The list below is a comprehensive list of all that I took on the Transcontinental Race 2015. If you’re looking for help compiling your own 2016/17 TCR kit list, take from it what you like but be wary, kit lists are much more personal then I first thought and the more you know what works for you the better.
BIKE & COMPONENTS
Woodrup Cycles Columbus Max custom
Tubus front rack
Chris King Headset
ENVE Aero Bars
ENVE 100mm Stem
ENVE Aero Clamp TT bars
ENVE layback Seat post
Fizik Arione VS Carbon
Pacenti SL25, DT swiss spokes
Chris King rear Disc Hub
Supernova Infinity 8 Dynamo Front Hub
Clement Strada LGG Tan Wall 28mm Tyres
SRAM Force 22 Hyrdo CX1 (1×11 – 38)
SRAM CX1 11-36 Cassette
The Bike was absolutely bomb proof. Okay it wasn’t the lightest in the field by no means but I wasn’t at all bothered. It’ll race (within reason due to the disc’s), tour and jaunt the city, It’ll probably even do CX without issue.
The cockpit was a little aggressive and maybe if I’d raised it a little higher with a different choice of TT bars it might have helped me mid Italy when I hit problems with my neck.
28mm tyres were perfectly adequate for the off road sections, loads of people seemed to get tide up on tyre size, 25/28 seem the most popular at the time. The clement strada tyres looks amazing and role really nice but the tyre walls aren’t protected enough which is where I saw problems occur.
CX1-11. So many people went out of their way to tell me how running 1×11 would be ‘brave’ or ‘stupid’. What people failed to note was my one ring was pretty much the same as the majorities compact chain ring. I ran a 42 tooth chain ring on 11/36 cassette which was absolutely perfect. I didn’t suffer on the climbs nor did I spin out on the flats.
As much as I’m anti saddle bag, having it in such an accessible place was a huge benefit for time. When I got flat tyre or any mechanical issue I didn’t have to dig around in my luggage or empty the contents to find what tool I needed.
I joked about how running Di2 was pointless last year, my concern was mechanicals and battery charge. One thing I took for granted was loosing the use of my hands due to preasure points / nerve damage. Di2 would have meant changing gear wouldn’t have been as much a problem as it became. When I arrived in Italy I literally couldn’t use my fingers to shift the stick, I had to use the force of my knuckles/hand to shift it far enough.
Restrap ‘Carryeverything’ Magnetic Frame Bag
Restrap ‘Carryeverything’ Magnetic Touring Panniers
Fizik Saddle Bag
Restrap net musette
I’d been testing the early prototypes of the Restrap CarryEverything range since November last year but that’s only the velcro version. The magnetic system was new to me and it was only 3 months before the race that I got the bike so testing was short lived. The magnetic system was a lot more solid then I first thought. Admittedly both me and Nathan we’re apprehensive about the panniers bags as they we’re the first prototype versions and the locking system was really meant for vertical locking. None the less the panniers held up without an issues at all. Even over the mountain pass where I thought I’d have a few issues because of the terrain the luggage stayed attached without fault.
I consciously choose panniers for the race, the ease of getting equipment in and out was what made this setup the best in my personal opinion. In the future I’d avoid taking panniers or a rear saddle bag and try and take only a bar bag and frame bag. Less is more and a lot of what I took I didn’t use. Getting as much weight off the bike is much more important then I first thought, less to carry, less to make your body suffer over weight. The items you think will be luxuries or necessities probably won’t be used as much as you think and in honesty you should be spending more time riding and less time using anything you pack! That’s the best way to think about it!
TOOLS & SPARES
Lezyne Micro Floor Drive HP
Topeak Alien 2 Multi Tool
2x inner Tubes
2x rim tape
Brake cable, chain lube, nuts and bolts.
Quicklinks for chain
The tools I took we’re perfect, there wasn’t anything I didn’t use or wouldn’t want to avoid taking in the future. I ended up using all my tubes and the rim tape wouldn’t have been necessary if the original rim tape installed on my rims was the correct size.
The Lezyne Micro Floor Drive HP was a real asset to this tool selection, had it not been a floor pump I would have struggled to put enough pressure in the tyres.
Alpkit Bivy bag (or what ever other shelter I can find if needs be)
Thermarest Xlite air matt
Rab Neutrino 200
Both the floor matt and the sleeping bag were essential, the sleeping bag was maybe a little bit warmer then necessary but this only effected me in the size of it, I didn’t necessarily over heat.
The time and ability needed to put up a tarp is unnecessary – shelter can be found in many places then I first expected and if it’s raining and you’re tired, chances are you’ll ride until you can find some sort of shelter as apposed to stopping to put up a tarp.
EATING – DRINKING
Leatherman Multi tool (Knife)
2L Camel Back
Emergency food pack (Gel, two cliff bars)
Spork is always a wise choice but admittedly it didn’t get used once. There was no time to stop for anything I could open up and dig into like maybe a pasta or cuscus salad box – the only times I did stop for main meals would be at restaurants that provided cutlery. I didn’t really use my leatherman either but again, something I’d rather take then not especially given it had pliers attached. Having some form of emergency food pack was essential, maybe it was a little over kill (4 bars, 2 gels) but I did find myself running out at points and it just tide me over until I could replenish.
The camelback was a little over kill and didn’t get used, 3 bottles was perfectly adequate from stop to stop.
iPod touch (music)
Plug Charging unit
2x portable power packs
Back up lights
Both my iPhone and Garmin 810 we’re relied upon from time to time. I didn’t follow my route as specifically as first thought so my phone was pretty handy in finding alternative routes through cities when it was too fiddly on my garmin.
Charging was something I didn’t have a great deal of experience with and it’s safe to say I was optimistic when I thought I’d be able to switch between 4/5 different items. Inevitably I generally switched between Garmin and iPhone and couldn’t spare much time to charge other devices.
Back up lights were essential. There was one point where I ran out of rear light charge and it would have taken far too long to charge the original.
Snap Bangs (dog deterrent)
Zip ties, electrical tape, duck tape
Muc Off Towel
Castelli Race Cape
Uniqlo down jacket
Ibuprofen / Paracetamol
I didn’t use half of the above. Mace spray, snap bangs might have been useful close to turkey but otherwise they were just dead weight. My down jacket was essential and got worn on most evenings/descents. Equally both lip balm and Alcohol gel were used throughout the race.
Over all, the majority of the kit above was used in one way another… My medical pack was maybe a little big and the towel, boxers, mace spray, snap bangs and note pad weren’t as necessary as first thought.
I spent hours and hours obsessing over what everyone else were taken or had taken in the past. This wasn’t the best way to go about sorting a kit list. The best way to really grasp whats important and whats not is experience. I’d have benefited so much more by simply sleeping out over night some where, anywhere, as close to a race simulation as possible.