Yup, good old rule of the 7P's... got drummed into me through 5 years of school cadets and 3 years of ADFA (in between adventures with vacuum cleaners). Even made an appearance in my MBA somewhere (not sure that teaching method was as effective as a drill sergeant yelling at you so close you could feel the spittle but I digress).
So preparing the body has pretty much been assisted as always by my coach Mark Fenner. Actually to call Mark a coach is probably understating things. I found him more or less by accident when I needed a coach to take me through to 24hr Solo Worlds in 2009.
He'd been coaching more or less in addition to his his day job and had just decided to go at it full time. I remember being at a training camp at his place with Josh Carlson (now a pro on the US Enduro / Freeride scene), Jason McAvoy (multiple Masters world 24hr champ) and Kev wells. Now Mark coaches Pro Tour road riders, pro mountain bikes, is pretty much full time with the Avanti pro team and to top it all off has launched Today's Plan with Andrew Hall (who I used to work with once upon a time).
Yet manages to find the time to keep coaching a tubby-ish bloke in his early 40's just out to add challenge to life. Amazing huh? Much more of a mate now than just a coach though.
Bikewise I'm riding my trusty BlackSheep - well documented by Cycle Exif. It's single speed, rigid (no suspension) and I love it. Although to be honest Singapore stretches the friendship at times - there is actually a fair amount of MTB trails here but no hills. Well, of any length that is. The biggest climb is to the top of Mt Faber. On the Sheep it takes about 5 minutes. Not awesome when you're trying to train for a race that is going to require you to climb for hours. On the single sheep that means that any ride of any length involves spinning like a demented hamster and not going anywhere particularly quickly.
Probably the biggest issue is going to be the temperature. In Singapore when we get up to go riding (at about 5am) its usually about 25'C. In the middle of the day it rises to around 35-38'C. All year. Oh and the humidity is generally about 75%. For someone that is prone to cramping at the best of times this is a nightmare and getting used to this is an ongoing project.
Cloudride on the other hand is going to be in temperatures ranging from 0'-18'C. Much more my preferred riding temperatures but you adapt to your environment and my system just ain't used to it. I was in Korea last week riding in 0'C and its amazing how you forget just how unpleasant it is to be cold! Hmmm.
Gear wise I'm pretty sorted and am pretty much using my Tour Divide kit list with just a couple of changes. I've switched from my Klymit mat to a Therm-a-Rest Neo Air. The Therm-a-rest is a little heavier (by a whole 50grams or so) but is a thicker mattress and I'm hoping lets me sleep a little more soundly - I anticipate that Cloudride will involve very little in the way of hotel stays and so something that helps me sleep better on the ground is important.
Other stuff is pretty similar. My frame bags are still supplied by Bike Bag Dude (another little Aussie company that I've used since before it was famous :) ) but learning from TDR, the new bags are slightly wider which means that its less of a struggle to fit the full 4 litres of water in it. The great thing about custom design is that you can have a conversation about whether another 20mm of width is easy to do and then it simply happens.
Final major change is the upgrade to the Garmin Edge 1000. Despite warnings to the contrary my 810 has been very reliable and performed perfectly on Tour Divide (and since) however, lately my vision has been getting a little worse and the larger screen of the 1000 is a help. Also, it seems to be a slightly better navigation (as opposed to simply following a line) tool than the 810. The auto upload to starve etc on a wireless network is also pretty handy.
Everything else is pretty similar with the exception of some riding gear where I tend to use more Rapha stuff now...
My complete list is below.
|10l Dry Bag - Front||Ortlieb|
|Sleeping Bag||Western Mountineering 2'C|
|Bivy||Borah Designs Cuben Fibre|
|Sleeping Mat||Thermarest Neo Air X-lite||Change||More Comfort|
|Down Jacket||Western Mountineering|
|13l Dry Bag - Rear||Ortlieb|
|1 spare Jersey||Rapha Brevet||Change||Shorter Trip|
|Warm Jacket||Assos Bonka|
|Winter Baselayer||Assos Fall|
|Summer Base Layer||Rapha||Change|
|Spare Knicks||Assos T.607||Change||Shorter Trip|
|Gillet||Rapha Brevet||Change||Jersey Pocket|
|1 * Warm Socks||Assos Fugu||change||Shorter Trip|
|Waterproof Socks||Rocky Sox|
|Basic First Aid Kit|
|Underwear||Rapha (can't help it!)||Remove|
|Chamois Cream||Paw Paw Ointment|
|Spare GPS||Garmin Edge 810|
|Large Framebag||BikeBag Dude|
|4l Water Bladder||MSR Dromlite|
|Rain Jacket||Rapha||Change||Assos can't make zippers!|
|Rain Pants||Assos SturmPrinz|
|TDR Map Set||Remove|
|Small Framebag||BikeBag Dude|
|Winter Gloves||Rockel Mittens|
|Insulator Gloves||Assos Insulator|
|Summer Gloves||Rockel Gel||Remove|
|GasTank||Oveja Negra||Change||From Bike Bag Dude|
|FeedBags||Bike Bag Dude||Change||Better!|
|Jerry Can||Oveja Negra||Change||From BBD|
|Handlebar Bag||Change||Not Carrying - distribute gear in Drybags|
|Shoes||S-Works Trail||Change||Mavic stopped making theirs - these are awesome|
|Helmet||Giro||Change||Lighter XC based|
|Spare Light||Exposure Diablo IV|