With some major races coming up, such as the 100km Surf Coast Century, 42km Spartan Ultra Beast and 24-hour World’s Toughest Mudder, many people are getting their registrations in nice and early. I support the idea of an early registration too…commit the cash, lock it in…no turning back! All that remains is the training and getting organised.
While it’s all well and good to randomly review gear and food to help others, this information is only partially effective without a system to apply it to. It comes down to how you transport your kit to the race, organise the inside of your tent/transition and decide what to carry around the course with you. I am blessed to have a beautiful wife who approaches these issues with military precision and treats them like Chinese puzzles…exploring every option from every angle.
The information contained within this page is simply an insight into what we did for WTM12. You may disagree with some components, but overall I think it is all worth sharing simply because it worked for me. I’ll be happy if it helps you get even just the slightest bit of extra enjoyment from your race.
This is an easy one. Get a big, strong, quality bag with oversized wheels. The last thing you want to be doing after racing for 24+hours is carrying shit. Everything except what you’re wearing will fit into this bag and it will roll smoothly, demanding minimal effort from your bedraggled body. The oversized wheels will comfortably defeat all the bumps, dirt and such between your tent transition area and your car at Raceway Park. For some, depending on what time you arrived the day before, this could be a considerable distance.
My recommendation?…..listed in The Equipment you will find the bag of bags, the Macpac Lugganaut 90|Wheeled. Macpac design, quality and workmanship are second-to-none and mine looks like the day I walked out of the shop with it. I travelled with two of these…one for my happy traveller clothing and the other for my bad-ass racer kit. They are not constricted by a myriad of internal pockets and allow you complete flexibility to store kit how YOU want it stored. The handle and wheels are tough and rock solid.
TRANSITION | TENT
This is where many become unstuck. Everything is fine when the sun is shining, you’re on your pre-race high and time is irrelevant. Whether this euphoric feeling is on the grass in your back yard as you give your set-up a dry run (which you should) or in the transition area itself getting ready for race day, you will be bestowed with luxuries you simply won’t have or can’t afford during the race. Your tent and contents MUST be organised with kit arranged and designed for someone that can’t read, can’t think and has five thumbs on each hand. If your tent interior turns into some kind of garbage disposal site then you’re denying yourself a good race performance. I wish I had taken photos of some examples at WTM12 because there were some doozeys.
The picture below (sorry about the iPhone photo quality), was taken the day before we left for the US and shows how the interior of the tent was organised by using smaller zip bags to categorise the kit into something that could be quickly interpreted by a cold, tired mud racer . Not included in the image was the mega-bright Macpac Lighthouse Lantern I had. Although the powerful lights at Raceway Park turned night into day, this cannot be relied upon and you’d best have a backup of your own.
The zip bags were solid, washable material on one side and see-through mesh on the other. This allowed for easy content ID whichever way you looked with all bag and tent zips fitted with extended tags for easier use. Whether you like it or not, you will be kissing your dexterity goodbye during the race.
- EAT THIS contained anything to be consumed. This included gels, beef jerky, pre-mixed bottles of Hammer Perpetuem, Snickers bars (these became peanut brittle during the night!), Hammer Endurolytes, Magnesium and chewing gum. More information regarding in-race nutrition research and personal opinions can be found here.
- GADGETS contained headlamps, strobe lights, spare batteries, spare globes, Polar CX800RS, Polar G5 GPS, iPhone and GoPro camera kit. Any water/moisture sensitive items were packed inside transparent dry-bags.
- FIX IT had every description of sports tape, kenesio tape, blister kits, scissors, first aid stuff, anti-inflamatories, pain killers and imodium (what I wished I had). Included was bottled water and a quick-dry microfibre towel to wash/dry off hands and any area that needed new tape applied. I also had a spray that prepped skin for adhesive tape to provide a more durable result.
- DAY KIT held what I intended to wear at the start line, through until sunset. The plan was to ensure that I completed the change from day to night kit before nightfall, just so that I felt more organised and mentally ready for the cold snap ahead. My day gear included 2XU compression socks, tights and top underneath a three-quarter Xcel 3mm wetsuit with 3mm hood attached and 2mm neoprene cycling gloves.
- NIGHT KIT gave me a much appreciated clean set of 2XU compression gear underneath my magnificent Xcel Infinity Drylock wetsuit with integrated hood. Limbs were 4mm, torso 5mm and hood 3mm. This baby rocked. It never flushed, provided maximum mobility and did not suffer one tear. Highly recommended!
- RECOVER had all my post-race gear…2XU recovery socks and tights to manage my severe lower limb swelling and inflammation, Macpac merino thermal tights, top and beanie to warm up with, clean shoes, towel and my “laugh at the cold” Macpac Equinox jacket.
- TOILETRIES….’nuff said.
- THERM-A-REST is the king and reigning champion of light weight, small volume inflatable camping mattresses. Unscrew the tap of your Therm-a-Rest and it will auto-inflate to around 75%, leaving you to easily and quickly finish the job off to have yourself a full length, 1 inch thick mattress. Lurvely!
- WHEELED LUGGANAUT 90 is my trusty mule…large wheels for any terrain with unbeatable durability and design. Our New York shopping had these bursting at the seams and we had to buy another suitcase to come home with!
- EQUINOX XPD eVent JACKET will have you laughing at the -2.0°C temperatures. This is an Antarctic graded down jacket with removable hood. If you get one, you will love yourself sick in it. Warm. Warm. Warm….and packs down to a minature stuff sack for easy transport. During the race I didn’t even use the sleeping bag I brought for warming up with. During transitions, I donned the jacket and smiled a grin of smug satisfaction.
- CAMELBAK MULE 3.0 was my lifeline during the race. I will go more into its race contents soon, but for now take my word that this is a VERY tough and rugged piece of equipment. As the name suggests, it is a virtual mule in itself with a capacity to carry around a serious quantity of stuff, together with a massive 3.0 litre bladder. The feeding tube is insulated in neoprene and features a rugged ON/OFF valve to prevent any accidental loss of contents. This is from CamelBak’s military line of equipment and it shows in the construction.
- SLEEPING BAG was rated for extreme cold but I never ended up using it. Don’t confuse this with “I didn’t need it” as it is a must-have bit of kit which you’ll be eternally grateful for should you feel the effects of hypothermia creeping up on you.
- TENT is rather useful for keeping all your stuff dry while you’re assaulting the course. I opted for the Macpac Apollo for it’s slight higher ceiling, large floor space, internal pockets and generous vestibules. Again, Macpac = Durable. Their stuff is bombproof and delivers on promise….simple as that.
- FOOTWEAR is a personal preference….everyone is different. Whatever your choice may be, I highly recommend at least two pairs for the race and a third pair to go home in. The feeling of putting on clean, dry shoes during the darkest hours of the race is pretty special. It’s definitely an “aahhhh” moment.
- AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE Don’t be shy in showing your colours when you’re all milling around at registration. I was sporting my green/gold dreddies, Australian flag and sunnies. It’s a great way to gather up other Aussies too…a few of us stuck together and had ourselves a little compound going in the transition area. Great for calming nerves, motivation and camaraderie.
- SELF MASSAGE I didn’t end up using these through the race, but definitely did afterwards. I took along my Trigger Point Grid and The Stick for some teeth-clenching, self love. Painful stuff, but necessary and worthwhile.
- FLOOR INSULATION Freezing cold ground = freezing cold tent floor = freezing cold butt. We grabbed a thickened space blanket to use for floor insulation…this made a massive difference when I was rolling around butt-naked trying to ditch some wet, cold and muddy stuff for some highly anticipated dry kit.
- STUFF SACKS This was a 2XU stuff sack full of other 2XU stuff sacks and assorted tough garbage bags….all ready to accommodate the bloodied, muddied and trashed race kit.
I had a very clear nutritional/hydration plan which did not extend me the luxury of running the course ‘clean’. I had to find a suitable hydration pack that would not restrict my movement, was extremely tough and durable and was easy to take off/put on when required. Mentioned earlier on this page, I found my answer in a combination of the CamelBak MULE 3.0 and Dual Pocket SpiBelt.
The CamelBak already comes with an adjustable waist strap to prevent the pack from jumping around but I replaced this by threading the SpiBelt through the loops to provide me with two easily accessed pockets for gels and supplements.
When fully loaded, this weighed in at around 5-7kg but I barely noticed it….plus the weight dropped at least 0.5kg every hour after I sucked down my fuel anyway.
- Hydration & Nutrition was contained within the 3.0 litre bladder which equalled six hours of fuel delivered via a mix of bottled water and Hammer Perpetuem powder delivered at a dosage of 500ml per hour.
- Theraband is usually found in Pilates and Yoga classes. However, this super stretchy and slightly self adhesive substance is also good for an amateurish application of myofascial release. This was explained to me by my awesome osteopath, Locky Goodwin and was only to be used if I really needed it for some quick pain relief. As such, I would strongly advise you seek similar advice and guidance from your own osteo/physio/sports medicine support crew before applying this technique yourself.
- Headlamp +1 spare . Race rules required one….take two. People were losing kit all over the place when jumping/falling into murky water.
- Strobe +1 spare. For logic, refer to Point 3.
- Spare batteries. Don’t be caught with your pants down…nobody likes being the guy/girl who’s chasing other competitors around for shit to borrow.
- Snickers Bars & Beef Jerky to rescue you from the pitfalls of flavour fatigue and give you something yummy to look forward to.
- Warm layer is just an intelligent item. Keep it in a drylock bag and pray you never need it. If you do, you’re probably unable to continue….broken mentally or physically in some way.
- Supplements included magnesium and Hammer Endurolytes. The lesson learnt for me was to have these stored in a hard plastic pill box otherwise you’ll be eating paste instead, thanks to all the belly crawling, falling and rolling you’ve done during the race.
- Medication included anti-inflammatories, strong pain killers (no point going in half-arsed if you’re hurting) and imodium (trust me…if you eat mud, you will shit mud). These should also be stashed in your sturdy pill box with the supplements.
- Leatherman multi-tools can be a little weighty but potentially invaluable.
DUAL POCKET SPIBELT
I’m a pretty caffeine sensitive guy and I need to be careful about how many caffeine-heavy gels I consume over a long race. To prevent me completely losing my mind, I separated these between the two pockets of my SpiBelt. I relied more on my Hammer Perpetuem mix, but for variety and occasional extra ‘kicks’ when needed I would either switch 1-for-1 during the day or just use the caffeine bombs for hours of darkness.
- Standard gels
- Put on your seat belt gels
I hope this information has helped you a bit. If you have any questions please flick me an email or just leave your comments at the bottom of the page and I’ll get straight back to you.