This is a quick post that probably won’t be much good for reading by anyone other than me.
One of the things people on BAK told me to do is write out some notes about what I’d do differently next year. So I’m going to do that here, because it will be an easy way to get back to it. And there are definitely some things I need to do differently.
For starters, I need a place to hang my clothes. Most people wear their jerseys and shorts in the shower to clean them off, then hang them up somewhere to dry. One night, I hung a pair of shorts and a towel on the fence by the football field to dry, then got in a hurry and forgot them the next morning. Some people rig up a clothesline near their tent. I think I’d like to come up with a light weight stand or drying rack to put my clothes on in the evening.
I’d also like a way to stand my bike up when I’m not riding it. I don’t like setting it on its side. I doubt that hurts anything, but I don’t like it. I saw people with small telescoping stands that worked well, but I also saw people rig up some rope and tent stakes to hold up their bikes. I liked that too.
I should pack fewer clothes. I packed about five changes of clothes and that is not necessary. I could get by with maybe two or three sets of non-cycling clothes. You’re only wearing those things for a couple hours each day, so you never smell that rank – once you’ve taken a shower.
No need to pack two cases of Cliff bars. There are plenty of SAG stops and towns to stop in for food.
Develop a better system for getting ready the night before. The first few nights I struggled with getting together what I’d need for the day’s ride. One bag should be for camping stuff and after hours clothes. Another for anything you might need on the ride. Pack everything you can into camping bag, and throw it on the truck to the next town; everything else can go in the other, smaller bag, that can be carried with you until the last minute.
One mistake I made this year was setting up visits with people at different times who were not part of BAK. This won’t happen next year. One thing I didn’t realize would happen is that you really don’t want to be reminded of the outside world while on BAK. It seems as if most people barely even check in with relatives. Certainly not work! Next year, I’ll avoid that, and just enjoy the entire environment of BAK. Not that I didn’t – I did. But that was sometimes interrupted by the outside world, and I think part of the BAK experience is that there is nothing going on anywhere else.
Get that Go Pro camera working. I really missed out on some fantastic video.
Don’t bring a book. You don’t have time to read.
Get better battery pack phone chargers. I had two, and neither worked very well. Spend the extra money and get the good ones. That way you can charge your phone while you’re riding.
Also get a better sleeping mat. The one I used this year was next to worthless. Self inflating is good, but get one that actually, well, inflates.
Bring a real pillow. Tiny camp pillows don’t cut it.
Do shave, at least once. Neck was all itchy and gross.
If anyone who’s done this before is reading and has any thoughts, please share. I’m sure I haven’t thought of nearly half of what I need to do.