I wanted to talk a bit about my equipment choices for the race. If you have been following this blog, then you know that I spent a fair amount of time researching two major aspects of this race: lighting and packs. I will start with lighting.
After a ton of research, I decided to go with 2 LED lights. The Princeton Tec Eos, and the Cateye Double Shot. I ran the Eos on my helmet, and the DS on the bars. This combination worked very well. I started the race with the Eos fired up, and burned it to the top of the first major climbs. Later, on the big pavement climbs, I had both lights off. There was just no need for them. On any type of descent, or technical climb, I had both lights burning. Despite the DS being billed as a “helmet light” it worked well on the bars. As I have mentioned, the bar mount is not to great, I had to move my shifters to get it set right, then move them back. but it stayed put for the duration. So no complaints on that. The DS lit up the trail. On the fast wide decent off North Beaver Mesa there was enver a time I out ran the light. It cast a nice wide beam that made for plowing down the hill very easy. The Eos played well with the DS. It is not near as bright, but as a helmet light it complimented it well. The Eos is very easy to adjust, so I could tilt it every which way to get a look at different angles.
All in all I chose well for with the lights.
Now onto packs…
I have become a big believer in Wingnut Gear packs. I ran the 3.0X during the KTR. It worked quite well. The only drawback was that I packed it to heavy. I carried 20lbs of stuff. Stuff I never even needed. I know now. I should have had the pack around 15-17 lbs. Ah well, you live and learn right? I wanted to err on the side of too much gear, and I did just that. I paid for it later in the day. However, the pack itself worked well. It was comfortable on my back and shoulders, it was durable, and it kept my liquids cool, despite the hot day. I still feel I chose well with the Wingnut. They are quality, comfortable packs that will be with me on many more epic adventures
I could list all the things I carried, but you would not have time to read the list. Let’s just say I had the essentials, and then more of the essentials. I also carried a lot of solid foods that I did not touch. The KTR sealed the fact that I far prefer liquids to solids during prolonged events. In the future I will plan better for that. Especially when I need to carry it all from start to finish.
Some other random stuff.
The bike worked well. The DIY tubless was flawless. I took some pretty big hits at times, and never burped any air. So I am a believer in that system now. The hardtail was, as usual, pretty comfy. I was wishing for some squish during some of the sections, but overall it treated me very well.
And yes, the KT is tailor made for 29 inch wheels. Lots of ledges, rocks, drops, and long prolonged flats. They spun over everything as they usually do. I’d say just from my casual observation that 40-50% of the 56 starters were on 29ers.
The new Power Gels from PowerBar are better this year. They are more liquid like, and the Double Latte and Plain flavors actually tasted good after 11 hours in the saddle.
Thinking ahead to next year…whether an official KTR takes place or not….
I wonder if it would be possible to start the race with an empty bladder. Haul the minimum up the big climbs with bottles, then fill them, and the bladder at Fisher Creek. Something to think about. Filtering is more doable than I anticipated. I had a filter with me as a “just in case” item. I have decided that if I am going to bring it, use it. Otherwise it is just dead weight. I only refilled once, at the 100 mile point, at Westwater. Planning to filter would have lightened the load a bit (although most of the weight I had to lose was in food and extra gear) and would have given me some time off the bike to regroup.
I really felt like I rode a perfect race, up until Westwater. I was far ahead of schedule, I was feeling great, I had planned my water just right…but then it fell apart. I need to figure out why. I have two theories at this point. 1) Not enough electrolytes/calories in the early going. I need to force myself to eat and drink better in the early hours of an endurance race. 2) The heat. I think 1 and 2 are related. Had I been a little better hydrated I don’t think the heat would have taken such a toll on me. Or, had I had fresh, cold electrolyte drinks after Westwater I may have been able to drink them. Instead the warm stuff I had was gagging.
Anyway, these are just some thoughts. The race was a blast. There was a great aura about the event, the course, and the magnitude of what we were all trying to do. I am really disapointed that Mike Curiak is considering not running the event again. Especially the reason he is considering it for. Cheating in a race like this is pointless and stupid. It benefits nobody. It may cause a great guy to become disillusioned with a style of racing that he has pioneered. I hope that does not happen. It would be a shame to let the KTR die. But I respect Mike and his choice, whatever it will end up being.
I have more pictures to post, and even a video of yours truly in a dillerious stupor at the end of the race. It is somewhat frightening to watch, and think…”that was ME?!?” It is good entertainment. I need to gather them from my litttle brother who has them on his camera.