Saturday, June 29, 2013

Shooting for 600k -- My Ultracycling Setup

Tomorrow I'll be attempting by far the longest ride of my life to date: 600k (375 miles), with 24,000 feet of climbing.  My previous record is about 250 miles.  If all goes well, I'll finish in 28-30 hours.  40 is the limit.

Adding to the intimidation factor is the fact that it'll be entirely unsupported -- I'll be riding alone.  Honestly, I'm a little apprehensive, but I suppose it's just a question of keeping the pedals turning.   I'm planning to ride straight through the night, which will be a first for me.  This is all in preparation for the 1200k ride I'll take on in Alaska in 3 weeks.  In that ride, the plan is to ride an initial chunk of 600k before bedding down for a bit, so tomorrow's ride is something of a dry run.

Tomorrow's route isn't something I just made up.  Instead, it's a "permanent," which is essentially a brevet, complete with control points and the like, that one can arrange to ride alone at a designated time.   My route tomorrow will take me from Haymarket, VA, west through Marshall and Middletown, and then south to Clifton Forge, which is a stone's throw from Roanoke.  And then I'll come back, hopefully before work on Tuesday.  :-)


Over the months and years, I've tried a lot of different bike setups for ultra cycling rides from 200k-400k.  This is not a "racing" setup by any means.  Instead, it assumes I'll be unsupported, and the priority is on comfort and durability for the long haul, complete with anticipating any reasonably foreseeable contingencies.  For my ride tomorrow, I'm doing a dry run of something very close to the setup I'll use in Alaska.  Since I know several people who have expressed interest in ultra cycling, I wanted to explain my setup.  Rather than write 375 pages, though, I thought a video might make the most sense!


Listed below the video I link to certain items I discuss.  Please let me know if you have questions about anything.  I didn't talk about the many things I've tried and chosen to leave home, which is a worthwhile topic in of itself.

Magnic Lights -- note that this page shows the older, initial Kickstarter design

Dura Ace Tubeless Wheels

Hutchinson Sector 28 Tubeless Tires

Hed Clip Lite Aerobars -- mine are an older version

Banjo Brothers cue sheet holder

Revelate Designs Gas Tank

Exposure Lights Strada (front light) -- with triple-cell backup battery.

Exposure Lights Joystick (helmet light)-- with single-cell backup battery.

Arkel Randonneur Seat Post Rack with Tailrider trunk bag

Anker A2 USB battery