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Friday, August 4

There but for the grace of dog.

I've been doing stage races since 2004.  I probably haven't done more than any other unprofessional athlete, but more than most.  Safe to assume.  I'm at the point where it would be a chore to count them all up if someone asked me to do that for some reason. Mebbe as a sobriety test.

Anyways, I'm not much for learning useful things in general, but I've gathered some handy knowledge in all these years.

Like how to pack a drop bag.

Don't know what a drop bag is?

Basically, it's a bag (provided by the promoter or the racer) that gets taken to points along the course (usually aid stations) in which you can put anything you think you might need (as long as it fits in the bag).

Here's what's going in mine for the Breck Epic.

Tubes and CO2 preloaded in a Race Strap.

I'm rolling with a tube and two CO2s already on the bike, as well as a Dynaplug Air, but just in case... it's nice to know these are out there on the course ahead of me.  Peace of mind.

Mustard.

I'll already have a couple packs in my jersey pocket in case the cramps hit, but just like the spare tubes, if I use what I got, it's good to know there's more where that came from.  Most aid stations usually have plenty of comfort foods like chips, trail mix, Coke, and cookies.  I've never seen one with mustard tho.

Gore Tex rain gear.

When it rains up high, it gets cold.  Sad.  Wet.  Hail.  Lightning.  Shit weather.  I could start with a jacket strapped to my top tube with a Super 8 strap, and I will if bad weather is predicted for earlier in the day, but I like to reserve that space for storing knee/arm warmers, a vest, or a hat if/when they come off as the day warms up.

Realizing that bad things sometimes happen with these open-top drop bags (Thom's very nice rain coat came up missing one year), I've come up with this solution to securing my expensive (and useful) layers.

Obvs, it all gets tucked into the bag for practical purposes.

Honestly, I was looking around my bike room for some cord to do this with and found these old shitty medals from my Ohio XC racing days and there you have it.   At least I know my jackets won't fall outta the bag.  So glad I got sixth place sport class at the Raccoon Rally back in '94 now.

A tiny hat.

I might start the day with a tiny hat on my head, but I might also drop it in my bag at the first aid station.  As I said before, the weather can go downhill faster than a chubby guy on a Fargo, so a hat in the final bag of the day, just in case.

Gloves.

It can rain.  It can also stop raining and your gloves are still soaked.  If you have a spare pair, do yourself a favor and send them ahead.  Dry gloves (in a Ziploc bag) can turn that frown upside down.  Trust me on this one.

Beer.

You don't have to drink to have a good time, but you also don't have to get outta bed if you have cable TV and a bed pan.  It's best to have cans for the sake of not finding a wet bag jangling with shards of glass.  Keep them safe(r) and cold(ish) with a coozie.  Sponsor correct is even better.  I'm pretty sure most of the aid stations at Breck Epic are at or near the bottom of a climb (except Gold Dust), so I can't think of a better place to numb the senses a bit or at least motivate you to descend slightly faster.  I suggest staying on the shitty side of the beer spectrum.  Miller High Life, Budweiser, PBR, etc.  Not my go-to home beers, but they don't taste that bad after spending a couple hours redlining at 10,000 feet above sea level.

That's about it for me.  I've heard of other people putting all manner of things in their drop bags.  Tires, shoes, bib shorts, saddles... that one time an Ellsworth sponsored rider managed to fit a whole spare wheel in a drop bag *wink* at the Cohutta 100.

Anyways, I guess I hope that if anything that terrible happens, I can fix it with Gorilla tape.  It's worked so far, so I'll just go with that.

Welcome.

1 comment:

Jonathan Stuhlman said...

c'mon man...you should know damn well by now that the only option for in-race non high gravity beer is...PINNER