There is a lot of things going on right now in the world of bikepacking and bike racing. One side you have the Tour de France and the other the Tour divide. For many of us, the dream is being a professional cyclist on a big tour having the support crew and a hotel and the massage after a big stage. Others its going on a bikepacking race with all your own food and water and sleeping in a bivy on the side of the trail somewhere. To me the beauty of both of these forms of racing is the scenery that you see and the strategy you must develop. So I would like to share my philosophy on bikepacking and bike pack racing.
I really love how in recent years the bikepacking race scene is becoming more of a thing. With the creation of races like the Transcontinental Race and the Trans Am. It gives people like me with a wanderlust nomadic heart and competitor’s brain something to get into. With the market building all sorts of gravel/ adventure bikes. And local and international companies building some awesome bags for us to hall all our gear in. This type of sport is really interesting. With pro cycling their strategy is more physical than anything else. As for bikepacking , there is a little more to it.
There is the several things to consider:
Sleeping arrangements ( hotels, bivys, tents)
Food and water ( where do I put it all )
Clothing ( warm, wet, fast, comfortable)
Tech ( gps, phone, lights, charging)
Possibly the biggest is Bike and BIke fit or position
All of these things are extremely important in a bikepacking race, but where is the line between touring and racing? How much is too much and how much is not enough?
There are so many great videos online of different ways to do it. This is just my way.
First I will say I start by saying my background is in Triathlons. So I am most comfortable in the aero position. The greater the distance this becomes more and more important. The longer you stay in aero the less watts you need to overcome the drag. Now if you cant put out power in this position, though you don’t need much in a bikepacking race, you still need to be able to work hard. So it is vitally important to get set up in a comfortable yet aero position on the bike.
One of the coolest things about bikepacking and racing is seeing where everyone puts there food, water, tech, sleeping kit and clothing. Typically this all depends on the duration of the race and the conditions. If it cool and wet you may need to bring more warm clothes and there for need more room on your bike. If its hot then you can get away with bringing less warm stuff but maybe bring some extra water. For me I believe in a very minimalist setup.
I believe that if you can get your kit packed into as few bags as possible. This gives you the option to add or remove things depending on the climate. Now the reason why I say this is because if you don’t need extra stuff DON’T BRING IT. You will be much faster and lighter with out it.
Bringing a comfortable sleeping setup may be worth it for a long week of racing in the middle of nowhere. But if you plan it right you can get away with staying in hotels. If your only doing a 3 day event its much better to just rough it in a bivy for a couple of daysRead More