Kyrgystan - final planning ,preparations, gear testing and sponsors.

 Carl finding himself on the map as we cross the Gouland downs on the Heaphy track.

Carl finding himself on the map as we cross the Gouland downs on the Heaphy track.

Planning for six weeks of biking, hiking and mountaineering in a country you know nothing about is fun and interesting. Fortunately, I have a couple of friends who have been there - one of which is a Swedish adventurer who could be called the "dean" of velo mountaineering and Joe Cruz , Americain philosopher and mountain bike adventurer. Added to this is a large amount of material on the internet including detailed maps from the Soviet era and even a rough mountaineering guidebook online!! If I can learn a few Russian and local Kyrgyz phrases I am probably in a better position knowledge-wise than on most of my  past trips. 

 On the floor of the living room lies a large mound of gear - which I have to half before departure. Velo mountaineering demands frugality -almost the opposite of big expedition mountaineering - weight and volume when you carry everything yourself is absolutely critical if you want to move at all, so it becomes a matter of eliminating every superfluous item and making even quite some cuts on what you think is necessary and carrying only what you really need!! 

Finally a quick note in the photos below on those who sponsored me - in the past mainly but I am still using their product so let say they are withstanding the test of time.

 The Kahurangi national park from Mt Perry, a quick stroll above Perry Saddle whilst riding the Heaphy track.

The Kahurangi national park from Mt Perry, a quick stroll above Perry Saddle whilst riding the Heaphy track.

 Part of the ride on the Heaphy was bike testing  , here is a 3/4 loaded Colossi on the climb to Perry Saddle. Jan Kole a Dutch Ex professional Bike racer makes these quality custom bikes and has sponsored me several over more than 10 years. This particular touring model has already seen 3 trips to Central Asia and just keeps on going - Custom designed steel fillet-brazed Collossi !!1

Part of the ride on the Heaphy was bike testing

, here is a 3/4 loaded Colossi on the climb to Perry Saddle. Jan Kole a Dutch Ex professional Bike racer makes these quality custom bikes and has sponsored me several over more than 10 years. This particular touring model has already seen 3 trips to Central Asia and just keeps on going - Custom designed steel fillet-brazed Collossi !!1

 A pretty grainy picture but best I got on the day testing of the big super gaiters over my climbing boots sponsored by Forty Below. These are going to double up as shoe covers for long icy descents on cycling mountain pass's.

A pretty grainy picture but best I got on the day testing of the big super gaiters over my climbing boots sponsored by Forty Below. These are going to double up as shoe covers for long icy descents on cycling mountain pass's.

 Ashley and Elliot explore one of the caves on Mount Arthur during a training trip

Ashley and Elliot explore one of the caves on Mount Arthur during a training trip

 Going thru a Karst crevasse on Mount Arthur

Going thru a Karst crevasse on Mount Arthur

 Early winter on Winter peak

Early winter on Winter peak

 Finding snowy couliors for training

Finding snowy couliors for training

 Elliot on Winter peak

Elliot on Winter peak

 Testing an older style Katamandu XT tent I bought to replace the sponsored one I lost to a glacier in Pakistan . The old XT is a light weight no frill version and so far in testing (here on the Perry saddle with the Colossi after a snowy and icy night) has proved very warm

Testing an older style Katamandu XT tent I bought to replace the sponsored one I lost to a glacier in Pakistan . The old XT is a light weight no frill version and so far in testing (here on the Perry saddle with the Colossi after a snowy and icy night) has proved very warm

 Lastly but not least Andy MacDonald and Nathan Faavae continue to supply me with these excellent Absolute Wilderness freeze dried meals. Light weight and high calorie - perfect for the mountains.

Lastly but not least Andy MacDonald and Nathan Faavae continue to supply me with these excellent Absolute Wilderness freeze dried meals. Light weight and high calorie - perfect for the mountains.

 Winter on the Arthur range.

Winter on the Arthur range.