The Dallas/Ft. Worth area has had an unusually wet spring – it has rained more through mid-May 2015 than it rained all of last year (2014). Most of the off-road trails in this part of Texas are near creeks and low-lying areas, thus, the off-road trails are covered in water and mud.
I have not been able to train off-road for 2 months now. All of my training this spring has been on cement – performing hill repeats with extra weight on the bike, riding on a wide sidewalk up and down a 500 meter hill. I suppose that is good – the Cascades in Oregon will most likely have some rain during my bikepacking trip and I need to get in some rain rides in preparation.
Today continued the wet trend – it began raining as I began hill repeats. Light rain at first and increasing to a steady pour as I cranked out the repeats. The weather app had indicated that it might rain, so I had the rain cover on the backpack. Drops streamed off my helmet and down my sunglasses. it was warm enough that the rain was not miserable. The bike handled the wet cement fine. When I got home, the bike was a bit dirty due to the incidental mud that had washed across some of the sidewalks on my route.
I know that the Texas summer will be dry and hot, and the off-road trails will dry out – so there is off-road biking in my future. But I would prefer to get some off-road training in prior to the Oregon bikepacking trip. In the mean time, the cement is where your will find me.
Going into some back country in the Oregon Cascades, I have this basic need to stay on track and to avoid getting lost. My wife Susan has many concerns about my bikepacking trip – and my getting lost is one of them. Mobile phone service is not available for about half the area I will be biking, and so I cannot access online maps, or use GPS map-enabled navigation. And for the areas where there is phone service, the data rate is slow. I decided I would not buy a separate GPS device for navigation.
The U.S. Forest Service has maps for purchase and has downloadable maps. The maps have detailed topography, roads, trails, campsites and land features. I purchased hard copy maps for the Diamond Lake Ranger District and for the North Umpqua Ranger District (ranger districts are one of the ways the U.S. Forest Service partitions/classifies its various forest areas). I took detailed photos of each map and put them on my phone. The hard copy maps will stay home to reduce weight and bulk or the bikepacking trip. Here is one of the map photos of the Toketee Falls area of the North Umpqua River…
Toketee Falls area map
I also downloaded topographic quadrangle maps from the U.S. Forest Service sites. Each forest is divided into quadrangles for which detailed maps are available. I downloaded 13 quadrangle maps of the area and loaded them to my phone. Here is one of the quadrangle maps of the Potter Mountain area of the North Umpqua River (around the rugged section named “Dread and Terror”).
If I can keep my phone charged with the solar charging panel, I have electronic maps available without the bulk and weight of hard copy maps. Cheers for a phone that holds maps, for map reading skills, and for navigation skills!