TransRockies survival tips

How to handle mountain bike epics

In their final installment our intrepid TransRockies bloggers offer their top tips for surviving a multi-day mountain bike epic.

Everyone who rides a bike should consider the Trans Rockies. You do not have to be the fastest or most hard core rider. Every day you get fed, watered and somewhere to sleep and if you want it someone will wash and clean your bike, massage your legs and drive your RV if a tent is not your thing, so put it on your to do list.

We were lucky that friends had been before so they have us some good pointers on what to expect. Here are our top tips in no particular order.

1. Take a good quality bike in good repair, no skimping! Your bike goes through hell every day and if it rains this will be ten times worse. Check everything from your bottle cage bolts to your wheel bearings. You do not need a full suspension bike as a lot of it is fast, on gravel roads, double tracks and uphill! Our On-one Scandals were great and the 29er perfect given the speed we were going at.

2. Go a week in advance and acclimatize to the altitude, heat and sheer length of climbs! Make a proper trip out of it and get into the groove of riding in hot weather with climbs that go on for over an hour.

3. Have a fresh set of kit for each day. If your shorts are old and slightly warn then don't bring them! Some people wash and dry their kit each day, this is extra faff and it might rain! Having fresh kit with a good chamois is worth the investment. Arm warmers and a gillet were perfect for the early morning chill and good gloves are essential.

4. Be as fit as you can buy do not overkill. Being able to go steady for hour after hour is better than pure race speed. You are going to have to carry your bike for up to an hour so be prepared.

5. Establish a post race routine. When you get over the finish line you will want to wash your bike, drink, eat, stretch and get a massage, pack your kit for the next day, fill your Camelbak and fix your bike. There are two of you so it is worth splitting the jobs up and getting it done.

6. Take a few luxuries, especially post race snacks that are as far removed from Clif bars as possible. Have a bit of cash in your bag and when you arrive in one of the more built up towns buy some tasty food!
7. Book a massage from days 2 to 6 as your legs will be very grateful. You need cash, currently 40 dollars for 30 minutes. Not a bargain but worth every penny.

8. Take spare parts and a few tools or be prepared to pay the mechanics a good rate! At a minimum have a spare tyre, spare brake pads, spare cable, bolts, chain, derailleur and lube. Carry lube on the ride as chain suck will ruin your day! Include some painkillers as well as it might not only be your bike that is broken.

9. Apply butt cream every day. Even if you are not a fan this stuff will save your week. The medical team had a magic mixture for those that were raw but try not to let it get this bad!

10. Choose your partner carefully. Not only do you want to get on really well with your team mate, but you need to know how they tick. The mix of terrain means that it is really useful to have a good climber set the pace on the hills and a power rider pushing the flats.

Now make sure you book early!

See also:

TransRockies blog: Race is over!
TransRockies blog: Almost there!
TransRockies blog: Falling down on stage 1
TransRockies blog: Bears, bells and cake

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