TR Super Poster
Joined: 29 Jan 2004
Location: Bowen Island/Vancouver, BC
|Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:10 pm Post subject: Revised-What to expect on your 1st TR Pt 3-Cycling Clothing
You’ve committed to do the race, you’re training your buns off and you’ve found a partner and it looks like you won’t kill each other by day 2.
Now it’s time for you to dig into the back of the closet and pull out all of your cycling clothing and see what is suitable to make the trek from Fernie to Canmore.
There are a couple of things you need to remember, and unfortunately they are a bit contradictory.
1) Since 2002 TransRockies riders have had to deal with a baffling range of weather. From snow and hypothermia to blazing sun and heat stroke. You will be at high altitude in the middle of the Canadian Rockies. As the locals say, “if you don’t like the weather, just wait for 5 minutes”. You will need far more gear than for your weekend ride with your buddies.
2) You have one duffle bag. The space is limited and you are going to have to cram it all in every morning.
So, your choices of clothing and equipment are going to have to offer the maximum flexibility in the minimum space.
7 pairs of shorts or bibs – After some experimentation I’ve settled on Sugoi shorts and bibs. (I know, they are a sponsor, and they also make great stuff. Talk about a win/win situation.) I’ve used everything from Sugoi’s entry level NeoPro shorts up to very deluxe RS Flex bibs. Shorts, and chamois, are a VERY personal choice. Every model is different. The seams etc. are in different places and what works for you may drive me crazy. You need to make sure that your shorts are comfy 6 hours into a hot sweaty ride. If you want to sample Dr. Marty’s magic butt cream the best way is to wear your shorts for multiple days without washing them. The cream does work wonders, but you’ll be much happier if you never need it.
7 short sleeve jerseys – Ideally you and your partner will have matching jerseys. This both aids the esprit de corps, but also has another benefit. The rules say that you can be no more than 2 minutes apart. Matching distinctive jerseys make it so much easier to find one another in a crowd. Sugoi offers a custom jersey program with pretty reasonable minimums. In my first years I tried long-sleeve jerseys, but the conditions can change so quickly that the inherent inflexibility of a long sleeve jersey makes it a poor choice. If you need warm arms, wear arm warmers.
10 to 12 pairs of socks – I’ve used both synthetic and wool socks. I’ve found wool socks to be great for days with river crossings, especially if the weather is on the cool side. Extra pairs mean that you can take a spare pair on cold soggy days. Warm dry socks make for very happy feet.
2 pairs of cycling shoes - Shoes will die. It is a fact of life. In the 2008 TR I had one pair where the upper separated from the sole. On my other pair I tore out a toe stud and it took a chunk of the sole. Take 2 pairs and make sure they are broken in and you can hike-a-bike in them without getting crippling blisters.
1 pair over booties – These are mainly insurance but have been almost a necessity on a couple of years. (2002 and 2004) If you can find some that leave most of the tread exposed it will make walking much easier.
1 pair waterproof socks – A waterproof/breathable sock is great for wet days with lots of hike-a-bike. They don’t offer the same warmth as over booties, but they do leave the sole of your shoes exposed for maximum grip.
1 to 2 pairs of leg warmers – The TR stages start in valley bottoms early in the morning. Out of the sun in a mountain valley it can be a bit nippy. By the time you’ve been riding for a while you’ll be pulling off the warmers, but for the first hour or so you’ll be glad of them. I bring one lightweight and one midweight pair. If they have zips in the lower legs it will make undressing so much easier.
1 pair knee warmers – A more flexible and less committing option than leg warmers, they still offer a bit of extra warmth for cool mornings and mountain passes.
2 pairs of arm warmers – The great thing about arm warmers is that it is so easy to pull them off while riding if you get a bit hot. Folded up in the pack they occupy almost no space, but if you are feeling a bit chilled they can make all of the difference.
1 lightweight jacket – On most days this will stay stuffed in a little ball at the bottom of your hydration pack, but if the temperature drops, or if you need to stop for a while to do some trailside repairs, you’ll be glad you have it. Windproof and highly water repellent should do the trick.
1 lightweight vest – I’ve started many days with this on. Along with arm warmer and knee or leg warmers a lightweight vest gives you a very flexible combination for all sorts of weather. You’ll probably take the vest off by the first aid station, but at less than 100 grams it is cheap insurance. (And in combination with a lightweight jacket the vest will cover the coolest weather you’re likely to encounter.)
1 waterproof jacket – When it rains/snow/sleets etc. you will get very wet and very cold very quickly. Lots of people bring along a PVC cycling jacket. A perfectly fine choice, and affordable to boot. In the past I brought a Sugoi waterproof/breathable with pit zips. A bit heavier, but on long days a lot more comfortable. For 2010, I bought a new lightweight Sugoi jacket. Waterproof and breathable, and compact to boot.
1 toque/beanie/ear warmers etc. – When it gets chilly in the Rockies you can freeze the old noggin pretty quickly. A light hat that fits under your helmet can be a real life saver.
5 to 7 pairs of gloves – I prefer all long fingered gloves, although some people prefer fingerless in hot weather. Either way, make sure that the gloves are broken in and you have a selection of gloves for all conditions. I brought along very light weight, mid weight, waterproof and insulated waterproof. Your gloves will get wet and very dirty.
In future instalments I’ll cover the clothing and equipment that you’ll need for camp.