Here's a quick look at my gear, clothing, and food choices that I used just over a week ago for the gravel behemoth known as Trans Iowa. It was a fairly minimal kit but I'm sure you know already that minimal kit means maximum forethought.
Eki's Trans Iowa Kit
Bike - Salsa La Cruz Ti
Seat Bag - Axiom Journey (it broke doue to being too heavily loaded)
Frame Bag - Revelate Tangle Bag. THIS WAS KEY
Pump - Lezyne (mounted to waterbottle cage on seat tube)
GPS - Garmin Edge 205
GPS - Energizer Cell Phone Charger. Strapped to stem in order to do a 'hot swap' which allows the GPS to keep working while accepting a charge. Attached with a Velcro strap. THIS WAS KEY
Cue Card Holder - Homemade piece of a clip board ziptied to handlebar with cue cards in a ziplock bag. All held in place with two office clips.
Waterbottles - Two tall Salsa waterbottles
Handlebar Light - Princeton Tec Push
Helmet Light - Princeton Tec EOS
Helmet - Bell Sweep
Rear Blinker Light - Knog Beetle
Glasses - Tifosi. Clear lenses for entire event.
Front Tire - Continental Cyclocross Speed 35mm
Rear Tire - Schwalbe Marathon Extreme 35mm
Hydration Pack - Camelback Mule with 100 oz bladder
Multi Tool - Crank Brothers
CO2 - Two cartridges. One with the head pre-attached.
Tubes - Two
Spare Parts - One extra rear derailleur hanger
Lube - White Lightning. Contained in a little lotion bottle my wife gave me. It has a great little twist tip that allowed the perfect application of lube. THIS WAS KEY
Butt Support - Four small packs of chamois lube that I received as free samples at previous races
Mountain Money - Some toilet paper contained in a ziplock bag
Cash - $60, of which I spent $20
Despite functioning perfectly…I'm a bit tired of this view…
Plastic Rain Coat
Pearl Izumi Wind Vest
Sock Guy Short Sleeved Base Layer
Salsa Short Sleeve Team Jersey
Sock Guy Wool Arm Warmers
Salsa Team Bibs
Pearl Izumi Leg Warmers
Salsa Team Socks
sixsixone Cycling Shoes
Sock Guy Toe Warmers
sixsixone Cool Weather Long Finger Cycling Gloves
Short Fingered Cycling Gloves
Sock Guy Wicking Cycling Cap
Helly Hansen Wicking Cool Weather Cap
1/4 lbs of Cross Country Trail Mix
8 Nature Valley Granola Bars
16 Hammer Gels - Orange and Espresso flavors. THIS WAS KEY
7 Motor Tabs Fluid Replacement System
2 Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches. THIS WAS KEY
20 Bite Sized Fig Newtons. Strawberry flavor.
Food/Drink Purchased In Convenience Stores During The Race:
Coke & Mountain Dew
Ham & Cheese Sandwich
Frito Lay Chips
Muscle Milk THIS WAS KEY
Rest easy boy…your work is done here…
Thoughts on what worked and what didn't:
Overall, I'm very happy with the setup I chose. I felt it might have been a little heavy, but at the same time I was definitely able to meet the distances required between stores without entering the "danger zone" of running out of fluids or nutrition. If I could go back in time I wouldn't have carried the two waterbottles, but one never knows, and the notion of running dry is scary. Needless to say, I carried two full waterbottles for about 320 miles without using them once. Bummer! The temperature was cool enough at all times that I wasn't in need of guzzling water continually. I felt properly hydrated at all times and cramping never became a concern for me.
In terms of nutrition, I felt I had it dialed pretty well. The trail mix was really good and gave me the dose of protein in the form of nuts that I needed. The figs were good too, but I grew tired of them and by the time the night came around I didn't want to see another one, let alone eat it. I absolutely loved going to the PB & J sandwich when I craved real food. They were so good! I felt in control of my body throughout the entire event. I never experienced a hard bonk, but of course went through some periods of being super tired.
I may have mismanaged my clothing choices a bit as I was so focused on trying to reduce weight. It may have been better to sacrifice some of my calorie weight instead of clothing. In the night I began to obsess over being cold, when I had enough other things to be worrying about. I regret leaving my warm gloves and long sleeve jersey in the hotel. An extra pair of socks would have been wonderful!
Some items/choices that proved priceless for me out there were these:
My GPS charging system: Being able to run the GPS nonstop for 30 hours was extremely important for tracking distances and managing the cue sheets.
The Revelate Tangle Bag was so nice to deal with. I felt like everything was right at my fingertips. I could get to my items on the fly and at high speeds.
Keeping my chain lubed was paramount as we were in horrendous conditions for a bicycle drivetrain. The tiny bottle with the twisting top proved to be the perfect application device for the lube.
2:00 A.M. - 9:45 A.M. Finish - This was a difficult time for me to ingest calories. My stomach didn't crave anything and I felt myself starting to forget about food. I knew I needed to keep the calories coming in and I was also getting extremely sleepy. The caffeinated Espresso Hammer Gels worked very well for me. I took in about 8 of them during this time period.
I may have been the envy of the group when I pulled out my first PB & J sandwich. We were traveling long distances between stores so having "real" food with was a major plus.
Muscle Milk purchased in the stores gave me the major shot of protein that my body needed to combat the muscle fatigue/breakdown that was taking place.
As stated above, I'm essentially happy with the choices I made for this years event. Of course, everything is always worth analyzing and I'm sure there is still tweaking and refining that I can do to improve my odds further. I hope you enjoyed the tour my setup.
340 miles later…hurting…but still smiling…
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Tim (Eki) Ek
Tim Ek was born and raised in Duluth, Minn., and still calls it home. He’s always had a passion for competition and seeking his own extremes. Tim's true love is the woods: Out in the wild is where he clears his head and finds his peace, and he prefers getting there by bike. Tim Ek: The Eki Chronicles, ekichronicles2.kinetic-fitness.com