It’s been well over a month since myself and my team, arrived at Windsor Great Park in London to take part in the 25 hour endurance cycling event that is Red Bull Timelaps. Despite the lack of sleep and the continuous downpour of rain, we all came out of that event knowing we would do it again. So in preparation for Red Bull Timelaps 2020, I’m writing out my complete cycling kit list and everything I learnt (and would change) here in this post for us all to utilise come race day in 2020. You can thank me later.
What Our Race Looked Like
- Total ride time: 24 hours 49 minutes 26 seconds
- Laps: 70
- Power laps: 4
- Punctures: 2
- Sleep hours:
- Total distance:
Finished: 213th our of 224 teams
We went into this event pretty clued up after being put in touch with Holly Seear whose team made it to the podium for the last two years. I’ve shared a few of her tips in this post as well… not everything though, cos, y’know…
Create A Shared Google Spreadsheet
This is the best place to start so that you have one place where you can keep everything, and everyone can have access. This definitely was one of the things that made planning our London to Paris ride back in 2017 that much easier. For that trip we did have a lot more to coordinate though like hotels, ferries and locations.
Here is a breakdown of the various sections of the packing list I kept on the shared google drive:
When we arrived on the site for sign on, around 630am, the first thing we did after registration was to set up our tent. I actually didn’t inflate the mattress and get out my sleeping bag at this point, which I should have done because by the time I came to sleep it was dark and I was very tired.
Once it got dark, the head torches I packed were invaluable. The only things I wish I taken were insect spray and a mop (something similar) to dry and clean the floor in the living room section of the tent. The camping chairs, table, gazebo etc all went to the pits as that is where we spent the majority of our time other than when we were sleeping.
|Sleeping Bag||Sleeping mats (can use yoga mats)|
|Camping Stove (and gas)||Camping table|
|Picnic blankets||Bin bags|
|Head torches||Camping light|
|Camping kettle||Pots, cutlery, reusable cups|
This will of course be very personal and individual but this is the section where you need to think about all the creature comforts that will make the weekend more bearable. When you get off the bike, having warm layers to put over your kit is essential as you might not get changed immediately or at all.
The weather in 2019 was brutal; non stop rain for the first 7 hours at least meant we changed kit after our first ride and it was too cold for kit to dry. I ended up buying a dryrobe to keep me warm and dry through the event. It was the best purchase I’ve made in a long, long, time.
|Warm bed socks||Rain jacket / Parka / Waterproof|
|Warm wooly hat||Hoodie|
|Compression socks||Phone charger|
Bike & Accessories
Now, I did consider taking two bikes incase of any mechanical failure but in the end, the logistics of only being able to have two cars between the four of us and being able to get the bikes home, I had to take just one. I chose to ride the Liv Avail Advanced Pro 1 2020 mainly because it had 700×32 wheels fitted compared to my Avail Advanced Pro 2019 which has 700x25c tyres. The wider tyres on the 2020 model were more suited to the wet weather and likely to withstand the debris on the course more than my own bike. I think this was the best decision I made as I suffered no punctures throughout the entire event.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to take lights – you won’t be allowed on the course without them once it gets dark – and to take spares, maybe even spares of spares. I thought the lights I had would be good enough but my back light ended up failing on me. Either no one on the course noticed or I got away with it because I had a light clipped to my leg but when I went back to the pits I had to nab one from my teammates bike.
|Puncture repair kit||HR Monitor|
|Garmin (and charger)||2x front light (and charging cables)|
|Basic tool kit||2x back light (and charging cables)|
|4 bike water bottles||Pump (to carry on bike)|
|Bike cleaning kit||Turbo trainer (optional)|
Kit To Wear On The Bike
Getting together enough kit for this event, mainly because of the cold weather, was the toughest bit.
One Cycling Kit Consisted Of:
- Base layer
- Sports bra
- Shorts / tights
- Neck warmer
I’m not gonna lie, I’m a pretty fair weather cyclist so I’ve just never had much need for weather suitable for cold and / or rain. I did have to make a last minute purchase of some warmer gloves and overshoes down at Giant Loughton, which paid off.
I think the best purchase anyone made was Emma, who picked up some two and hand warmers as a last minute purchase. I’m telling you now, to buy lots and lots of these. For you, and for the team next door to you.
Another tip I would share re bike clothing is to pack your kit in packing cubes or at least seperate bags as when it’s cold, dark and you’re tired it’s easier to just pull everything you need from one bag and get it on. I would prob go as far as labelling the bags next year to make it even easier to figure out what is what.
|1x super cold set||1x super cold set|
|1x normal kit||1x shorts kit|
|2x spare socks||spare winter gloves|
|spare cap||leg warmers|
|waterproof packable jacket||Overshoes|
|Sunglasses (day and night pairs)||Ear warmers|
Cue panic buying trips to the supermarket. If there is one thing that is guaranteed to make me unhappy, it’s being hungry. I cooked a massive batch of pasta with roasted vegetables and portioned it out into tupperware for my main meals. You get given a voucher for dinner on Saturday night but I didn’t wanna risk it.
I also took along giant pancakes and bacon which I cooked up for my team for breakfast on the Sunday morning. I would definitely do that again for 2020. Oh and I packed a whole caramel cake for my belated birthday celebrations which got eaten up throughout the event with copious cups of tea and coffee. Having the ability to make a hot drink in our pits was invaluable.
|2x prepped meals||Bananas|
|Protein bars||Jelly sweets|
|Carb drinks||Caffeine tabs|
Red Bull Timelaps 2020
As it stands (in December 2019), I’m planning on heading back to Windsor Great Park in October 2020 for Red Bull Timelaps. With an entire year to train, no studies and lots of potential for improvement I’m gonna make it my goal to complete the event in 2020 (in a team) and finish in the top 100.
Looking at the 2019 field of team entrants, we would have needed to completed 99 regular laps, and 7 power laps to be in the top 100 teams. These teams (places 97-100) each completed their fastest laps in around 11 – 12 minutes versus our fastest lap of 14 minutes 32 seconds. I know I didn’t go into this event at my fittest so I’m confident I can perform so much better in 2020 having a) experienced the event before and b) actually training to take it on.
Are you planning to take part in Red Bull Timelaps 2020?!