If you've been reading this blog for any bit of time, you're familliar with the Mountains to Sound race taking place tomorrow in western Washington. I just returned from driving to each of the transition areas so my support team (i.e. Kristin) can get a feel for where she needs to bring my gear. Despite considering abandoning my attempt at the race earlier this week, I'm now a mere 17 hours from its scheduled start time and I cannot wait. But I have a lot of preparation to take care of first. To help me wrap my head around what I need to pack, I thought I'd list the equipment needed for each leg of the race. I'm posting it on the blog on the off chance someone out there actually cares.
Leg 1: Mountain Bike (23 miles)
Surprisingly, this is the leg I'll be strongest in and it was also the one that gave me the most trouble in making an equipment choice. The mountain bike leg is actually on the Iron Horse Trail which is a gravel, rails-to-trails path and has zero technical features other than a pitch-black 2 mile long tunnel. It's wide and it's all downhill from Snoqualmie Pass to Rattlesnake Lake. Although I bought lightweight racing wheels for my mountain bike earlier this season, after much deliberation I decided to ride my cyclocross bike instead of the mountain bike. My mountain bike is a full-suspension rig and even with the front shock locked out, it's still not as fast as my cyclo-cross bike. On the other hand, the cyclocross bike isn't as comfortable (and it's going to be a long day), can get squirrely in loose gravel, and has a greater risk of a flat tire due to it basically being a road bike with skinny knobby tires. I decided the pros outweighed the negative and will take a chance on the faster steed.
- Trek XO cyclocross bike fitted with Time ATAC mtb pedals
- NiteRider HID + LED light system
- Helmet, gloves, mountain bike shoes
- Camelback with water, spare tubes, pump
Leg 2: Road Bike (50 miles)
I'm going to have all of the stuff I need for each leg in separate milk crates and Kristin is going to tie a helium balloon to each crate to help me find my gear as I enter the transition area. The 50 mile road bike leg will be early enough in the day that I don't need to worry about mass amounts of fluids. Although it's supposed to be about 88 and sunny all day tomorrow. Instead, my concerns for the road bike leg center around the cobblestone roads near the end of the course and the high probability of getting a flat tire. In short, I couldn't decide whether to mount a pump to the frame, bring a Camelback, or risk it all with a couple of CO2 cartridges. Fortunately, I found the perfect racing jersey today with pockets for extra tubes, thereby freeing up room in my rather smallish saddle bag (the shirt I was going to wear had no pockets).
In transition I'll be switching helmets to quickly rid myself of the heavy light system and I'll be shedding the Camelback and changing into my Sidi road biking shoes. I'll wear my roadie gloves for the mountain bike leg and will leave them on. I'll gobble down some Cliff Bloks and Gatorade Endurance Formula before heading out on the road bike.
- Scattante R660 road bike w/ 1 bottle of water and 1 bottle of Gatorade
- Helmet, road bike shoes, skull cap for sweat
- Energy gels and Cliff Bloks
- spare tubes, CO2, toolkit
Leg 3: Kayak (12 miles)
No real decisions to make here. I only have one kayak and there's not a lot of room in the cockpit area for a lot of gear. I'm going to drop the kayak off at 5:30 in the morning before the race so Kristin doesn't need to worry about unloading it from the roof of my Element during the race. Instead, she'll just need to bring along my crate full of gear. The only things I'll already have on that I'll need are my cycling gloves (to prevent blisters while paddling) and my sunglasses.
Since this will be roughly 4 hours into the race and the sun will be high in the sky by time I reach Luke McRedmond Park and step off the road bike, I plan to slow down and eat and hydrate well in the transition area. I'll have more Gatorade Endurance Formula waiting for me, likely two small cans of V-8 (sodium, baby!), some beef jerky, raisins, and maybe some fruit. The easy part of the race is done and now it's going to start getting really hot. There's also that little issue of me being a total newbie when it comes to kayaking. I've done it four times and never more than 5 miles. This should be fun.
- Necky Manitou 13 foot kayak, type-3 life vest, paddle
- Merrel water sandals
- mesh hat, sunscreen, bug spray
- Energy gels and Cliff Bloks taped to front of life vest
- 100oz Camelback filled with dillute Gatorade
- bottle filled with Accelerade
Legs 4 & 5: Running (19.5 miles)
The running portion of the race has an aid station ever 6 miles or so, so I won't need to take too much with me. Which is a good thing. All I'll really need to do is put on dry socks and shoes, strap on my fuel belt, and snag some food. I can't drink full-strength Gatorade while running and I definitely can't put down solid food without cramping so transition won't be as much of a feast as the previous one. The only choice to make regarding the running legs is whether or not to bring an MP3 player. I was thinking about it, but I always believed that a big part of endurance racing was being strong enough to deal with the sensory deprivation and I always sneered at those who ran marathons with headphones on. I'll be bored, but I'll continue my no-entertainment trend and leave the headphones for training instead.
- Brooks running sneakers, dry socks
- Fuel Belt with four 6oz flasks of water and/or dillute Gatorade.
- Energy gels & Cliff Bloks
Yikes. That's a lot of stuff to prepare. Time to start packing!