Just musing over the contents of my pocket for the big day this Sunday. Year on year I’ve learnt more about the race and as Nick said last week it’s one of those races that learning pays off over the years. Not that I’m complacent, but each error or each little micro-victory of every event feeds into the knowledge-base.
Being lucky enough (and I use the word advisedly) to have a support team and spare bikes / bike change strategy, it has put me in the position to carry less, but carry intelligently. Carry tools, and pbe prepared. Here’s why:
- 2005 I snapped my chain.
I always carry a chain tool and 2 or 3 spare connector links
- Almost every year, I puncture
More often than not, I flat. I deal with that differently if I know I have a bike at the bottom of the hill, but it’s something to prepare for. My prep on that particular subject, having lost a load of time in 2012 faffing and trying to fix a flat, is to not carry anything, accept the bill / stress of riding on a flat, and grit my teeth.
- 2010 – I lost a brake caliper
My front brake caliper wobbled loose coming down to Cold Cotes. That could have been it. The 3 Peaks is not a race for a rear-brake only. Unless you put your mind to it. The type of thing you can’t prepare for, but carry a multitool, obv, in case you have something wobbly that you spot in time.
- 2011 – I broke my collarbone
It’s not like we have any choice, and as it turned out, I didn’t need the orange bag, but a shocker like that reminds you why it’s there. THat, and the whistle, are in the pocket
- Frequently: I bonked
It goes with the territory – and despite food hand-ups, sometimes you don’t get feeding right. I have two spare gels in my pocket that I hope not to have to use.
- 2014: I lost a chainring bolt
Sounds harmless, doesn’t it. But on the descent of Penyghent, my chainring banana-d itself and as a result my chain wouldn’t stay on. Cue a frustrating run / freewheel down the Horton Scar Lane to a spare bike: Lost 5 or 6 places. One bolt.
- Misc bits
One of those ‘you never know’ things is lurking round the corner, and the final thing in my pocket is a small bunch of zip ties. Aside from the pop-up tent (©Jason Miles), zip ties are human kind’s finest invention. Light, too – can you afford to NOT carry a few?
- 1999 – I snapped my seat post
On the start of the farm track before I even got to Simon Fell. You can’t legislate for that – my only DNF – nothing in my pocket would put the wrong things at the wrong times right.
Here’s to what will happen that we haven’t already planned for. Hope it goes well for you