Margaret and Dick   


Atlanta to Austin - Great stuff!
I put many products to the acid test during the Atlanta-Austin trip (2003) and in my climbing (2004).  Here are the folks who make every mile easier.  They're listed in no particular order.

Triumph Training:  If I'm going to spend 14 hours per week training, it had better be the best possible investment of my time.  Thanks, Andrew Johnston, for getting me in shape for this trip!

Giant TCR1 (2000):  a featherweight aluminum racing bike, bought for my first century at Ride for the Roses 2000.  It was never intended to be an ultradistance bike, and I hated to geek it up with aero bars, air horn, lights, and a large underseat bag.  I encountered rough roads that I thought would certainly shake the bike to pieces or at least pop one of the welds.  A mechanic inspected it upon my arrival in Austin and declared it in perfect condition except for 1,000 miles of road grit.

Cannondale R4000, CAD3 frame (circa 1998):  I bought this bike used in 2000, and it probably had 15,000 miles on it then.  This is the bike I use in France, converted to a triple chainring for the Pyrenees.

Wilier Tristina Izoard (2002):  This Italian stallion is my bike of choice any time I want to fly up the hills and mountains of north Georgia...or at least feel like I'm flying.  Uncanny sensation that I'm riding on a cloud with no bike under me at all.

Selle Italia TransAm LDY ("lady") saddle:  God bless saddle manufacturers who understand female anatomy.  Buy one for a woman you love.

Cinelli cork gel tape:  My hands took more punishment than any other part of my body on the trip to Austin.  I would hate to think what the ride would have been like without gel tape.  I had three pairs of gel gloves that I swapped out looking for the best, and I certainly can't recommend any of them.

Continental UltraGatorskins (aka Duraskin+K) tires:  Fantastic performance, with only one flat from a thin wire staple that worked its way through the tire's Kevlar belt.  Halfway to Austin, I switched from 23mm to 25mm for a smoother ride.  Should have done this before Mississippi.

Michelin Action Pro Carbon tires:  The road surface in the Pyrenees is rough.  These tires offer a harder surface that resists flats.  

Michelin latex tubes:  Latex is more resistant to flats and rolls more smoothly than butyl.  These tubes can be hard to find, but I'm converted.  You need to pump them up before each ride, however, because they are more porous than butyl and will lose air overnight.

Finish Line CrossCountry bike lubricant:  Advertised for ultradistance.  Initially I was lubing the chain daily, which was at least twice as often as it should be applied.  I decided I prefer my old standby, ProLink Chain Lube.

Pearl Izumi Ultrasensor Shorts:  I had four pairs of these shorts, and for the last several days I changed shorts mid-day.  Two other brands didn't do nearly as well and were banished to the bottom of the backpack after one day's use. 

Pearl Izumi dayglow-yellow rain jacket:  I had this sticking out of my back pocket at all times to increase visibility.  It also kept me dry through several hours of rain on day two.

Polar heart-rate monitor:  I use the S210, which provides all the data I need.  Endless Pursuit provides a Garmin GPS system and the software to analyze your trek.  The mountain profiles from the Pyrenees trek show one example of the charts available.

EnduroxR4 (half-strength) & Accelerade:  My best method was to alternate these, one 20-oz bottle every 90 minutes.  Water and other "ade" mixes purchased on the road were noticeably less effective.  See Food! page for more info.

Overstim.s 640, Isostar:  My energy drinks in France.  The Overstim.s 640 is a veritable meal-on-wheels based on mashed potatoes; I use it at 1/3 the recommended strength.  When I run out of 640, I switch to Isostar, which is available at most supermarkets.

PowerBar:  My basic fuel for both the Atlanta-Austin and Pyrenees treks.  Every time I think I can't eat another, I remember how well they work and open up another one.  I tend to eat about a quarter at a time, at twenty minute intervals, to avoid a sugar / insulin spike.  

Clif Bar:  So much variety I never tired of them.  Sometimes a Lemon Poppyseed Clif Bar is the only thing that will do.  

Ensure or its generic equivalents:  Ultradistance cyclists know it's not just for nursing homes.

AirZound2 rechargeable bike horn:  A cross-country trip without an air horn would be a big mistake.  The dogs' most common response was to turn abruptly to run parallel with me rather than toward me, as if to say, "You misunderstood!  I just wanted to run with you because you're the alpha male!"

Holiday Inn Express:  Great rooms at fair prices, and a fantastic continental breakfast, we stayed at these at every opportunity.  On several occasions, the breakfast waitstaff walked out to see me off in the morning, insisting on a hug before I rode off.

Trojan condoms:  Kept my cheapo cycle computer working when it rained.  Leakproof under the roughest conditions.

Too much information department:  Benzoyl peroxide (generic), ten minutes, twice a day, when needed; a thin coat of triple antibiotic (generic), covered by a thick coat of Bag Balm.  Incredibly, no dermatologic problems on the Austin or Pyrenees trips.  If I take one little spin without following this ritual, however, and I've got problems again.

Route map