Giant Propel x Transcontinental Bike Race

In just ten days’ time, I’ll be lining up in Geraardsbergen for the biggest race and ride of my life. I’ve finally organised myself enough to do a practice run of how I’ll travel for 14 days (or more!) on the bike.

 

My Giant Propel Advanced 0 will be my home and transport for TCRno5 and it’s entirely inappropriate on paper. It’s pitched as one of the most aerodynamic bikes in the peloton but she’s a thing of beauty and for me, comfort. From the lines of the frame to the colour scheme, this bike screams GLS.

SV-9 dynamo hub

My dynamo is an SP SV-9 which is laced with 32 black spokes on some Stans Alpha 400 rims. The wires from the dynamo feed up my fork and lead to an Igaro D1 charger with USB port. I’ll use the dynamo to charge my lights, Wahoo Elemnt and cache battery. It’s well known that iPhones don’t really like inconsistent current. My tyres are Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tyres, which have been absolutely faultless in training. I can run them on lower pressures making my ride more comfortable and I also don’t have to worry about silly little punctures that would ordinarily mean I’d be on the side of the road faffing about with inner tubes.

Hope RS4 with some stealthy spokes on the chainstay

At the rear, I have a Hope RS4 purple hub which attaches to an 11-32T cassette. I had to switch out my rear derailleur for a long cage alternative due to the bigger sprocket, though I’ve heard some using a wolftooth link instead. Just sneaking inside the non-drive-side chainstay, you’ll see three spare spokes incase I pop a couple along the way. They’re secured inside there using electrical tape – a cyclist’s do-it-all tape.

Rear lights: Supernova Airstream and Lezyne strip drive

Front setup

Cockpit

 

Up front I’ve got Profile Design T4 aerobars, Wahoo Elemnt┬ásneaking in underneath, Supernova E3 dynamo light, Exposure Sirius front light, my Rapha x Apidura handlebar pack and Apidura extended top tube pack. If you follow me on twitter, you’ll have heard of my tape-wrapping struggles but I’m pleased to say I think I’ve nailed the technique. I’ve used Lizard Skins on both my bars and TT ends.

Inside my handlebar pack you’ll find the following tucked into a drybag:

  • Alpkit PipeDream 200
  • Alpkit Hunka XL
  • Petzl Tikka headtorch
  • Rapha merino beanie
  • Thermarest Neoair Xlite (available from Pannier)

Inside the top tube pack is:

  • Multitool (keeping this handy will save time if I ever need to tighten/loosen anything)
  • Cache battery
  • Papaw ointment (amazing lip balm, great for burns, stings etc)
  • Ibuprofen
  • Paracetamol
  • Antihistamine
  • USB cable
  • iPhone cable
  • Exposure cable
  • Pen
  • Chewing gum
  • Earphones
  • Electrical tape
  • Spare powermeter batteries

My groupset is Shimano Di2 which will help with not only my poor tired hands changing gear but also space-saving with my handlebar park given my shifters don’t swing inside when changing gear. The only thing I’ve got to remember is to charge the damn thing!

Verve InfoCrank 50/34

I’m also riding compact chainrings (50/34) with my Verve InfoCrank power meter. It’s been such a great training tool so it’s a no brainer that I’ll be using one throughout the race. For those playing at home, you’ll find me spinning up mountains in my 34/36 on the reg!

SPOT Tracker and Rapha x Apidura seatpack

Finally, my Rapha x Apidura seatpack weighs down behind me. It’s FULL of everything else you could possibly need during a race like this. I might end up tweaking its contents but here’s how it looks at the moment:

  • Tubeless repair kit
  • 2 x tubes
  • Levers
  • Patches
  • Tyre boot
  • Brake cable
  • Brake blocks
  • Quick link
  • Compression tights (which I’ll sleep in and use after the race)
  • Passport
  • Notebook (don’t ask!)
  • 4 x big zip ties
  • 4 x small zip ties
  • Nail clippers (for the obvious and also trimming the aforementioned zip ties)
  • Earplugs
  • Knee warmers
  • Arm warmers
  • Spare bib shorts
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Insulated gilet
  • Arm screens
  • Duvet jacket
  • Di2 charger
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Spare lithium SPOT batteries
  • Sudocrem
  • Sunscreen

This might not be everyone’s choice of shit-to-carry-a-very-long-way but it’s mine and I feel comfortable taking that with me. Inside my Rapha essentials case (purse, basically) I’ve got about five sachets of chamois cream, a chainring bolt and the usual stuff like cards, ID, E111 etc.. That reminds me, I need to go to the Bureau de Brexit Change to get some Euros – you never know!

I’ll obviously have my SPOT tracker with me (it’s compulsory) so when I have the information for that, I’ll throw it out on Twitter or if I know you more personally, you’ll get an exciting email!

Phew, I think that’s everything! It’s been a mammoth couple of days putting all of that together along with fine-tuning my route which FYI is 4086km with just shy of 40,000m of climbing.

Incase you’re wondering, I haven’t booked my return transport for a variety of reasons: I don’t know how I’ll get back yet, I don’t want the psychological pressure of a booked flight to destroy my mental wellbeing along the way and I don’t know when I’ll finish. There are savings to be made by booking sooner obviously but it’s hard to predict this far in advance.

I’ll do a separate post on the kit I’ll be wearing throughout the race this coming week so watch out for that.

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GraceQOM

6 Comments

  1. You are a legend Grace. You blow me and dad away with your inspiration, enthusiasm and confidence. We are so proud I can’t put it into words. I can’t wait to follow you on your journey. You will have lots of emotions flowing, highs and well as lows and probably tears too but be rest assured that is all normal and we send you our strength and positivity to finish this awesome opportunity xxxx (ALL our love, ma, pa, aud & bets).

  2. Always interesting to see kit lists. Mine is very similar although I have gone with a PHD half sleeping bag but will take an extra tube or two as running tubes in my wheels. Was chuffed when I cut about 600gm of my load after my training run last week. And I will have a notebook as well!

  3. Hey Grace, my own 2 cents about your gear as someone who just bikepacked iceland for two weeks. Get rid of the knee warmers. If you’re really cold you can wear the leggings, but I find it has to be less than 8 degrees before I cover my legs. Instead keep you feet warm with either shoes covers, waterproof socks or overshoes. If you’re tubeless and you have good tyres, get rid of that second tube. I did not have a single flat with my Vittoria endurance tuning pros and that was after riding in lots of wet roads and gnarly gravel. I’d also go for 30/32c tyres over 28s if you could do it again; the shoulder is usually the least forgiving part of the road. A valve adapter might be useful for using air pumps at petrol stations as well. The other thing is I also used the Rapha/Apidura bags. The saddle bag is great but I find the handlebar bag super time consuming to put on and take off. You might want to consider looking for something that is more easily detachable. I know I will be before my next big trip. Other things that worked well for me were: waterproofing my cycling cap with MucOff fabric protect – it rains a lot here!; Invisable Zinc to stop your face getting destroyed, a merino buff does a lot for weather protection as well (dHb); Bepanthen is the best as cheapest chamois cream – and you should not use it sparingly!; eat as much as you possibly can and stay hydrated, if you run out of space for bidons you can always chuck a slim one in your jersey pocket.

    Best of luck,

    Kate

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