Feature: Stage Race Pack List


I love mountain bike stage racing. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, it encompasses multi-day races that usually range from 3-7 days. There are some that are longer. Before a looming stage race, my stress level elevates. “What do I bring? Did I pack everything I might need? WHAT AM I FORGETTING?!?” The Breck Epic was my first stage race. It was convenient because I could load my car and drive 2 hours to get there. Nowadays, my stage races require a plane ride. Add in a foreign country and I have to scratch my head a bit harder when packing. My next trip requires a very long plane ride and long plane rides mean I’m going somewhere cool. On Saturday, I’m heading to Mongolia to race the Mongolia Bike Challenge, a 7 day race in Mongolia with 80-100 mile stages.

I decided that while I’m making a pack list for myself, I should share it so if you’re packing for a stage race or a week of riding somewhere, you’ll have the list too. Some of these items can be omitted when not racing in a country that may not have a bike shop!

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to flying somewhere to ride for a week is the weight of your luggage. You can do things like choose a lighter bike travel case (see my Evoc review) or opt for a waterproof/resistant large duffel with backpack straps (I like my Marmot Long Hauler) instead of a roller bag. The weight of the actual suitcase robs you of precious pounds of gear or sports nutrition you might want to bring along. Having a good carry-on bag also helps. I leave a little extra room in my carry-on, or I often bring a cloth grocery bag or small packable tote in my carry-on when checking in at the counter. If my duffel or bike case are overweight, I pull out my grocery bag and add items like shoes or other heavier non liquid items so I don’t get charged for overweight bags. If I don’t need it, I leave the grocery bag in my carry-on. It weights nothing and packs small. It’s also nice to have a little extra flexibility if I buy some souvenirs and need the room when traveling home.

Here’s my checklist. Feel free to print it out or consult when you’re traveling for your next pedal worthy vacation.

(Click on the list and print!)

About the author: Sonya Looney

It’s energy and attitude that have propelled World Champion Sonya Looney on a mountain bike across the rugged Himalayas, through sweltering sand dunes of the Sahara Desert, and through the clammy jungles of Sri Lanka. Sonya Looney is an adventure traveler on a bike seeking out the hardest races in the most remote, beautiful, and interesting places in the world. She believes in pushing limits because that’s when you realize you are far more capable than ever imagined. Sonya is also a professional speaker, keynoting at large conferences and has spoken at TEDx. Don't let her accolades fool you though, she loves craft beer and joking around. Follow her on social media!

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  • ginsu says:

    I have been doing some similar things this summer and I really like breaking things down in Excel and finding all the weights, and seeing where I can upgrade significantly shed weight or increase performance. My personal favorite is finding new uses for something that performs more than one function.

    Yes, personally, this is a great way to harness all that OCD I am usually embarrassed to reveal. Of course, you can go to far with the weight weenie stuff, so be careful when pulling cash out of your Nylon wallet to buy a Cuben Fiber version to save 10 grams!

    Nylon FTW!

    • pavementgraveldirt.blogspot.com says:

      ^ Shoot. . . your upgrading twice with that wallet thing, once for a lighter wallet and once for the contents being lighter. . .

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