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Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…

TIaRT: Mandatory Gear

In honor of today’s Take It and Run Thursday over at the Runners Lounge, – Relays, Ultras, and Tris – Oh My! – I thought I’d returned to one of the very first blog posts I wrote, nearly a year ago.  “Take a break from the ‘norm,'” the Lounge suggests, “and join a conversation about the other running events you enjoy.”

Last June, as I was getting ready for my first 24-hour adventure race, I sat in our spare bedroom, marveling at all of the gear necessary to complete such an event.  That race turned out to be a bust, as I got sick at the start and ended up having to pull off the course 9 hours in (all the gory details have been recorded for posterity…).  

But later on tonight, I will be sitting in the exact same room, packing the exact same equipment, as I get ready for my second foray into overnight racing, at this weekend’s 27-hour Longest Day (and Night).  Perhaps I have a little bit more racing and packing experience this time, but I’m still just as amazed at the amount of stuff it takes to get us from start to finish.

So, without further ado…

The amount of time it requires to get ready for an adventure race is often proportional to the distance of the race itself.

For a six-hour “sprint” race, for instance, you need the obvious gear: mountain bike, helmet, bike shoes, running shoes, raincoat, whistle, paddle, emergency cell phone, first aid kit, bailer, compass, and enough fuel to sustain you over a 20-mile-ish course.

Sometimes, you add things like a third seat for the canoe, “protective eyewear” (IE – sunglasses), a tow line (I’ll write more on this later) or a PFD (life jacket), if you happen to have your own, but all in all, relatively simple, right? You just put on bike shorts, tights, socks, and a jersey, and you’re all set to go.

(Of course, I should add the caveat that since Brent and I started racing together, my gear junkie of a husband has dealt with most of the ‘team’ mandatory gear preparation, so I suppose it’s possible that getting ready for a sprint is more complicated than it appears to the novice racer’s eye.)

For a 12-hour race, the list will grow to include things like a headlamp (in case you get lost and stuck out after dark) additional clothing (in case you get lost and stuck out after dark), and a space blanket (in case you get lost and stuck out after dark), along with the additional food and water required to carry yourself across 50 miles.

Mind you, many of these races will operate out of a central TA, or transition area, to which you will return one or more times throughout the course of the race to trade out gear and replenish on fuel. So you’re not necessarily carrying everything with you all at once.

Yesterday, we began getting ready for this weekend’s 24-hour race in and around Promise Land State Park, in northeastern PA. After spending an hour and far too much money at REI on bike tubes, glow sticks, and enough food to carry two people over 100 miles, I began to question my (our) sanity… Here are some highlights for the mandatory gear list provided by the race directors:

• Headlamp (hands free and water-resistant with at least one extra set of batteries
and in working order)
• Survival space blanket (capable of accommodating 1 person)
• Fleece or polypro top (Long sleeve and sized to fit user)
• 3 chem.-lights (IE – glow-sticks)
• Rappel harness (tentative)
• Duct tape (recommended) (6 feet minimum)
• Front bike light mounted on the front of the bicycle and projecting a white light.
• Rear bike light (red and flashing)

For point of reference, here is the gear list for Primal Quest [a 10-day race held in Montana last summer]…

What kind of sport am I getting myself into???

More tales of race preparation and a post-race report to come…

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8 responses to “TIaRT: Mandatory Gear

  1. I Run for Fun June 4, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Whew! How do you do it???10-day race? Do people actually survive that? Good luck on Saturday! Will be keeping my fingers crossed for you.

  2. Angela and David Kidd June 5, 2009 at 12:39 am

    I have never even heard of a survival space blanket. The fact that you are doing races that requires them is pretty hard core.Good luck this weekend.

  3. Natalie D June 5, 2009 at 2:02 am

    Here it is – good luck!

  4. merrymishaps June 5, 2009 at 2:48 am

    Wow, I'm not really familiar with this type of event. That's a lot of gear. Good luck!

  5. X-Country2 June 5, 2009 at 3:11 am

    This is all so interesting. I wouldn't even know where to start for a race like this.

  6. Denise June 5, 2009 at 11:57 am

    You'll be all set for the ultra…you're used to having a ton of stuff for race day!

  7. RunToFinish June 6, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    good golly it sounds like you must be a pack mule to compete in these races! do you practice things with a pack to get used to the weight?

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