One of the aspects I love about the sport of self-supported ultra-cycling is the logistics intensive nature of it. It’s tougher than expected to find that balance between packing the necessities to survive the distance, and omitting what you don’t need to minimize the weight on your bike in order to prevent unnecessary energy expenditure. This is an overview of the equipment I chose to take on my first ultra-endurance bike race, the Steens Mazama 1000 (steensmazama1000.com). I ended up finishing in second place in 3 days and 21 hours, with an average distance cycled of 263 miles per day over the 1000 miles distance (which actually ended up being 1021 miles due to a detour). You can see a replay of the live GPS tracking here: http://trackleaders.com/steensmazama18.
- 2017 Cannondale Synapse Alloy
- Sora components (9 speed)
- Shimano R650 Brakes (long reach version of Ultegra)
- 50/34 FSA Vero crankset
- Shimano PG 950 11–32 cassette
- 30c Vittoria Rubino Pro G+ tires
- DT Swiss R460 rims, Shimano 105 hubs, and DT Swiss Champion straight gauge spokes
- Profile Design T3+ aero bars (alloy)
- Shimano Pro Stealth saddle
- Easton EA50 bars
- Easton EA50 stem
- Thomson Elite seatpost
- Shimano PD-M520 SPD pedals
- SKS Water Bottle Cage Adapter
- Wolf Tooth Components B-RAD 2
- 2 x 750ml bottles, 1 x 500ml bottle
- 1 x presta to schrader adapter
- Zefal spy mirror
Details: This bike is my workhorse - my training bike, my racing bike, and my touring bike. The synapse has less aggressive, more endurance based geometry, which makes longer times in the saddle a lot more comfortable. In terms of the bike related gear, my only focus was to make sure everything was in good working order and that my contact points were happy. The Sora components worked fine, so I didn’t see a need to upgrade (aside for the crappy original Tektro brakes). I specifically purchased the aero bars for this race, which I believe are an absolute necessity for comfort on a long ride due to the additional hand positions they offer (along with their aerodynamic benefit). I’m a huge fan of the flexibility of the Profile Design T3+ aero bars. The Zefal spy mirror was placed on the left side of my drop bars to allow me to see any traffic coming up behind me.
The Pro Stealth saddle was purchased because it was the one I found most comfortable while in the more aggressive position of my aero bars. I chose the heavier hand-built wheel set over my Ultegra 6800 wheel set due to the additional strength and durability compared to the low spoke count Ultegras. I figured that the weight savings of a lighter wheel set is negligible if it increases your risk of a major mechanical issue. I used the Wolf Tooth Components B-Rad so I could lower one of my bottle cages to allow the frame bag to fit. The SKS bottle cage adapter let me mount a third water bottle that was under my down tube. The Vittoria Rubino Pro G+ tires were phenomenal, I had no punctures or flats over the 1000+ miles with ~100 miles of gravel.
- Giro Carbide R II shoes
- Cavalo Helmet
- Pearl Izumi P.R.O Escape bib shorts
- Canari jersey
- Smartwool socks
- Giro gloves
- Oakley Crossrange glasses with transition lenses
- Generic brand UV arms sleeves
- Generic brand leg warmers
- Generic nylon gloves
- Sugoi packable wind jacket
- Cannondale packable wind vest
- Rainbow Rex cycling cap
- Smartwool merino beanie
- Showers Pass waterproof socks
- Marmot Precip packable rain jacket
- Giro waterproof gloves
- Generic Amazon puffy jacket
- Generic reflective ankle straps
- Wool Buff
- Neoprene shoe toe covers
Details: My transitions glasses were incredible, I probably wore them over 90% of the race. I decided to use my HSA to get these glasses from sportrx.com (highly recommended) because I didn’t want to deal with carrying two different prescription glasses (sunglasses and clear glasses for night riding). SPD pedal system with recessed SPD cleats was chosen over SPD-SL for ease of walking on tired legs and cleat durability. This was my first time using bib shorts for an extended race and now I won’t use anything else. They’re a nuisance when you have to use the bathroom, but the lack of having to re-position them over time is worth that inconvenience to me.
This race started on July 6th in Oregon, and there were hundreds of miles in the high desert area — due to this I chose to wear UV arm sleeves instead of constantly applying sunscreen, I also figured this would help keep me a little cooler with the white sleeves preventing direct skin contact with the sun rays. The leg warmers were a necessity during the cold nights, and a lot simpler to put on than full length tights.
A puffy jacket is a necessity for me, especially given my light sleeping arrangement. This is kept in a 1L drybag to keep it dry (the last thing you want is for your backup warm gear to be wet at night), the drybag doubled as a pillow with spare clothes stuck in it. I was incredibly fortunate and never had to throw on the rain gear because it never ended up raining. I only used the jacket during the night to stay warm while sleeping. I chose not to bring rain pants, which I regretted in hindsight because they would’ve been another excellent resource to stay warmer at night.
- Apidura 14L Expedition Saddle Bag
- Apidura Medium Backcountry Frame Bag
- Apidura Snack Pouch
- Apidura Extended Top Tube Bag
- Outdoor Research zip bag
Details: I chose the expedition saddle bag since it doubles as a dry bag, this is where I kept all my spare clothing and sleeping gear so I wanted to make sure it would all stay dry. The left side of my frame bag held all my electronic gear (which was inside a plastic bag), and the right side held spare food, my packable backpack and cards/cash. The top tube was my emergency repair kit with all the standard necessities (tubes, patches, tire levers), the additional repair stuff that was in my saddle pack. The Outdoor Research bag held all of my random accessories.
- Small cable lock
- Chamois butter (~8 small packets)
- 2oz body glide tube in case I ran out of chamois butter
- Basic first aid kit with antibiotic cream
- Pills: multivitamin, Advil, Zyrtec
- REI mini towel
- Mini packable backpack
- Sunscreen, chapstick with UV protection
- Bike lube, toothbrush, and rag
- Whistle with thermometer
- Wet wipes
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Bug Spray
- Caffeine and electrolyte tablets
- Spare velcro straps
- Nail clippers
- Chlorine water purification tablets
- 1L spare water bladder
- Cue sheet as navigation backup
- ID, debit card, credit card
- Pen & small notepad
- Cash, $2 quarters
- Microfiber wipe for glasses
Details: I had a Sawyer mini water filter that I chose not to bring, this could’ve been a huge mistake during a different race! I was running out of water and I thought I was going to have to grab some from a lake and use my chlorine tablets. When I pulled them out I read that it needed to sit in the water for over 3 hours in order to be effective, this would’ve been brutal if I had run out of water, but fortunately I found an outdoor spigot before having to resort to the tablets.
The mini packable backack was my most effective time saver. I could’ve run in to a grocery store or convenience store, load it up with food, check out, and then throw the goodies back in the backpack and ride off. I did this numerous times and will always keep a packable backpack on my for overnight trips or races. Chamois butter and wet wipes were a necessity to prevent saddle sores and stay clean. Ever couple hours I would use wet wipes on myself and my chamois, then apply some chamois butter, I never had saddle sore issues.
The chain lube, rag, and toothbrush were a necessity after hitting some extensive gravel so that my drivetrain stayed happy, efficient, and squeak free. Sleep deprivation = caffeine tablets become a necessity. Bug spray = keep some sanity. Velro straps were utilized to strap an extra water bottle to my aero bars, but could have numerous additional uses (like strapping clothes to compress the packing size). The pen light was excellent as I was packing and unpacking my gear at night when getting sleep. Cash was for any supply stops that may not take cards. I also had some quarters and dollar bills for vending machines, which became very useful during the final night when most places I rode by were closed and I spotted an outdoor vending machine at a gas station.
- SOL emergency bivy
- 5mm closed cell foam mat
- 1L Sea to Summit drybag
Details: There sure wasn’t much comfort involved with this setup, but my focus was to minimize the amount of gear I was carrying. To do so, I left out my sleeping bag liner and my heftier SOL Escape bivy. I used my Sea to Summit dry bag packed with spare clothing as a pillow. This minimal setup allowed me to reduce the weight I carried, and freed up extra space in my packs. With all of my warmer clothing on I was able to (not-so-comfortably) manage a couple hours of sleeping in 30°F weather, however I would definitely want more if I were to ride longer than four days or if it were in colder weather. The foam mat was cut to torso length, this was used as a means to insulate my torso from cold or rough ground.
- RavPower 10,000 mAH battery cache
- RavPower 6,700 mAH battery cache
- Generic 2,000 mAH battery cache
- RavPower 4 port wall charger
- 4xAA, 4xAAA lithium batteries
- Cables: USB-C, Garmin, micro-USB
- 2 pairs earbuds
- Cateye Omni 5 rear light (AAA)
- Planet Bike Superflash 65 rear light (AAA)
- Blackburn Mars rear light (CR2032)
- Nightrider Lumina 750 (USB)
- Knog Pop headlight (AA)
- Garmin eTrex 20x
- Garmin Edge 200
- Samsung Galaxy S8
Details: Redundancy and backup options for your lighting system is super important. I utilized two USB rechargeable lights because I could recharge these with my cache batteries. I chose not to use a dynamo because of the cost and the fact that this is a shorter race (in comparison to something like the Trans America Bike Race). I used the AA Knog Pop light as a helmet light and as a backup in case my main headlights ran out of power and I didn’t have any power left in the cache batteries (unfortunately this happened during the last night because I had neglected to charge my batteries).
I chose battery powered rear lights due to their extensive run time in comparison to USB rechargeable rear lights. Also, by doing so I didn’t have to worry about taking power from my cache batteries to recharge the rear lights. I had a small safety blinky light (the Blackburn Mars) attached to my saddle bag, the other two rear lights where attached to my left seat stay.
For navigation I used the Garmin Etrex 20X as my primary method. This takes two AA batteries and lasted for around three days on a single set of lithium AAs. My Garmin Edge 200 is USB rechargable and was used as a backup in case I had any issues with the Etrex. I utilized Komoot and Ride with GPS on my Samsung Android as backup navigation, I pay for the premium Ride with GPS so that I can have offline maps.
- Blackburn Mammoth pump
- 2 x spare tubes
- 4 x tire levers
- 2 x tire boots
- Preglued patch kit
- Vulcan patch kit with glue
- Leatherman Squirt PS4
- Crank Bros Multi-19 tool
- C02 Cartridge cartridge w/ Lezyne nozzle
- Fiberfix spoke
- Thread & needle
- Spare bolts & cables
- Spoke wrench
- Spare individual allen keys
- Zip ties
- Spare chain link
- Electrical tape and Gorilla tape
- Reflective Tenacious tape
- Spare brake and shifting cable
Details: I’ve had a primary pump break on me, so I’m always going to carry a CO2 setup as a backup and hope I never have to use it. Everything here is pretty self explanatory, I chose some individual allen keys because a bike multi tool can be rather clumsy and may not be able to reach certain bolts. Electrical tape and Gorilla tape were wrapped around my pump. Electrical tape is awesome because it can double as string/rope thanks to its stretchiness. Gorilla tape is phenomenal for patching gear and can even double as a tire boot in a pinch. I put reflective Tenacious type on my rain jacket, my bike, my shoes, and my helmet for additional safety.
I chose the Leatherman Squirt PS4 due to it’s small size and the fact that it has needle nose pliers and a wire cutter, this comes in super handy if you need to replace any sort of cable. I’ve never had to use a Fiberfix spokes replacement, but you’ll definitely be glad to have one if you do need to make use of it. Another options could be to grab a couple replacement spokes applicable to your wheels and throw them in a frame back or tape them to our seat stays. The thread and needle are used to sew any major tire gouges.
Fortunately I didn’t have a single mechanical issue or flat tire over the 1000 mile race. Who knew that I could’ve saved myself some weight by leaving all the repair gear behind! Just kidding, of course!
I hope you enjoyed reading, and that this helps provide some information for your next bike adventure!