Setting out in late August, JP, our Geelong store manager and devout adventure cyclist, ditched the morning chills of Melbourne and set forth, bike bag in tow to Vietnam. With a loose plan in mind, JP is currently exploring the south coast of Vietnam aboard his trusty Norco Search XR steel framed flat-bar bike.
Traversing gaps between fishing villages and local resorts, the beaches, and countryside between Vung Tao and Nha Trang make for some spectacular scenery. Check out some of the pics of his adventure on our blog. You can also follow his journey’s progress on Strava, where he’s racking up the k’s each day.
So, starting off, could you tell us a bit about how the Hunt 1000 compares or differs from other bikepacking rides you’ve done?
The Hunt will be by far the longest and toughest ride I have done. I’m allowing 12 days to complete it with a rest day or two included in that time. Previously the longest backpacking trip I have done is four days. I am really excited about being able to switch off from life and work for two weeks and just have riding along as my only objective!
In addition to the overall distance the amount of climbing is huge, up around 30,000m usually, which is somewhat intimidating and a bit of an unknown. I’ll have to see how that goes – I like climbing normally so it should be okay, but wow it will be some slow going!
The most appealing difference to the other stuff I have done would be the remoteness of some of the sections, particularly the really remote wilderness sections and Jagungal wilderness in particular. I’m really stoked to be able to ride through those places.
Can you tell us a little bit about your prep for this event?
My primary strategy has shifted from get as fit as possible ahead of time to ride myself fit over the first 3-4 days – it’s a bold strategy and we will see how it plays out!!
My prep has been quite stop start and interrupted by life and work unfortunately. I have been trying to ride at least an hour most days, and for the past month 90% of all my riding has been on the bike I will take loaded up so I can habituate to the way it feels and moves and the strain on my joints and muscles.
I have put in some over-nighters with some big days of distance and elevation wherever I can while juggling other commitments, but it has been difficult.
Due to my lack of preparation I have modified my plans from 10 days to 12 days just to have some time up my sleeve. I figure I’m on holidays so I should take advantage of that and enjoy myself as much as possible.
What are your go-to’s for food along the way? What will you pack with you to get you through?
Lucky for me I have always enjoyed bakery treats and takeaway food! My plan is to cram my food bag full when I can and see where I get too with that. I plan to carry a number of dehydrated meals as back up, but will eat real food as much as possible.
I have a pretty serious caffeine situation, and I have found specialty instant coffee that I can tolerate and will be bringing a supply of that too!
Have you made any changes to your bike set up for this particular event?
My setup has been pretty consistent for the past year or so. I ride a Kona Unit X which I absolutely love. It’s by far the most comfortable bike I have ever owned. Highlights include a Tumbleweed Persuader bar, a custom frame bag from Rockiest, and my absolute favourite – a cut down Wald 139 basket on a front rack that I got from Blue Lug – the shipping was a killer but man I love that thing! Not having to worry about cramming my tent and sleeping back into a tiny stuff sack is a dream and it allows me to pack the most important thing on a trip – extra space!
The one change I made specifically for this event was to change my tyres. I usually run bigger 2.6 but went done to a more easily rolling and efficient 2.3 tyre. It doesn’t seem like a lot but it has actually made a significant difference to my rolling speed.
We wish Mark a safe, fun, and trouble-free event. Good luck, Mark!
To see the live tracking of the riders progress, click here