Erin joined us for three weeks of Baja Divide route investigation in January 2016, riding from Loreto, BCS to San Jose del Cabo, including a multi-day loop ride in the east cape. Note: The Bontrager rims on Erin’s bike are advertised as tubeless ready, although without the requisite molded plastic rimstrips from Trek, our treatment of Gorilla tape was the same as on a non-tubeless rim. It isn’t a perfect solution, but it worked and we installed everything at a gas station in Loreto when Erin arrived. Erin also packed a 4L MSR DromLite bladder, but she discovered that she didn’t have a convenient way to carry it, so we split water duties and shared water with her when our rides required more than the 5L that she could carry.
Name: Erin Nugent
Bike: Trek X-Caliber
Previous Touring Experience: San Diego to Loreto on MEX1, San Francisco to San Diego, around Lake Tahoe, Idaho Hot Springs Route and Black Canyon Trail
Wheels/tires: 29×2.4″ Maxxis Ardent front tire, 29×2.3” Specialized Ground Control rear
Tubeless notes: Gorilla tape and Stan’s sealant with tubeless ready tires, leaked a little from the bead at low pressure.
Luggage: Revelate Designs Sweetroll, Pika seat bag, small Ranger frame bag, Gas Tank
Water: 2L Camelback; 3 water bottles, 2 mounted to the fork and 1 on the down tube.
Shelter: None. We slept out every night, although the first night out of Loreto we took cover from the rain under an abandoned building.
Equipment Recommendations for the Baja Divide: I would recommend 3″ tires if you plan to ride the Baja Divide. I know that not everyone has or is able to purchase a new set of wheels, but if are in a position to do so please do! I spent my trip on 2.3”/2.4” tires and whenever we hit sand it was just a matter of time before I was off my bike pushing. I loved my X-Caliber and it had served me well on other trips. By the end of my Baja trip I knew my next bike would have fatter tires.
Make sure you have enough space to carry water. I had a women’s specific bike which only held a small frame bag and the downtube didn’t have enough clearance to use a Salsa Anything Cage to expand water capacity. I only managed to carry 5 liters of water with my CamelBak and 3 water bottles. If this is your setup make sure you bring several little 1 or 2 liter platypus bladders that can be shoved in small places. 5 liters is not enough water to carry so you will have to travel with someone who can carry extra. Thank you Lael, Nick, Christina, and Alex for keeping me hydrated!
Anything else? The Baja Divide is a wonderful route. In retrospect the entire trip was perfect. I didn’t necessary feel that way during every moment of the trip. Some of the climbs were really challenging. All of the climbs were met with a wonderful summit and a beautiful descent and I was excited for each upcoming day on the bike. However I did curse the terrain a couple times. I vomited after encountering our first store in 4 days and making the poor decision to drink several beers and a large milk before hoping back on my bike. I even stopped once to cry during an ascent that was too sandy for my tires.
I am an incredibly emotional rider. I will have some of my highest, happiest, frustrated, and angry moments on the bike with calm, daydreaming, and silly moments to space them out. I hold no emotional memory for these moments and when the day comes to an end I enjoy where we stop.
It is so hard to give someone an idea of the route and how it will apply to them. I can try to give you an idea about me. I am a 30 year old female who has been on 6 bike trips. I would say I have been physically prepared for about half of those trips and the other half I just kept pedaling. I tried to train in Montana in December. I don’t winter bike so my training consisted of 3 weeks on the stationary bike. I was pretty frustrated with my level of fitness on this trip. I should have been a bit more aggressive with my training. I would recommend being in bike shape to ride the route.