There’s nothing like an endurance race with biblical proportions of rain and mud to test equipment to the max so here’s a few things that worked and didn’t with my kit list.
This light was a recent purchase. I’ve recently felt outgunned in the lighting arms race so treated myself to this ahead of D2D.I had expected it to last 3 laps on full power but because of the stupidly long lap times I had a low battery warning flash up on my third. This warning light saved my bacon really as I then discovered my back up light didn’t work so I switched the Lupine onto its low setting to get me home.
They stood up to the conditions fine but I would change some of the flexible settings to suit a solo ride even better as I don’t think I need to run them on full from the start with a plodding solo pace.
Exposure Joystick Light
I’d normally run this in tandem with a bar light but for an all night effort it was kept as my back up and only intended to get me to the end of a lap if my main light failed. Unfortunately when I needed the Joystick it simply didn’t work.
Luckily, however, the guys from USE were providing the charging tent this year and they cleaned out the battery port and got it going again in a jiffy. They also gave me a red LED plug-in which acts as a rear light and also conveniently keeps the charging port from getting full up with moisture and mud. Top customer service but a little worrying it let me down when I needed it.
It had never happened before in the rain though so I put it down to the horrendous conditions. Apparently just a simple bit of tape over the port can work too if you ever have face a similar problem and need a quick fix.
Endura bib shorts
I decided that a night time race was safe to bring out the lycra and even though I got wet (soaked…) they didn’t cause any discomfort and remained comfy. I should use them more really as they are undoubtedly more practical in the rain than baggies.
Northwave winter boots
I like these normally, they’re totally waterproof but aren’t too bulky so are ideal for southern winters where full on winter boots are a little overkill. However, they suffered the eternal winter boot problem of filling up with water and remaining wet. Not nice and there must be a better solution.
I used Avid’s own brand sintered pads and they stood up pretty good considering the conditions but eventually wore out. I’d be interested to know whether those running shimano suffered at all as they seemed designed to retract more.
The non waterproof ones got wet through and the waterproof ones filled up with water! Either way my hands ended up like soaked prunes. I’m never going to throw out old gloves again and use them endurance racing. Fresh gloves each lap is definitely a good morale boost when conditions are bad.
Would have been fantastic but I forgot it.
For Goodness Shakes Recovery drink
Other moles mentioned these were good and I agree. The chocolate is my favourite and really does seem to help. I don’t feel so exhausted the day after a big ride and having a choccy milkshake is a nice way to recover.
Mole HQ at these events is getting increasingly sophisticated. Gazebos coupled with a gas heater make life comfortable and don’t underestimate the power of good team morale.
On-One geared hardtail
The bike held up reasonably well. No doubt a singlespeed would have been a good choice in the mud bath but it’s amazing how much a derailleur can put up with and keep working. The main problem is wear and the cost of upkeep in the mud and I haven’t had the willpower to look at the potential bill since.
Overall I think that very little clothing can cope with the conditions faced this year and I think the best option is accept you’ll get wet and just take enough clothes to be able to change regularly. Waterproof gloves and boots just seem to collect the water is my conclusion.