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Saturday, March 17, 2012

ITI 2012, Gear follow up

A few follow up points from this years ITI.  I don’t usually put out a gear list because so much of my list is simply personal preference.  That said there are a few items worth mentioning that I consider high performers and some that are so good I’ve had on every snow biking event  since 2008- 4 ITI’s and 1 Susitna race. 
High performers:
1.       The one item that I firmly believe made an unbelievable difference was medical compression socks.  I swell. A friend of mine (an occupational therapist specializing in burn victims) strongly suggested I wear 30 mmhg medical compression socks.  Wow, what a suggestion.  If I didn’t my feet would have swelled, my narrow lakes footwear would likely have cut off circulation and may have had blisters and possibly frostbite.  The compression socks, which I never took off did not cause one blister.  Each time I felt a “hot” spot on my foot while pushing it never developed further.  Additionally, in order for me to wear a RBH (thick) VB I had to pull out the soles of the lake.  So even at -50 with minimal insulation I had no frostbike—a cold foot but nothing else.   This is one item I will never ever go without. …. and it also helped with my recovery. 

2.       VB shirt/jacket (but can't find on the website anymore).  This was something that I got some strange looks and was somewhat ridiculous looking super thin cuban fiber jacket (weighs a few ounces). But I wore this since day 1, even at upper 30 degree temps.  It was uncomfortable at times since I usually sweat so much (hint at why I likely have edema).  Normally, without a VB all my layers are soaked. The VB prevented that this year.  I had one thin baselayer beneath the VB that got soaked.  I wore two very thin layers over the VB and then my softshell. When I bivied I would take the wet layer off put on a dry thin layer and then the VB.  It kept me dry, warm in my bag and the VB prevented moisture build up in the bag.  At a checkpoint the VB was basically dry and the under layer dried pretty quickly.  It was the only thing ever wet.  Not even my jacket was wet.  The downside… yup the base layer under the VB was rancid.  A few times when I was not getting enough glucose (I googled the reason post race) I smelled strong ammonia sweat. Whew. 

3.      Clipless pedals : the candy pedals themselves, hmmm I am not sure about their performance. My right foot kept getting hung up and I would fall over, which provided hours of entertainment but not exactly fun after days and days. The fact of being clipless was fantastic though.  I’ll never go back and this was a particularly hard year of on and off the bike.  It was a HUGE relief to pull up and give the bottom of my foot rest when I could pedal. 

4.       Lakes boots.  I modified mine by adding a home job waterproof overboot using shoe goo. It was crude but effective.  I didn’t have to bring overboots and they worked like a champ in overflow.  The lakes aren’t perfect but they sure are comfy.

5.       70 mm wheelset made by speedway.  I can’t believe only 5 mm up from the large marges has made 100% difference in my ability to grind in soft stuff.


6.  VB socks.  Again the VB prevented moisture from saturating my boot and as time went on the moisture accumulation in the VB was minimal.  The stuff works.  

Gear that’s lasted since 2008 and brought on all ITI races:
1.       Patagonia ghost pack, has great pockets around the waist belt, super light and carries my bladder.

2.       Wildfire bike- I’ve wrecked A LOT on this bike and while I had Speedway make a new wheelset everything but the drive train and seat are original.  Without gear it’s still a slim 30 lbs.

3.       Patagonia puffy pants. Not used much but are super warm and synthetic. 

4.       Mountain hardwear hat. Gold standard. 

5.       OR mitts (liners). 

6.       Pogies made by Paramount Cycles.

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