This Epic Cycling Adventure Trip is Just the Beginning

August 24, 2021
Dan Kutz’s first big cycling adventure trip was a five-day bike-packing trip in the Boundary Waters because it was long, unsupported, and with no easy bailout.

This Epic Cycling Adventure Trip is Just the Beginning

The big cycling adventure trip for Dan Kutz is now done. 

With his eyes on an epic bike trip out west, he set out on a five-day bike-packing trip in the Boundary Waters in August.

Just to make sure he could do it. 

Just to make sure he wasn’t just romanticizing his wanderlust. 

“I was looking for something long,  unsupported, with no easy bailout.”

Bust Out of Loops, Go Somewhere!

Dan, 55, has been pedaling bikes since he was a kid. 

He’s done a lot of day trips on his bike, some mountain biking with some racing, and a couple of overnight rides. 

But the cycling adventure travel itch was getting to him. 

Mountain biking on loops is fun, but I have a wanderlust and want to go somewhere. I just wanted to go somewhere and bike. So bikepacking seemed like a natural evolution.”

Boundary Waters Is a Curated Cycling Adventure Trip

He picked the Boundary Waters trip because it was curated, meaning someone created the Straddle and Paddle route, posted it at bikepacking.com, and others have done the ride, fine-tuning the details. 

That means Dan could prepare by simply studying the route, knowing that the route was safe and doable.

How He Did the Adventure Trip: Equipment

  • Dropbar Salsa Cutthroat bike
  • Salsa anything cages, 
  • Revelate seat bag, custom bags by Cedaero bags 
  • Big Agnes tent, cook stove, freeze dried bike-packing food
  • Sleeping bag, puffy jacket, extra clothing
  • Platypus water filtration system
  • Hammer Perpeteum. Nuun tablets
  • Garmin Inreach two-way satellite communication
  • Garmin Edge 530 for navigation
  • An ultralight camp chair and aluminum flask with bourbon.

How He Did the Adventure Trip: Planning

Since the route was already curated and prepared, Dan just had to learn and study the route. where he could resupply, find water, and set up his camping gear. 

RidewithGPS became his primary planning tool along with electronic National Forest maps, 

He added on a ride up Highway 61 to get a selfie at the border. 

This cycling adventure trip was gravel, double-track, 80 percent fire roads, a lot of awesome rough double track, and some pavement.

How He Did the Adventure Trip: Training

Dan had done several long overnight rides to make sure his gear was dialed in and he could handle the distance. 

He did a solo ride on the Bear 100 route in the Nicolet National Forest.

“That told me I was ready. I had done centuries and double centuries years ago. I know what it meant to bonk, and I wanted to know whether I could do Straddle without it being a death march.“

He also did a lot of riding on the Muskego gravel trail and with some hill repeats for interval training.

Looking For Others Who Want Cycling Adventure Trips

While Dan didn’t set out to be solo on this trip, no one he asked was able to get away for the time and for the epicness of the trip. 

“It was cool to do solo but I’d rather connect with others who share the wanderlust and want the challenge.

And one of his biggest goals is to find other people “who are interested in finding longer, more challenging things like this to do.”

Dan’s “Why”

He loves exploring the world beyond the Milwaukee area on a bike. 

He’s also a gear junkie, who really likes getting the right gear with reasonable comfort and weight. 

“I really want to do this romantic idea of a more nasty and dramatic route out West, like the Great Divide. I like hills and mountains. It’s reminding yourself to be vulnerable and scared. I’m in a little tent in bear country and I have to keep myself alive in a reasonably comfortable way. That challenge was cool.”

Everything Was Just About Perfect

Kutz said the trip was about as perfect as possible. 

One of the best moments for Dan was eating a good meal in Grand Marais, retiring back to the campsite, and getting in the camp chair and view of Lake Superior, with a bourbon. 

He never got in trouble, always had the right gear, equipment, and food. 

The views of Lake Superior and the hills were amazing.

Plus the climbing was a highlight. 

“I was finding really big ass climbs I hadn’t done before. without bonking. There was never a moment that I actually hated, and the weather was perfect.”

The Worst Part? The End

Riding back from the border, though, was one of the low points because it was just boring. 

The last day, though, was the worst.

“Day 5, when I was coming in, I was bummed to be done. I was bummed the last day I was riding back and realizing the ride is over. The low point was finishing.”

Things Dan Would Do Differently

  • Go further, see more, less road, less pavement, more dirt. 
  • Figure out a way to carry water on the bike.
  • Find others who will do these cycling adventure trips. 
  • Find a comfier seat. 
  • Get smaller gears. 
  • Train more with mountain biking since it is forced intervals. 
  • Manage food and water storage differently.

He Got This Trip Right

Dan found a lot of confidence in himself for this trip, enough to seriously consider tackling  longer trips out west. 

He learned he could pedal day to day with the right fuel. 

Doing this cycling adventure trip solo was also satisfying.. 

“I didn’t need anyone to bail me out. I have to know I can ride day after day after day. I learned I could do that. If I keep training, I might be able to do the ride out west.”

The Next Big Cycling Adventure Trip

One cycling adventure trip builds on another for Dan. 

He’s ready to take his wanderlust and sense of adventure west. 

He wants to find even bigger, more remote, more nasty and longer routes.

“I love traveling from point a to b. Where am I going to get to tomorrow? How far am I going to get today?”

How We Might Train People Who Want to Do Cycling Adventure Trips

Besides dialing in equipment, food, and the route, the biggest issue is training. 

When people want to set out on big adventures, we want them to be able to enjoy the riding, not suffer in a death march. 

Our Simple Endurance Coaching adventure team member Barbara Grundl is getting back on the bike after two hip replacements to do some long-distance bike touring.

She’s just putting miles in, re-training her body to use fat as a fuel, training her muscles for the repetition. 

I want her to do some back to back days of longer rides as well to get used to the effort of waking up and doing the riding again. 

Dan’s got the right idea as well about doing intervals because they help his overall fitness and aerobic capacity. 

I’d also suggest strength training for bike touring, simply to build up the overall durability for a tour, as well as a yoga recovery routine to use at the end of every day.

Let’s Talk!

Contact me to ask questions and talk about making your endurance training more effective.

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