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The PBP Kit List
WORDS: James Fairbank & Phil Deeker | PHOTOS: Wig Worland
With their qualifying having long ridden off into the night, more than enough training miles accrued, final preparations for Paris-Brest-Paris 2011 now turn to kit, bike and…chocolate. James and Phil discuss.
James Fairbank (JF):
This has been a work in progress and includes lessons learnt over a qualification period that stretches back to January. From a damp, cold 200km qualifier in January that left Ultan with a swollen face and me with PF syndrome, to watching Phil overheating on the Bryan Chapman; my choices have been altered to give the best balance between warmth, comfort and light-weight.
Phil Deeker (PD):
It’s when thinking about clothing that the true scale of PBP becomes quite clear. It goes like this: Next Sunday, around 2pm, I will put on a set of clothing and will get out of it the following Wednesday. Three days and three nights will have come and gone in between and I will have spent all but a few of those hours pedaling, in the same clothes. Good thing then that Rapha has always placed comfort high on its hit list.
I will give my feet a fresh pair of socks at one strategic moment, and I will probably take on and off arm & leg warmers, a jacket or a gilet, but that will be about as far as ‘changing’ will go. I don’t mind getting wet, but I don’t enjoy getting cold. Yet space is so precious. I’ve bought a bar bag and a saddle bag, to give myself generous baggage space yet, for a lightweight mountain goat, even this feels absurdly heavy. Never mind, it’s flat. Here’s what I’m bringing with me to the slaughter.
JF - Sidi Ergo 2 shoes with Sidas footbeds and a bundle of various wedges under both cleats. Long rides lead to my feet swelling up, this can be alleviated by taking my shoes off at controls. This was impossible at the 24 hour TT & the balls of them still feel bruised, not something I’ve experienced before.
PD - Specialized shoes that I have worn for 4 seasons now. They have an extra pair of in-soles for a comfortable ride.
JF - Rapha Merino Socks: Thicker than the Pro Team socks they’ll help with the bruised soles and they’re much warmer in the wet.
PD - Same. Merino Socks, very reliable.
JF - Rapha Oversocks: I hate & suffer from cold feet , these will go in the kit bag.
PD - Rapha Overshoes. They will be left behind if the forecast is reassuring but if not, I am willing to sacrifice some precious space to survive long hours of wet.
JF - Rapha Knee Warmers: Lycra ones, thicker than others on the market the multiple panels help them stay in place, can’t see these coming off.
PD - Knee Warmers: These might be a night-time treat, especially if we actually get treated to some sunshine in the daytime.
JF - Rapha Chamois Cream: Copious quantity with spare in the kit bag.
PD - Rapha Chamois Cream may even get used in all sorts of other places too, just for it’s delicious smell!
JF - Rapha Classic Bib Shorts: The best long-distance bib shorts I’ve ever used by a distance, S5 Mille’s chafe at the front of the chamois.
PD - The same as James, Rapha Bib Shorts have never failed me.
JF - Rapha Merino Baselayer: SS on the body, LS in the kit bag. Warm when wet with none of the scratchiness that characterises cheap Merino. It comes with the added bonus that I’ll be able to wear it for 65 hours and not smell like the walking dead.
PD - Thanks to this base layer, the idea of wearing the same clothes for three days & nights is almost tolerable. I too will have a LS in my ‘ride wardrobe’.
JF - Rapha Brevet Jersey & Gilet: Designed specifically for this event, the slightly heavier weight sportwool blend is perfect for late-August temperatures. Considered details range from the perforated reflective white stripe on the jersey to the extra cargo capacity. Graeme Raeburn - our head designer - has outdone himself to produce something that’s both handsome and practical. It’s important to look good, for morale…
PD - Couldn’t agree more about appearances. Not sure I will shave, but at least I will hopefully appear to have some dignity, maybe even sanity, left in this splendid jersey.
JF - Rapha Merino Arm Warmers: Prototype flat-locked wool armwarmers I was given in January, warmer and lighter than any lycra equivalent, I live in these.
PD - I am looking forward to slipping my arms into these… arm warmers will hopefully be just another night-time treat.
JF - Rapha Rain Jacket: The internal debate ranges between this and the Wind Jacket that is lighter and more breathable. Tales of 60 hours of rain in 2007 have informed the decision.
PD - I will have both with me before rolling along to start and will possibly put my trust in the forecast: if it’s reasonable, then Wind Jacket it will be, winning on overall versatility.
JF - Rapha Grand Tour Mitts: After 3000km they’ve completely formed to the shape of my hands & act like a padded second skin.
PD - Will be the Racing Mitts for me. I usually ride the "tough" way (look mum, no gloves), but it might be wise to have some padding for this one.
JF - Merino glove liners: Thin enough to wear under the mitts they’ll come out at night.
PD - I like the sound of these. I am taking along a tiny pair of silk ones that take up no room but that can really take the chill off the night air. I will also have a pair of Rapha’s Winter Gloves if things get hectic : if rain and cold air combine forces, then I loose pretty quickly if I don’t have a pair of thick gloves.
JF - Surgical Gloves: Useful for messy repairs but also handy if a cold rain falls.
PD - Me too. Really good value for space/weight. Waterproof and germ-proof if needed for first aid.
JF - Rouleur Cap: A nod to our friends at Luke St. I always wear a cap under a helmet, helps to shield the eyes from the rain and wind when not wearing glasses.
PD - Funny thing: I always wear one too, and I had pulled out the same one from my collection for this.
JF - Oakley Jawbones: With photochromic lenses, custom colours to match the jersey, the devil’s in the detail.
PD - The Same.
JF - Giro Atmos: Amazing helmet I forget that I’m wearing.
PD - Specialized dunno what. Light and comfy.
JF - Genesis Croix De Fer: A complete lump but the most versatile bike I’ve ever owned. Wonderfully comfortable steel frame & consistently crap disc brakes.
PD - Parlee Z4: A bit posh for PBP, but it has Brooks bar tape and a Brooks honey-coloured saddle, so looks a little ‘long distance’. I love it too much to leave it in the van and miss such a special ride. I will be gentle with it.
JF - Ortleib Saddle Pack: Secure, waterproof bag that doesn’t rattle unlike the others I’ve tried.
PD - Front bar bag (very un-aero, but so practical. I’ve had to make my own bar clamp system because the one provided was not designed for oversized bars. Will be full of the lighter parts of my baggage.) This bag says “More Space Less Pace” so well. It will go back in the cupboard for a long while after PBP, I hope!
JF - Exposure Diablo with 3 cell piggyback: The main light mounted on my handlebars, with the piggyback it’ll cover the three nights. Exposure Joystick with a single cell piggyback: Helmet mounted light so I can see the route card and my computer. Like the Diablo, UK designed and manufactured.
PD - Hope Front Light with a battery pack clamped on the frame for each night. Have tested the lights and I get 15 hours off one so should be OK. Back light is simple 2 x AAA battery light. Got small headtorch for reading & repairing, etc.
JF - Cateye Strada Wireless: Simple and reliable, I’d love to take a Garmin but even with a battery pack it would only last 30 hours.
PD - Hard-wired Bonty computer. I will only be asking it to tell me my speed and the time of day or night. Info on distance will be a downer until I’m past the 900kms, I reckon.
JF - Earplugs: No explanation necessary. Dark chocolate: Mr. Deeker’s suggestion and a treat to counter the sickly procession of energy food.
PD - This will be Green & Blacks 70% , maybe even 80%. I will time myself on how long it will take to melt a square in my mouth, trying for a record 15 minutes.
JF - Toothbrush: Some kind of routine is necessary to trick the tired mind into thinking that I’m doing something approaching normal.
PD - Given that I would look silly and get cold in a pair of jammies, this (brushing teeth) will be as close as we will get to some sort of night/morning (ending/beginning of a day) ritual. VERY important. Might even floss, dpeneding on progress.
JF - Hooded Silk sleeping bag liner: To hide inside.
PD - Parachute silk hammock: When the eyelids finally give in to gravity, this could be a blessing. Takes a bit of space, but almost weightless. Haven’t worked out how I will secure my bike whilst I snore away. I’m thinking of threading the hammock cords through the bike frame… This sleep option relies on me hearing my watch alarm go off, so I will also have some plasters with me to tape my watch to my ear (I think a sense of humour will be just as important on this thing as a good pair of legs!)
I hesitate on an iPod too, for some thumping musical company at night. But it could be too heavy. (No, not the music, the tiny thing itself…)
Good luck to James, Phil, Ultan Coyle and Anton Blackie. A full report on the PBP 2011 to follow soon. Don't forget, we want to know what kit you use on your rides. See here »
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