TRAT 2010 - Stuff nonsense

by Martin Thomas   January 16, 2010  

small change

I noticed a shopping list forming in my head as I plodded my way through another turbo trainer session the other day.

It was sparked off by the idea that it might be nice to have a fan to cool me down while on the TT – I don’t think I’m the only one in my family to be really quite alarmed at how much I sweat when I’m on that thing.

The fan got me thinking about other things it might be useful to have for The Race Against Time. A handlebar mount for my nice new Garmin satnav was the first thing to enter my head – except I’ll need two so I can swap between bikes easily.

On the clothing tip I’ll need another one of those miraculously good merino vests from Kathmandu, obviously. Actually, make that two, so I won’t need to worry about doing any laundry during the ride.

Then there are the shorts of course. My dhb Finchdean bibs are the only ones I’ve got that I’d even consider wearing for longer than about 20 minutes on the bike so I’ll need at least one more pair. There’s no point making compromises in that department for obvious reasons so the new ones will need to be Assos. After all, I’ll only wonder how much more comfortable I could be if I go for any other brand.

My helmet’s seen better days too – it’s at least five years old now and rather tired and sweaty, so I’ll need a new one. As I’m blessed with an above average-sized brain – okay, I’ve got a massive head – my choice is limited to just a handful of lids and the only one I’m really prepared to be seen wearing in public would be the Met Predatore, so that’s on the list too.

If the weather continues to prevent me cycling outside much I’ll have to spend more time on the TT, which is a soul-destroying experience, so it might be better to get a set of rollers to keep the interest alive.

I’m also thinking about shoes and pedals. I currently use a pair of Time Atac XS mountain bike pedals and Specialized MTB shoes so I can easily swap between MTB and road bike. They’re perfectly adequate but I’m thinking over such a long ride I might be better off with dedicated road pedals and shoes. I like Time stuff so we’re looking at a pair of Xen Carbons at least and a nice pair of Sidis (well, anything less would look odd with the Assos shorts, let’s face it).

I’ve needed some decent eyewear for quite a while too – my old cheapo shades never did really cut the mustard. I tried on a pair of Rudy Project Rydons at the Cycle Show last year and they seemed incredibly comfortable so they’ll do for the list as well.

Oh, and tyres. I’ll need some tyres. I quite like my Conti Gatorskins so I’ll get a fresh pair of them for the ride I think.

I’ll need some nutritional stuff too – electrolytes, carb drinks, and energy gels should cover it I reckon.

And finally, just before the ride, I’ll get the bike serviced by those marvellous fellas at Enigma so everything’s in perfect working order.

Assuming I stay away from the rarefied top end of the Assos and Sidi ranges, and assuming there are no expensive parts to replace at service time, I calculate that this little lot could be mine for a nice round £800.

I wonder if I’ve forgotten anything. Whether I have or not, it looks like I picked the wrong year to give up the corporate job and go freelance. Perhaps I could manage without the rollers…

10 user comments

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Big rides can be expensive! I got through a few chains, tyres, brakes etc when I did it. Also had a spare pair of wheels in the van so that punctures could be sorted out later when there was time, or by the support crew. Some guys even had spare bikes!

posted by SimpleSimon [109 posts]
18th January 2010 - 9:22

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Spare wheels and bikes?! Blimey...I think need to rethink the finances in the run up to this ride. Did everyone have spares? If not, what happens if someone has a problem? Presumably everyone waits til it's sorted?

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posted by Martin Thomas [563 posts]
18th January 2010 - 9:42

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if you need a spare bike then DaSy's got a shedful of BSOs - take your pick Big Grin

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7042 posts]
18th January 2010 - 10:55

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I don't see how you can effectively use a turbo trainer WITHOUT a fan. Even in the depths of winter, in my unheated garage I use a 12" fan to turbo

Let's examine the rest of your shopping list

1) GPS mount kit. Get rid of the satnav and learn to read a map. Buy 2 cheap UK road atlases. Cut one up and use the other for reference

2) Merino vests. Aldi and Lidl do these. Watch out for the special offer stuff

3) Shorts. Yes you need good shorts. Get Assos if you must. Top of the range Endura (fs260 pro) are half the price

4) Helmet. If your helmet is knackered then again, Lidl and Aldi have them

5) Rollers. No, stop being silly and get out in the rain

6) Shoes. The shoes have to be comfortable. If you have to get more shoes get comfortable ones.

7) Shades. If you want to spend money on them then fair play. Or you could just give the difference to BST and visit Aldi/Lidl

8) Tyres. Yes you will need a fresh pair of tyres immediately before TRAT. Michellin Pro Race after using Gatorskins will feel like you've fitted an engine

9) Nutritional stuff. Try it out first. I could write a whole 10000 words on the various types of stuff I've tried. I recommend Nuun tablets.

10) Servicing. Yes good idea. Do it a reasonable time before so there is no rush to get new parts.

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posted by vorsprung [267 posts]
19th January 2010 - 16:55

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I can see what you're saying about not spending a fortune on kit but the Aldi/Lidl kit is designed for recreational cyclists, not someone who is going to be covering 100+ miles a day for a week. Buy the best kit you can afford, it'll make your challenge more enjoyable and last a good deal longer than the supermarket stuff. Good luck with the ride by the way Smile

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posted by stuke [288 posts]
19th January 2010 - 21:19

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stuke wrote:
I can see what you're saying about not spending a fortune on kit but the Aldi/Lidl kit is designed for recreational cyclists, not someone who is going to be covering 100+ miles a day for a week. Buy the best kit you can afford, it'll make your challenge more enjoyable and last a good deal longer than the supermarket stuff. Good luck with the ride by the way Smile

Well that's a point of view.

I do a lot of riding and there is some stuff that is worth spending money on, like shorts and good tyres. Other stuff like base layers, sunglasses and helmets are available from aldi/lidl/tchibo and other low cost sources.

I have 4 aldi base merino tee shirts. They were about 1/3 the price of my Howies merino tee shirt but are identical in comfort, wicking, warmth and the other vital factors of the tee shirt.

I rode PBP 2007 with aldi sunglasses. Not that I needed them, it wasn't overly sunny. But they do the job.

I have a Lidl helmet and it goes on my head and is adjustable and comfortable.

Other stuff I've bought from these sources has not been so worthwhile. For example, a Tchibo track pump lasted exactly 60 seconds before it broke. Another example: Aldi winter jerseys seem to be designed for people that do not sweat.

I am as much a fan of Assos kit as the next guy but it is interesting to note that my Assos mitts, bought at great expense have fantastic wicking but almost no padding. I honestly have had more use from £3 gloves from Tchibo

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posted by vorsprung [267 posts]
20th January 2010 - 10:45

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Thanks Vorsprung. Being sensible is clearly the sensible way to be, so I'll be sensible.

I've already got the satnav though, so I might as well stick with that - two mounts will cost me £12, which isn't all that much more than a couple of atlases, and I'll save on the cutting out time Smile

Didn't know Aldi et al did merino vests but I'll check them out, thanks! Not sure I can bring myself to buy a helmet from them too though - specially given my gift of large-headedness. If they do a generous 63cm I'll try them out, but I very much doubt they do (Specialized, Giro and most other manufacturers don't).

Shorts - I've never really got on with Endura shorts, although I've not tried the ones you mention. I had a pair of mt500s that didn't fit particularly well and started falling apart after a depressingly short time. I think I'm going to stick to my guns on this one.

Rollers - I was being silly. That was never really going to happen.

Shoes - if I'm honest, Sidi was never really going to happen either, much as I'd like it to. The whole pedal/shoe thing might have to stay as it is for financial reasons.

Shades - bit of a long shot but I would like some nice ones, and nothing I've tried so far fits well enough (big head, remember?) or stays condensation free long enough. Jury's out on this one.

Tyres - thanks for the tip, I might well try the Pro Race. Are they as good as the Gatorskins at not getting punctured though? That's got to be a factor.

I think that's cut the expenditure by half! Can't be bad...

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posted by Martin Thomas [563 posts]
22nd January 2010 - 9:40

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PS - thanks stuke.

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posted by Martin Thomas [563 posts]
22nd January 2010 - 9:42

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Quote:
The whole pedal/shoe thing might have to stay as it is for financial reasons

I use SPDs for all my riding, always have done. I've tried plenty of other systems but I always end up coming back to them on the road bike. Plenty of people have told me that larger cleats are more efficient/comfortable/stable/etc but i honestly can't tell the difference. i find SPD shoes more comfortable than racing shoes, and don't ever forget that comfort is a massive performance advantage... the only concession i've made is that my road SPDs are single sided

on the subject of shorts, look out for some manufacturers filling that mid-high level gap this year. We've just seen Altura's new £100 shorts and they're a real quality item. Endura too will be doing a pair above the FS260, should have some soon.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7042 posts]
22nd January 2010 - 11:14

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Thanks Dave, that's good enough for me - the pedals/shoes are officially off the list. Will keep an eye out for the shorts you mention too.

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posted by Martin Thomas [563 posts]
24th January 2010 - 20:41

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