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  1. #1
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    Jeny and The Race.


    Around about this time of year -- if you are of a certain mind -- it becomes impossible not to think about riding (or racing, depending) the Iditarod Trail Invitational in AK. I participated in some variation on that event for almost 20 years, and that sort of addiction doesn't just go away without a 12 step program. At minimum...



    I am neither racing nor riding this year. Won't even be in AK.



    But my lovely wife Jeny has been bitten by that bug, and is deeply immersed into her planning, prep, and training for the event.



    She won't be racing, will emphatically be touring the route. Even with all of the online info available (maps, gps tracks, trip write-ups, etc...) for a rookie it's very difficult to be competitive. Add in work stress and commitments and it just isn't reasonable for Jeny to commit the time to training that she would need to really race. She gets that, and she's OK with it. In some ways, removing the pressure of racing makes the event more alluring, in that you know you won't be suffering, head down the whole time -- you give yourself permission to look around, sniff the roses as it were.






    Laying the foundation: A schedule of ride days (and nights, after work), recovery days, and days devoted to gear prep.




    All my years of racing I was so immersed in planning, prepping, and training, that I didn't have time to really share the process as it happened. In some ways that's good -- it's not that exciting.



    In other ways it's a bummer, because there are lots of opportunities to be creative as you ready yourself for the ITI. Even though fatbikes and the associated accoutrements are a dime a dozen these days, the nitty gritty decisions that you need to make to arrive at Knik truly prepared for the route are anything but obvious unless you live there. And we live a very, very long ways from there.



    So, over the next ~month+ I'll be documenting, a little at a time, Jeny's path toward the ITI. Not having done this before I'm not exactly sure how it's going to shake out. Bear with me, and feel free to ask questions as we go -- or even in advance if there's something you really want to know more about. I'll do my best to accommodate.

  2. #2
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    Cool.
    --Peace

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    Awesome!

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    Just showed this to the wife, it's on her bucket list to try it will be good for her to see what goes in to the process.

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    Thanks for sharing. Probably a bucket list item for lots of people, but there aren't too any soup-to-nuts resources out there for everything one needs to take into consideration for such an event.

    Even if not racing, doing the ride "as a tour" at race time is probably smart because your chances of receiving support if something goes wrong along the way are probably significantly higher (more frequent support opportunities, checkpoints expecting riders).

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    Bucket list? I'm sure there are many steps in between buckets, this ain't no casual jaunt.

    So Mike, you're not going to be support?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    So Mike, you're not going to be support?

    Pre-race, yes, in that when she has questions or concerns I have some experience to share.

    During the race? No support allowed -- you've got you to take care of you, and that's the way it should be.

  8. #8
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    Stoked to follow this as it's a bucket list item of my own to do a long tour. Very interested in how she carries her gear and what essential items are in it.

    But i won't ask for a gear list!

  9. #9
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    This will be interesting from so many perspectives.
    Will she be gracing us with any guest appearance posting?

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    I will be following this endeavor!

    I have never thought about running fatbike races until this year. Being friends with a couple of mushers that race in the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest has only stoked my interest in these events...even if it is dogs vs. bikes!

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    Look forward to seeing what you have to share as my wife is doing her first ITI this year. This should be a good cross check for her preparations. Thanks again for sharing Mike.

    OE

  12. #12
    Rippin da fAt
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    Mikesee, that sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime for your better half. Hope the Mrs. has a successful and safe time as she takes on such a challenge. Best wishes to both of ya in this endeavor!
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  13. #13
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    Awesome - I am really looking forward to reading about her race preparation process!

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Even with all of the online info available (maps, gps tracks, trip write-ups, etc...) for a rookie it's very difficult to be competitive.
    Last year the second place and third place finishers both were rookies. I would expect it is definitely harder though.

    I hope Jeny has a great ITI, and enjoys preparing for the race!

  14. #14
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    The Golden Rule.


    Jeny and I spent yesterday afternoon, evening, and a good chunk of today "out" riding in the snow.


    And while it'd be easy to assume, given where she's going and what she has planned, that that meant we put in a large volume of hours or miles, that's not the case. At all.


    Why not?





    Because first and foremost, you have to survive the ITI.


    Or, to put it in the words of perennial contender and Nome-record-holder Jeff Oatley, "It's not a bike race".





    For the folks whom choose to contend the event on foot or skis, they just slapped their collective foreheads, muttered "duh", and closed this tab.





    Put simply, pedaling and pushing a bike is the easy part of the ITI, and anyone that's been vetted (it is an Invitational, after all) and accepted into the race has probably got that part figured out already.


    The more challenging aspect of the event is taking care of one's self in the subarctic for a ~week, while trying to make reasonable progress every day. Setting aside the 18+ hours of pedaling (and pushing) you're doing every day, you also have to take care of your feet, dry sweaty clothes (or learn to not wet them out in the first place), keep your bike functioning, and get a little R+R so that you can get up and go again tomorrow.





    In short, it behooves one to learn to take care of themselves first. Forward motion comes fairly easily if you've got that other part figured out.


    To that end we spent a good chunk of our "out" time fiddling with layering. Managing moisture is *difficult* when the temps are (relatively) warm, the snow is soft, your tire pressure is barely measurable, and you're manhandling a 70# bike. It is work. Some people would say it's impossible to NOT sweat in that situation. I say those people are either lazy or inexperienced, and if they've finished the ITI without learning to NOT sweat, then they're also probably really lucky.


    My golden rule for success at the ITI is simple:


    You aren't allowed to sweat.


    If you sweat out your layers mid-day, and then night comes, the temps drop below zero, and your clothes are still wet, you've dug yourself a pretty good hole. Options include continuing to move until you can enter a warm building and dry out your gear, or stopping to build a fire to do the same. The former assumes that buildings are handy when you need them: On this route they usually aren't. The latter is more likely, but costs you time: It's difficult to go fast if you have to keep stopping to dry out layers. It's much faster, big picture, to learn to layer and moderate your effort such that you aren't sweating to begin with. Go slow to go fast.





    Want to know the biggest secret to success in winter layering?

    You don't need nearly as much as you think.

    Speeds are generally slow and effort is usually high. The slow speeds keep evaporative cooling to a minimum. The effort produces heat.

    Now read that ^ again, because there isn't much more to it.

    Want to vent excess heat? Unzip your jacket and pit zips, maybe take off your hat. Doing so dumps heat and replaces it with cold outside air -- and the cooling happens fast.





    Getting cold, need to warm up? Put your hat on, close your zippers. Doing so removes wind from the equation, and allows your internal combustion engine to re-warm that micro-climate inside your outer shell.

    Is it *just* that easy? Of course not, but that's the basic premise, and there's not a whole lot of reason to complicate it.


    Over this weekend Jeny experimented with many different weights, materials, and combinations in her layers: Wool vs. plastic, down vs. synthetic, water proof breathtables vs. water resistant softshells.

    What has she decided on? Positively nothing yet -- but she's learning to ask questions, draw conclusions, and formulate answers, all in the classroom of the real world.

    Late in the ride today, with the sun already down, the wind coming up, and a big climb just behind us, she stopped, dropped, and fired up her stove to melt snow -- both to drink and to rehydrate a snack. The end of the ride was close and we could have easily finished without this break. But it is precisely this devotion to practicing these important rituals overandoverandover that builds a level of comfort and confidence -- in both yourself and your equipment -- that can make all the difference in a worst case scenario when deep into this event.

    The time to make mistakes is *now*, so that you can learn from them, internalize the lessons, then practice again tomorrow.


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    Not sure if this question is appropriate or not, if not I apologize and just ignore it. I wondered what her background is with riding? I'm not questioning her ability, I'm wondering what most consider a starting point to take on something as huge as this. I know there are qualifying events for the race, but I'm sure they aren't even close to making one really prepared for this.

    Anyone that lines up to starting line of this event has got a boatload of courage, that is for certain. Good for her, I will keep you guys in my thoughts and prayers.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeduda View Post
    Not sure if this question is appropriate or not, if not I apologize and just ignore it. I wondered what her background is with riding? I'm not questioning her ability, I'm wondering what most consider a starting point to take on something as huge as this. I know there are qualifying events for the race, but I'm sure they aren't even close to making one really prepared for this.

    Anyone that lines up to starting line of this event has got a boatload of courage, that is for certain. Good for her, I will keep you guys in my thoughts and prayers.

    She's been riding off-road her whole life. Raced for a bit and had some success, but the stress/anxiety of racing wasn't her thing.

    She's been bikepacking for years including several multiday trips. She's owned and ridden a fatbike, in/on snow, for 4 years now. Some winter camping experience from ice climbing/mountaineering awhile back.

    In short, none of this is "new" to her per se. But putting it all together in this specific way is very new, and it isn't as easy as it might seem at first blush.

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    Mike, Without derailing the intent of the thread; which is certainly interesting to watch unfold, how one goes about preparing for an event of this commitment. Would you please give some of your thoughts on tire/wheel considerations for the bike that is being put together for this event, being you have first hand experience in what to expect? Thank you

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post



    To that end we spent a good chunk of our "out" time fiddling with layering. Managing moisture is *difficult* when the temps are (relatively) warm, the snow is soft, your tire pressure is barely measurable, and you're manhandling a 70# bike. It is work. Some people would say it's impossible to NOT sweat in that situation. I say those people are either lazy or inexperienced, and if they've finished the ITI without learning to NOT sweat, then they're also probably really lucky.


    My golden rule for success at the ITI is simple:


    You aren't allowed to sweat.


    If you sweat out your layers mid-day, and then night comes, the temps drop below zero, and your clothes are still wet, you've dug yourself a pretty good hole. Options include continuing to move until you can enter a warm building and dry out your gear, or stopping to build a fire to do the same. The former assumes that buildings are handy when you need them: On this route they usually aren't. The latter is more likely, but costs you time: It's difficult to go fast if you have to keep stopping to dry out layers. It's much faster, big picture, to learn to layer and moderate your effort such that you aren't sweating to begin with. Go slow to go fast.

    Want to know the biggest secret to success in winter layering?

    You don't need nearly as much as you think.

    Speeds are generally slow and effort is usually high. The slow speeds keep evaporative cooling to a minimum. The effort produces heat.

    Now read that ^ again, because there isn't much more to it.

    Want to vent excess heat? Unzip your jacket and pit zips, maybe take off your hat. Doing so dumps heat and replaces it with cold outside air -- and the cooling happens fast.

    Getting cold, need to warm up? Put your hat on, close your zippers. Doing so removes wind from the equation, and allows your internal combustion engine to re-warm that micro-climate inside your outer shell.

    Is it *just* that easy? Of course not, but that's the basic premise, and there's not a whole lot of reason to complicate it.


    Over this weekend Jeny experimented with many different weights, materials, and combinations in her layers: Wool vs. plastic, down vs. synthetic, water proof breathtables vs. water resistant softshells.

    What has she decided on? Positively nothing yet -- but she's learning to ask questions, draw conclusions, and formulate answers, all in the classroom of the real world.

    Late in the ride today, with the sun already down, the wind coming up, and a big climb just behind us, she stopped, dropped, and fired up her stove to melt snow -- both to drink and to rehydrate a snack. The end of the ride was close and we could have easily finished without this break. But it is precisely this devotion to practicing these important rituals overandoverandover that builds a level of comfort and confidence -- in both yourself and your equipment -- that can make all the difference in a worst case scenario when deep into this event.

    The time to make mistakes is *now*, so that you can learn from them, internalize the lessons, then practice again tomorrow.

    I have a long ways to go in the "Sweat Management" department. I did a 100k race yesterday and was soaked. Even on my commute rides where I don't need to push it I struggle staying dry. I think I need to be more aggressive in my cool down procedures. I've always wanted to take on a longer endurance event and to be successful I need to get this figured out!

    Thanks for the thread Mike!
    Last edited by farleybob; 01-16-2017 at 12:35 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geraldv9 View Post
    Mike, Without derailing the intent of the thread; which is certainly interesting to watch unfold, how one goes about preparing for an event of this commitment. Would you please give some of your thoughts on tire/wheel considerations for the bike that is being put together for this event, being you have first hand experience in what to expect? Thank you

    Will cover this in detail at some point.

  20. #20
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    Wonderful! What is her name!? Would love to chat with her if she's interested. Always good to get a woman's perspective on things. I don't ride snow with many women, so it would be lovely to chat! Good luck to her in her planning and prep! I hope she is excited and motivated!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post

    My golden rule for success at the ITI is simple:

    You aren't allowed to sweat.
    Maybe that should read:

    You aren't allowed to wet.

    ?

    You're gonna sweat. What you do with that sweat is the important part. Accumulate it in a garment and you'll chase it the rest of the trip...

    g

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    I know a few people who've finished the ITI and never learned to not sweat. I'm not convinced they tried very hard to learn, with the result that they'd get to a checkpoint, wring out their base layers, and get comfy for awhile while they dried over the woodburner. You can make your rest strategy work around that, but the checkpoints tend to be busy/loud/chaotic, and as such it's hard to get good rest there.

    At worst I'd have a small damp spot in the small of my back where my water pack sits.

    I think with proper attention to exertion and layering you don't have to be wet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregclimbs View Post
    Maybe that should read:
    You aren't allowed to wet.
    You're gonna sweat. What you do with that sweat is the important part. Accumulate it in a garment and you'll chase it the rest of the trip...
    g
    I think the truth is is the middle. Insensible perspiration is unavoidable. Sensible perspiration is avoidable, to a very large degree.

    Not overdressing, removing layers, venting and slowing down are all strategies to avoid 'sweating'.
    Most people, on most rides don't bother to do these, either because of ignorance or laziness. On a shorter ride, or a moderately long ride at a constant power output, that's not a huge issue.

    It is very hard NOT to accumulate moisture in your system in very cold weather. If the outside temp is -30, the condensation point for your body's moisture is likely to be somewhere inside your clothing layers.

    This is why wicking layers are so important, and why moderate to high air-permeable garments are a better choice than more windproof ones in very cold weather.

  24. #24
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    I dunno, I sweat like a pig almost immediately, always have. Even when young, skinny, and in perfect condition. Some people can't help it.
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    Happy feets.


    To say that it is easy to equip one's self for the ITI these days is, from my perspective, a massive understatement. That doesn't mean it's cheap, nor that work isn't required.



    Swing by any decent bike shop on your lunch break and, if you've done even a middling amount of research, you can order a complete ready-to-ride fatbike shod with high volume/low pressure studded tires and complete with good lighting, pogies, a frame bag, gas tank, feedbags, under-bar bag, etc... Plunk down your credit card and 4 or 5 days later voila -- your chariot hath arrived.



    Likewise with clothing, food (gluten free and vegan freeze dried, anyone?), shelter and insulation -- options abound and if you've educated yourself on the basics and know yourself at all, then the most difficult thing about the process is getting past the analysis paralysis and pulling the trigger.



    I'll spare you the 'kids these days don't know how easy they have it!' grumble and just say that it's a good time to be in the market for a fatbike and associated accoutrements.



    Of particular interest in this conversation are shoes -- or boots if you will -- for February riding at 62* north latitude. I wrote this a decade ago, after spending many years fiddling with different systems to achieve a warm, dry, clipless-ready setup for the ITI.



    I've continually refined that setup and it's what I use today. But you don't need to go to those sorts of lengths to set yourself up now -- you can (see above) simply swing by your LBS and have them order you something.



    Specifically, Jeny will be riding a set of the 45N Wolfgar boots in the ITI. We sourced them roughly 4 sizes too big for her feet, knowing that we were going to get medieval on them.



    Even though 45N has highly polished my decade-old idea with modern materials, thusly making these boots good enough out-of-the-box for 90% of lower 48 riders, they don't arrive quite ready for the ITI. Why? Moisture management.



    In short, unless your feet are frozen they will be sweating, and that sweat has nowhere to go -- it just collects and saturates the felt liner. For a day ride? Pfft -- no biggie, just lean them on the heat register when you get home and they'll be ready to go tomorrow.



    For the ITI, where the clock is ticking and the opportunities to hover over a heat source are basically nil, you have to do better.



    Spend a few bucks at the local hardware on some contractor grade trash bags and a can of spray glue, then go get sticky fingers in your basement while effectively shrink wrapping your felt liners.







    There are two benefits to this arrangement -- your perspiration is no longer a concern, and now, should you happen to slosh through overflow or have to wade through a creek, you haven't hosed your insulation. In fact after you've waded Pass Creek and Dalzell Creek you simply remove your liner, pour out the water, slip your foot back in and head up the trail.



    Sock choice still needs to be considered -- too thick and they hold too much moisture, and once your feet are cold you can't produce enough to re-heat that amount of thermal mass.



    Like many of the ITI crowd, Jeny has been steadfastly and incrementally preparing each part of her kit such that a slow building of confidence is happening imperceptibly as she sews, glues, researches, wrenches, and even sleeps every night. Like adding bricks or blocks to a foundation, each one adds to the last and if you keep at it, eventually you stand up, stretch your back, and marvel at the totality of what you've built.



    Thanks for checkin' in.


  26. #26
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    I don't understand this: "
    In fact after you've waded Pass Creek and Dalzell Creek you simply remove your liner, pour out the water, slip your foot back in and head up the trail."

    Isn't your liner going to be all wet on the inside, along with your socks and foot? Or are you saying your waterproofing extends above your boots and the water you dump out is outside the liner?
    Last edited by radair; 01-18-2017 at 12:20 PM.

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    Has she spend much time walking in those boots? I love my pair, but I am 95% sure I am not taking mine on the ITI, as they are too stiff for me to walk any real distance in and not destroy either my shins or feet.

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    "Even though 45N has highly polished my decade-old idea with modern materials, thusly making these boots good enough out-of-the-box for 90% of lower 48 riders, they don't arrive quite ready for the ITI. Why? Moisture management."

    I swear by using unscented SURE antipersperant on my feet, and have been using it for years. When I'm at home, I use the aerosol, when I'm traveling/in the field, I use the stick. It keeps the moisture way down and doubles as a lubricant to mitigate for blisters/hotspots.

    Working outdoors in Leadville through the winters trying to raise fish is a stupid endeavor, one which required me to wear the biggest, warmest, most ridiculous pack boot available. I'd find myself standing in shin deep slush, in zub 0° temps breaking creek ice trying to get water flowing between ponds again, followed by body heat generating work shortly thereafter when the temps would climb to 10-15° - then the sweating would begin. My pack boots would be soupy from sweat, and as temps dropped in the afternoon, foot freeze would follow. All that came to an end once I began diligently using antipersperant on my feet. Works wonders in ski boots too.

    You've probably seen every trick out there, so this may be old hat to you, but for me its been a great discovery that's treated me well. Good luck with the race.
    I would advise not taking my advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by watermonkey View Post
    I swear by using unscented SURE antipersperant on my feet, and have been using it for years. When I'm at home, I use the aerosol, when I'm traveling/in the field, I use the stick. It keeps the moisture way down and doubles as a lubricant to mitigate for blisters/hotspots.

    Working outdoors in Leadville through the winters trying to raise fish is a stupid endeavor, one which required me to wear the biggest, warmest, most ridiculous pack boot available. I'd find myself standing in shin deep slush, in zub 0° temps breaking creek ice trying to get water flowing between ponds again, followed by body heat generating work shortly thereafter when the temps would climb to 10-15° - then the sweating would begin. My pack boots would be soupy from sweat, and as temps dropped in the afternoon, foot freeze would follow. All that came to an end once I began diligently using antipersperant on my feet. Works wonders in ski boots too.

    You've probably seen every trick out there, so this may be old hat to you, but for me its been a great discovery that's treated me well. Good luck with the race.

    You should demand a raise for dealing with those working conditions. Even if you're wired to enjoy 'em!

    Antiperspirant never made any noticeable difference for me in either direction. But we're all different, and it's always a good idea to try things before discounting them.

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    Are you not seeing the picture of the shrinkwrapped liner?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Are you not seeing the picture of the shrinkwrapped liner?
    I see the picture of the liner but can't imagine how water deeper than the top of the boot stays out. But I suspect there are more tricks yet to be revealed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    I see the picture of the liner but can't imagine how water deeper than the top of the boot stays out. But I suspect there are more tricks yet to be revealed.

    Perhaps what's missing are pics showing that the shrinkwrap job entirely encapsulates the liner -- inside and out. No gaps -- her insulation can't get wet.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by spruceboy View Post
    Has she spend much time walking in those boots? I love my pair, but I am 95% sure I am not taking mine on the ITI, as they are too stiff for me to walk any real distance in and not destroy either my shins or feet.
    Hey there, Spruceboy!
    I have only had the boots for a couple of months, but have used them exclusively this season.
    I purchased them very large so that I could waterproof the liner, and get my custom foot bed (very important) into them, and have a lot of room to wiggle my toes around in them (both with heavier socks and with a very thin sock).

    Waterproofing the liners actually makes the liner much smaller with every layer I add, and customizes the liner to fit my foot, ankle, calf, etc....

    I have walked in them more than I had expected to walk in them yet this season (a lot more than any other season to date). So far, I find them very, very comfortable. No heel issues, no toe issues.

    There is one spot on my left shin that I can feel being 'pressured' after a while. I can adjust that by adjusting the tightness of the laces.
    There is one spot on my right calf that I can feel being 'pressured' after a while. Again, easy to adjust the tightness of the boot.

    I find that the bigger boot set up, allowing my feet room to breathe and move around keeps my feet feeling much happier than if I had a very tight boot on.
    I also find that hiking for long distances/time in them is quite comfy to date. The stiffness of them seems to actually work for me, especially when hiking up a hill -- they act almost as a mountaineering boot would act: providing me a stiff platform upon which to stand or step. Add to that the studs on the bottom of the boots and I feel slightly indestructible in them ... like I could go bashing through almost anything (maybe not a good thing).

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    I believe the liners have been fully encapsulated by the trash bag material, inside and out...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Perhaps what's missing are pics showing that the shrinkwrap job entirely encapsulates the liner -- inside and out. No gaps -- her insulation can't get wet.
    Interesting. This is a slight variation on what you've written about before, no? The glue and bag strong enough to stay put after walking?

    Have you looked at hydrophobic material treatments? Think there was a thread here a few years back.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvTkefJHfC0 lots of brands out there I think.

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    Interesting - maybe I should mess around a bit more with them before I give up on them.

    I should just force myself to go for a long walk in them and see if is actually going to be a problem.

    Thanks for the reply, and best of luck with your race preparation!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bme107 View Post
    Interesting. This is a slight variation on what you've written about before, no? The glue and bag strong enough to stay put after walking?


    I just never updated that decade old 'warm feet' post, even though I've been using the shrinkwrap idea since not long after it was written.

    That hydrophobic link you shared was eye opening. Anyone want to go in a 55 gallon drum?!

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    So cool, ride on Jeny!


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    Neoprene boot liners?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Anyone want to go in a 55 gallon drum?!
    Is this some sort of Breaking Bad murder scenario?!?!

    The waterproofing the insulation is pretty smart. All you have to do is change into dry socks and you are good to go. I would be giving that a go if I was attempting a multiday winter trip. Alas, I am lazy.

    Definitely will be trying antiperspirant though!
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    Quote Originally Posted by tims5377 View Post
    The waterproofing the insulation is pretty smart. All you have to do is change into dry socks and you are good to go.

    The socks that we use are basic wool liners. Ultra thin. So thin that even when they're soaked you can't really feel wetness against your skin. If you dunk a foot and it's truly soaked enough that you spend the time to remove the boot and dump water out, while you're doing that you also wring out the sock and just put it back on.

    Part of our routine for keeping trench foot at bay -- since our feet may not feel wet but with any sort of VBL system there is at least some moisture present all the time -- is to replace the moist socks with dry ones when we get into our sleeping bags at night. Thus we have a total of 2 identical pairs of socks on our persons the entire trip: One on our feet, and one in reserve. At bedtime the dry pair goes on and our feet get to dry out as we sleep. The felt liners do double duty as our sleep booties as well, saving the bulk, weight, and hassle of carrying something else to do the job. The wet socks that come off as we get into the bag get placed under our layers, against our bellies, the heat from which quickly and effectively dries them out.

    Come morning you already have dry socks on inside your liners, so as you swing a leg out of your bag to get dressed all you have to do is slip that foot into the shell of the boot. No way for cold or even discomfort to intervene, no thermal mass to have to pre-warm. Quick and easy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    The socks that we use are basic wool liners. Ultra thin. So thin that even when they're soaked you can't really feel wetness against your skin. If you dunk a foot and it's truly soaked enough that you spend the time to remove the boot and dump water out, while you're doing that you also wring out the sock and just put it back on.

    Part of our routine for keeping trench foot at bay -- since our feet may not feel wet but with any sort of VBL system there is at least some moisture present all the time -- is to replace the moist socks with dry ones when we get into our sleeping bags at night. Thus we have a total of 2 identical pairs of socks on our persons the entire trip: One on our feet, and one in reserve. At bedtime the dry pair goes on and our feet get to dry out as we sleep. The felt liners do double duty as our sleep booties as well, saving the bulk, weight, and hassle of carrying something else to do the job. The wet socks that come off as we get into the bag get placed under our layers, against our bellies, the heat from which quickly and effectively dries them out.

    Come morning you already have dry socks on inside your liners, so as you swing a leg out of your bag to get dressed all you have to do is slip that foot into the shell of the boot. No way for cold or even discomfort to intervene, no thermal mass to have to pre-warm. Quick and easy.
    You can do the same thing during the day. Put a sock over each shoulder, against the skin. Easier if you have a pack to keep them in place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    The socks that we use are basic wool liners. Ultra thin. So thin that even when they're soaked you can't really feel wetness against your skin. If you dunk a foot and it's truly soaked enough that you spend the time to remove the boot and dump water out, while you're doing that you also wring out the sock and just put it back on.

    Part of our routine for keeping trench foot at bay -- since our feet may not feel wet but with any sort of VBL system there is at least some moisture present all the time -- is to replace the moist socks with dry ones when we get into our sleeping bags at night. Thus we have a total of 2 identical pairs of socks on our persons the entire trip: One on our feet, and one in reserve. At bedtime the dry pair goes on and our feet get to dry out as we sleep. The felt liners do double duty as our sleep booties as well, saving the bulk, weight, and hassle of carrying something else to do the job. The wet socks that come off as we get into the bag get placed under our layers, against our bellies, the heat from which quickly and effectively dries them out.

    Come morning you already have dry socks on inside your liners, so as you swing a leg out of your bag to get dressed all you have to do is slip that foot into the shell of the boot. No way for cold or even discomfort to intervene, no thermal mass to have to pre-warm. Quick and easy.
    If I was attempting the ITI, I'd want to be married to you!

    Really clever stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    I just never updated that decade old 'warm feet' post, even though I've been using the shrinkwrap idea since not long after it was written.

    That hydrophobic link you shared was eye opening. Anyone want to go in a 55 gallon drum?!
    Covering the liner inside and out also got me thinking about some sort of liquid dip process that would coat both easily. Just talking out loud, would Plasti-Dip either spray on or the can of liquid coat this type of material without soaking in between the fibers? I'm envisioning the commercial where they dip a pair of pliers several times to form a new "rubber" grip on the handles.

    I've seen several Hydrophobic products advertised over the past couple of years including academic displays by scientists demonstrating the nano technology. Very cool stuff. I think I remember that it does have an active lifespan before re-application is necessary. Maybe the technology has improved?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bme107 View Post
    Covering the liner inside and out also got me thinking about some sort of liquid dip process that would coat both easily. Just talking out loud, would Plasti-Dip either spray on or the can of liquid coat this type of material without soaking in between the fibers? I'm envisioning the commercial where they dip a pair of pliers several times to form a new "rubber" grip on the handles.

    I've seen several Hydrophobic products advertised over the past couple of years including academic displays by scientists demonstrating the nano technology. Very cool stuff. I think I remember that it does have an active lifespan before re-application is necessary. Maybe the technology has improved?

    Plasti-dip works ok in non-flexible applications, but this ain't one of 'em.

    I'll dig into the hydrophobic nano stuff at some point. For now the bag + glue is cheap, effective, and lasts a season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    The socks that we use are basic wool liners. Ultra thin. So thin that even when they're soaked you can't really feel wetness against your skin. If you dunk a foot and it's truly soaked enough that you spend the time to remove the boot and dump water out, while you're doing that you also wring out the sock and just put it back on.

    Part of our routine for keeping trench foot at bay -- since our feet may not feel wet but with any sort of VBL system there is at least some moisture present all the time -- is to replace the moist socks with dry ones when we get into our sleeping bags at night. Thus we have a total of 2 identical pairs of socks on our persons the entire trip: One on our feet, and one in reserve. At bedtime the dry pair goes on and our feet get to dry out as we sleep. The felt liners do double duty as our sleep booties as well, saving the bulk, weight, and hassle of carrying something else to do the job. The wet socks that come off as we get into the bag get placed under our layers, against our bellies, the heat from which quickly and effectively dries them out.

    Come morning you already have dry socks on inside your liners, so as you swing a leg out of your bag to get dressed all you have to do is slip that foot into the shell of the boot. No way for cold or even discomfort to intervene, no thermal mass to have to pre-warm. Quick and easy.
    Most of that is familiar to us with a mountaineering background. The one thing that has me confused is the liner sock is the only sock you wear? No heavier sock over it? If that is the case, why 4 sizes bigger?

    I wonder how a moldable foam liner like those from Intuition would work in a boot like the Wolfgar? They sure work well in plastic mountaineering boots.

    Great post you started. Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ-AK View Post
    The one thing that has me confused is the liner sock is the only sock you wear? No heavier sock over it? If that is the case, why 4 sizes bigger?

    I wonder how a moldable foam liner like those from Intuition would work in a boot like the Wolfgar? They sure work well in plastic mountaineering boots.
    Just the liner sock. You can add something bigger but once it's soaked with sweat (roughly a few hours into a 5-7 day ride) it's never going to dry out again, and feet don't produce enough heat to re-warm that amount of thermal mass once it's gotten cold.

    As for sizing, we actually went off of the 45N chart, where you take some measurements of your feet and then find your "ideal" size on said chart. The chart suggested between a 40 and 41 for her, and knowing that too-small is always bad when circulation is important, we opted for the 41.

    It's probably 2 sizes bigger than it needs to be for her. I wear a 43 in street shoes and it fits me.

    But after mulling it over for a few days, and considering how much space the layers of trash bag/glue take up, we decided to stick with it. I think a size smaller might be better, but no one complains about having enough dead air space in their boots to keep feet warm, as long as the size isn't creating other issues. And so far it isn't.

    I've heard others say great things about the Intuitions. Haven't seen or used them but am intrigued. If I didn't already have a great setup that's probably good for another ~2 seasons I'd look into those and some sort of a nano coating.

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    I'm very familiar with intutions, I have numerous sets from skiing, used them BC. They are not warm enough for this application, lining is compressed during fitting, their purpose is to hold the foot in place for skiing.

    [QUOTE=mikesee;13004339]Just the liner sock. You can add something bigger but once it's soaked with sweat (roughly a few hours into a 5

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    Ben are you referring to the moldable foam style Intuitions? It's been a few years since I stopped climbing but they were a very popular replacement for the liner in plastic mountaineering boots specifically for their warmth. Probably still are. I can't remember my feet ever getting significantly cold in them, including a Denali expedition.

    Not defending them, just want to ensure we are comparing apples to apples.

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    It would make more sense to use a different model of intuition liner than the one used in ski boots.. the mountaineering boots liners make the most sense or the ones designed for mukluks..

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