Tuscany Trail 2019

24. 06. 2019

Pacenti owner tests our wheels to their limits.

2019 Tuscany Trail.

Tuscan Raider. 340miles of finest Italian Gravel riding. (It’s not a race honest)

It started as most ideas for a crazy bike adventure do, with a simple thought. This time however, it was my wife who proposed the Tuscany Trail. Having ridden 200 miles last year at a good pace, 300 was on my mind as the next step. I have also been toying with the thoughts of the Tour Divide for quite some time. The Tuscany trail with its 340 miles of mixed terrain seemed the perfect place to test myself and my capabilities as an endurance cyclist. After adding it to my diary, I stopped thinking about it and got on with work and life as usual. With one exception, I trained through the winter for the first time in years. Mostly weights and spinning at the gym, with some Yoga.

As the 2019 Tuscany Trail drew close, I had a short notice trip to the USA and a family engagement that seemed to soak up all my available training time. I had got one good hard 100-mile road ride in the legs and was feeling nervous about my lack of preparation.

Finalising my bike set up, and adding my bags, I went on the hardest 70-mile route I could find, with a little off-road thrown in. 2000 plus meters of steep Dartmoor climbing and my legs felt destroyed, adding to my concern just ten days from the start of the biggest single ride I have tackled.

After this test ride, I fitted a shorter stem and made a few more tweaks. My chain also kept coming off the 46 tooth cog during the test ride, so I adjusted the gears again; everything now seemed good in the work-stand.

Bike packed in its bag, I was as ready as I would ever be. The time had come to give this my best effort.

The journey from Devon to the start in Italy was hectic. Matt dropped me at Bristol Airport, where I checked in my bike bag. All went smoothly. There was the usual sense of relief when the bike arrived at other end. I hopped a quick taxi to the train station. There, I had booked a Bag B&B to leave my bike bag in Genoa. I unpacked and dropped the bag off as arranged. The Bag B&B felt a bit suspect, but there was no time to waste. With my bike built, I pedalled to the train station and got a ticket; 1h 45m to the start town of Massa. On boarding the train, I was told in no uncertain terms  ‘No built bikes on express trains in Italy’. I rushed back to the ticket office to exchange my ticket for a 4h 30m service on the regional train. Luckily, this was not a huge problem as I had allocated the whole day to make my journey. The slow coastal route turned out very enjoyable and relaxing with scenic views a plenty.



On arrival in Massa, I pedalled off to find my hotel, which I had booked for two nights prior to the start. I dropped off my bags in the room and headed out to find the start point of the Trail and a place for some good Italian food.



Massa is interesting, a characterful mix of winding back streets and majestic squares. One of those squares turned out to be the start of the 2019 Tuscany Trail, and right by it, a nice place to have a proper Italian pizza dinner. Quite predictably, sitting at the table next to me, was someone from the Netherlands. Recognising one another as cyclists, we soon got chatting. Turned out, we had also booked to stay at the same hotel, so after dinner, we headed back to catch an early night to sleep off any travel weariness.



Friday, the day before the start. I had my breakfast at the hotel and took the opportunity to ride the first miles of the course as I thought it useful to get a feel for the route before a mass start mayhem of 700+ riders the following day. By doing this, I would not need to rely on my Garmin until things had thinned out a little and any mistakes that could be made on a windy route out of town and its outskirts I could make on my own. I turned around at 10miles, not yet reaching the start of the first off-road section; a pity, as I had wanted to understand before the start what Italians deemed as off-road. I rode back slowly, stopping for coffee, cake and a few pictures to post.

Back at the hotel, I showered and prepared my kit bag for the drop-off and transfer to the finish at the registration area around 6pm. With time to spare, I took a short rest and headed over to sign up as planned. All done and equipped with a cap, notebook with route details, free beer and TT 2019 riders number board to attach to the bike before the start. The beer was most welcome, but the cap and notebook were tucked in with the kitbag. I was determined not to carry anything that was not essential for the ride. At the bag drop off, I paid my 30 Euros and noticed that other riders had also dropped their bike bags off, which, in hindsight, would have meant I could have taken the fast train to Massa.

I met up with my fellow rider from the previous evening’s dinner and we headed off to find somewhere to fuel up with a hearty dinner. We met another rider who was in the same hotel; an Italian guy who was also looking to eat. Luckily, he asked some locals and we got directions to a good restaurant. On entering, we met another rider who joined us for dinner. Over some good pasta and red wine, we discussed ride ambitions in terms of finish times and sleep strategies. It seemed, that of the four of us, I was the most ambitious, and with the lightest kit. I was targeting a 36-40 hour finish. The others were aiming for around 60 hours. After dinner, we all retired to get some sleep.

Saturday
The hotel opened for breakfast 6:30 am and riders came flooding in, devouring as much of the buffet as possible for the day’s ride. I too had a good belly full and headed back to my room to apply the important sunscreen and chamois cream to last the first day’s riding. A small Assos chamois tub and toothbrush were squeezed into my small frame bag. Now nervous, I needed to get into the ride, so I headed to the start at 7:30 with half an hour to spare. I told myself repeatedly to start steady, contrary to my nature but essential if I wanted to do the 340 miles of gravel at a high average; accepting it was never going to be a sprint.

Approaching the 8 am start, a sea of riders, friends and family, marshals and event officials had gathered, all adding to a noisy human hum that kept increasing with the excitement and anticipation of the endeavour that was about to start. Years of racing had taught me to quietly slip my way to the front, as its better to be overtaken than to get held up by slower riders through the narrow streets as we left the city centre.

Here, I was about to test myself against 340 miles and 9000+ meters of elevation, mostly off-road. The organiser began a countdown and I could feel my heart racing. The count came down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and with my mental preparation out the window, I found my pedal with my left foot and left the start as if it was an XC race. I made the hole, shot in the corner of the square and I was away. Having already ridden this part the previous day, I knew each twist and turn and quickly opened a gap on the rest of the field. Four miles down the road, I was still leading out when a strong group came up and took the lead. I slotted in neatly and took my turn into the wind. A few more miles passed. I pulled out of the group and sat back, riding to my plan. The adrenaline settled and I allowed my legs to find a comfortable cruising speed I could ride all day.

Several small groups passed me.  By lunchtime, I assessed that about 60 riders were ahead of me. I was pleased with myself to be near the front and that I had used my knowledge of the first ten miles to such good effect.

As the route hit the first narrow off-road sections, I settled into a pace I could manage comfortably. Emerging from one section, I saw riders outside a cafe, so I too stopped for water and a tasty focaccia sandwich. I soon stuffed it down and moved off quickly. Then straight into the first big climb, it was mostly tarmacked at first then we hit the gravel tracks that wound up and down and all over the place. I had no clue which direction I was going, and I made a few small slips with the navigation. Luckily my simple Garmin E-Trex  20 never missed a beat, showing enough detail to make me quickly aware of taking a wrong turn. Even at this early stage, every pedal stroke down the wrong track felt like a wasted effort. As the climb got steeper, I realised that the 11x1 gear issue was not going away…the 42t cog was out of bounds, and fiddling was just wasting time. Who needs more than 42x36 anyway? I pushed on, resigned to the fact the hills were going to hurt with a bag laden bike, conscious that I needed to look after the legs for another 280 miles. The climbing was significant in the first 60 miles and at 68 miles I was rewarded with a suitably well stocked town for a deserved lunch stop. I had already noticed, passing through previous villages, that the bars and shops had been cleared out of good quick food by the riders who had arrived before me. This time, I managed to secure a large bowl of Gnocchi, that I ate with water and coke for much needed sugars and hydration for the next leg. Tuscany was mid 30 deg C and I was using energy and electrolytes at an alarming rate. Without time to acclimatise, water was going to be key. I was taking no risks, refilling at every opportunity and adding electrolyte tablets, Torq energy sachets and the faithful coke & water mix.

I met a friendly group of Mountain bikers not riding the TT, they helped me resolve my gear troubles. The assistance was much needed as my head was not that clear at this time. I was still in racer mode and was fretting like an idiot. I rolled out of town, glad in the thought that I now had my largest rear cog to grind it out if required, as the trail rose steeper than ever before. It turned out to be utterly relentless reducing most people including me to walking up the steepest parts. Only the mountain bikes with smaller inner chainrings where still being pedalled everyone else reduced to pushing their bikes up a gruelling incline simply too steep to ride on the gears available to most gravel bikes.

I made it to the brow, remounted and pushed on without delay, relieved to have overcome that summit without destroying the legs and soon passed a familiar looking chap who had been swapping places with me on several occasions during the day. He looked stricken, sitting dehydrated by the edge of the track in obvious discomfort, rubbing his cramping legs to try and regain mobility. I never saw him again.

As the ride continued, the terrain became more and more challenging, with technical climbs, rocky descents, shaded forest sections with slippery mud puddles and roots. Focusing on keeping clean and dry, I soon crashed, went down on my right side because of a slip, avoiding a muddy puddle and going just a bit too fast that late in the day. I lay in the dirt laughing at myself, with, luckily, no more than a superficial scrape to my elbow. Unfazed, I continued to pick my way down the more technical descent, passing some of the mountain bikers, which made me feel good, riding a bike with drops and 38mm gravel tyres.

Back on flatter terrain, I made good progress through a huge park, the passing landscape now just a beautiful blur. Another food stop at a food truck, I grabbed the now familiar focaccia sandwich with cheese and some tasty fruit juice and water cocktail for the bottles. Several groups passed as I savoured my break. My shoe had been rubbing whilst walking a steep section earlier in the day, but luckily the lady serving at the food truck offered a plaster, which really helped to avoid infected blisters later in the ride. First aid supplies will now be added to my kit in future. Back on the bike and feeling okay, I pushed on into a city. My years of commuting in London was paying off, picking up riders as I weaved through the mass of pedestrians and queues of gridlocked cars. Then clearly for the amusement of the organisers, we routed through the heart of the city, pedestrianized areas packed with thousands of tourists and irate policeman, insisting we walked our bikes.  I asked one of the Italian riders where we were. I was astounded when he replied, ‘Florence of course,  the most beautiful city in Italy.’ I shrugged and continued, no time to appreciate the antiquity. The group thinned out quickly and I found myself alone again, back on gravel roads and climbing hills. I was enjoying myself now, the scenery an incredible backdrop. I was in an almost hypnotic state to press on.

Descending as fast as I had done earlier in the day, I was now hopping from side to side, finding a fast line over bigger rocks. My luck had to run out, as the track deteriorated quicker than I had anticipated, I ran out of lines that weren’t boulder strewn. Bang! I landed and blew my tyres. I felt annoyed with myself for not having slowed down a little to save my tyres. It was not going to be easy to seal two holes in the tubeless tyres with a 5” mini pump. After trying for a while, a rider appeared with a large volume pump with which I could get enough air in to seal the holes and nurse the bike a few miles to the next town.  It was now almost dark, we found a restaurant that would serve two dirty and exhausted cyclists with plates of pasta and Fanta. Having demolished that meal, we agreed to press on with lights. Still in good spirits and appreciating some company, we rode into the night, chatting as we passed through the shadows of night time. My lights were excellent, but it felt safer to ride as a pair into the night. We had agreed to ride on as long as we had the will power to do so. At a tiny hamlet high on top of a climb we saw a bunch of bikes and riders outside a small restaurant. We called in for water and stayed for a huge sponge and chocolate pudding with lots of cream.

 

The other riders looked cooked and were looking to stay the night somewhere in the area. Before riding on, I asked the restaurateur if he had a decent pump and to my surprise, he brought out a track pump which was of great help as my sealant oozing tyres were still losing pressure and this gave me the opportunity to set them up with a harsh 60 psi for the ride into the dark. It wasn’t long before we stopped again to add extra layers of clothing to keep out the chill of the night air. By now it was late and we rolled up to a climb to San Gimignano, a beautiful hilltop city. It was strangely deserted as we pedalled through at 1.30am. My companion was looking tired and we had still 30 miles to reach Siena. Taking a rest on the steps of a huge church, I suggested we get a few hours’ sleep. This was met with instant approval. We found a flat grass verge next to a park. In the state we were in, it constituted the perfect spot to camp.

I foraged some cardboard from a nearby recycling bin and made myself a bed. Shuffling into my crackly foil emergency bag, using my jacket for a pillow and waterproof shorts as a woollen cap that pulled right over my head and eyes to stop me losing heat and blanking out the harsh park lights nearby. Surprisingly, sleep did not come easily as part of me still had the urge to ride on. I did drift off, waking occasionally to change position on my makeshift bed. I had planned to wake and ride at 4am, however, it was still quite dark, so I reset my alarm and went back to sleep.

At 5 we packed, filled our bottles at the park tap and moved off, heading towards Sienna. Rather bizarrely, we passed a McDonalds that was shut, which brought on hunger pangs for junk food.  Given our appetite, we debated the vast quantities we could have easily put away. Eventually, in an early bird bakery on the road to Sienna, we found tuna focaccia’s for breakfast with lots of fruit juice and some strong coffee. Replenished, we pushed through a calm and pleasant Sunday morning through Sienna, without considering a stop. It was simply a joy to pass through without any of the chaos we endured in Florence the day before. 12 miles further on my tyre had lost most of its 60psi, so I stopped for air and a convenient second breakfast at a small village cafe. Yet another tasty focaccia, water with juice for our bottles. The temperature was rising fast and we were facing another hot, hard and cloudless day.

Sunscreen was applied and we set off a little fresher than we had felt earlier that morning. We had a good feeling as we had passed the halfway point, as we could now begin to count down the miles. The next sections took their toll. There was little in the way of anywhere to refuel and we were conscious to try and make good progress before stopping for lunch. Lots of steep tough gravel climbs lay between us and our next meal. By the time we rolled up to another hill to the city, it was a welcome relief to sit down and eat something. A good size bowl of pasta and some cured pork with fresh apple and vinegar. The vinegar tasted so good after lots of sweet drinks and food.

We took our time over lunch; the rest much needed. My riding companion was looking tired. He wanted to take a nap after lunch, but I persuaded him to ride on for a bit and see how he felt. The next section went very slowly. I had to stop and put an inner tube into my rear wheel as it was still leaking pressure. Ten minutes later, on a rough patch of gravel road, I blew the tube and had to swap it for my last remaining inner tube. From here to the finish I was not able to descend as quickly for fear of being stranded. The tube I blew split on the seam and could not be patched.

This relentless section of the route also had three river crossings to negotiate and the longest climb to the highest peak of the ride. Radicofani, a beautiful hilltop town, all stone with a real medieval feel about it. We spotted a Pizza restaurant and dived in. The owner was rather rude; not just to us smelly cyclists, but to other customers as well, but we were too hungry to start looking for a friendlier place. We sat in the market square with our Pizzas and stuffed them down.

It was about an hour from sundown and we had a dilemma. My helmet light, which I needed to see my navigation computer, was out of battery, with navigation likely to be slow and frustrating if we rode through the night. So, we decided to get down from the elevation and search for a suitable place to stay on the route. Once we had picked our way down a rough gravel descent, we popped out on a road section. A quick bit of work on my phone and we found a bed and breakfast only a few miles up the road on the route with available rooms. I booked one online. On arrival there was a locked gate. I made a quick phone call and the owner said they would arrive in five minutes. They were true to their word and rolled up to let us in. There were two other riders who had joined us, also looking for somewhere to stay. The owners made us two massive sandwiches each and brought water. After eating one sandwich and wrapping the other for breakfast, I took a hot shower then went straight to bed. Sleep did not come quickly as my mind was still racing. I was making calculations in my head. I had 100 miles to go with some climbing. I had to finish the next day to make it back to Genoa to get the plane I had booked to take me home. I had put pressure on my time when booking to encourage a quick finish time. I had to take a slow regional train service too, which made it even tighter on time. All this was playing on my mind. I was uncertain of how my body would respond. I was tired, although I still felt I had something to give. 243 miles of tough gravel riding had taken a toll on my body; my hands backside the worst affected. My back and neck still felt okay. I set my alarm for 4.30am.

Waking to the alarm, I started to move straight away. Eating my stale sandwich from the night before was hard work. I washed it down with some water and discarded the rock-hard crusts. I made sure my bottles were full and started the day with some vanilla Torq energy to drink; a nice breakfast flavour that went down well. Around 5am we pushed on to the road and got going.

A few miles down the road my companion said he wanted to finish the ride on his own and he would see me at the finish. He had come on this ride in search of something inside himself and he knew now he could finish the ride this day. My jokes and smiling demeanour had helped him through his darkest times. I wished him luck and put my head down. There was more of a mix between tarmac and gravel on this last day and I was in a determined mood. I felt I could sense the finish and I rode with real intent. It was not long before I caught up with some other riders. I went past with a quick hello and pushed on. Such was my extra pace, I managed to stop and eat and depart as they rolled in. I was making great time on the last day. On the flatter sections, it was just the wind I had to battle. I was up for the fight.

The miles were ticking down at a good rate and for the first time in ages, my average speed was on the rise. The scenery had been more beautiful than before, and I managed to snap a few pictures.  My focus was sharp, my mind set on bringing this ride to a close. I was sore and fidgeted on the bike but feeling like nothing would slow me down.

I approached the island that we would navigate around as we approached the finish with around 315 miles of 340 done.  It was like a final lap of honour, or so it felt riding onto it. I filled up my bottles and pushed hard, looking forward to the end. Then my lack of planning and study of the route hit me hard, where it hurt. I began climbing hard, rough, off-road climbing, steep and relentlessly hot. I resolved and ground away. At the top of the first steep section, I was forced to walk. I did not stop but tried to keep moving. I told myself, as long as I moved, the end was that bit closer. Then I was descending. A relief, however very rocky, so tyre preservation was of key importance. I was isolated up there and if I blew a tyre I could have a long wait for another rider to help me with spares. Then the track shot up in front of me again, steep and loose, impossible to carry any speed. This went on for what seemed like hours.

I reached down for a drink and realised I was out of fluid. Removing the cap of my bottle to get that last drop of precious water I was beginning to worry. I had not seen another human for over an hour. I knew the only way was forward this had to end soon. Another 30 mins and my mouth felt parched. I was feeling desperate and unhappy. My great progress of the morning long faded away, replaced with a sinking feeling inside. I was constantly looking back for the riders I had passed earlier that morning but there wasn’t a sign of anyone. I tried a couple of homes to attempt to find water but all I got was barred gates and no reply from the buzzer. They were holidays homes, I assumed, and not in use.

Rounding a corner, I saw a car ahead. The road was rough enough for me to be able to chase them down as my bike could move faster on this terrain. Pulling alongside, they stopped and wound down the window. I pleaded for water, but sadly they had nothing in the car to offer me. I thanked them and rolled on ahead. Around the next bend I met an Austrian couple taking photos of the spectacular view. I asked again if they had any water they could spare. They did and some fruit juice. They gave me all of it. A lifesaver! I was so grateful. It was just the morale boost I needed. I stuffed down a gel, and begun to focus on finishing again rather than my desperate need for fluids. The next section was just as hard. I pushed on steadily, being cautious on the descents, worried about my tyres. Eventually, I popped out onto the road. 15 miles of torture. It had taken 2h15m to get over that last hurdle. The finish was touching distance away.

Back on tarmac, I stopped at the first cafe I saw and filled both my bottles. I wasn’t taking any chances now. I knew if I kept fuelled, I could maintain a good pace to the end. Head down, I pushed as hard as I dared. My legs tired, my backside so sore I had to take regular stints standing up. I pushed on. My hands where numb and two of my fingers are still white, as I write this, some two weeks after finishing. The last 14 miles took 1h7min, with one final climb, which nagged at my fatigued body. I was lost in thought by this stage, pushing to the finish. As I rolled into the sports centre, a low-key place with a few tennis courts, I was greeted by an old Italian couple with applause. There was a small Tuscany Trail sign, a book to sign your name and write your finish time. I counted the names. There where 22 before me. I had finished 23rd out of over 700 starters. My Time was 55 hour and 51 minutes. I had begun with a sub 40 hours in mind. Now I was just relieved to finish. My journey home was tough and long. I would plan much better next time.

In summary

It was my biggest challenge yet and I learned a lot. I have learnt about how to approach this kind of event and other similar style events in future. I learnt a lot about me, and what I am capable of. I enjoy being in my own head while hurting myself physically. This type of ride gives me an enormous appreciation for my life, my family, my friends and my health. I now realise that this is just the beginning. The Tour Divide is calling me. If I can do 340 miles I can do 2731.8 miles. It’s just about planning and scaling up. I have already begun building a more suitable bike for next year as I aim to get my sub 40-hour finish in 2020.

In 2019 I have three major challenges, including riding for Sarcoma UK. Sarcoma is a lesser-known cancer that took the life of my uncle last year. You can donate here. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/luke-humphreys-riding-for-mark

 

Up Next

July 24 hour solo mountain bike race. Plymouth UK

September Zurich to Zurmat 180miles 7000m elevation Switzerland

 

Kit list Tuscany trail 2019

2019 Item

Use again

Used or unused

2020 plan

Kinesis Tripster AT

No, not a gravel bike, course too rough for too long

Used

Crossley custom steel mtb 3t carbon forks

USE clip on tribars

Good but would prefer an option that could stack up higher above base bar

Used

undecided

Ritchey wide drop bar

Too round on tops, would not use again

Used

Flat bars

Ritchey stem

Yes stems a stem

Used

Ritchey stem

Pacenti Forza carbon rear wheel

Next year will use mtb wheels

Used

XC carbon 25mm internal

Forza carbon son 28 dynamo front wheel

No dynamo, next time no need for such a short event

Used

Std front wheel no dynamo

700x38 panarecer gravel kings tubeless

No not enough volume but great tyre otherwise

Used

2.2 Thunder Burts or similar

Speedplay Syzr pedals

Favourite pedals need lubrication

Used

Speedplay Syzr pedals

Sram 1 x 11

No 1 x not the best for efficiency

Used

XT 2 x 12

Sram Rival chain set  42t

No

Used

XT 2 x 12

Cassette xg 1150 10-42

No

Used

XT

Sram chain

No

Used

XT

Sram rival hydraulic brakes

No

Used

XT

160 front 140 rear rotor

No

Used

180-160

Richey seat post

No

Used

Cane creek eesilk suspension post

Flite Saddle with a good 40,000 miles on it

Yes

Used

Flite Saddle with a good 40,000 miles on it

Double wrapped bar tape

No, I need a solution for my hands

Used

Ergon grips

105g foil survival bag

Yes, slept in this, was great, discarded on last day. Doesn’t repack small.

Used

105g foil survival bag

Borrowed top tube bag

Yes

Used

Borrowed top tube bag

Dueter feed bag behind stem

No, would get a bigger one

Used

Undecided

Front bar feed bag homemade.

No. Not needed

Used

 

Topeak waterproof seat pack large

No, too heavy. Good size pack but a little inflexible and very heavy

Used

Small stuff pack style seat pack

Rear Led lights 3 bike mounted

Yes, all used

Used

Rear Led lights 3 bike mounted

Rear led light helmet mounted

Yes

Used

Rear led light helmet mounted

Front Sinewave dynamo light

No great kit, but not needed for such a short ride

used

Exposure Maxx d

1 exposure diablo helmet light

Yes, would take two next time

used

2 exposure diablo

1 multi tool with chain breaker

Yes

Not used

1 multi tool with chain breaker

1 Park folding allen key set

Yes, used a lot, a must have item

Used

1 Park folding allen key set

1 var tyre lever and fitting tool

Yes, essential to have made refitting tyre with tired wet hands easy

Used

1 var tyre lever and fitting tool

1 spare mech hanger

Yes

Not used

1 spare mech hanger

2 inner tubes

Yes possibly 3 tubes

Used

3 spare tubes

1 pack instant patches

Yes

Not used

1 pack instant patches 1 tyre boot

1 Coppertone sunscreen stick for face

Yes

Used

1 Coppertone sunscreen stick for face

1 Pelotan sunscreen 8hr for body

Really worked well

Used

1 Pelotan roll on 8hr for body

1 sunscreen lip balm

Very useful used all the time

Used

1 sunscreen lip balm

1 Garmin Etrex 20

Great for navigation very clear

Used

1 Garmin Etrex 20

1 Garmin edge 200 + charge cable

Perfect for mileage average speed

Used

1 Garmin edge 200 + charge cable

1 I phone + charge cable

Useful

 

1 I phone + charge cable

1 small usb 2 pin plug

 

 

1 small usb 2 pin plug

Ibuprofen, Sinutab, Paracetamol, Imodium

Used Ibuprofen once

Part used

Ibuprofen, Sinutab, Paracetamol, Imodium

1 micro tub Assos chamois cream

Used and grateful for

Used all

1 micro tub Assos chamois cream

1 Kask Helmet

Comfortable fit is everything

Used

1 Kask Helmet

Pacenti team shorts ss jersey, arm and leg warmers, gillet, lightweight cap

Used all perfect layering set up for this ride.

Used

Pacenti team shorts ss jersey, arm and leg warmers, gillet, lightweight cap

Mesh ss base layer

Keeps sun off when zip open comfortable

Used

Mesh ss base layer

Assos fingerless mitts

Would include full finger version next time got sore fingers tips

Used

Assos fingerless mitts plus long finger version

Endura Waterproof shorts

Used on my head when asleep outside, wore when not in cycle shorts second night.

Used

Endura Waterproof shorts

Castelli gortex jacket

Used early morning day 2 and as a pillow night 1

Used

Castelli gortex jacket

Sidi dragon shoes

No too stiff around heel, had sore feet.

Used

Giro Empire MTB shoe lace up

Padded short cuff running sock

No. Will use merino smart wool sock next time. Wool stops me getting sore over long distance

Used

Smart wool short tech sock

Buff lightweight neck warmer

Yes Used for wiping glasses in fog and as a neck warmer in early hours

Used

Buff lightweight neck warmer

2 packs tissues

Yes would take two again essential for nature stop.

Used 1

2 packs of travel tissues

2 travel packs wet wipes

Yes needed to clean hands after bike repair and nature stop

Used 2

2 travel packs of wet wipes

Small tin Vaseline

Yes lubricated cleats with this and myself

Used

 

2 710ml camelback podium bottles

Yes would make provision for extra fluids

Used

3 710ml camelback bottles

10 Torq energy sachets, 8 torq gels, 4 torq flap jacks 4 torq chews.

Yes would take similar amounts of sachets and more gels. Less chews and flap jacks

Used all but one gel and one flap jack

12 Torq energy sachets, 12 torq gels, 2 torq flap jacks. Some other food bars to be decided.

10 nuun tablets

Great between feeds when body was craving salts

Used 6

10 nuun tablets

6 zip ties various sizes

Yes

Unused

6 zip ties various sizes

½ roll insulation tape

Yes

Usused

¼ roll insulation tape

Driving licence, 2 Credit cards, Emergency card, insurance info, Cash in a sandwich bag covered in duct tape

Easy to open lightweight waterproof essentials. Passport was sent to the finish as was main wallet etc.

Used cash and cards

Driving licence, 2 Credit cards, Emergency card, insurance info, Cash in a sandwich bag covered in duct tape

Missing items

 

 

 

Some first aid dressings for sores like I had on my feet

 

 

 

Extra water bottle or larger bottles 2 was almost enough

 

 

 

 

 

 

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24h mtb exposure 24/12
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