24 Hours Later: Essential Packing for a 24 Hour MTB Race

IMG_6021This is Scott (a.k.a. ‘The Dinner Lady’), one fifth of our Bontrager 24:12 team, modelling all his clothes.  He is about to go out on the wettest two laps of his racing career (this is his second race) and he is looking absurdly happy.  He is perhaps happy because he has all his clothes with him or perhaps *insert quote regarding ignorance or idiocy*

No doubt, the first or second time out, a 24 hour race is a ravaging experience – perhaps the third time is no different, but I’ve only done two races!  Anyway, if you are bonkers or brow-beaten enough to sign up then preparation could be the difference between survival and meltdown.

The temptation is to over pack.  I did.  But, it’s worth remembering two things: first, you will have to pack all that stuff away after 24 hours of riding and little sleep; second, you will be burrowing through it all at 03:00 for the one thing you really need, cursing yourself for not being able to pack light.

There will be packing lists on the net going back to the genesis of the 24 hour mountain bike race (it’s not that far).  Here’s my ‘ten penneth’*, compiled with the help of the team.

  • Fire pit and logs – great for team bonding or collective lolling and dribbling at 04:00
  • A gazebo (waterproof, with sides) – hang your washing in it, hang yourself out in it, play death Frisbee, if you must
  • Table (or perhaps two) – we accumulated a large array of food that we were snacking from, boxes of teabags, tools.  Waist-high dumping space is good
  • Car battery rigged up with an inverter to charge phones and lights – did not have one, borrowed one
  • Chairs – recliners, if possible, aid lolling and dribbling
  • Kettle
  • Gas stove – pans and perhaps a lovely breakfast to go in them on the morning before the race
  • Toilet roll – never assume!
  • Anti-bacterial gel – see above
  • Wet wipes
  • Bin bags – you can wear them, sit on them and put all your filthy clothes in them
  • Bottle carrier, gels, tablets – its great to have a ten pin bowling alley’s worth of water bottles ready, the less you have to think about, the better
  • Lights – one for inside the tent, for changing and foraging; one for your head for doing the same
  • Absolutely all your bike clothes (including lots and lots of socks)
  • You might want to think about separating the clothes into types or sectioning them in separate plastic bags into complete outfits (for when it is dark and you become a robot not capable of free thought)
  • Track suit bottoms – I didn’t have any and had snuggly-bottoms-envy whenever I saw anyone else around the camp fire in them
  • Pegs (and washing line)
  • Butt cream – thanks, Phil
  • Bike locks

IMG_3368

*Disclaimer – please note that this list assumes that you have packed the equipment necessary to ride a bike (bike, spares, tools, lights, chargers, shoes, helmet).  This list is not exhaustive and I reserve the right to amend or add to the list at any point.

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