top of page

Shakedown Rides Pt. 1

It's the universe's way of reminding me I have a lot to work on.

I know, I know...

Before you begin, let me just say that I know they're called "shakeout" rides, not "shakedown" rides. For some reason I started calling them shakedown rides and although I know better now, I kind of like the somewhat clandestine/nefarious angle of "shakedown."

It sounds mobby, right!? As though there's a good chance someone's getting roughed-up on one of these rides.

And that would be accurate. And the person getting roughed-up would be me. Every time.

Shakedown 101

What is a shakedown ride? It's simply an opportunity for a mini pre-excursion. It allows you to test your gear setup, your bike settings and undoubtedly, your stamina.

Since the GDMBR is near constant climbing and descending, I've been upping my miles with elevation gain. And as I get gear, bags and bottle cages, I've been adding them on and loading them up.

Round one

My (very) first bikepacking overnighter was with a friend up to Gold Hill. We left on a Saturday afternoon and climbed 3,200 ft over the course of about 12 miles, then coasted down the next morning after breakfast. It was a TON of fun! There was still snow and ice on the trail in Boulder Canyon, which was a bit precarious, but other than that the route was clear.

I learned what bonking means. I became incredibly hrumpy (it's like hangry, but more grumpy and less angry) to the point I wouldn't have blamed my friend for riding ahead without me.

Taking breaks and consuming calories before, during and after a big ride is critical for sustaining energy and mood. Next time I definitely took some pauses and packed some Spring Energy gels and RX bars in the top tube bag!

I'm no stranger to rough/dispersed camping, so that was a joy, even if we had to trudge through some snow to find a good spot and the temps dipped low at night.

Round two

The very next weekend, we did a repeat and went back up to Gold Hill, this time simply taking Sunshine Canyon up and down. This time I elected to leave and bring a few different items and pack an extra 48 oz water for cooking, drinking and simply providing additional weight in my Ortlieb gravel panniers (I've used them a few times now and can not express how much I love these bags... I call them my Goldilocks bags because they're not too big and not too small... they're juuust right).

Nearing the top of Sunshine Canyon, there's a particularly steep, tight curve to the right. Going up I was trying to power through but my back wheel spun out in the dirt, causing me to lose all momentum and quickly tip to the left. I didn't unclip my feet quickly enough and, well, I roughed-up my left leg, got a big ole hole in my pants and learned the value of wearing gloves (aka. my left palm got bloodied-up).

Yay shakedowns!

Because at least for me, bikepacking is just as much about a cultural, community experience as it is being one with nature, I threw in a picture of some fantastic live music we got to hear at the Gold Hill General Store.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page