Summer and Fall time means its Epic Season. Epic Season is the time of year when we mountain bikers engage in what others call death rides/marches. There is always amazing rides out there to be done, if you’re willing to put the effort in. Yes, by that I mean, pushing one’s bike. We ride into the mountains only to come out hours later dirty, tired, and some times cranky from lack of food but always happy inside.
To ensure you have a safe and enjoyable Epic you need to consider a lot of factors; where to go, when to go, and how far. Snow levels, rider abilities, blow downs and time constraints will all affect your ride. Equipment, clothes, food and other essentials can greatly affect your ride as well so I put together a list of things one should consider packing when going for a summer Epic.
- Floor Pump
- Socks (2
- Knee or Leg Warmers
- Shirt (short sleeve or possibly a long sleeve)
- Arm Warmers
- Gloves (A spare pair??)
- Sun glasses
- Wind shell
- Hydration Pack
- Water Filtration
- Multi tool
- Tire levers
- Tube(s), Patch kit and tire patch
- Small bottle of Stan’s Sealant
- Pump or CO2 cartridges
- Chain tool
- Quick Link for chain
- Spare derailleur hanger
- Spare Spokes
- Space blanket
- First Aid kit
- Head Lamp
Odds & Ends
- Sun screen
- Lip Balm
- Food for during your ride
- Changing mat
- Extra water
- Food for after (cold beer in a cooler)
- Action Wipes
- Towel and swim trunks
- Parking Pass
- Spare batteries
- Stanley thermos for your car ride coffee
Not only is what you pack essential but a properly working bicycle is too. A little maintenance will go a long way when your 4 hours from any road in he middle of no where. Be sure to fully check over your bike from front to back and while you’re riding make mental notes of what needs to be looked at for next time (assuming you remember them hours later). Here’s a list of things you might want to check before each Epic.
- Tires -check for cuts or worn side walls
- Brake pad life
- Spoke tension
- Fork and shock pressure
- Suspension linkage -check for loose bolts, bad bearings or binding
- Shifting -check for damaged housing or frayed cables
- Derailleur pullies -do they look like ninja stars?
- Pedals -check tightness and grease
- Cleats -are they worn?
- Controls -check bolts for tightness and or cracks
One last thing to think about is the equipment you use. Epic rides are so vastly different from you average mountain bike ride. The hours you spend in the saddle demand slight equipment changes to ensure your comfortable when your in the fifth hour of your ride. Think about the following suggestons:
- Ergon grips for added hand comfort
- Think about a saddle that has more cushion than you normally use.
- Since you’ll be pushing your bike, leave your carbon soled shoes at home and look into something with a little more give so hiking isn’t so hard.
- Think about the clothes you wear. Are bibs what you really want?
- Make sure you have a hydration pack that stays put and has enough room. Overloading your pack stresses it and it will not sit on your back as it should. Take a look at Osprey.
- Epics are long and you might get sick of just eating gels. Bring a wide range of food. The guys at Feed the Machine have a great selection.
- Are your helmet pads worn out?
- Sun glasses that have photochromic lenses or interchangeable lenses are a good thing as we all know the weather can change fast around here.
- Gloves with extra padding will help on those long descents.
Enjoy your Epics. Let me know if I forgot anything and I’d love to hear what Epics you have planned for this year.
Get out there!