Well, since the last report, I’ve managed to clock up a fair few miles on the bike and got in a few nights away from home, so all the gear is getting a good test.
Milage wise, I did both the Mcleans Island 6hrs – day one as a team and night one as a solo, then did The Navigator Mini-Brevet with a couple of friends, (we shortened the course a bit, pre-planned) but still got in my first 200km day on a fully loaded Brevet Bike and 440km over the 3 days. Two weeks ago I did the 10hr solo at Timaru 10hr MTB, clocking up 156km and followed that up last weekend with a trip on Alps 2 Ocean trail from Oamaru. Made it up to Twizel before returning – 2 nights camping and 386km for the 3 days.
Gear wise, I am fairly settled on clothing, food and misc gear. I have just changed my rear carrying rack from a seat post mounted rack, to a Thule Pack n Pedal tour rack. I had my seat post clamp break and think the extra stress of the seat post mounted rack was probably the clause.
Tyre selection is the current “hot” topic. I’m currently running Specialized fast track on the rear and a Maxxis Icon on the front. I’m fairly happy with the rear Fast Track, but found the Fast Track on the front “wandered” on loose gravel descents. The Icon improved that but doesn’t roll as fast. I think the next one to try is a Vittoria Saguro on the front, probably in UST form. Whilst I would love to have tyres as light as possible, the piece of mind of a “durable” tyre is more important in the long term.
So, what have I learned over the last month?
- Check your mtb shoes have the inner soles in them before you leave home, so you don’t have to do 3 days without them!
- Pack to a list, so you don’t leave your wind jacket at home!
- Riding for most of a day and a half uphill into a head wind plays havoc with your state of mind – take a break, spend an hour and a half in a cafe at lunchtime….but don’t give up – keep riding ( I turned a “nearly got a ride home after 50km” day into a 160km day by just keeping on going)
- My recovery from the long rides is pretty good, mainly a result of keeping heartrate down
What can I do better?
- Need to get more consistancy of riding during the week. Currently tending to have long rides at weekend and very little else
- Need to get back swimming, partly as something different to biking, but also good for arm strength, which is quite important on long days on the bike
- Need to get a 4 day trip done