I’ve been struggling to write anything about my TCR experience this year. Last year the words flowed fairly freely, and I was keen to get everything documented so I had a record of the adventure. This years write up is coming, but it’s just taking a little longer to process it into something that I’m happy with.
For now, I thought I would leave you with a kit list – everything I took with me to Belgium for the start of the TCR, the things I sent home from the start (thanks Thimothy, beers next time you’re in G!RO), and some of the things that didn’t make it with me to the finish.
Frame: Curve Cycling Belgie Spirit Ti Disc, size 54. Amazing bike!
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra 52-36×11-32, with Juin cable actuated hydraulic disc brakes. Could have done with a 34 up front, but managed with what I had. Brakes were flawless, but I started with old pads that needed replacing on the first mountain descent.
Wheels: Custom handbuilt Noble wheels, DT Swiss 240 rear hub, Son 28 12mm thru axle dynamo hub front, 160mm rotors front and back, Continental 4000 IIs 28mm tyres, with a touch of reflective tape. These wheels have now done two TCR’s. So happy with them.
Cockpit: Alu 3T Ergonova bars, Alu 3T stem, Lizard Skin camo bar tape, Profile Design carbon handle bars, Profile Design aero bridge mounts (x2), Wahoo aero bar mount (x2 for multiple positioning), Quad lock mount for iPhone 7. Super happy with everything, but could have done with a better bike fit so as not to be stretched out on the hoods and drops. Position has caused bad Ulnar Palsy again this year.
Electronics & Lighting:
- Son28 Dynamo powering Supernova front and rear lights. During the day, Ewerk USB converter for charging devices. Light has very little stand charge, but a great beam. Must fully disconnect Ewerk from system when light is running as there’s not enough power from the hub for both. When E Werk is not charging anything, the light would drop every 10-15 seconds for a moment.
- SPOT Gen3 Satellite tracker with spare Energizer lithium batteries. Flawless.
- 2x iPhone cables, 2x Micro USB cables, 2x 5200mAh Anker power bar. Changing up the power bars for a 1x 20000mAh. Both were empty by Bratislava.
- 1x Cateye Volt 800 front light (backup + bivvy light), 2x Moon Crescent rear lights. Used front light mainly for Bivvy lighting, rear on busy roads. All lasted the whole trip without re-charge.
- 1x iPhone 7. Essential. Komoot, Wahoo app, Maps.me & Google maps were absolutely essential for re-routing. Google was also really handy in locating a bike shop in Romania. Booking.com for hotels in Austria day 2, Bratislava day 5 and Bulgaria day 9. And of course Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp, Trackleaders, Email, SMS etc. etc.
- 2x Wahoo ELEMNT, 1x Garmin 810 (sent home before start along with a mini USB cable). Used the spare ELEMNT once, but reverted back to the main one due to GPS dropouts. Only two issues with the ELEMNT – battery went flat in Romania while repairing a puncture – can’t seem to recover that ride. Froze on last 750 km run to the finish (I think down to me messing around with my HRM), but recovered the ride when restarted.
- 1x spare Dynamo hub cable, 1x headphones. Did not need either.
- Apple EU USB plug. Best USB plug I’ve ever had – small and light.
- Apidura Medium Frame and Saddle back with Large top tube bag. Bags were full all the way, but managed by keeping some on top of saddle bag.
- Alpkit fuel cell. Perfect for loading up with snacks!
- PedalEd musette. Used occasionally, was very handy to have something when bags were full.
- 1x Sportful bibs, base layer, jersey, gilet, light rain jacket, Stelvio rain jacket, arm warmers, track mitts, neoprene full finger gloves (never used), knee warmers (didn’t use, and lost either in Austria day 2, or a churchyard in Italy)
- 2x Athletix PDX socks (1 pair disposed of in Bratislava. Washed in Austria, but never dried. Fruity!)
- 1x Defeet oversocks (never used)
- 1x Lake CX237 cycling shoes + 2x wedges
- 1x PedalEd #154 casquette
- 1x Kask Mojito helmet
- 1x snood (never used)
- 1x reflective vest
- PHD synthetic down gilet
- Running Tee and shorts
Tools & Spares
Spares: 3x tubes, 2x spokes, 1x gear cable, 1x brake cable, 2x brake pads, cleat, cleat bolts, chain links.
Tools: 2 tyre levers, 2x Co2 cartridges + inflator, 1x pump, scissors, multi tool & multi wrench, 8x cable ties, spoke key, wet & dry lube
Alpkit Hunka Bivvy Bag and Numo inflatable sleeping mat, RAB Silk Liner. A simple and effective setup. Light, but maybe a touch bulky.
Toothbrush (half, disposed of in Bratislava. Pointless without toothpaste and was past the point of no return by then), wet wipes, P20 sunscreen, Incognito insect repellent (deet free), sudocrem, savlon, 1/8 roll of toilet paper, Kleenex tissues, sunscreen lip balm, melolin gauze. Antihistamines, Nurofen. Voltarol gel.
Notebook with checkpoints, parcourse and route options. Insurance, medical documents. Attaquer pouch for cash and cards, Lezyne pouch for docs & passport, passport.
2x King cage aluminium bottle cages, with a Wolf tooth B-RAD Mounting Bases – 2 Slot to lower the water bottle on the seat tube (maybe 1cm, but makes all the difference). 2x water bottles ~1400ml total.
SiS lemon Hydro tabs and Berocca vitamin tablets – Berocca for the morning, hydro for the afternoon. Super mix of both for the bad diet days! By Romania, as both were in the same tube, they became indistinguishable from each other both visually and in taste.
Nuts – always have some in the bag, the cashew and almond mix I didn’t tap into until Macedonia and it was heaven.
Naked bars – a great way to get good nutrients in and sate the hunger
Bike weighed in just over 16kg with water. Just about everything I took with me, was used, but I have an idea of what I can leave behind next time. Doing so in some cases is more of a calculated risk. At the end of the day, I was happy with what I took, and would take most of it again.