When Evan and I raced the Epic in '15, we were in the dark about a lot of things regarding the race and when it came to what we should bring, we made a point of erring on the side of overpacking. We packed lots, used most, but apart from a few items we really could have benefited from and didn't have, we did just fine.
'15 Epic: Home sweet home
Packing our bags - DON'T FORGET THE BAR SOAP AND FLIP-FLOPS!!
The race requires us to transfer to a couple different race villages. While we ride village to village, our single race bag, is transferred via semi and it greets us in the days arrival town. We are only allowed to use the provided roller bag for kit and gear so we are somewhat limited in what we can pack for the 8 days of racing. Over time, a list of absolute necessity is drafted, then pondered, double pondered, and then super triple pondered. We pack more than we'll need in Edmonton, but what will make it to Meerendal, the prologue start town, will likely be a lot less,
When we reach Cape Town, and from the opulence of our hotel room, we will layout all that we brought from home, and start to whittle down the fodder into ***two piles - one of necessity and one of luxury. A wad of $Rand$ and a credit card takes up little space, and in a pinch can provide us with luxury if and when we need it, but we can't rely on money to replace everything as somethings can and will prove to be "irreplaceable". Take flip-flops for instance. In '15, we didn't think to pack them, and with 1200 people showering after 8 hours on a bike, they would have been worth $1000 after my imagination drew up what I was stepping in, in the shower.
***whiskey makes it into neither
I look at my must haves as if it's the bare minimum I'd need to ride one day, I then double it because we can launder one kit every day (more on that later), and then add items from there. Think about what you'd need to go for a rip at home: Shoes, kit, helmet gloves, glasses, bottle... oh and a bicycle. Given this race is 8 days, and sees some rugged terrain, and weather is unpredictable, the basics simply won't cut it.
'15 the makings of a pile (1/2 never left the hotel)
I'm not willing to commit to specific quantities of some items on the following list, but you'll get the general idea of what I/we will be stuffing into our Scicon Race Bag. Start thinking of this like circus clowns in a Volkswagen and it will all come together.
- 2x RVH/Pedalhead kits. A mobile laundry service is in every race village. (Contemplating an emergency kit)
- 1x Bell Zephyr helmet. No extra helmet as space is an issue and I feel that if I need a new helmet, something has gone wrong and finishing is in question.
- 3x caps. Sun makes it's way through a helmet, and my bald head won't like it so I wear a sun cap with visor. I also pack a typical cap for the cool AM's and the visor is nice when it rains.
- Giro Code VR70 shoes. Again due to space restraints, one pair is all we have room for. Duct tape is in our emergency kit, and that can fix just about anything, right MacGyver?
- 2x Smith Optic frames with 2x clear, 2x low, and 2x high light lenses.
- 4x gloves. Fresh gloves during the day can be so refreshing. I'll have 2 pairs in laundry rotation, and ride with an extra pair.
- Chamois cream, LOT'S OF CHAMOIS CREAM! I'd invent a hamster like h2o dispenser thingy that would dribble a constant flow of butt cream throughout the day if I thought it were possible. The med tent has a "Bum Dr"... You don't want to have to see someone called the "Bum Dr"!
- 4x socks. 2 pairs for the daily laundry rotation, and some emergency pairs. Laundry comes back damp and donning wet socks is unacceptable.
- H2O bottles. 5 provided by the race, and I'll bring 6-8 and use 2 a day - I'll likely throw some away along the way because they will start to stink.
- 2L Camelbak. Never thought I'd ever wear one, but the one day in '15 we drank about 12L of liquid on course, and we couldn't have done that with just bidons.
- Coolers. Not an Igloo, but Sugoi arm coolers. They are magic when wet. A full sleeve of wicking magic and sun protection that truly live up to their name, and cool off your arms.
- Rain coat. Double duty item here. Not just for rain, but in the event it's not 40°C it's worn to keep warm.
- Warmers: Arm, leg, knee. Don't expect to use, but when and if we need, they'd be hard to find in the race village.
- Rear derailleur hanger. What's this? It's the $20 part that connects your expensive derailleur to the frame and is designed to break in the event of a crash, instead of said expensive derailleur.
- Tubes, co2 inflators, strip of plastic to mend a tires sidewall, hand pump, multi-tool. Tubes and co2 are available int he village if we need to replenish stock. (knock on wood)
- First aid kit, duct tape, Leatherman,
- Food/fuel. Easily as important to get the amount correct as the rest of the stuff on this list. We have to fit protein mix, Skratch, bars/gels/chews for 8 days of racing.
- Sleeping bag/bag liner. We live in a tent. After drinking 8 bottles of protein drink, we are thankful the tents are well ventilated too.
- Toiletries. The usual, and more. I like ginger Gravol to help with the belly aches on/off bike. Ibuprofen. Sunscreen. AND BAR SOAP!! We forgot bar soap last time. It made for creative showering.
Paper or plastic:
The list is long, and some of it's worn during the stage so it doesn't all have to fit into the race bag (Camelbak, helmet, shoes etc.). This makes some room for extra parts like a 2nd set of pedals, grips, maybe even a tire. Last time we packed some parts that we didn't need, and if we did, we discovered they were all for sale int the village. This time, we know a little bit more of how to lighten our load.
The '15 Cape Epic became all about routine for us. From the second we heard the bagpipes to the instant our eyes closed, we were on a schedule. My next post in this series will try to depict a view of a typical day at the Epic.
As always, thank you for reading.