The last few days I did a shakedown ride in the Eastern Sierras near Walker, Bridgeport, Bodie and Twin Lakes. Purpose was to dial in gear and see how it feels to ride all day sunup to sundown. Ride was super hard with way, way more hike-a-bike than I’ve ever done. I lost trail multiple times, shredded my legs hiking through sagebrush, pushed my bike up steep grades and lifted it over downed trees and barbed wire fences, crashed face first into a rock, fell into nettle, scared off a nosey bear in the middle of the night, and I’m not ashamed to admit I broke down near tears more than once doubting whether I should even attempt Silk Road. It was totally epic fun. I’m hooked on bikepacking.

It took me 3 days 3 hours to cover 178 miles with 23,000 ft of climbing. Highest elevation was Mt. Patterson at 11,900ft. This nowhere near the speed and elevation I need do in Kyrgyzstan, but given all the getting lost and hiking, I’m hoping it was a comparable pace.

Six weeks to go until Silk Road!