Thursday, June 2, 2011

Truck Packing and FOOD

This edition we'll cover some of the packing you can think about now a few weeks before the race.  These photos convey a lot of what we did, look them over closely and steal what works for you.  I'll direct your attention with a few comments.

METAL1 in race mode: RAAM 2010 Ozark Lakes 0hDARK:30

Ed's got his route book and GPS on the dash.  You can see the water cooler mount Toro cooked up, its basically the center passenger drop down.  He put that seat belt TIGHT.  Notice how the spigot is angled to the left side seat from which we both raced.  You keep a small rag there for any spillage.  Cytomax was within reach and we both would mix bottles as needed during the shift.  No fumbling, takes only seconds.

This shot was taken in the Ozark Lakes area of Missouri.  Shift number five of our seven.  Wei can tell you, our shift started with a couple hours of Torrey Pines repeats.  No steeper but much longer, I actually thought of Torrey Pines during the shift and was thankful to have grinded out so many repeats out in training.  It sure paid off that shift.

What you cannot see is the left side of the passenger seat is rocking multiple power strips hooked up to a robust power transformer.  We daisy chained Belkin mini power strips that have USB plugs.  That meant we charged Garmins, Cell phones, laptops and bike lights en route.  We offered power outlets and full meals to joining crew as well.  We also had a wireless network METAL1 for in truck users.  Showers available.  Its was a self contained city and we never went to a restaurant.  We did stop for Indiana.

Side View Race Mode:  We left the second row passenger seat permanently up.  We actually wanted to remove and throw it in the follow vehicle but learned that Chuck was using the back of the truck as a hotel.  Off shift, Toro would sit in the third row seat and this was the "Biker Lounge."  You can see a Cytomax container on the floor within easy rider reach.  The big red thing is a pillow and you will also want a blanket for sleeping in the truck.  Your driver and visiting crew will likely want/need more AC than you want blasting you during your post ride and post eating stupor.

Kansas Hotel

This shot shows four of my bags in front of the first bed.

1. The black Carry On holds stuff you don't need during racing.  Civilian clothes for the trip home, personal hygiene and the like.  All three of our carryons were packed into the truck first, right behind the second row left side race seat.  You don't need it, bury it.  I eventually removed my little black shaving bag from the carry on and stopped lugging it into the hotel each night.

2.  The green bag directly in front of the carry on: that is my Riding Gear Pack.  Extra shoes, cold weather gear, socks, bibs, jerseys, base layers, gloves, etc. This bag is not to be buried during racing because you'll be grabbing for it if you don't have the right stuff during your shift.  Rain Kit Tip: I took my $20 Performance racing shell and used it as a bag to hold my other rain/cold kit.  This included: spare cleats already wearing neoprene rain covers, rain gloves and the like.  Used the sleeves to tie it up tight and self-contained.

3. The larger green bag: this is the dry, Durable Food Bag.  Buy a big box of large Ziplocs and go nuts.  This saves space and its easy to see what you have.  Here are some of my packed bags:
  • Protein powder
  • Raisins 
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Shredded Wheat Cereal
  • Bars (2 bags)
  • Gu's
I also store my meal kit (more on this later) and sundries such as Salt, Peanut Butter, napkins and trash bags.  You only need this bag while racing if you fail to put enough chow in your Ride Pack.

4. The most important bag is that farthest pack, the Ride Pack: this bag has your gear for the next morning.  This bag must be packed smart.  Its good to have a bunch of pockets, divide stuff logically and you will learn to grab the right thing in an instant.  I would use one set of side pockets for electronics: race radio, bike lights, mounts, spare batteries, iPod, headphones, bike light charger units.  The other side pockets was race essentials: visine, sunscreen, lip balm (I know,sounds prissy but peeling lips, burning eyes and smoked skin all sap energy).  I drop twice as much food as I thought I might need per shift in there.  Put some food that you think is gross because your tastes might change during the race.  For example, I really hate Cranberry Shot Blocks but at one point in the race another Gu or Cliff Bar was gonna get ejected.

The ride pack should be "race ready" when you go to sleep.  That way when you get the "Oh S&$*!" bolt of bad news that you might be late, you can run out the door and race.  Pack it right and double check.  I'd stuff socks into my cleats, check for gloves...get it right then enjoy your 2-6 hours of sleep.

We'll talk more about this if we need to.

Meal Kit

METAL Post Ride Food

This sort of photo is rare because its immediately post ride and who can even grab a camera at such a moment.  Note these items:
  • Post race sandals to let the feet breathe but you can hop out of the truck and stay clean.
  • 32oz of Protein Powder with water, I use ProComplex which has 110grams of Protein
  • Bag of Almonds and Bag of Raisins.  If you mix them the nuts get soggy in a couple days.
  • Green Sea Salt shaker, hand sanitizer, route book and trash bag.
What's to eat?
  • Grilled Chicken breast with romaine lettuce on whole wheat bun with sliced Swiss cheese
  • Baby Lima beans with tons of garlic and salt.  High glycemic index (recipe upon request).
  • celery and baby carrots
  • My desert is floating in the beans, that's a peanut butter hamburger bun.  I did not feel able to stomach the really hearty whole grain breads from Panera I'd generally have.  Improvised, I ate this about four hours later right before the hotel.  Did not have to waste time at the hotel or bother with making it.
  • My Tupperware square which I ate meals from and used as storage the rest of the time.
  • After racing we'd park and transition from Race to Rock Mode.  Fast as possible, I'd say we would averaged 20 minutes.

METAL Pre-ride Breakfast
This is breakfast before Kansas.
  • Note the meal kit is back
  • Butter from the cooler
  • HEAVY grain breads of two species from Panera
  • Shredded wheat, no sugar: like every other day of my life
  • Pineapple slices from the cooler
  • Ice Coffee: I was too lazy to make hot coffee.  This little product is good to have in the cooler.  Breakfast time saver and I also found I could down a couple of these during the HOT days in the second half of the race when your appetite gets screwed up and nausea becomes a factor.  Find ways to avoid under eating.  Not really a healthy food but it got me through some hot, exhausted moments mostly in '09 but also here as a time saver for breakfast in 2010.
  • Also: syncing up the iPod, uploading video from Vado, copying from SLR card, checking race status and writing e-mails.  Set up your laptop before sleeping to get results when you first wake up, also drivers first job when waking up is to hit the follow and racing team and start figuring out where its going down.  We always woke up two hours before ride time.

Toro Fuel

Here we have Toro eating a pound of his pasta salad from the cooler and he seems to have tossed two chicken breasts on top.  He's sitting in his home the Biker Lounge.  We were going to rotate this place but the guy is like nine feet tall and I was happy living in Blood and Guts (the race seat) when we were off.  Things to note:
  • The wheel bag is always on top, throw it in last.  You don't want stuff crushing them, you sure want them when racing and they wedge on top pretty good.
  • Those rear window side rails are an excellent place to store your medical kit, tool bag and extra helmets.  I also filled extra Cytomax bottles before racing so my first four bottle were always ready.
  • You can see Toro's race towel.  Gotta have one.  You will use it like no normal towel and might want to throw it out when the race is over.

Maximize "complimentary" Hotel Breakfasts

I think Wei put this little display together and if I am not mistaken it was eaten like a pig by the next crew who joined us after racing.

Ed Thuggery:  We took over 25 feet west of our hotel in Missouri.

So that's plenty of information for now.  Let me know if you have other subjects you'd like to see discussed.  Forgive the typos and shotgun approach.  I just want to get the general information out there so you can grab what you want.


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