Time to share some reflections on the race kit that I used for the Indian Pacific Wheel Race (IPWR) in Australia. As this was not my first race, I’ve got my gear pretty well dialled in. Here are 12 areas of success … my failures? A footnote on those as well …
My ‘A’ race for 2017 was the inaugural Indian Pacific Wheel Race (IPWR). This self-supported 5,471 km race across Australia from Freemantle to Sydney was to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the 13+ day ride by Sir Hubert Opperman. As a twist, the route would take us through Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra before finishing at the Sydney Opera House.
Unfortunately, the race was cancelled on day 13 when Mike Hall was hit and killed by a car outside of Canberra. I had done just over 3,600 km at the time so my race ended outside Apollo Bay Victoria, about 240 km west of Melbourne. It was a tragic end to a great adventure, and the loss of an incredible man and cyclist. So I write this race report with a sense of sadness and loss …
On March 18th at 06:00 I will be starting the ‘Indian Pacific Wheel Race’ (IPWR) across Australia. The 5,471 km route takes us from Freemantle in Western Australia across the desert, then down through Adelaide and Melbourne before heading up into the Snowy Mountains to Canberra and eventually finishing at the Sydney Opera House. As with all endurance races, a big chunk of time is spent planning the logistics and the equipment to take. Here’s what I’m taking.
One of the things I enjoy about riding my bicycle is being in beautiful scenery with nice music to accompany my ride. Now I’m not keen on being recommended for a Darwin Award so I don’t use headphones, instead preferring to use a Bluetooth speaker connected to my phone’s play list. I’ve used the Outdoor Technology (OT) Buckshot for a few years and have been really pleased with it. Great sound and waterproof. When I saw that they had released a new version—the Buckshot Pro—with a torch and integrated power bank, I figured it was a must try.
For those of us with carbon fibre bicycles or components, we are always worried about over tightening the bolts as this will damage the carbon fibre. An expensive mistake as I learned a few years back with a carbon seat post which was trashed when I misread the reading on my torque wrench. I recently received my new Silca torque took from a Kickstarter campaign that I supported so I thought it was a good time to do a comparison of a few tools. Clockwise from top left: Topeak Torque 5, Birzman M-Torque, Silca T-Ratchet and Ti-Torque, and then my ‘standard’ which is a precision dial adjustment torque wrench.
In 2015 I did the 4,200 km Transcontinental Race from near Brussels to Istanbul. Since that wasn’t quite long enough I also did a warm up by riding 2,800 km from Istanbul to the start line. Great holiday, but there was one unintended consequence: by the time I got to Greece (6,000+ km) my hands had stopped working. When I had to pay for something I’d hold out the money in my palm and apologetically ask people to take the money. I recovered quickly after the race, but decided that I’d upgrade my bike to Di2 with electronic shifting.
It was a great idea, but as anyone who is a reader of this blog knows, I’m never satisfied and I decided that I needed to modify the Di2 to put in shifting buttons both on my aero bars but also under the handlebars. This would give me three different options for shifting depending on where my hands were. This is a geeky post to show how it is done. Not only is it a lot less expensive than the $200+ for Shimano’s offering of bar end shifters, or $100 for a bulky ‘climbing’ shifter (parts cost me $40), but it’s a much tidier solution as well (especially compared to the climbing switch).
“If you do well you should plan average about 12 km/h for the ride”. Marcus said just before we cycled to the Czech border with Germany to start line for the 1,240 km 2016 Grenzsteintrophy ride. He also told me that to date no woman had to date completed the Grenzsteintrophy (GST). This was going to be an adventure!