After a recent long distance training cycle I’ve written down some of the key takeaways from the trip.. what I brought, what I did.. what I should have brought.. what I should have done and ultimately what I learnt. Hopefully helps.. 🙂

What did I bring with me….

Bags:

  • 1 frame bag.
  • 1 saddle bag.

Mechanical stuff:

Obviously you’ll need to have sufficient tubes for punctures. I brought 3.

  • 1 “big” tool kit.
  • 4 x Co2 canisters
  • 2 x Tire levers.
  • zip ties.
  • rubber gloves (keep hands clean if had to work on the bike).

Electronics

  • Garmin 1000 (battery optimised – everything turned off / down).
  • Garmin fenix 3 (battery optimised – everything turned off / down).
  • Phone (battery optimised – everything turned off / down).
  • 2 x solar battery packs to charge electronics if needed.
  • 2 x front lights.
  • 2 x rear lights.

Food:

  • 6 x bars
  • 4 x dates
  • 2 x electrolyte tablets

Clothes I packed.

  • 1 x Long sleeve spare jersey.
  • 1 x spare BoB shorts (wore some waterproof ones.. though I somehow though i’d need more.

Clothes I wore:

  • 1 x bib tights
  • 1 x waterproof 3/4 shorts
  • 1 x rain jacket
  • 1 x bob short sleeve jersey
  • 1 x short sleeve base layer

Cable lock (so i could lock the bike up when going into shops or coffee / toilet stops).

This was a LOT of stuff. My bike basically felt twice its weight. At an estimate this was an additional 5 – 10 kg. When you’re going up hills (especially after you’re getting fatigued) this was really noticeable. Hills that would normally have been fine were exhausting in the lowest gear.

What I would not take next time:

I did not need to take the spare shorts or the spare jersey. These were simply not making a decision. If its possible it might rain, and you have rain proof shorts – wear them.
I brought the long sleeve as I didnt know if I would be cold or not. This one is a tough one, it really depends on you as a rider and the weather expected. I get very hot and so typically dont’ ride in a long sleeve. I only actually used this on the train out to Bristol. So would not pack this again either.

I brought 2 x battery packs to charge up stuff. I’d debate even bringing one next time. They’re not huge but they weigh and it all clearly adds up. If you’re smart about turning all the settings down on your garmin / phone / watch they should last.

I brought a lot of food.. all the way back home with me….

I rode 77 miles had like 3 650ml bottles and it was not particularly hot or sweaty (although lugging the extra 10kg did make me sweat at the top of each hill).
Stopped for 45 mins – drank cappuccino, chocolate croissant and flapjack + little bit of coconut water.

Refilled my water bottles.

Rode another 45 miles stopped for ~30 mins – cake + espresso + cheese toasty (dinner) :).

I think for me i could have done the same again like 40 – 50 miles at a time with 30 odd mins in between. Not gonna lie it was brutal, i vlogged it on the go-pro will try make a cut for the yt channel and pretty much every 15 second clip was i’m here, its like X and i’m tired.. I’m now there… its like X and I’m tired… 🙂

Cable lock was useful – really happy I took and totally recommend making sure one is on your pack list.

What I learnt most.

    • pack what you actually need not what you like. (practice and figure out what works for you) – weight will affect you esp as you fatigue.

consider packing sufficiently different foods you will eat, (include cake if pos for when shops are shut).

  • plan how long you can ride before you actually need to rest. i.e. break the ride up in to sections.
  • practice riding for a good few hours. rest / recoup and then repeat.

 

This last one was the biggest thing – getting used to recovering quickly to get back on the road. In some ways I think I wonder if I stopped earlier the first time would I have been less in the “red” and therefore able to recover quicker and move on… who knows. Either way – this is not going to be something we smash out in 1 go, so may as well get used to figuring out how long we can go before we need to get off the bike – recover and get back on again.