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Often described as one of the toughest bike races in the lower 48 states, the Arrowhead 135 challenges even the most prepared riders. This is a journal by a non-athlete's participation in an event where starting is often just as much a challenge as finishing.

Weight Weenie
October 23, 2011
I pulled the trigger on some new wheels yesterday. I think I would be frustrated being on the trail with my old wheels, especially if I were struggling. Not that I think in the end it will make a difference between finishing and not, but maybe it'll make a mental difference.

I also purchased a handlebar sling and pocket, which using that instead of the front rack & gastank bag will shave off nearly another 300 grams. Between that and the new wheels with some lighter tubes, we've just dropped about 5 pounds off the bike.

I have a few other places I plan to shave off some weight as well. I have some pants that weigh less. A smaller fuel bottle that can hold 11 ounces instead of 20 will shave off 100 grams. I'm looking to drop another 250-300g with a different cooking pot. I'm looking at the benefits of both anything cages vs. just one. Will the fuel bottle fit inside the frame bag and allow me to ditch the bottle cage? Helmet is still on the bubble. Pedals? Less tools?

Now this might seem excessive to shave a few pounds off a bike that comes in at 60+ pounds when loaded. First, the benefit of the wheels is greater than simply the weight itself. The rolling weight of the wheels makes a larger difference in how hard it is to move the bike - e.g. moving a pound of wheel is more difficult than moving a pound of other weight because the wheel is in motion. But really, any amount of savings is beneficial. GPS tracking of the course shows there is about 7500 feet of climbing between start and finish (not total altitude gain, that is the sum of all the uphill parts). Pushing 65 pounds up 7500 feet is less work than pushing 70 pounds. Simple as that.

This is not to say that there are not things going that will add additional weight. I'm going to be carrying an extra camera, a mount or two on the bike and maybe some kind of tiny tripod or monopod. I'll probably carry a different headlight with bigger batteries. No doubt there will be some other stuff adding to the weight as well.

I'm considering (again) using a single pannier (which is 2 pounds when empty). Advantages are that
- Holds the weight lower on the bike
- easy open/close if I need to get at stuff
- water/snow proof
- neat & tidy way of carrying stuff

Disadvantages are:
- pretty heavy for just a holding container
- have to carry spare clips in case I wipe out and break one (again) as well as the proper tool for replacing it.

So I'm not sure if I'm at that point yet. I could also do what Eric did and that is to DIY a pannier somehow from a stuff sack or similar. Not quite as handy or efficient, but certainly lighter.

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