which have not been ridden by bikes (ATV trails, dirt bike trails, etc) for months, if not years.

After riding around for about an hour and a half, we started to set up camp Just like past cyclocamping posts ere on WV Cycling, we used the same gear, same tents, so not a lot to report there. I did end up packing an abundance of leaves under my Tyvek ground cloth. This was free padding, and significantly made an improvement in comfort and happiness! I suggest everyone to do this when weight-weenie camping!

camp fire fire pit

We started setting up a fire in a nice little firepit that we dug up the night before. Fire was a-blazing for a good two hours. We roasted hot dogs, and Tiffin tried to make popcorn by breaking open a package of microwave popcorn and placing them in a espresso milk frothing mug.

espresso frothing mug coffee milk

The oils got so hot in the stainless steel mug that they ignited, he had to blow out the fire before he could eat the popcorn…  Such a bad idea…

fire popcorn

popcorn fire smoke microwave campfire jiffy pop

Our campfire was so warm that I had to move my stump bench away from the firepit. When I was scooting it away, I saw a Red Salamander. He was a very shy little reptile and attempted to hide back under something immediately. I was lucky to nab a photo:

red salamander

Sleeping was very much more comfortable, just as I said earlier. Having the leaves, a foam pad, and a light sleeping bag really made a difference. Maybe being a weightweenie camper is as fun as being a weightweenie cyclist.

 

 

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This weekend was a blast; it consisted of some mountain biking, cyclocamping, and going out to Philippi to ride Thad’s Singletrack again. (You know, the WVMBA #6 race I covered)

Laura’s roomate, Amanda, bought a mountain bike over the summer; (probably peer pressure from Laura) and is riding occasionally now. We also had a few other pals come along who rarely ever ride or haven’t ridden in a long time. This has taught me that going fast is easy, but staying back with the pack, and reassuring them on how to control their bikes is difficult, or at least taxing. It is sometimes easy to forget what parts of a trail you had issues with, or how you learned all of those little techniques that allow you to bomb through the singletrack.

Being able to convey those things to other people in layman’s terms without scaring them by saying something like “But don’t go into a really deep, dry rut, since if you oversteer you will crash” will have your bordering on a very thin line… You just can’t say those kinds of things. Yes, they are going to happen, but you don’t want to scare them, yet you want them to develop the skills to still ride with you, and keep the collegiate cycling lineage going. We ended up doing six miles in like an hour and a half. I kept telling myself:

“Stay calm and friendly, don’t scare off the newbs.”

Later that evening, after gathering some supplies and camping gear, Jeff, Laura, and I went back of the woods for a nice little cyclocamping trip. Grant Peterson would have been proud of me, since I came in normal clothes, didn’t wear my cleated-shoes; just my boat shoes, and brought a wool sweater to sleep in. I’m sure his heart would feel warm if he ever read this. Oh, I also decided to bring my cyclocross bike, since I knew I could do all the trails on it, and I could latch on my rear rack to strap all of my camping gear to it. It rocked. I felt like a BA being on a cross bike, going over roots, and hills, and being able to hang with the MTB’s 90% of the time. Good stuff.

We set up camp pretty quickly, and right after that, it became cold. Really cold. Colder than that one ex that cheated on you, then told you about it straight to your-face-cold. What else did you expect us to do other than to sit around a fire, and throw stuff into it while hanging out and talking for a few hours? Check the footage to see the rip-roaring fire~ :D

Once again, the Wenzel tent used was comfy cozy warm, and did its job well. When I woke up in the morning, I tried to make instant pancakes, but the little optimus pan kept sticking so bad it wasn’t funny. I gave up and ate the rest of the trail mix I had brought. I was really missing the conveinances of a teflon pan right about then. Later that morning, we all hopped out of the woods, went on our way and planned on meeting back on Sunday.

After church, we all met up at Gene’s shop to load our bikes and gear. I brought an icebox full of water bottles, and towels; planning to jump in the Tygart River after the ride. I knew the course was going to be intense with Gene coming with us, but I never expected a pentagenarian, let alone someone a little older than that to slay us… without noticing it! His Gary Fisher HiFi Full suspension devoured the terrain, and left us in his dust.

Almost makes me want to get a full suspension… *suppress such thoughts, be a man!* Maybe I should just HTFU and learn how to ride and control my bike.

See how the tables turn? Friday, Kicking ass. Sunday, Ass = kicked.

Gene did help us out a ton on descents, switchbacks, and the rock gardens that I call Indian burial grounds; they’re mounds and piles of rocks built up in order to ruin your pedals when you climb up them. Video below.

Mouth of the Buckhannon River as it issues int...

Wonderful Scenery

Our trip was a success, and we ended up reinforcing our tradition of jumping in the river. It was much colder than it was

on Thursday (Did a reconnaissance ride with Laura), and I can only imagine it will get colder and colder until it is unbearably frigid, and we all get hypothermia walking back to the vehicle. Jeff on the other hand is a competitive swimmer holding records for the state of WV, and whatnot decided to swim across the river, back, and then all the way out again. He is not human; must investigate further.

All in all, this was a jam-packed weekend that really shows that WV is the place to be to have tons of outdoor activities in your backyard. While the scenery and environment was great, going out and doing things with your friends is better. Building camaraderie, and testing each other’s legs through little camping trips or race courses is a blast.

I hope all of you readers get a jeep full of people out this next weekend and plan something great. I’m sure you deserve it!

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Waiting for some friends to go on our weekly B-Group ride, I ran into an individual named Randy Kennedy, who was carrying a B.O.B. I yelled “NICE SETUP,”  and he turned and introduced himself. Apparently, he is on a trip from Virginia Beach to Modesto California. I couldn’t help myself, and had to interview him.

Tomorrow, he will be heading on Rt33 to Parkersburg, and then Cincinnati OH. I wish him the best of luck.

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I Purchased this tent in 2008 at Walmart.com for a little camping trip that my friends had set up to go to. At first I thought, “Starlite? Who in their right mind puts LITE instead of LIGHT?” I then kind of understood the play on words for STARLIGHT as in

Light emitted from stars other than the Sun

instead of:

Haha, you are camping under the STAR(S), and this tent is LITE, as in the fast food or butter-spread version of the word lightweight meaning ‘of comparatively little physical weight or density.’

The abundance of Irony included with this tent only just began…

Specs:

Wenzel Starlite Hiker/Biker Tent

  • Lightweight, compact, and easy to set up so you’ll be enjoying the campfire and scenery quickly
  • Lots of interior space allows you to keep your gear out of the weather and keeps you dry all night long
  • Size: 82″ x 48″ x 36″
  • Lightweight nylon taffeta flooring
  • 3.4 lb. carry weight
  • Rear vent for added ventilation
  • Easy set-up design
  • Zippered compression stuff sack

Isn't it amazing how unwrinkled the tents look with company photos?

Opinion

What I like to imagine this tent as is a boyscout’s first tent if he is too lazy just to use a tarp to make a lean-to. The kit is minimalistic, keeps you warm, and does these things well as long as it isn’t raining since a fly nor footprint is included; what can you really ask for when we are talking $28.00 these days?

The weight and dimensions are pretty accurate. The tent tapers in width and height at the rear, which I assume your head is supposed to be right next to the tent door. This is the exact opposite that I typically camp, but maybe I am just the one in the wrong. I think after cutting a few things out of the tent (printed labels, tassels on the zipper pulls, mesh pocket pouch [who uses this???]) the tent came out to an even 3 pounds +/- 2.0 oz. This weight category places it into a category for a great good weather camping tent for a backpacker or cyclist. I mean, it is a pre-made complete enclosure with only five feet of tent pole and a few  guy lines and stakes.

Unfortunately the tent is not a self-standing structure. The rear pole to keep the rear footing area up is just a piece of folding pole that props the tent up and rests on the ground. I consider this a minimalistic compromise which is quite easy to swallow.

P.S. One time, we fit six people in this tent just to see how many could get in... It did not feel right at all.

For the pricepoint that this tent falls under, it is difficult to compare it to other tents provided by REI, MSR, Kelty, etc… This tent costs as much as some other tent’s footprint; which makes me believe this tent fills an important void for people who are willing to compromise in order to reach a certain desired price.

Summary

I had originally created several minutes of video footage showing utilization and reviewing of this tent, but the footage was too dark to really tell anything which was being done :( I should have expected this. Overall, I would get this tent if you are comfortable with your enironment, but still want some wind protection and warmth. You cannot beat the price, and it is durable enough to last many s240’s

3.5/5


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I received an Optimus Crux Stove (from now on called stove or crux) from Optimus of Sweden a little while ago, but finally had the time to properly review this product. Once the stove was in my hands, I decided to buy the matching accessory cookware set; the Optimus Terra Solo Cookware, and also a few tanks of fuel from a local sports supply store. Before I was even able to use the stove, I was in awe by its size and weight (or lack thereof). (more…)

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