Komorebi Tomodachi: Krissy Brunsman

Tomodachi ( 友 達 ) is the Japanese word for friends. Komorebi Tomodachi are friends we have invited to ride with us on a team adventure. We ask them to share a write-up on their experience - which we now present to you. 

Krissy Brunsman is a project manager at Wieden+Kennedy and an active member of the Green Submarine Records Racing team . She's a smile machine and loves challenging herself to ride her bike through the many amazing spaces found in Oregon . Follow her on Instagram

Krissy Brunsman - smile machine. Photo by Jocey.

Krissy Brunsman - smile machine. Photo by Jocey.

How this came about: 
I knew a few of the amazing Komorebi ladies before this trip. I knew early on about the BreadWinner bikes (drool) being built and the wheels they built themselves. I have been following them and their process of starting this team from the very beginning. 

I knew I was going to get in on a trip! I had too! So I emailed and invited myself. And they took me in with open arms. The July trip timing was perfect, one of the only weekends I had open this summer. I was in! Go time! (giddy) 

I have bikepacked before, I have the gear, but I have so much to learn. 

Day 1 - Friday PDX to Still Creek 
I packed my bike up Thursday night and commuted to work with my fully loaded bike on Friday. This was a fun commute with some funny looks and many questions from co-workers. The day went quick, thankfully, and off I was to meet the gals at PDW at 5:30. We loaded the cars and the drive went quick. 

Soon we were at Still Creek campground, set up our tents and off to the local bar for some beer and dinner. This is where I got to know the other ladies - what a great crew I was about to spend the weekend with - badass ladies that were full of smiles and laughs from the get-go! 

We headed back to camp and discovered the music talent of Betsy #2 (yes, there were two Betseys on the trip!) when she pulled out her acoustic guitar and gave us a front row show. A show I would have bought tickets for but that we had the privilege to enjoy by the campfire. Soon the music died down and we were off to rest up for our first day of riding. 

Day 2 - Saturday Still Creek to Keeps Mill  
Mileage: 28.4
Elevation: 2,051

Map check! Photo by Krissy.

Map check! Photo by Krissy.

Hot damn these girls shred! The first day was jam packed with fun. Some paved road sections but plenty of technical off-road. I learned quick that these girls can go fast up and down. Technical descents have always been a weak spot for me, but they did not mind waiting on me at all! Everyone had smiles on their faces from shredding downhill on fun roads. There were plenty of stops to read signs, look around and be out in the middle of no-where where few cars can go. It was great to be with a group that wanted to ride hard but also stop and enjoy. The only agenda - have loads of fun and eventually get to camp. 

For lunch, we stopped by Frog Creek - a perfect scenic lunch spot. And out came a hacky sack! I had not played hacky sack since well, maybe a few times in high-school. Turns out I'm not too bad at it!  (Well, not great but better than I expected.) It was also a fun thing to pack to kill time. Not a bad activity to loosen up the legs and stretch muscles.

Next, we had a very technical descent into Keeps Mill Campground. The smiles on the girls faces when I finally made it down was priceless. The White River, which runs alongside the camp, was chalk white. It was like nothing I had seen before. We set up camp while Jocelyn scouted out the best route to cross the river - the first thing on the next days agenda. There were only a few camp spots and a few people at the camp, as most cars would not easily make it down the narrow, steep, rocky road. The few fellow campers were friendly and excited to see a group of ladies ride in on bikes!

We had plenty of time to rest and relax. Good thing for me because the ride kicked my ass. Post dinner, we learned some new games - table traverse and, most important, butt-words. You spell a word with your butt and the others need to guess the letters/word. Quite entertaining! We wound down and headed to bed for the night (I slept hard). 

Keeps Mill vibes. Photo by Krissy.

Keeps Mill vibes. Photo by Krissy.


Day 3 - Sunday Keeps Mill to Government Camp 
Milage 27.9 
Elevation 3,993

River crossing! River crossing! We did a river crossing. Jocelyn had scouted a good route. It worked perfect. We all successfully crossed the river with some spectators cheering us on. We dried our feet on the other side, checked our bikes from the crossing and headed up hill. Lots and lots of uphill. Some paved, some technical. There may have been a few times I cursed the technical climb, maybe even a few times I asked myself what the F-did I get myself into? This was hard. But shortly after the climb, I forgot that part and was stoked that I had accomplished it. It kicked my ass but I did it. 

Kim crossing the literally White River. Photo by Krissy.

Kim crossing the literally White River. Photo by Krissy.

At the top of the climb (well, we thought it was the top of the climb but we were not at the top - but glad to take a break) we stopped for lunch, and a cold wind started up. We all added layers - some in puffy coats. Then, off to climb some more before hitting Bennett Pass Road with one of the most amazing views! Bennett Pass was not road I would want to drive on but I was happy to be on my bike, it was technical but fun. We eventually started going down, again not my strongest bike skill but I was happy to be going down, also happy to be with a group of shredders happy to wait on me. 

Exhausted from a hard ride I was happy but sad to see the cars. We arrived and immediately there was a beer in my hand. These girls really know what they are doing! They have it dialed. Post ride beers and all. We loaded our bags and bikes and the rain started right as we were pulling out. This ride was perfect. Perfectly perfect. 

Bennett Pass viewpoint. Photo by Krissy.

Bennett Pass viewpoint. Photo by Krissy.

I already miss this group of ladies. I hope to ride with them again one day. 

Learnings:  

  • Pack lighter. The Komorebi ladies have it dialed. I will be taking notes of their lean packed machines. 
  • Bike skills, I have a lot to learn from them on how to ride. They let go of the brakes and smile big. 
  • Bring a hacky sack. Get inventive on fun campfire games. 
  • Take in the views, enjoy every moment, make all the stops to read all the things and always smile. 
The fully loaded rig. Photo by Krissy.

The fully loaded rig. Photo by Krissy.

What I packed and how I packed it (to the best of my memory) 

Front bag: Revelate Designs Harness with Large Sea to Summit  Ultra Sil Compression Dry Sack

  • Tent: Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo Explorer 
  • Sleeping Bag: Egret UL 20 
  • Revelate - pouch (attaches to harness) - 2x burritos - Caselli light weight wind jacket / SnowPeak Titanium Mug / Emergency bag (REI) 

Everything Cages: 2x Medium Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Compression Dry Sacks

  • Cage #1 - 
    • Platypus Gravity Works Hydration System 
    • SnowPeak Giga Power Self Light Stove and SnowPeak Trek Combo Titanium (this was a little rattly to have up front - but light - maybe next time use puffy coat to quiet the rattle)
    • Puffy warm jacket / flannel 
  • Cage #2 - 
    • Sea to Summit stuff sack - yes inside another sea to summit bag (I over-due it sometimes - ok all the time - multiple bags help me stay organized and I use my clothes bag as a pillow) clothes - 2x Kits / wool light weight pullover / 2x dry fit socks / 2x wool sox / dry fit t-shirt / shorts / running pants / dry fit fleece lined warm pants (did not need these) / dry fit long sleeve (did not need this) / neck gator (did not need) - Shorts and short sleeve shirt (did not need) I packed too many clothes. 

Seat Bag: Revelate Designs Pika 

  • Small pouch bag - toiletries (Deo / tooth brush / comb / wipes / sunscreen)
  • Small pouch bag - 8x charge Mophie Charger for phone and Garmin 
  • Sleeping pad - Nemo Astro Insulated 
  • Food stuffs (that I did not need while riding) 
    • Mary Janes Farm Organic Rice and Beans x2
    • Mary Janes Farm Organic Lentils and Spice x1 
    • Steel Cut Quick Cook Oats 
    • Starbucks Via (jealous of the other ladies nice pour-over coffee) 
  • Shoes outside of bag attached by strap and carabiner 

Frame Bag: Becker Design Custom Frame Bag: 

  • 2x spare tubes / 4L water bladder / arm warmers / wool hat / spare gloves (easy accessible warm stuff and water) 

Top-Tube Bags:

  • Revelate Jerry Can - levers / multi tool / chain link / PDW CO2 tool / small Castelli packable rain jacket 
  • Revelate Gas Tank - chapstick / snack foods / Phone for pictures
  • Revelate Feedbag - 2x 1 w/water bottle other with gel packs/headlamp and extra space for current food I was eating that day.

Food:

  • 3 dehydrated meals (rice + beans x2 and lentils and spice) - Only used 2
  • 2 Burritos - only ate 1.5
  • Tortilla with peanut butter and chia seed jelly - ate it all (bite size bits using 3 tortillas) 
  • 5x Cheese sticks - ate them all 
  • 3x plain tortillas - ate none of them 
  • 3x chia seed natural berry gel packs - ate them all
  • 3x baby food gel pack things - ate none of them 

Post by Krissy Brunsman.