Rainy Day Randonneur Equipment Profile

Day 3 of 2008 Last Chance (my first completion of a 1200K or 750 mile brevet). 12 hours of constant rain and 45-50F temps. (Click or double-click for larger image)

This will be an ongoing section with tips for riding a road bike long distances that I have learned since recently taking up the sport of endurance bicycling.

While I have this picture up, let me explain a little about the equipment I used on that brevet.

  1. Shower cap on helmet. I now use a commercial one and cut a slit for my headlamp.
  2. Goretex style jacket (i.e waterproof breathable). Look for something that is factory seam sealed. A wind jacket is not enough for constant, cold rain.
  3. Neoprene gloves. Designed for scuba diving and 3mm thick. Perfect for terribly days like this.
  4. Rainlegs. Keeps rain over your lower body. Super lightweight and worth their weight in gold. Keeps you warmer too.
  5. Grocery sacks on my shoes to keep rain out. Despite using Merino wool socks, I still got cold feet. I know pack neoprene cycling toe warmers if the weather looks bad.
  6. Aerobars. I think I’ll write an entire article why I like them, especially the Syntace C2 Clip Ons. Super thin and lighter than most carbon fiber models.
  7. Vinyl cue sheet holder. Custom made and attached to the aerobars (can’t see in photo). A godsend for memory deprived people like me.
  8. Top tube bag (just behind the bars). This enables me to eat on the fly. With layers of clothing including a reflective vest, it is hard to get out of your rear jersey pockets. Oh, that is my design, the Kinesis Q095 Top Tube Brevet Bag.
  9. Pump. A mini-floor pump with a hose. No hose, no pressure. You can place the base of this on the ground and apply body weight. This is simply no way to get 120 PSI from one without a hose. I use the Topeak Mini Morph with Gauge. Lezyne makes some good models too.
  10. Saddle. Unpadded suspension leather style. Selle An-Atomica. I DNFed on my first 1200 attempt because of saddle sore issues.
  11. Rear seat post bag. Big enough for extra clothes, after the weather turns warm. Detours High Tail EXP UL is my favorite for 400K + rides.
  12. Tires. Maxxis Refuse 25s (700 x 25c). Softer ride than 23s. Besides, I’m 6-4 and with that height I pack more weight than the average 5-10 rider. I inflate the front to 110 PSI and the rear to 110 or perhaps 115 max.
  13. Gearing. Compact double chainring (front). I use a special French-made 33 ring in the front (instead of the stock 34) for more climbing power when tired. Combine that with a 10-speed 12-27 cassette (shown) and you are in pretty good shape. I plan to upgrade to a 11-28 or 12-28 when that one wears out. That new combination will give me the equivalent of a triple in front and a 12-25 in the back.
  14. Oh the bike! Yeah, a stock frame with pretty traditional racing geometry. Low end model with a blend of carbon fiber and aluminum (joints). 61cm. Head tube too short for me. Still shopping for something better. 20 or 21 lbs. without extras. Fezzari CR2. Manufacture direct pricing.

What have I missed? Shoes and pedals? I used stock racing-type pedals and shoes that season, but I have switched to something better for rando rides. More to come later on that. When I get time—if I get time!

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