Bikes of Highland Trail 550
19 May, 2022
Name: Alan Goldsmith
Location: Wiltshire, England
Bike: Trek Top Fuel. 1x gearing 10-52 x 30T oval. Dropper post.
Key items of kit: Ortlieb bar bag and seatpack. Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 tent unless forecast is for a week of dry, warm weather! PHD sleeping bag with Exped Symat. Garmin Etrex 20 with lithium batteries (plus spares) for navigation. Osprey Tallon backpack for more efficient hike-a-bike. Columbia OutDry waterproof jacket. Wollie Bollie socks (2 pairs). Midge head net!
Name: Philippa Battye
Bike: Mason RAW steel hardtail. Hunt wheels, Maxxis Ardent 2.4 inch tyres.
Key items of kit: Apidura packs, OR helium bivy, down trousers + jacket and Thera-Rest NeoAir. Garmin eTrex 20 and lights are Exposure Joystick and MK Toro. Albion waterproof. Cut off cheap waterproof trousers. A sense of humour!
Pierre-Arnaud Le Magnan
Name: Pierre-Arnaud Le Magnan
Cap number: 3
Bike: CHIRU Highlander, Titanium Bikepacking Down Country, fit up to 29x2.6". Fox 34SC 120 mm, Shimano XT 11s , 30T Chainring, CEC Wheelset W27SLD textile spoke ( 1.15kg ), dropper seatpost, CEC HOOPFLEX-ti handle bar (extra hand position, extra flex, and no need for a harness for front roll bag).
Key items of kit: BAGS : a mix of Rockgeist standard top tube bag, saddle bag and a custom bolted frame bag, with the possibility to grab the bike by the top tube. Backpack for carrying extra gear. OTHER GEAR : my trusted 7mesh apparel, specially the rain gear. Ferino bivy will serve as my shelter along with an Enlightened Equipment quilt and a full length prototype Air Mat. I’ll also be carrying a Garmin eTrex 20 for navigation and 2 different headlights for night ride.
Name: Cat Magill
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Bike: Bike is a Titus El Viajero, with a few alterations from what came in the box - faded sparkly gold handlebars, Ergon GP3 grips and Maxxis Ardent Race 29 x 2.35 on the front. Drivetrain is Sram GX Eagle 1x12 with a 32t chainring and 11-50 cassette.
Key items of kit: I've got a hodgepodge of bags up front - old Apidura handlebar pack, Restrap stem bags (an excellent recent addition to my kit, supporting the ability to eat continuously), Alpkit fuel pod, Lomo frame bag. On the rear is the gorgeous Tailfin rack and Tailfin trunk top bag.
I’ll be waffling about exactly what to take up to the last minute, but it’s looking like my sleep set-up will be an Alpkit Elan bivvy, lightweight summer sleeping bag with a Sea to Summit thermal liner and Thermarest NeoAir sleeping mat. If the forecast looks rainier I’ll take my Big Agnes tent. Clothing collection will include full waterproofs and some lightweight but warm Rab Xenon mitts, 2 merino shirts and 2 pairs of shorts, Patagonia Nano-Air jacket and some arm and leg warmers. Top highlight is my new Specialized Mimic saddle, which I hope will keep me comfortable for some very long days on the bike. And finally a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt to keep me on track.
Name: Mike DeBernardo
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Bike: Pipedream Sirius single speed - 32x20. 120mm Pike, 200mm dropper. 2.4 Aspen rear tyre, 2.6 Rekon front. Stans Flow rims, Hope hubs. Stooge Junker bars covered in copious amounts of foam and bar tape. TRP brakes.
Key items of kit: Homemade seat bag, frame bag, and snack/bottle bags on handlebars. Revelate gas tank and a modified Straight Cut harness. Osprey backpack.
Name: Gemma Baird
Location: Speyside, Scotland
Bike: Surly Karate Monkey. KM rigid steel fork, SS 32:20 gear ratio, Hope pro 4 rear and SON Dynamo hub up front, Jones bars, Shimano XT brakes, Middleburn cranks, Time atac pedals, Maxxis Tyres 2.25” rear and 2.4” up front.
Key items of kit: Straightcut triangle frame pack, Wildcat seatpost bag, Apidura handlebar roll, revelate snack pouch, Wildcat electronics stash and Evoc hip pack. Water bottles on fork legs.
Sinewave revolution usb charger, Exposure Race front, exposure rear light, helmet rear light, and Petzl head torch.
Lunar solo tent, OMM sleeping bag, Alpkit air mat and pillow, mini gas stove and dried meals, Revelate tool wrap, 2 tubes, Voile straps.
Clothing layers will depend on the forecast!
Name: Eliza Sampey
Cap number: Highland Trail 550
Location: Colorado, USA
Bike: 2022 Revel Ranger, 120/115 suspension, rolling on Revel RW30 wheels with Industry Nine Hydra hubs, and Maxxis Aspen 29x2.25 tires.
Key items of kit: BAGS: Custom framebag and accessory bags all from Rogue Panda Designs, I'll also be carrying an Osprey Sylva 12L backpack which will house my tent. GEAR: I've never carried a tent in a race before, but on account of the wild and wet Scottish weather and the local midge population, I reckon it's a smart idea. I've got a Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 1p, which will house my Thermarest Hyperion 20deg bag and Uberlite pad (which might double as a packraft if the river crossings are high), a small down puffy, wool socks, and a merino tshirt and long underwear that will hopefully remain my dry layer throughout. I'll wear waterproofs on the bike with various merino layers underneath. Lights are a pair of Fenix PD35 tactical flashlights, and I'll be navigating with my good old Etrex 20.
Name: Morten Kjærsgaard
Cap number: 44
Bike: Scott Spark AXS Fully.
Key items of kit: Apidura/VAUDE bags, Hunt frontwheel with SON hub, B&M front light, Wahoo Elemnt, Garmin eTrex 30x(backup).
Name: Dawn Anderson
Location: Cairngorms, Scotland
Bike: BH lynx, 2x11 drivetrain, running rim protection with Vittoria Peyote and Gato tyres.
Key items of kit: Nordisk Lofoten tent, Sea to Summit Spark iii sleeping bag, Revelate bags and quite possibly too much food.
Name: Jim Higgins
Bike: Mason RAW
Key items of kit: SRAM Eagle AXS electronic with 32t oval chainring and 10-50 cassette. Bags by Straightcut Design, Revelate and Apidura.
Name: David Chirnside
Location: Prague, Czech republic
Bike: Canyon Exceed with grip shift, 1x 10-50 with 30t AB Oval. Maybe will switch to dual flat/spd pedals. Probably will swap to Ikons. Definitely will shift spare tubes lower.
Key items of kit: Sleep: Montbell bivvy with Cumulus Xlite 200 bag, Neoair small pad, Exped pillow, Zpack down hood. Rain gear: Shakedry Trialrunner jacket, Montbell waterproof pants, Gore Overmitts, Gore socks. Warm gear: Rab Xenon jacket, woolen arm warmers/leg warmers/mitts/buff/beanie/socks + windstopper ear warmers and gilet Ride gear: Wool mix jersey, wool singlet, Gore Bikewear shorts, Shimano MT7 shoes, Prevail helmet, cap, glasses, gloves. Electrics :Lumix camera, Fenix BT10 bar light, eTrex 30x, 520 backup, SPOT. Cateye rapid rear, BD storm helmet light, epetzl mini light, android phone. thermometer, spare batteries. Bags: Oveja negra seat pack, Bobs Bike Bags custom frame bag, apidure fees bags, topeak top tube bags, VAP butterfly 2, sea to summit event dry bag. 1.5l hydration bladder. Tools etc - hopefully the ones I need.
Name: Gail Brown
Location: Bristol, UK
Bike: A new Scott Scale 940 frame (some last minute drama/colour change as my 930 frame developed a crack!), Fox Float Rhythm 100mm fork, SRAM Eagle NX 12 speed. 32T chainring and 11-50 cassette. Hunt Carbon 29'' dynamo wheelest with Nobby Nic 2.25 tyres. Son Dynamo hub with Igaro D2 USD and power back for charging.
Key items of kit: I'm really lucky to be in the Tailfin R&D team and am testing out some bags for them. I've got 5L cargo packs mounted on the fork which holds my tent, waterproofs and easy access layers. A top tube bag and half frame bag to store my pump, spares, tools, electronics (taking a battery powered Etrex Garmin juuust in case I'm too slow for the dynamo) and spare lights. Then a alloy rack with integrated aeropack to hold my sleep system and two 5L mini pannier either side, essentially to carry 200kms worth of snacks!
Name: Alex Berry
Cap number: 12
Bike: Pace RC627, Pike RCL 160mm Forks, Shimano SLX 11 speed, WTB Ranger 2.8 Tyres, Hope brakes, Alpkit bags and Wayward Riders dropper seatpost harness.
Key items of kit: Big Agnes Copper Spur 2 person tent. Amazon sleeping mat, Rab 400 sleeping bag, Rab Down Jacket. Lots of Food and water purification bottle. Exposure 6 Pack and Diablo lights. 20000mAh battery pack. Phone is a Galaxy 21+. Garmin Edge 530. Smidge. Tick removal tools. Stans Darts and basic repair stuff. Maybe an innner tube (TBC).
Name: Rob Abrey
Cap number: 48
Location: Derbyshire, UK
Bike: I’ll be riding the HT550 on my Santa Cruz Highball C with Rockshox SID fork and Hope/Sixth Element wheels fitted with Specialized Ground control 2.35 tires for a good mix of grip and rolling. SLX/XT/XTR drive chain/brakes and Ergon contact points. RFR PRO dropper with a Topeak DP Mount and Rockshox enduro collar with custom 3D printed shim to protect the dropper seal.
Key items of kit: I like to get good rest so I’ll be taking a Forclaz MT900 Tent, Oex leviathan EV900 sleeping bag and Alpkit Cloudbase mat. Navigation via eTrex 22. Hydration will be via a Water to Go Active filter bottle mounted to the downtube and a standard water bottle on a King Cage top cap cage mount. All my kit will be in a mix of tried and tested bags featuring a custom Alpkit Stingray frame bag, Blackburn outpost seat pack, Lifeline top tube bag and an Aeroe spider cradle on the bars with a Sea To Summit big river 13L dry bag.
Name: Brian Alder
Location: Takaka, New Zealand
Bike: Santa Cruz Tallboy XL, X01 30x10-50, Bike Yoke Dropper, Reserve wheels with Maxxis Rekon 2.4 tyres, XT brakes, Pike 130mm fork.
Key items of kit: Apidura bags including Hydration vest, homemade frame bag, Bivvy, sleeping bag & foam pad which might stay behind.Fenix lights (battery powered), new set of waterproofs (!) and NZ merino everything.
David Julio Garcia Galvan
Name: David Julio Garcia Galvan
Cap number: 6
Location: Santa Cruz, Tenerife
Bike: Frame Jerónimo Ti, Shimano XT double chainring. ZTR crest rings, Hope rear hub and SP dynamo front hub.
Key items of kit: Ortlieb bike bags. Garmin eTrex 20. Exposure lights. Alpkit sleeping bag. Therm-a-Rest Neoair mat. I will be traveling ten days before in Scotland and I will decide what clothes to wear for the HT550, it is my first time in Scotland and the weather scares me.
Name: Loreto Garcia
Cap number: 2
Location: Santa Cruz, Tenerife
Bike: Jerónimo Ti frame. Shimano XT double chainring group. ZTR Crest rings, Hope rear hub and Dinamo SP front hub.
Key items of kit: Ortlieb handlebar bag. Bindle Rack with Terrapin Drybag by Revelate Designs on the seat.Ortlieb bike. Garmin eTrex 20. Exposure lights. Enlightened equipment revelation quilt. Therm-a-Rest Neoair mat. Ferrino tent.
Name: Alexander Berry
Cap number: 12
Location: Disley, England.
Bike: I will be riding my 2019 Cannondale F-Si Hi Mod World Cup Team Replica with a carbon lefty Ocho fork (which I have wrapped with 10meters of frame protection). Everything on the bike is designed to go fast and be light. The only change to the stock configuration is a set of Ergon GP3 grips and a 27.2 Brand X dropper post. I’m running stock ENVE M525 wheels along with a Schwable 2.25 / 2.35 tyre combo, SRAM XX1 Eagle 12s groupset. It’s a bike designed for short fast XC races, so it will be interesting to see how she / me holds up during this event.
Key items of kit: BAGS: Wayward Riders dropper post harness with ortleib dry bag, and ortleib dry bar bag on the bars. Apidura road framebag modified to fit, alpkit top tube bag and an old camelback HAWG rucksack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I have been generously been lent a light weight tent, mat, midge net, head torch from good friend, James Eldridge. I’m really trying to keep the weight down, so the majority of my weight is dehydrated expedition meals that I will be carrying along with a stove in my backpack and a power bank for my Garmin. I’m taking an Exposure 6 pack and Diablo, as I expect that I will be riding in the dark as much as possible. To supplement night riding im also carrying a Patagonia Nano-Air hoody to hopefully keep me warm.
I have just bought some Specialized Recon 2 shoes, and I’m very impressed with how easy they are to walk and hike in, which could be a massive saving grace on the hike a bike sections. All in fully loaded with the backpack and 2 bottles of water, my test set up comes in at 18.6kg. If the forecast looks terrible I will stick a mudhugger mudguards on the rear.
Name: Ian Ashton
Cap number: 15
Location: North Yorkshire, UK
Bike: 2017 Trek Stache. The only thing left from the original bike is the frame, fork, crankset and rear tyre. 29x3 tyres have been a problem to get hold of so needing a new tyre, I either went big and gnarly from my Full Stache or I had to go for the available Bomboloni up front. Running on new 35mm not 40mm rims, as this seems to give a little more support and less prone to pinches, and also a little less finicky about perfect tyre pressures. Dumped the Jones Bars that I have been riding for 3 years and fitted Stooge Moto bars with bar inboards (cant be bar ends can they!) so a lot like riding on hoods. Early May during a long Lake District test loop, the freshly fitted Eagle drivetrain was causing problems. With such a short rear end, the chain line was too severe, and kept dropping the chain, tried 46, and then reverted to Sunrace 11-42 rear but with a 28 front.
Key items of kit: Legs, lungs, sense of humour. Gone for a little more organisation in my bags, and gone for smaller, but specific bags, to prevent grovelling all the way to the bottom of larger bags for what I want. Podsacs and Alpkit fully waterproof. Seems to have given me a much more rideable bike down techy descents, and even the notorious Lake District rocks didn’t damage the downtube bag. Lightweight sleeping bag and Alpkit soloist tent, if I am cold, I just have to have a nap and keep going!
Name: Chris Simpson
Location: Yorkshire originally. Currently Banyoles, Catalunya.
Bike: Basically almost the exact same setup I took on the 2021 GBDURO. It's a full suspension Canyon Lux, 100mm Travel front and rear. Sram AXS on the drivetrain with a 34 tooth Quarq Power Meter upfront and a 10-52 out the back. The only real change from GBDURO is the tires - Maxxis Ardent Race on the rear and a Forekaster up front both in 2.35. XTR Pedals and a dropper post to round it off. Might add some mudhuggers depending on the weather.
Key items of kit: The kit will depend on the weather forecast but even then it'll be on the cautious side. Full set of waterproofs with Patagonia Dirt Roamer Pants and Patagonia M10 Jacket plus Nano puff Jacket and gilet. Also depending on the weather will be the choice of sleep system, but most likely Sea To Summit Spark Sleeping bag and ultralight mat plus a Nordisk Lofoten Tent for emergencies if the weather comes in. Pretty stock on the bags, classic Revelate Designs front to back. Patagonia Slope runner back pack for extra water and snacks.
Name: Robert Bigelow-Rubin
Location: Chicago, USA
Bike: I'll be racing the Highland Trail 550 on my 2019 BMC Teamelite 03 Hardtail with a Rockshox Judy 100mm suspension fork. A basic but reliable Sram NX 1x11 drive train with a 28T in the front and an 11-46 in the rear. For rubber I'm running a Maxxis Rekon 2.6 in front and a Vittoria Mezcal 2.25 in back on a pair of 29er Giant XCR carbon wheels. Finally a Son28 dynamo hub for power and a Synwave Beacon for light and charging.
Key items of kit: Bags include a Salsa frame pack, Porcelain Rocket seat pack, Revelate sweetrool handlebar bag, JPak footlong top tube bag, and Bedrock Bags/Revelate stem bags. My sleep setup consists of an Outdoor Research Helium bivy, a Therm-a-Rest Neoair Xlite sleeping mat and a Sea to Summit Spark II sleeping bag. Lastly, for navigation I’ll be using a Garmin eTrex 30.
Name: Beccy Waters
Location: Bristol, England
Bike: Specialized Epic HT 29er with Shimano SLX/XT groupset. Running 32t by 11-50t cassette. Tyres are Maxxis Ardent 2.4". Crank Brothers Highline 7 dropper post. 120m forks. Ergon GP3 grips.
Key items of kit: All packs are Apidura Backcountry, plus their Hydration Vest for 2L water and snacks. In the packs are my Alpkit Elan bivvy, Klymit Inertia X-Lite mat and Mountain Equipment Helium 400 sleeping bag. Navigating using a Garmin eTrex 20 with Edge 1030 as back up. Front lights are Exposure Toro MK and Joystick and rear is Exposure TraceR. Waterproof jacket is a Columbia Outdry on recommendation of Liam Glen, can't go wrong! I won't be packing Freddie but he's offered pre-race moral support.
Name: Jordan Matthews
Bike: Sonder Frontier
Key items of kit: - Big fluffy sleeping bag, emergency socks x2 and a midge head net.
Name: Chris Johnstone
Bike: Salsa Mukluk 29x2.6
Key items of kit: This year I’ve tried to learn from last year: flatties to help my feet; removed framebag in favour of 2 accessible bottles; GP2 bar ends in favour of Jones type bars; Sinewave beacon for lights and charging. I think a dropper post with no seatbag for next year and the techie downhills.
Name: Andrew Broadway
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Bike: Testing the notion that the best bike is the one you already have, I'm going to be riding my trusty Genesis Vagabond. It has a 1x setup with an 11-42 Shimano GRX groupset and a Shimano Deore 30t chainset. Pushed the tyre clearance to its limit with a 2.6” tyre out back and a 2.8" up front, both Schwalbe Nobby Nics. Both wheels are 27.5” DT Swiss rims, but the front wheel was built up by my friend Matt (@pedal.geek on IG) to better support the wider tyre. Rimpact inserts in both rims, hopefully allowing me to run some low tyre pressures.
Key items of kit: All bags are from Alpkit, 13L handle bar bag, 12L saddle bag. Carrying a OR Helium bivvy and Alpkit inflating mat. Again, unless the forecast changes, planning to leaving the sleeping bag behind in place of down jacket and trousers. However, the most important item will be my faithful midge net and about a gallon of Smidge....
Name: Daniel Gona
Bike: I’ll be riding (and hiking) the HT550 on my custom Ibis Ripley 4. The bike features Manitou / Formula suspension, Formula / Galfer brakes, Shimano drivetrain and Ergon / CrankBrothers contact points. I’ll roll on custom Newmen wheels with Schwalbe tires and Rimpact inserts and walk in Fizik Shoes.
BAGS: The most colourful part of my bag setup is a Oveja Negra Wack Pack half frame bag, it has seen 4 bikes and many, many miles. I also use some Apidura, Revelate Designs and Ortlieb bags.
Key items of kit: A DrJ0n Strapdeck and Voile straps secure the bags, a Terra Nova Laser gives me shelter, a Rab Mythic keeps me warm. Exposure Lights enable night-riding, a Wahoo Roam navigation and a Garmin InReach Mini does the tracking.
Name: Angus Young
Location: Blandford Forum, England
Bike: Mason RAW!! An almost identical rig to my Dales Divide setup (pictured, not got round to packing yet....). HUNT Trailwide wheels, Shimano XT drivetrain, X-Fusion dropper. I'm swapping the tyres for Schwalbe Racing Ralphs with an insert in the rear.
Key items of kit: Most of my kit will be stashed in the custom Straighcut design framebag and dropper post bag. However I will be making the addition of a Salomon hydration pack to free up space in the front triangle. Clothing is all from dhb; a mixture of their Aeron ULTRA and trail ranges. For sleeping kit I have opted for the OR Helium bivvy and the tried and tested OMM sleep suit, undecided on a mat yet. Usual tools and spared etc.
Name: Simon Fairfull
Bike: I'll be a riding a Salsa Timberjack 29er with a Pike 130mm fork. Tyres are Vittoria Barzo / Mezcal on 30mm DT Swiss rims. Shimano 11 speed XT drivetrain with a 30 tooth chainring and an 11-46 cassette. Brand-X dropper post.
Key items of kit: Homemade frame bag and bar harness, Apidura top tube bag and an Apidura dropper-compatible seatpack. Either an Outdoor Research bivy bag or a tent depending on the forecast. Cumulus 250 quilt and an Exped Synmat. I'll be using a Garmin Edge 530 for navigation.
Name: Nico Keinath
Bike: Stanton Sherpa Ti frame, Rock Shox SID Ultimate 120mm fork, Vittoria Mezcal/Barzo 2.35“ tires, Beast TR30 rims and SRAM GX AXS 32/10-52 drivetrain.
Key items of kit: Revelate Designs bags, Tailfin AeroPack and Lupine Neo light.
Name: Bruce Griffiths
Bike: Specialized GrEpic Evo HT, an Epic HT frame with some flared bars and a set of chunky SIDs on the front. Predominately GRX stuff doing the shifting and braking. Some wheels shod with some back-to-front Bontrager tyres.
Key items of kit: A lovely Straight Cut Designs framebag that holds so much food! A Garmin Edge 530 with a battery back, an unbelievable cycling computer, so impressed. Finally, the Garbaruk GRX cage which not only earns me style points but accommodates a huge cassette.
Name: Lukas Franciszkiewicz
Location: German/ based in Basel (CH)
Bike: I'll be taking my Santa Cruz Highball hardtail to Scotland. For the HT550 I'll run a Vittoria 2.35" Mezcal rear and Barzo front tyre. Gearing is Shimano 1x12 with a 30T up front.
Key items of kit: In terms of bag I will be taking a self made frame wedge, a Wildcat saddle pack and a pair of top tube bags. After a few test rides I decided to ditch the handlebar harness in the picture and take a light backpack instead. An additional water bottle is mounted to the fork with a Wolf Tooth B-RAD and some cable ties. Waterproof jacket and trousers from 7Mesh.
Name: Mike Dennison
Location: Cairngorms, Scotland.
Bike: I’ll be riding my old Scott Spark 29er this year. It’s had a bit of a‘makeover’ for the race, so the setup is: Wheels/tyres - Mavic Crossmax Elite wheels shod with Maxis Rekon and Ardent Race. Drive train - Rotor chainset with a 30t Q Ring, paired with a SRAM Eagle 12 speed mech and cassette. Ergon grips and saddle for additional comfort.
Key items of kit: Bags - A mixture of Apidura, Ortleib and Alpkit. Osteoarthritis necessitates a ‘full sus’ setup for this race, so I’m just going with what fits on the frame. A 6 Moons ‘Luna Solo’ tent, my Alpkit Filoment down jacket and a 20 year old PHD down sleeping bag to keep me toasty at night!
Name: Simon Guignard
Bike: Prénom : Baby-Love Cadre : OGEVKIN (made in china) Roues : Mavic crossmax boost Transmission : SRAM 10v 11/42 x 36 Freins : Magura MT8 Fourche : Rockshox Reba Selle : FIZIK
Key items of kit: - Sacoche de selle arrière + Sacoche centrale + deux petites sacoches WOHO
Sac de couchage Mountain Hardwear -2
Une batterie externe 10000 mah + trois cables
Un GPS garmin 530
Une frontale armytek avec 3 batteries
Une frontale nitecore nu25
Une lampe arrière lezyne strip
Tracker GPS Spot gen3
De la crème cicalfate
Une chambre à air et kit réparation rustine/démonte pneus/pompe
Un bidon filtrant WOHO
Un kit réparation tubless
Deux maillons rapides
Veste en polaire
Name: Marcus Nicolson
Bike: Shand Shug Hardtail - Barzo front tyre, Mezcal Rear, Exposure Dynamo Light, Straight Cut Design bags!
Key items of kit: Midge net and an eye mask! A spare pair of socks.
Name: Aleksander Pachulski
Location: Sopot, Poland
Bike: Trek Supercaliber 9.8. XT groupset with Garbaruk cassette and chainring. VYTYV aviator XC wide rims laced to DT350 hubs.
Key items of kit: All bags are JackPack Bikepacking, Emergency bivy, and Cumulus Climalite jacket to stay warm while napping. Loads of spare parts. And of course, waterproof gear head to toe ;)
Name: Pete McNeil
Location: Wirksworth, Derbyshire, UK
Bike: After two previous successful race completions, this year I'll be riding (not racing) the HT550 on the brand new 2022 Sonder Broken Road. The bike is set up with a 100mm Rockshox SID Ultimate fork, Cane Creek Thudbuster ST seatpost, 1x12 (32(oval)-52) Drivetrain (a mashup of Sram carbon cranks & Shimano XT shifting), Hunt XC wide 29'' wheels laced with new Goodyear PEAK Ultimate 2.4 tyres and a 'Rockstop' tyre insert on the rear. The cockpit is based around the excellent Sonder Confucius bars.
BAGS: I'm using a whole host of Alpkit UK made luggage (with the exception of a trusty Revalate Sweetroll up front). Highlights are a custom Stingray framebag, and the new design Koala seatpack with exorail support.
Key items of kit: GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: This year my aim is to try and document the 'voices of the HT550' in an audio project that focuses on rider's motivations. I'll be starting a bit ahead of the pack and then trying to catch up with and interview as many riders as possible, from across the whole field, while out on the route (also, hopefully, compleating my own ITT under self-supported rules in the process). To do this I'm taking along a host of lightweight recording equipment including a Zoom H1n sound recorder, Gopro Hero 8 on chesty harness (with a 'windslayer' mic cover), Purple Panda lavalier mic & a MOVO VXR10 directional mic with homemade windscreen (made from an old Sea to Summit folding mug...). This project links in with my wife, Alice's, PhD - looking at cycle journeys in nature - at Sheffield Hallam University.
Name: Alice Lemkes
Bike: Sonder Signal Titanium 12sp, 30t Tyres are Racing Ralph up front and Continental Cross King at the back on a set of borrowed carbon wheels. DrJ0n MCdeck and dewidget for keeping things tidy on the handlebars with some second hand cane creek bar ends for comfort.
Bags: are Restraps very brilliant updated Adventure Race range.
Key items of kit: Haglofs LIM down bag, exped mat and bivvy and haglofs lim down jacket upfront Repair kit, waterproof, spare socks and pants out back Massive battery pack in the frame bag with oodles of room for food and stashing layers in there and in a Salomon hydration vest.
Name: Jacques Adrien
Location: Amiens from france
Bike: TREK TOP FULL FOX SUSPENSION XXI 10/50 Truvativ stylo 30
Key items of kit: Revelate design And blackburn bags Pajak sleeping bag Neo air sleeping mat Tarp hand home made Carbon pole
Name: Campbell Davidson
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Bike: I'll be riding the HT550 on a 2020 Cannondale Scalpel Si Hi Mod 1. The bike features a carbon Lefty Ocho, XTR brakes and 1x12 drive chain, Cannondale Hollowgram Carbon hoops clad with a 2.25" Schwalbe Racing Ray up front, and will have a 2.20" Maxxis Ardent Race installed on the rear. Key modifications include a One-up dropper seat post, Alpkit Confucius bars, and Lifeline ergonomic handlebar grips.
Key items of kit: BAGS: Revelate Designs full suspension frame bag (size 2), small Revelate Designs Sweetroll handlebar bag, Apidura Backcountry dropper seat bag, Decathlon top tube and cockpit bags. I'll also be wearing a Montane Gecko VP 20+ trail running vest for food and hydration pack. GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Cumulus 350 down quilt paired with a Thermarest Neoair pad for my sleep system, with shelter provided by a TrekkerTent single poled tent with midge/ground sheet (weighing in at c0.7kg including pole and pegs). Garmin eTrex 30 for navigation, and lighting via 2 x Exposure Diablos. Key items of clothing include Rapha Core cargo bib shorts for extra easily accessible pocket space, and lightweight Endura GV500 waterproof jacket. I'll carry Tailwind Nutrition Recovery Stickpacks to aid recovery and electrolyte intake.