Surly Dunoon Dirt Dash - what a great event!
Huge congratulations to the organisers Markus Stitz and Charlie Hobbs for delivering a weekend with such an amazing atmosphere and top quality bikepacking.
I'm sure both will have learnt loads and the 2020 event will be even better.
But it was an honour to take part in the first. The video is below.
They might look again at the long hike-a-bike section of day one. In the video I describe this as "excessive" and it was, particularly if you had a heavy or loaded bike. More than one rider shuttled their luggage to the top then went back for their bike.
Of course, this is absolutely not a race. It's a 'reliability trial' they say. I felt it the same approach as a mountain marathon and pretty much the same kit, plus a bike and different bags. I don't think my set-up was perfect, but it worked for me.
That's the whole top-and-bottom of gear for these things - you must be happy with what you take otherwise it will gnaw into your brain all weekend.
As with mountain marathons, I took loads of kit to the start and only after 4pm Friday, when I'd checked numerous weather forecasts, did I decide what kit to take and how to carry it. With no rain forecast, I left my big waterproof jacket behind and just carried an ultralight road jacket. Here's the rest of it:
Tent: an American Tarptent, Double Rainbow, a single skin affair which I love despite the condensation - everyone had that.
Mat: Alpkit Cloudbase, superb value and performance.
Bowl & Spoon: Alpkit collapsable Cupertino
Sleeping bag: PHD Minim (or minimus, I forget) zipless to save weight, plus a silk liner.
Warm clothes: Patagonia down vest (bought in a sale!), full leg-warmers, snood, DhB merino base layer
Socks: 2 pairs of seal skins, one to ride in, 1 to wear in camp/sleeping to keep feet dry in soaking shoes
Mug: Lifeventure mini-flask thing that has a screw on lid and keeps drinks hot
I carried my water and snacks in a Camelbak to keep weight off the bike for the hike-a-bike. The water bottle on the frame is empty, but easier to fill from streams had I run out. I also had a microphone, tripod, spare batteries and charging pack for the cameras. An iPod mini with earbuds shut out the late-night campsite noise.
I rode a Sonder Camino Ti from Alpkit and completely mucked up my tyre choice, going for too little tread and consequently fish-tailing on slippery grass descents.
I hope you like the video enough to subscribe to my channel. Please feel free to comment, ask questions etc either here or on YouTube and I'll do my best to answer them.