After doing no bike camping in my entire life, I've now accomplished my 3rd S24O in addition to 2 different tent-bound mini-tours in 2012. I've been complaining of late that 2012 has not offered the best of cycling- fewer miles, fewer distance rides, less gravel, less fitness- but on the camping end I personally have run the gamut from intense heat to cold rain, freezing temps and decidedly non-zombie raccoons.

I'd like to break down last night's endeavour in three stages, as now I've come to realize is the fundamental structure of a S24O.

Stage I- La Abertura- We were to meet at the Loop at 4.30 for a slightly earlier depart. I had some errands to attend to so I showed up early, with Dave shortly thereafter. We waited around for Patrick and proceeded to watch our phones at the big clump of red, yellow and green on the radar. Auspicious.

Pat called/texted and was running late, but this fact change the tenor of Stage I, and perhaps the weekend. While waiting the heavens opened and "rained down with furious anger". Had we left on time the evening would have been a wet and cold one (45F or so). Instead, we waited a bit more and things cleared up. Stage I also included our only mishap, a roofing nail solidly through Patrick's Dureme Impressively the tire held air and we only noticed based on the "tic tic tic" rhythm of the nail hitting the pavement. Once fixed we made steady progress towards our usual destination, Jefferson County Forest. A separate discussion is Louisville's lack of reasonable S24O destinations. For another time.

Stage 1 is the preparation and leg 1. This seems obvious, but this stage is pretty key, what with clothing, food and bike choices. Effect stage 1-ing frames the remainder of the trip. For me, Stage 1 was pretty successful this time out.

Fuzzy pic with the evident downpour
Stage II- Campsite-  So far in my S24O experiences, I think I place too much emphasis on Stage 2 at the expense of 1 and 3. Yes, we arrived, set up, made a fire (Pat actually), wrestled with the demon stove and then ate some crappy food (and a beverage or two). The fire is the best of it all, the sloppiness post-beverage the poorest, I think. It is interesting to refine tent and set-up technique, much less cooking and the like. I decided this morning that I'm finished with pre-packaged sodium bombs. Reasonable food needs to be more of a focus during Stage 2.

Stage 2 also includes "the night's sleep", which for me is total crap shoot. My pad has a small hole, so as was the last time, I awoke at 6.00am with a very flat pad, a need to pee, gas, and train whistles. From there on it was fitful roiling, a podcast, and basic waiting until it was light enough to get up. Just as I've decided that I need to revisit the food thing, I also have to either make sleeping modifications or ride 70 miles to each camp, b/c I sleep like crap in tents.

Stage III Morning Return- Stage 3 is the one that leaves wanting on my part. I think of S1 as the way to get to the event, S2, thereby not appreciating S1. And then S3 is nothing more than returning from S2, thereby negating some sensorial pleasures from S3. Therefore, I pledge to better manage and focus on S3. This morning we woke up quite cold (34F or so?). I was up first so I get some coffee water ready and then started breaking down. The other two rallied shortly thereafter and we broke camp at a leisurely pace.

The descent off Holsclaw was chilly as expected. Making our way through the Iroquois corridor we noticed how aggro drivers were this morning. Really? At 8.30 on a Sunday?

We made our way to Twig-n-Leaf for closing pancakes and coffee. Cold, sweaty, tired, but satisfied.

Damn! I don't do many of the blog posts anymore, so this one is a stilted mess.


My experience on camping is that the first night in a tent is a bust. On a S24O that's all we have so in your case you could call every S24O, "Sleepless in Louisville". Now an S48O would probably afford you one good night's sleep.

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