This map (see above) is interactive. Artwork by Cole Maness.

It’s been four years and I’m still not sure what this project is all about, except bike riding. I know it’s about bike riding. And failure. And maybe discomfort too, but definitely for sure a big focus is failure. All kinds of failure. Self imposed failure, bad luck failure, failure as a result of bad decisions, bad beta, trusting the wrong people-type failure, apathy, hubris, irrational exuberance, pathological unwarranted optimism, weather-related failure, all the them, all of the failures. I think sometimes, bottom line, bike riding a road bike on a road is boring. It’s a Known Known. Which, on a regular school night Tuesday afternoon between work and dinner, a Known Known makes perfect sense, that’s all you have time for. But eventually, after a decade of Known Knowns, in the company of friends and with a modicum of resources at your disposal, what about a Known Unknown? What if instead of riding your bike, you carried it? Put it on your back using a makeshift backpack fashioned, on the trail, for the first time, from your sister’s boyfriend’s roommate’s MountainSmith lumbar pack, a section of webbing that used to be part of a dog collar (?), three leather toe-straps and a semi-padded shoulder strap you took from the nylon duffel bag that’s been sitting in the corner of your basement for six years, and hiked, in vans (or similar), for two days through the Cascade Mountains on the Pacific Crest Trail? What if you did that? While it was raining, a whole lot. I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, “Why would I do that?” Okay. I’ll indulge you. I will give you eight reasons why you, or “one” if you prefer, should do that. And don’t give me shit about the word should. You asked. I’m not saying you should do that, I’m just saying what if you did that?, then you asked why?, and I’m saying here’s why:

  1. You can’t always count on weather to fuck you up. I mean yeah, chances are, with any luck, you will spend three hours wasting daylight and eating pizza in a laundromat in the Appalachian Mountains while a Class IX Hurricane drops a foot of fresh snow on the Cumberland Gap, the very same Cumberland Gap you were heretofore planning to bivouac on between the hours of 1:00 AM and 4:00 AM for rest and recovery purposes. So sometimes it makes sense to build the failure in. To plan it.
  2. If you’re willing to push your bike and carry your bike you can link-up some siiiiiiic shit…
  3. …I’m not just talking about getting to shred mile after mile of fresh brown pow, I also mean access to some of the finer things too, like choice sunsets and waterfalls, and maybe some naked babes or a narwhal. Point is, you never know before you go.
  4. Sleep deprivation is awesome, no seriously, it’s a lot like being on drugs, only it’s totally 10000% free. Same hangovers, same bad decisions, same discomfort, same hallucinations, same oh-my-God-I-wish-this-would-stop-and-I-didn’t-feel-this way-anymore, and you can just induce it, for free, using your willpower and maybe a life or death need to stay warm.
  5. You can eat whatever you want and not gain a pound—fried chicken and waffles fooooor dayzzzzz. You don’t actually have access to fried chicken and waffles because you’re stuck in the woods eating technical food bars and dehydrated backpacking rations but that’s not the point.
  6. You learn things about yourself. Not good things necessarily, but things.
  7. You learn to problem solve. Or you get frostbike and die. The choice is yours.
  8. Failure is fun! Everybody loves failure! Failure makes the B-E-S-T stories.

At any rate, at some point early in 2014 we asked Hahn Rossman to plan a Brovet. We didn’t know it would be the last Brovet for the foreseeable future, or maybe we did, maybe that’s we asked him to get a little weird, even by our standards. Maybe that’s why we told him we were looking for a mixed modal experience with a taste of overlanding. Something stupid. Something mildly ambitious. Maybe the chance to get lost for a day or two, nothing too dangerous, but let’s definitely make a bad decision or two. He gave us this, the Iron Goat Permanent. It does everything we asked for plus some extra shit we didn’t even know we wanted. Like a $200.00 cab ride in the dark in the rain on Washington State’s most dangerous Highway and hantavirus.

Pre-Ride Prep in Hahn Rossman’s Garage

 

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The Iron Goat Permanent was made possible by

Raleigh Bicycles

Additional thanks to Arkel, Clif, and Cilo Gear.