If our recent experience with stage racing has taught me anything, it’s the importance of being prepared.

It’s not to say that Sheldon and I weren’t prepared for regular mountain-adventure circumstances (ie. rain, sun, wind, etc.), we just weren’t prepared to have almost the worst of them shoveled to us repeatedly for several days. Warm weather poses it’s own challenges, but gear isn’t usually one of them (unless you count hydration and sunscreen ;-), bad weather, especially day after day, will truly test what you and your gear is made of.

I can’t speak for Sheldon, but I know that I mulled over my packing list for quite some time as the Transrockies approached. I was rushed pulling everything together (as usual), but at least I had planned things out in my head ahead of time.

Simon Parker (who we had the pleasure of riding with later in the race), has pulled together a great 10-part series of articles about ‘What to expect on your first Transrockies’, and although he does a great job at outlining a gear list, I thought I would share mine with you in a slightly more condensed manner.

One thing that I will mention is that being properly prepared for stage racing requires a sincere amount of gear, and outside of your regular gear you’re going to want to stock up on some replacement parts, and be prepared for things to break and/or wear out. With that said, it’s worthwhile developing a relationship with your local bike shop – Explain to them the race you’re planning and oftentimes they’ll let you buy the additional parts you need and return whatever you don’t use (so long as they don’t have to special order parts). Even though it’s a chunk of cash out of your pocket up front, at least you’ll be able to recoup some costs after the race (assuming you don’t use all the extra parts ;-).

So without further ado, here’s most of what found it’s way into my gear bag:

  • Black = Items I took
  • Blue = Items Simon recommends (that I didn’t take)

Gear – bike:

  • On the bike:
    • Hydration pack
    • Lube
    • Multi tool w/chainbreaker
    • Duct tape
    • Tire levers
    • Derailleur hanger
    • Patch kit
    • Tire boot
    • Extra tube (even if you’re running tubeless)
    • Pump
    • Light (Super small emergency LED)
    • Whistle (Just in case, you fall of the side of a mountain or something)
    • Locking blade knife (I always have this with me… You never know when it’ll be handy)
    • First aid kit (I usually have an ‘ultra-lite’ adventure version that weighs next to nothing) w/emergency blanket
    • Advil (needs to always be on hand)
  • Off the bike:
    • Derailleur hangers (2-3)
    • Extra tire boot
    • Spokes (3 per wheel)
    • Inner tube (in addition to the one you have in your hydration pack)
    • SRAM quicklinks (or extra chainlinks)
    • Brake pads (i went through 3 pair)
    • Pedal cleats + screws
    • Extra tire (for punctures and for different conditions – though I didn’t have extra mud tires, the Fast Traks did admirably)
    • Extra set of pedals
    • Seat (I went with a race seat and swapped it out for more of an ‘enduro’ seat a few days later)
    • Any specialty tools specific to your bike (ie. special spoke wrenches)
    • Shifter cable / housings
    • Front derailleur
    • Derailleur
    • Additional brake Rotor

Gear – personal:

  • Base level:
    • Glasses
    • Helmet
    • Gloves x 2-7 depending on weather (I only had 2, which was a large oversight… Starting the day with cold, wet hands is not optimal)
    • Shorts x 7 (I only had 5, which again, wasn’t optimal)
    • Shoes
    • Socks x 10
    • Jersey x 7
    • HR monitor
    • Wind proof, water resistant light shell (this should be in your pack EVERY day – Sheldon & I learned this the hard way)
  • Cold weather:
    • Arm warmers
    • Neoprene gloves (I think that both Sheldon and I now swear by these things. You can literally submerge your hands in freezing water and be comfortable. At some points during the race our hands were the only warm parts of our bodies)
    • Lightweight windproof vest
    • Toque
    • Water proof jacket/pants (I brought these, but am really of two minds about it… I can’t handle the lack of breathability in completely waterproof gear, even when it’s really shitty)
    • 6-7 pairs of heavier socks
    • Extra pair of shoes
    • Over booties
    • Leg/knee warmers x 2-3
    • Arm warmers x 2-3
  • Warm weather:
    • Hat
    • Sunscreen
    • Electrolyte tablets

Gear – camp:

  • Towel
  • Garbage bags (for your gross gear)
  • Water bottle (for hydration – carry this around with you and always be drinking)
  • Warm change of clothes
  • Camping chair
  • Warm/wool socks x 7
  • Flipy floppies
  • Pants (poly/nylon blend)
  • Shorts
  • Fleece vest / jacket
  • Underwear x 7
  • Short + long sleeve tshirts (sport specific – you won’t be excercising, but if it’s wet out, it’ll help)
  • Newspaper (to dry out wet shoes)
  • Rags
  • Rubber gloves
  • Camera
  • Headlamp
  • Butt butter
  • Toilettries
  • Clothesline
  • Towel
  • Sleeping pad
  • Sleeping bag
  • Shoes

Nutrition:

Despite an excellent assortment of fuel at the checkpoints, I’d still recommend carrying your nutrition staples of choice. I usually relied on the checkpoints for quick boosts of energy and salt (ie. a couple gels and handfuls of chips) along with hydration, but for the longer burn stuff (bars, sandwiches, etc.) I used my own stash. This list will be very personal, but this is what I carried with me:


Post race

Outside of all your preparation before the race and all the gear you need to bring with you on the race itself, you should also be prepared to dump some cash into your bike after the race – I know I needed a new granny chainring, a new cassette, and new cables & housings. Some other racers needed more, some needed less, just prepare yourself for a bump in the pocket book when you return to civilization.

Also, not that it’s a big deal to do it yourself, but I thought I would pop the above list into a handy dandy Excel Spreadsheet for you guys (and gals) to use as a starting point for your gear lists.