Dylan Taylor’s American Trail Race Rig

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Dylan Taylor is currently leading the American Trail Race and after 14 days he’s just about halfway through the 5,148 mile route. We caught up with Dylan to inquire about his bike, gear kit, and race experience so far…

As a kid Dylan grew up in the flatland bmx world (Crozet, VA), but the biking never grew out of him. He rode the TransAm route the summer after he graduated from college before he went on to get his Masters from the Yale School of Forestry which eventually brought him to a conservation job in Bozeman, MT, in 2009.

Dylan happened to meet Eric Lobek in Whitefish, MT, during Eric’s 2010 Tour Divide run — it was his first exposure to bikepacking or bikepack racing — and he signed up as a rookie for the 2010 Colorado Trail Race which he finished (7d:07h:40m). He then completed his first Tour Divide in 2011 (21:10:17), followed by 2012 (19:09:31). In 2015 he signed on for the full triple crown (Arizona Trail Race – 8:06:58, Tour Divide – 15:02:59, Colorado Trail Race – 5:17:23) and currently holds the 2nd fastest overall time for the crown, next to Jay Petervary. Outside of the classics he’s raced Norb DeKerchove’s Smoke ‘n Fire twice and Jason Thorman’s Black Hills Expedition twice. He currently holds the course record (ITT) on the latter. When not riding bikes Dylan spends his time trail running, ice climbing, and skate skiing with his wife Sarah and lab Kip.

This year Dylan decided to tackle the all new 5,000 mile American Trail race following the TAT off-road route from Cape Lookout, NC to Port Orford Oregon. The group of 13 (now 11) left out on June 1st and over the first two days Dylan and Indiana Schulz took the lead. Dylan is now about 30 miles ahead of Indy in the panhandle of Oklahoma; you can follow the race here. Also find Dylan’s complete bike build and gear kit below along with a Q&A.

Dylan Taylor, American Trail Race, bikepacking, Salsa Cutthroat

  • Dylan Taylor, American Trail Race, bikepacking, Salsa Cutthroat
  • Dylan Taylor, American Trail Race, bikepacking, Salsa Cutthroat

The Rig

  • Frame: 2017 Salsa Cutthroat
  • Fork: Salsa Firestarter Carbon
  • Wheels: Stan’s NoTube ZTR Arch EX, SON Dynamo front, SRAM XO rear hub
  • Tires: Vittoria Mezcal G Plus TNT Tire 2.1”
  • Handlebars: Salsa Cowchipper, Profile Design T1+ aerobars
  • Saddle/post: WTB Speed Ti rails, MOOTS Cinch Ti Seatpost
  • Crankset: Shimano XT (28/38)
  • Cassette: 2×10, SRAM 1070 11-36t
  • Brakes/shifters: Avid BB7 S-Road, SRAM Rival double tap
  • Bottle Cages: 3 (Salsa Nickless)
  • Seat Pack: Revelate Pika
  • Frame Pack: Salsa EXP Cutthroat Bag
  • Handlebar: Revelate Accessory Pack/Apidura 9L Handlebar Pack
  • Top Tube: Revelate Gas Tank

Dylan Taylor, American Trail Race, bikepacking, Salsa Cutthroat

  • Dylan Taylor, American Trail Race, bikepacking, Salsa Cutthroat
  • Dylan Taylor, American Trail Race, bikepacking, Salsa Cutthroat
  • Dylan Taylor, American Trail Race, bikepacking, Salsa Cutthroat

Clothing/Gear

REI Jersey
Pearl Izumi Elite Shorts
Mavic Pulse shoes
Defeet Blade Socks
Giro Hex Helmet
Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
Buff and fleece hat
Defeet arm warmers
Ibex knee warmers
Gore Bike Wear raincoat
Sportsman warehouse rainpants
Marmot windstopper vest
Patgonia down sweater vest
Pearl Izumi fingerless gloves
Reflective tape on frame, fork, rims and helmet
Third Eye Pro Helmet Mirror

Electronics

Garmin eTrex 30
SON Dynamo, Sinewave Revolution USB converter
K-Lite bikepacker pro
Iphone USB cord
MEC taillight

Sleep system

Thermorest Neoair 3/4 pad
SOL Escape bivy
Western Mountaineering down bag

Tools/Spares

Brake pads Rival 2 pairs
Pro Bike multi-tool
Spoke FiberFix and 2 spokes
Sewing Kit
Super Glue
Tire boots
2 tubes and patch kit
Derailleur hanger
Break and derailleur cables
Gorilla/duck/electrical/athletic tape
Tire lever
Spare cleats
Misc. bolts
Shimano crank tool
Chain tool
Quick links
Spare valves
Spare rear hub bearings

  • Dylan Taylor, American Trail Race, bikepacking, Salsa Cutthroat
  • Dylan Taylor, American Trail Race, bikepacking, Salsa Cutthroat
A few photos taken by Dylan en route…

Q&A with Dylan

You’ve done the Tour Divide a few times, what made you decide to do the all new American Trail Race?

I’ve been excited about the idea of bikepacking the TAT route since I first learned about it 5 or so years ago. It looked like a great mixed-surface way to see new areas of the country. The route seemed like a huge physical and mental challenge that I was excited to take on once the race was announced.

So how would you describe your training for the race?

I don’t use a coach or a training plan, rather I just go out and ride my bike a lot. This spring I focused on climbing with a mix of intensity and distance. Much of my training was on a loaded bike. I ended up with about 2,800 miles and 180k vertical feet in 2017 but missed out on some miles for most of February because I separated my shoulder trail running.

Are there any parts of the course that you are super-excited about?

I’m excited about lots of parts of the course for different reasons. I’m apprehensive of the high passes in Colorado after a heavy snow year in the San Juans. The dry sections in Utah and Nevada have my respect as well.

You’re only a couple weeks into the race, but are you happy with your kit choices so far? Anything you wish you’d done differently?

Everything is working really well so far. Several times each day I have wondered if bar-end shifters might have been more fun but I’m perfectly happy with my double tap.

When do you expect to reach Port Orford?

I set a rather arbitrary goal of 28 days for myself. That was based on very little research or knowledge of the route and intended primarily as a motivator to make me ride hard.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen so far?

So early Tuesday morning when it was just getting light I rolled up on a big white dog sleeping in the road. It of course woke up, barked, and chased me part way up a hill. After he lost interest I found that I was next to his flock of multi-colored goats, one of which had his head and horns stuck in the fence. I dismounted my bike and stepping across the ditch I grabbed it by the horns and wrestled it free while it thrashed and screamed like it was dying. Oh and there was a hairless (mange) coyote just as I entered Mississippi that looked like the mythical chupacabra.

Thanks for taking the time to answer questions, Dylan. We wish you a happy, speedy, and safe journey. P.S. Thanks to Dylan’s wife Sarah for the intro and helping us get all the facts straight.

Dylan Taylor, American Trail Race, bikepacking, Salsa Cutthroat

7 Comments
  • Stephen

    Nice piece… what would be cool to add in the description would be 1) Bare Bike Weight and 2) Kit weight…

  • Ryan

    Are those A&W root beers in his front bag? Didn’t Indiana have one on his front fork? Is this some kind of “Trail Knowledge” I don’t know about?

  • Cream soda! I think they are on to something.

  • Scott Felter

    Dylan also happens to be one hell of a nice guy, and ENTHUSIASTIC!

  • Yeah, he seemed really stoked when we met him on the side of the road. It was well worth the drive to meet both him and Indy…

  • Idle Prentice

    The cult of the orange striped REI jersey…

  • Rich Lytle

    And humble! I randomly met him on the streets of Bozeman the other day and he somehow knew who I was ( dot watching) and was all about making sure I was well cared for and that I enjoyed my time in Bozeman. Only later in the conversation did it come out that he had just finished the American Trail Race and only (barely) mentioned that he won when I asked how it went.