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…