Sunday, August 7, 2016

BC Bike Race 2016 retrospective

We had a good amount of rain and drizzle during the 9 days of the race (day -1 through day 7).  The good news is that it ended up being amazing weather for riding long distances and climbing a lot.  Cool and in the 60s.  However the rain forced me to get really good with keeping things dry and trying to dry wet stuff when there wasn't a lot of sun.  Some lessons learned:

  • My riding shoes were constantly wet.  Each night I pulled out the inserts and kept them in the tent near my side so that some body heat would tranfer from the sleeping bag and dry them out.  This worked pretty well.  Whenever I could scrounge up some newspaper, I shoved that in my riding shoes to try to soak up the water.  This technique worked but on most days I didn't have enough paper, and it would have been good to be able to swap out the paper once or twice before the next day's ride.
  • My tent mate and I relied on the tent vestibule to store wet things: shoes, cambelbak primarily.  In the second half of the week I also started keeping dirty clothes out in the vestibule.  We learned that nothing drys in the vestibule and it would have been better to keep those things inside the tent to get some of the heat that builds up.
  • I should have brought some type of athletic pants to use on rainy days - something that repelled water a bit.  My only pair of pants were cotton and they stayed damped the whole trip.
  • I used the new Crocs that have cloth on top and have good rubber support on the bottom. They worked out really well.  I also had tennis shoes and they became a nuisance because I never used them and they took up significant space in my BCBR red bag.
  • Gold Bond powder helped a few times to dry out the crotch (I had a travel size with me that I got at Target)
  • Should have brought more riding gloves, maybe even 7 pairs (I brought 3 pairs).  They were hard to dry out because of the weather we had so I was always starting with wet gloves.  They don't take up much space and can be crammed anywhere in the bag.
  • I kept each riding outfit in a separate large freezer bag.  I used a smaller gallon size freezer bag to store 8 pairs of underwear, socks, and a t-shirt.  This definitely helped keep the vital stuff completely dry, and it made it easy to organize things inside the tent.  I could just pull out the next riding outfit so that it was ready to go in the morning.  Having the larger freezer bags also helped contained the smell of dirty wet riding clothes later in the week.
  • Charging phone, garmin, and other accessories:  the "Bears Den" isn't as great as it sounds.  The hours are limited and the power is flaky at some locations.  You may get a charge up to 100% or you may get your phone back still not fully charged.  I bought an EasyAcc Monster 20000mAh Power Bank on Amazon.  This charged my smartphone 5-7 times back up to 100%.  It has 4 USB ports so I ended up charging my friend's phones too.  The catch is that it takes FOREVER to charge this unit back up once it runs dry.  You'll need to find an outlet at a school or community center along the way and give it multiple hours.  The Bear Den power won't do much to charge this unit back up.
The Biknd Jetpack bike bag worked really well.  At the airport in Boston at the beginning of the trip, TSA opened up each of our bike bags and even took the wheels out to inspect everything.  There were five of us, and we hadn't accounted for this extra time before being able to go through regular security and get over to the gate.  However the TSA guy was able to go through my Biknd bag very easily (there were 2 other people traveling with me that had the same bag).  I was worried about my wheels being damaged using this soft shell bag, but they were fine.  2 people traveling with me had much more work to do using hard shell cases, as they had to disassemble their bikes a lot more than I did.  I only had to take off the wheels and pedals, and detach the handle bar and derailleur.

One tip regarding packing the BCBR red bag that one of my friends came up with.  Instead of storing it in the main compartment of the red bag in it's stuff sack, I didn't use the stuff sack and instead stuffed the bag into one of the end compartments, AFTER having filled up the bag with all of my other gear.  The sleeping bag is much easier to stuff into an already full bag compared to clothes, sneakers, toiletries, etc.



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