So I have been gathering up the gear needed to do some bikepacking later on this year. I just recently got all of the “stuff” together and wanted to take it out for a ride before committing to an overnight trip. This was mainly gear around making sure everything was strapped in the right way and see if I had some fitment issues. I also wanted to see how the biked handle with all this stuff on it.
The test grounds was the Laguna Mountains. We did a loop starting from Redtail Roost. Right out of the gate it was easy to tell that there was quite a bit of additional weight to deal with. My normally very flickable 24lb hardtail required a lot more input on the climbs and of course some additional effort to move up the hill. I however was not much different effort wise that lugging around my all-mountain Intense Uzzi. I did have a few strapping adjustments to make but the starting setup was pretty close. Once we turned downhill it was really apparent that the bike now carried a lot more of its own momentum. I felt like I was riding the bike instead of the bike being an extension of myself. After dropping the Redtail Roost singletrack we climb Aqua Dulce fireroad to the top of the Los Gatos singletrack. This is where I discovered something that added to the fun of Los Gatos. With the additional weight over the front wheel, the bike really gripped well through the bermed turns. There were some giggles heard in the ravine after at least one well-railed berm.
Once we came out on the meadow, we took the Big Laguna Trail clockwise around the meadow past Water of the World and Big Laguna Lake. While both are still stupidly low, the water levels were higher than they were this past fall. Once we got to the top of the meadow we took the connector over to Pine Pines and the upper Noble Canyon trailhead. We took the first mile or so of the Noble Canyon trail. (The new rerouted section has bedded in nicely). We then took the cutover trail back (Need to add this to my maps) Big Laguna meadow. From there continued on around the meadow until we peeled off to take the Aqua Dulce connector trail and then peeled off again onto the Redtail Roost connector where we climbed on the Escondido Ravine fireroad until we picked up another singletrack to take us back over to the Redtail Roost trail. It was great day to be out on the bike and I’m pretty happy with how my first ride with the bikepacking gear went.