In a 4000 kilometres bikepacking race like the Transcontinental Race you need a lot of stuff. Packing too much gear is slowing you down. On the other hand you might regret letting important things at home.
Some people decided to only sleep in hotels. Others, including me, wanted to bivvy outside. That means a bit more weight on the bike but also more flexibility.
I rode a Canyon Endurace WMN CF SL Disc 7.0 with many modifications: a large cassette, Hunt front wheel with SON dynamo, aero bars…
Shortly before departure it weighted almost exactly 12 kilograms with all the mounts, bottle cages, the USB-Charger, front light, tape…
When I weighed the fully packed bike it was somewhere between 18 and 19 kilograms. I forgot the exact value. But it seemed true when looking at the lists below.
I found my bike quite heavy. But I needed almost everything I had brought with me on my almost 3000 kilometres through Europe. And there are only two things I would not take with me again.
I used everything except the full finger gloves.
Having two cycling shorts was perfect. Often one was drying on my saddle bag. Since I did not know what my favourite shorts would be I packed different ones. One with thin and another one with thick padding. I still don’t know which one I prefer.
The only thing I did not like was my dhb ultralight merino jersey. It was simply not tough enough. It got a lot of holes because I stuffed too much into my pockets.
There was only one night were I felt cold. When I was wet because of a pouring rain.
I decided against a sleeping bag. Instead I brought a warm down jacket with me. I did not always use my mat because I was too lazy and very often it was warm enough. And I had been tired enough to sleep on the most inappropiate ground. On several large stones? Who cares? Will be okay.
You probably already spotted my luxury item. The pillow. I almost always get neck problems when my head does not lay in a good position. That is why these 49 grams were absolutely important for me.
I used everything except the spare light. At night I always had two lights running for safety reasons.
One mistake was packing the portable battery without really testing it before. It failed. That costed me some time because I tried to make it work again, tried different cables until I gave up and bought a new one in Germany. That is why I don’t have any photos of day 1 and 2. No power for my smartphone.
Everything else of that list was great.
Fortunately I did not need all my tools. I only had one flat tire and one bent chain. So I only used the multitool, one patch and glue, one chain lock, tyre irons, chain oil, two zip ties for a cable for charging and the pump. The break pads were okay after 3000 kilometres but if I had ridden the whole way I would definitely have had to change them.
I was totally afraid of getting saddle sores. I had many problems with my saddle before the race. I loved the Canyon bike but no saddle seemed to fit on it. I was not even able to ride 20 kilomtres without pain. There was no way I could take part in the TCR that way. Then I got the Infinity L1X saddle. No pain on my commute (27 kilomeres). I gained hope. And got ill. No test rides were possible. Another week commuting on it. I had never ridden more than 30 kilomtres on it and took it to a 4000 kilometre race. That was totally insane.
That is why I packed a lot of bum creme and sudocrem. I am happy to say, I wouldn’t have needed it. I arrived in Meteora wish a bum that felt totally fine. More like after a yoga class and not ultracycling 😀 I only applied cremes in the first days of the race.
What I did not use: Kinesio tape, pain killers and first aid things.
I used everything except the spare cleats and the piece of paper with the emergency telephone numbers.
23 grams are missing on that list: my glasses. Sometimes I have problems with contact lenses, especially outdoors.
I wanted to take bags with me where I have a lot of seperated room and easy access. That saves time.
The two Restrap techbags and the Burgfyr food pouch were for the food. I liked having a lot of different food with me. Anyway, I was alway afraid of starving or dying of thirst. I am glad I never came close to that 😀
The woho anti sway worked well. But there is one thing you should consider: Don’t fill anything else than water into the bottle over the disc.
I had cola, fanta and other terrible sweet drinks in it. After a while my disc was sticking and full of dirt. So the rear brake performance got worse and worse.
I would probably not change much if I rode the Transcontinental Race again since I was almost totally happy with my gear. Of ourse there is always room for improvement but for a first try I think my choices were not that bad. I will try to cut off some weight for future races.
I hope this list will help some people while planning their next bike adventure.