As the week winds down and the weekend begins to call, preparation for the 2010 Vapor Trail 125 has continued to consume much of my evening hours. Installing tires, testing lights, throwing clothes in to a pile with concern for the possibility of cold weather. As much fun as racing is, the prep seems to devour away at more time than racing ever does. But when the consequences of being ill prepared are as big as they are in the VT, it is extremely important to have all your bases covered.
Although I have done this race a few times it is something that looms in the back of my mind. Maybe I should go ride a section of the course or maybe I should go hike a 14er to get my legs ready for walking. There are so many concerns with an event like this, it adds a good amount of flavor to an otherwise dull season. Now that the clock is ticking and the race is only two days away, I am down to the final steps. Dialing in my light setup and making some last minute gear choices.
Previous years I have gone in to the event feeling pretty confident with my choices on gear. But being another year older and another year wiser, I have learned much more about the event and how minimal you really can go. This year I am taking a bit of a different approach from previous years. Packing a Camelbak full of food and water as well as repair supplies adds a ton of unneeded weight. Because the VT is so well supported, providing 5 full service aid stations along the route, carrying food is much less important.
I have also slimmed down my bike setup compared to years prior, finishing the first year on a singlespeed (Trek 69er), 2 years ago attempting on a 1x9, and last year going with a 27lbs Fuel EX. For most of 2010, I have been lucky enough ride a 22lbs Trek Top Fuel with Sram 2x10. Feeling comfortable on this lightweight race bike, made it the obvious choice for the VT125.
Another important piece to the puzzle are tires. Descending rocky mining roads in the dark is not the easiest thing to do especially when your hands are cold. Running tires that have enough durability to withstand sharp rocks at 35mph but are also light enough not to slow you down over the 125-mile race are key. I chose to run Continental’s Mountain King tire, the tread pattern has a good amount of traction along with thick sidewalls. We will see how they work…
My lighting setup has lost a ton of weight from previous years as well. This year I will be using an Ay-Up light setup on my helmet and on my bars. These lights are super bright and insanely lightweight. Not to mention they are also extremely adjustable and easy to mount. I have only used the lights on one night ride so far, which makes me a little nervous, but they look like they will work well.
As I continue to tinker and contemplate more gear choices, Im sure things will change. But I have made concrete decisions for the most crucial gear. Preparing for the potential for bad weather is the biggest concern, but we wont really know until the day of.
Until next time…
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