Adventure racing is perhaps the most gear intensive sport ever. And while it can be overwhelming for many athletes (especially when you are just getting into it!) for our team, it is one of our favorite parts. Every expedition race, we inevitably find ourselves talking about gear. What we love, what we don’t love and everything in between. While each of our lists are slightly different, below are my top ten pieces of gear that I loved during AR World Championships. Note that it was a race that was heavy on trekking but much of the gear mentioned is stuff I have been using for the past couple of years in other races as well and are still going strong!
For every trekking leg (which there were many) our team carried two sets of poles. At first we thought that they would only be used if someone got hurt, but we ended up each using one pole during every trekking leg. They even came in handy and worked as paddles for when we had to figure out how to ferry our bikes across the river! The Neo Trail were my personal favorite because they are crazy light, pack down easy and fast and are very durable.
This stuff is magic. Ever since moving to Bend in 2010, our team has been using it daily and especially before, during and after races. It is has anti fungal, anti inflammatory and other amazing properties that help both prevent blisters and help to heal them while racing. We use it for a week before every race to “prepare our feet and hands” for what is coming. We use it during the race to help prevent blisters and we use it afterwards to help heal our tired and sore feet!
Being able to easily filter and drink water is huge in adventure racing. We love using the katadyn filters with our hydrapak soft flasks. The soft flasks are durable and get even more rigid when water is in them. The filters work fast and are super easy to clean and use. And word on the street is the Hydrapak is making some new filters that will be coming out this winter! If you follow the link you can get a discount on your next order.
For expedition racing, we never bet against Hyperlite. In a 5 day adventure race it is almost 100 percent certain that you will be getting wet. Whether that is swimming down a river, crossing multiple rivers or getting rained on, it is just known that a some point you will be 100% soaked. Because Hyperlite packs are made out of dyneema, they do not take in water and are extremely durable. These two factors make it a no brainer for our team. In Paraguay we raced in them for 5 and half straight days and we all raved about them. They are simple in design, comfortable and easy to add on custom additions to meet your needs.
For the past year I have been using either the Garmin Fenix and most recently switched to the Garmin Enduro. Both models are amazing and great for adventure racing. They both have adventure racing mode, which is a mode that locks you out of the GPS feature but still tracks you and lets you use all the other awesome features. The new Garmin Enduro 2.0 lasted the entire race, and while it is quite big on my wrist, it is pretty light and does not bother or phase me in the least.
When racing for 5 days straight, there is no doubt that your body is inflamed. In an effort to cut way back on Ibuprofen, I started using Mission Farms CBD gummies earlier this year and have found that they work extremely well for me. I know CBD is not for everyone, but Mission Farms does an amazing job and everything is grown right here in Central Oregon. I also rubbed their CBD gel on my knees and arms through out the day, the cooling effect coupled with the anti inflammatory properties worked so well for my achy knees and forearms! Use BendRacing20 to get 20% off on us!
La Sportiva Jackal Shoes
Shoes are such a personal choice as well as a race to race choice. For this race we knew that it was going to be a heavy trekking race so we all opted for more padding rather than minimal. I personally loved La Sportiva Jackals the most – they were both roomy in the foot box and super good over the technical off trail terrain. I used them for both the long 144km trek and another 12 hour trek. I was extremely impressed with them. It was a gamble to go with a brand new pair of shoes that I had not tested (I usually wear Inov8s or most recently Hokas), but I had a feeling about them and I was right!
I have talked about these lights many times before, but they really are the best adventure race bike lights out there. They are super bright, really easy to program and are all one piece -meaning there are no annoying cords to deal with. Most of all, I love them for their simplicity and lightness.
My nutrition this race was amazing, between four hour fuel and Spring Energy I was able to get most of my needed nutrients. Of course I did have some real meals and some snacks thrown in there, but the bulk of my calories came from both Spring and 4 hour fuel. Both of these products are made with amazing ingredients that feel good and enable me to keep going at a good pace.