The Colorado North South Bikepacking Race: Gear Breakdown

October 08, 2021

In early September, I lined up for the first edition of the Colorado North South Bikpacking Race, which was also my first foray into multi-day, self-supported bike racing. The route took racers on a 530-mile voyage from Fort Collins to Alamosa. We traversed high passes and traveled through an array of distinct geographic zones, with most of the riding on unsealed surfaces. And although I’ve participated in several single-day gravel races, and cyclo-toured extensively, the race itself felt like a completely unique experience. The main difference for me came down to a shift in mindset and figuring out how to bring the focus of a single-day event to what became 3 ½ days of riding. While my pace on the bike largely mirrored my riding speed on multi-day tours, I felt a sense of urgency that kept my stops in towns brief and nights of sleep short. The one thing that didn’t really change was my gear setup—over a few seasons of regular bike-touring, I’ve found a system that works for me. For anyone interested in going on their first tour or undertaking a bikepacking race of their own, here’s the full rundown on what I carried along the way:

Colorado North South Bikepacking Race Gear List

Starting line, too sleepy to open my eyes!


•54cm Rodeo Adventure Labs Trail Donkey 3.1 w/ Rodeo Adventure Spork 3.0

•44cm Salsa Cowbell Dropbar w/ unbranded aerobars (found at local used gear store)

•SRAM Mullet Drivetrain w/ Force Road Shifters, Force hydraulic brakes, 36T Wolftooth chainring, Eagle 12spd cassette and derailleur (using Ratio 12spd adapter kit)

•Hunt 35 X-Wide 700c wheels laced to SON dynamo hub w/ Rene Herse tires: Fleecer Ridge (55) in front and Rene Herse Oracle Ridge (48) in back.

•Brooks C13 Saddle

•Oveja Negra Bodega Full Frame Bag (M)

•Swift Industries Kestrel Handlebar Bag

•Moxie Top Tube Bag and Olliepack Seat Bag (new models coming 2022)

•Liter bottles mounted to each fork leg, and 28oz bottle on downtube

Colorado North South Day 2: Top of Rollins Pass.


PRO Bib Shorts

PRO Jersey

Merino Short Sleeve Baselayer

Merino Long Sleeve

ELITE Thermal Arm Warmers

Summit Shell

Rain Jacket

Primaloft Puffy Jacket

¾-Length Tights

Down pants

ELITE Gel (Fingerless) Gloves

Full-fingered Gloves

2 X Merino Socks



Colorado North South Day 4: Top of the last pass, Medano Pass.

Sleep System:

Sea to Summit Zero-Deg Sleeping Bag

Ultimate Direction FKT Bivy

Z-Pad Sleeping Pad (cut to about 60% of the normal size)


iPhone 8


Jaybird RUN Earbuds

Apple (Corded) Earbuds

Sinewave Beacon w/ USB port for charging

Double-port wall-charger + phone and micro-USB cord

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp

Tail light

SPOT Tracker

6 X AAA Batteries

Moments after finishing the Colorado North South Bikepacking Race.

Repair Kit:

Hand pump

CO2 cartridge

Chainbreaker + extra link


Extra tube

Patch kit

Valve core remover


Small bottle chain lube

Small bottle Stanz sealant



Sawyer water filter + 1L platypus flask



Overall, I was very satisfied with my gear and, honestly, I don’t think I would have changed a thing. A lot of that has to do with testing out nearly this exact setup on a few previous trips this summer. And while what you bring on tours or during an event like this certainly matters, and can be the difference from a comfortable trip to a few chilly and sleepless nights, it’s important to remember that what matters most is not what’s on the bike, but what’s between your own two ears!

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