The 20th edition of the famed 24 Hours of Adrenalin race in Canmore has come and gone, and with it came some of the most epic, muddy, nasty conditions I have personally ever experienced in my 10 years of racing the event.
Myself and Coleman raced as a 2-person team, and it may have just been the most testing single day event we've done yet. (I am starting to think 2-person team is more challenging than Solo...)
Coleman has a race report coming, so instead of writing much of the same, I decided to do a quick post on gear.
Gear prep is always important for a race like that, but when the forecast is ugly, even more so. Packing for a 2 person team in Canmore quickly turned into packing close to every single piece of bike gear I own. I pretty much brought everything, including the kitchen sink.
I'm not going to detail every piece of gear that I brought - that would take far too long and be incredibly boring.
But now that the dust has settled... er, I mean mud has dried, there are a few pieces of gear that stand out as my favorites when it came to dealing with the mud and muck at the Nordic Center. In no particular order below, those 5 things are below:
A cycling cap is always a nice edition to your racing kit. We all ride around in helmets with massive vents, designed to let as much air flow through as possible. Adding a cycling cap can help keep the chill off on a mild day. Wearing a specific rain cap adds waterproofing while still remaining breathable (unlike a helmet cover), as well as a brim keeping the rain from your face.
The Gore cap is thin, light, breathable, but does a great job keeping moisture and the chilly wind at bay. Big part of staying comfortable on the bike!
Gore-Tex Bike Wear Equipe GTX Cap ~ $49.95
Front and Rear Fenders
When it comes to having to slog away endless miles in the mud, fenders are worth their weight in gold! A large mud flap in the back kept the mud off my back and saddle, and the front fender did a half decent job keeping mud off the bikes downtube and water-bottle, and of course your face. There were laps where I would come into the transition zone alongside another rider, and you would think we were riding different courses. The rider with no fenders almost indistinguishable from the black mud covering them, and me, looking considerably cleaner.
SKS XL-Blade rear fender, and a Zefal No Mud Fender for the front. $29.95 each
Keeping your feet dry is incredibly important when you have to be going out again after a short break. I don't know that there are many feelings worse than putting on wet shoes when it's cold and nasty out! Unlike most other gear, where it is easy to amass enough to have a fresh change for each lap, most people only have 1 or 2 pairs of shoes.
Most booties are made for road shoes, which means they are thin and not durable when it comes to walking. In the middle of the night in Canmore, the first major singletrack climb of the lap had turned into 6 inch peanut-butter consistency mud, which meant lots of walking at endurance pace. Road booties would not hold up to that. Which is why I went with the Endura MT500 booties - a neoprene waterproof bootie made specifically for mountain biking! The full rubberized sole is the most durable sole on a bootie I've ever seen. In fact, they are the only booties I've owned and used for over a year before needing to replace them (3 years and going strong!)
Endura MT500 Overshoe II ~ $79.95
Wet Chain Lubricant
In muddy conditions, even the best chain lube can be washed away almost instantly, so picking the right lube is even more important! A wet lube, which is thicker and denser than dry, is obviously integral. The longer you could make it into a lap before hearing the dreaded gritty, muddy, grind coming from your drivetrain every pedal stroke, the better.
I've always had good luck with Muc-Off lubes, especially the ceramic products. Before every lap, I'd dose my chain with a hefty amount, which seemed to do the trick. Or at least did as good of a job as you can expect in those conditions!
Muc-Off Ceramic Wet Lube ~ $15.95
Rescue Hydration Mix
Straying away from products that are specific to muddy, rainy conditions, the nutrition side of endurance racing is pretty important. I don't have the nutritional expertise to dish out any major tips and tricks, however I do know enough to know that Skratch Rescue Hydration mix has saved me on multiple occasions. I'm always sipping on an electrolyte drink during these events, but I've found that it hasn't always been enough. Rescue Hydration Mix is loaded with large levels of sodium, and it has brought me back from the brink on multiple occasions. And like all things Skratch, the ingredient list is simple, the taste is light, and it's easy on the stomach.
That's it - 5 things that stood out as my favorite packed items during what was a muddy, rainy, mucky, nasty 24 Hour of Adrenalin (did I mention it was muddy?)
As always thanks for reading - stay tuned for a full race report from Coleman coming soon.