PART iv: THE KIT

What would I do differently? The big one for me would be putting more food in my drop bags that would survive the days in the bag, such as camping pasta meals, meaning I could eat proper vegan meals at checkpoints.

Continue Jen’s Northern Traverse adventure:
Part I: Training          Part II: The Race         Part III: The Finish          Part V: The Vlog

PART IV: The Kit

The biggest challenge I faced deciding on kit was that checkpoints were generally 35-45 miles apart and any spare kit would be spread between two drop bags, so it wasn’t simply a case of what I put in the bag at a checkpoint would be at the next one… in reality it would be 70-80 miles until I saw that bag again. This meant taking a slightly larger pack so I could carry more in when I needed to. I used the Via Jaws 10 l pack.

I wasn’t sure how my feet would cope with the length of the race and terrain. I suffered awful blisters in Spine Challenger but had put this down to wearing neoprene socks when it was too dry to need them. I had packed enough socks to change at each checkpoint, and that’s what I did, cleaning my feet and taping any hotspots or blisters. The only time a blister really slowed me down was the 13 miles before the Lion Inn and I really wished I was carrying tape and spare socks at this point. It seems like a lot of people had suffered with their feet on race, maybe the combination of the heat but also that rain and boggy ground we were crossing. Post-race update is I lost 5 toenails in the weeks after the race… I’m not sure where that rates with other racers!

             VIA Jaws 10

 VIA Trail Series 3/4 Tights

 Minimus Stretch Ultra Jacket

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The weather forecast was for warm weather, with the temperature dropping at night, and a chance of light rain over the first night. It was only on the morning of the race that I decided to opt for ¾ tights, and have shorts/skort in my drop bags if I was too hot. I actually wore these tights for the entire race, despite feeling a bit too warm on the second day and knowing I was going to get some awful tan lines just below my knees! The nights were cold, and the first one wet, so I am sure I would have been too cold in anything shorter.

The Ultra Stretch Minimus Jacket was perfect for this race; lightweight but felt really robust and warm in the cold nights, wind, and rain. I wore the Coda Cap to keep out the sun during the day, which meant I didn’t need to take sunglasses, but then just switched to a chief on my head when I was using my headtorch.

I decided to carry both my Allez Hoodie and Fireball Verso Pull On in my pack, as I know these would keep me warm if I was moving slowly at night. The Fireball has been brilliant in both the OMM and end of the Spine Challenger for just instantly getting me warm, and I wore it through the nights and in the tents to sleep on Northern Traverse.  I kept the Allez Hoodie on for some of the day sections to keep the sun off my arms too, when it wasn’t too hot. With the hood on this and my jacket I didn’t need to get my hat out (until it doubled as a glove on the last night!)

ACCESSORIES

                    CODA Cap

             Chief

                 Vortex Gloves

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The kit I didn’t take…

What would I do differently? The big one for me would be putting more food in my drop bags that would survive the days in the bag, such as camping pasta meals, meaning I could eat proper vegan meals at checkpoints. The banana loaf was my favourite food from my drop bag, it was amazing, but that’s no guarantee it would be what I wanted on the next race!

I would have a worn gaiters and a new pair of shoes to keep the dirt out too, as well as putting some tape and socks in my pack not just my drop bag. I’m realising that foot care in these races is a huge part of moving quickly and need to keep refining what works for me. The trouble is that with my training runs not usually going over 30 miles it is something I have to experiment with in races only.

I would have also taken sun cream in my drop bags, spare gloves, and some shoes to wear walking to the tents to sleep – I had to put running shoes on to walk across the grass just after I had cleaned my feet.

Continue Jen’s Northern Traverse adventure:
Part I: Training          Part II: The Race         Part III: The Finish          Part V: The Vlog

 

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