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What's in your Drop Bag?

Old 05-23-11, 09:25 AM
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barturtle
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What's in your Drop Bag?

I've signed up for my first event that offers drop bag service. I've never needed one, as all the local events in Kentucky (brevets, club centuries) have plenty of store stops for food and water and such. This event, the Heck of the North (a 100 mile gravel road race in Duluth, MN), seems to be pretty remote and has no stores or other access to facilities.

I know that's a pretty short distance, but what would you normally have in your drop bag? I'm thinking two bottles and a camelback, dry socks, gloves and jersey (just in case) and a couple more tubes/CO2, along with a decent lunch.

Any other thoughts/ideas?
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Old 05-23-11, 10:46 AM
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Your list seems decent. How about a spare tire? Gravel roads can sometimes do a number on sidewalls. You probably won't need it, but that's the beauty of a drop bag.
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Old 05-23-11, 11:41 AM
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I've only used a drop bag once, and that was for overnights on a 4-day ride, so my list probably wouldn't benefit you much (unless you stop mid-ride to brush your teeth and change clothes and all.)

I take Perpetuum when I ride longer distances. I also sweat a lot, so Endurolytes or some equivalent would be in there. More food than you think you'll eat, just in case, and more liquid than you think you'll need. Lights if you'll need them but don't carry them the whole trip. Bug spray?

If you need a spare tire, you'll probably need it on the bike, not in a drop bag.
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Old 05-23-11, 11:59 AM
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I just did a 600k that had a drop bag service. Since I had never had drop bags on a brevet (including my past 600k), I didn't know what to put in and ended up not using one. I didn't really regret it. It might have been nice to have another baselayer in there because it got cold, but I wasn't planning to sleep at that control, so I didn't need stuff for that. I really like to bring everything with me that I'm going to need.

Good comment on the spare tire, Stephen.
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Old 05-23-11, 12:35 PM
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Ah, well, usually one can limp along with a booted tire for a some distance... either to the drop bag or to the finish. Having it in the drop bag substitutes for not having it available altogether.

Basically, I look at a drop bag as being able to give you some peace of mind that many of the things that you are unlikely to need, and you simply would not want to burden yourself with normally, can go in the bag instead without a weight penalty. At least you'll have access those things at the halfway point in the event that a problem develops in the first 50 miles. Any number of "what if" type items might qualify - perhaps some more obscure tools, a first aid kit, some OTC meds (painkiller, etc.), etc.

Being a remote course on non-paved roads, there are a few more opportunities for things to go wrong.
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Old 05-23-11, 12:50 PM
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Thanks everyone. I was planning on carrying a spare (I always do on all my bikes). I'll be using my MTB for this ride, current plan, which could change as I continue testing, is to run a 1.8" rear with a 2.25" front, and carry a spare 1.8" on the bike. I mix Gatorade at double strength in my bottles and plain water in the camelback. Tools, quick links, couple tubes, patches, CO2, pump, first aid kit, plenty of gels and bars all on the bike.

I typically have blinkies going all the time, though my front one ripped off on a recent rough road test. Probably needed upgrading anyway ;-)
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Old 05-23-11, 02:26 PM
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I was checking out the Heck of the North's blog. It looks like a really cool event. I like the whole concept of these underground ultra races. If RAAM is the superbowl, these kinds of events are like really great sand-lot pickup games.

BTW, it appears the course is mostly gravel roads with some paved roads thrown in there. Why a MTB? Why such fat tires? Are these roads worse than I imagine?
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Old 05-23-11, 02:56 PM
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Mostly I'm using the MTB because I don't want to risk my normal century bike. The old Trek is a nice steel frame, and now sports a rigid Surly 1x1 fork. Those fat tires roll really well and will allow lower pressures to take the edge off the gravel. The bike is very comfortable, and not much slower on the road. The big tires and lack of worry about broken spokes should make it faster on gravel than my other bikes.

Oh, and it gives me a great excuse to spend money on upgrades ;-)
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Old 05-23-11, 03:05 PM
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I live part of the year near this route. The weather can be unpredictable, with temperatures effected by whether you have an off lake wind. So, if you aren't wearing a fair amount of extra clothes to start I would put some in the bag.

At least the mosquitoes will be all frozen to death by the time race rolls around.
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Old 05-23-11, 06:12 PM
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Oh, how bout spare shoes, cleats, pedals, chain. Stuff you're unlikely to need, and it's heavy and bulky so you'd never tote it on the bike, but potentially very useful if you have it laying around anyway. Might as well lay in your drop bag as in your garage. And I didn't look up the schedule, but if it's cooler, face mask, gloves, chemical warmers, stuff like that in case you're getting colder than anticipated.
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Old 06-01-11, 08:24 AM
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Having done this event, and a couple other gravel road races before- the only thing I leave to chance in the drop bag is more water. I carry anything I might need to get me out of a jam with me on the bike.

Anything that can go wrong at mile 50 can go wrong at mile 5 or 95. Plus, consider that a navigational error can easily tack on lots of unnecessary miles, leaving the drop zone not exactly where you planned for it to be.

As a bonus, it's fun to take the self supported credo seriously. But I certainly won't turn down goodies from the Mocha Moose.
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Old 06-01-11, 09:33 AM
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Thanks, Askel.

Other than water and a larger lunch (in addition to all the bars and gels on the bike) I was considering the drop bag to be used to replenish the spares on the bike. If I go through some of the tubes I'm carrying, I can re-up on them at the half, same with CO2. I'll have clothes for the conditions on the bike as well, but dry changes in the bag in case it seems warranted at that point.
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Old 06-03-11, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by barturtle View Post
Thanks, Askel.

Other than water and a larger lunch (in addition to all the bars and gels on the bike) I was considering the drop bag to be used to replenish the spares on the bike. If I go through some of the tubes I'm carrying, I can re-up on them at the half, same with CO2. I'll have clothes for the conditions on the bike as well, but dry changes in the bag in case it seems warranted at that point.
That's good thinking. Carry what you need, but put stuff you might need to restock your supplies in the bag.

I would put spare lights in the drop bag too ... sometimes lights can cease working or fall off. And batteries, if you're going with battery lights. Put a few choices of food in the bag as well ... something different from whatever you're carrying on the bicycle. An example might be a bag of salted almonds or cashews. Or a little tin of tuna. Maybe some crackers and cheese. Some fruit - fresh or canned - can go down well too.

Sometimes drop bags can be less helpful than they initially appear, especially if you decide to put something in the drop bag rather than carrying it ... and then discovering that you actually need it before you get to the drop bag, or after you've left the drop bag behind.
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Old 06-18-11, 10:48 AM
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So, new development:no more drop bag service. Or any service at all. There are zero resupply spots on the course. Fully self-supported.

Any thoughts on best way to carry enough food and water for a self supported century?
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Old 06-18-11, 03:39 PM
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I think I read you have a Surly rack on the Trek. Load up the rack with a top bag or large stuff sack filled with what you need. This will keep the weight off your back. Bring a water filter if you think you will need to get water along the way from questionable sources.

As for the drop bag ideas I am doing a double on the 25th with drop bag service. This will be the second event I've done with drop bag service. I will be using a LED flashlight so I can add more batteries if needed. As such I will throw in some extra batteries. The other big things will be a resupply of my Infinit Nutrition powder, some Mojo bars, dates, and some fun food to consume at the stop. Fun stuff will likely include a hot and spicy V8, coconut water, and Mountain Dew. Maybe a Twix or Kit Kat. Everything else will need to be carried with me. Some bag services will only drop off but not deliver unused items to the finish. In this case you either need to use what you drop or throw it out.
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Old 06-19-11, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by barturtle View Post
So, new development:no more drop bag service. Or any service at all. There are zero resupply spots on the course. Fully self-supported.Any thoughts on best way to carry enough food and water for a self supported century?
You've got to invest the time planning your ride strategy. Sit down with a map and find out exactly where gas stations/ convenience stores are along or near the route. Figure out your travel time between restocking opportunity and do the math to figure out how much of what you need. If the ride is in a rural area, you might want to give them a call and find out what hours they're open. Give some thought to how your needs might change if you encounter bad weather, hot conditions or problems along the way and figure out how you are going to accomodate such issues en-route. The more uncertain the conditions the more conservative I am with my water on the ride. Fill up when you have an opportun8ty even when you think you have enough. Keep a full emergency bottle. As much as I detest products like hammer, I carry baggies w/ powder with me because I can can carry emergency calories with me without much bulk or weight.

**You should be dialing in your resource management strategy on practice rides***

about what to include in a drop bag - should you do a future ride that provides that service. I rode my first 1200K last year and had a near GOTTCHA. The ride went through extreme rural areas. There were services in all of the little towns along the way BUT all the shops are strictly 9-5. Several riders had to drop out because they found themselves facing 180 miles without access to food or water. The route was an out and back and I knew that I was going to be returning in the middle of the night- and so I stashed away what I needed on the outbound. At the drop bag site people could stop and sleep briefly and eat. The only food that the organizers provided were stacks of cold petrified pizza. While I normally have nothing against pizza, it is the one thing that I can't have on a ride. I had packed several full meals in my bag- sandwiches, soups, oatmeal everything i needed. It saved my ride.

good luck on your ride

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Old 06-20-11, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Sekhem View Post
You've got to invest the time planning your ride strategy. Sit down with a map and find out exactly where gas stations/ convenience stores are along or near the route. Figure out your travel time between restocking opportunity and do the math to figure out how much of what you need. If the ride is in a rural area, you might want to give them a call and find out what hours they're open.
That'd be awesome, but there's nothing in the area aside from near the start, not that there is a course map available in advance. Any outside help earns a DQ, anyway. No stashed bottles, either.

Yeah I'm dialing in me and the bike now.

100 miles of gravel? Can I hear "Sprung Brooks"? Flyer on its way.

Current weather conditions are unlike anything I can expect in MN in October, but I've done some longer cooler rides and have a decent idea of my hydration needs for a century. I've never done more than a metric on just gels bars and hydration...so I need to either work on that or figure out a way to carry some real food.

I have this feeling that by the time everything's loaded on, I'll be piloting a 45lb bike...
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Old 06-21-11, 12:27 PM
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Living in the area of the ride, it is remote. There probably will be no towns or gas stations to stop and reload.

Here is the solution: I ride with you. I burn out in 30 miles. You take my water. I hope there is a cell phone signal to call my spouse for a rescue.
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Old 06-21-11, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
Living in the area of the ride, it is remote. There probably will be no towns or gas stations to stop and reload.

Here is the solution: I ride with you. I burn out in 30 miles. You take my water. I hope there is a cell phone signal to call my spouse for a rescue.
You gave me a great idea: At the half way point take me and my heavy ass bike and run over anyone who has any water and food, take it and carry on with my ride! Brilliant!
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