Saturday, 28 November 2015

Munga Equipment Choices - Part 1

4 days out from the start of The Munga I have prepped my bike and loaded a selection of kit for the race. As it stands, I am probably 4kg's the wrong side of "this weight might work." I am working with imperfect weather forecast data that sees temperatures ranging from 15 to 38 degrees Celsius. 

First up, the bike. The Munga is primarily a gravel road race, hence Tim's choice of a gravel bike — the yellow one below. 

I have opted for my 2 x 10 Lynskey hard tail with a front suspension fork. Simple choice actually — it's what I have. Suspension fork is critical for me as I have to look after my hands. Last year Sean Badenhorst asked me what part of the body takes the most punishment during an endurance event. I think my reply surprised him — hands! It turned out to be prophetic as a few months later I was off my bike for 3 months nursing a severe case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome brought about by riding the 600 km's between Rhodes and Cradock twice in the space of a few weeks. Sean himself felt discomfort in his hands during the ABSA Cape Epic earlier this year and had his grips doctored to make his hands more comfortable. 

Don't want issues with my hands again. Apart from having a suspension fork (which I run very soft) I have added Ergon Grips which distribute the pressure on my palms over a wider area. I have no issues with my hands since switching to these grips. 

However, the route is likely to see us grinding out many kilometres of rough gravel roads and I imagine it will take a toll on hands. With that in mind, I fitted Tri Bars. I made a few mods which  I covered in a prior post. I didn't mention that I installed the forearm pads backwards. Initially it was a mistake but when I corrected the mistake they were incredibly uncomfortable so I put them back the wrong way and they fit comfortably. I initially installed the Tri Bars to give me options to rest my hands. After riding in a strong wind today I could feel the benefit of hunkering down into the wind. The early forecasts suggest we will be facing significant head winds on the race, so that's an added bonus. 

Using the bars doesn't come without a few challenges. Firstly, body conditioning. Mostly lower back and neck. I have spent many hours over the last week getting used to the setup. Unfortunately, there is a bit of a compromise with my saddle position. If I leave my saddle in its normal position, when dropping onto the bars the front of the saddle digs into parts best left unabused. So I dropped the nose a tad. Now when I sit up the saddle is sloped a little too forward which results in me leaning on the grips. I guess I could have found a more suitable saddle, but it's not a good idea to mess with your perch a few days before a big race. Right now it's a compromise. Can always adjust the saddle to suit once the race in underway.  

To be continued ...

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