How I turned Specialized's budget MTB into the ultimate bikepacking machine

This steed helped me conquer the nearly 400-mile Yomp Rally route in (relative) comfort

Anne-Marije Rook and her bikepacking rig of choice for the Rapha Yomp Rally
(Image credit: Jeff Clark)

A week before the inaugural Rapha Yomp Rally would be rolling from its Santa Barbara startline, the organizer, Brandon Carmada, set out for a recon of the course. His ride was a bit of a disaster, or, as he called it, "a proper adventure."

Mother Nature had wreaked havoc on California all winter long. Carmada said he ran into some 'problems'. Roads and trails had been completely washed away. Debris and rockfall obstructed others. And at some point, he landed himself an '8-hour trek through the wilderness' before getting a ride out and back to civilization.

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Anne-Marije Rook
North American Editor

Cycling Weekly's North American Editor, Anne-Marije Rook is old school. She holds a degree in journalism and started out as a newspaper reporter — in print! She can even be seen bringing a pen and notepad to the press conference.

Originally from The Netherlands, she grew up a bike commuter and didn't find bike racing until her early twenties when living in Seattle, Washington. Strengthened by the many miles spent darting around Seattle's hilly streets on a steel single speed, Rook's progression in the sport was a quick one. As she competed at the elite level, her journalism career followed, and soon she became a full-time cycling journalist. She's now been a cycling journalist for 11 years.