(To paraphrase Eddy Merckx, “Don’t buy upgrades; run up grades.” I followed that advice… to some extent.)
There was nothing wrong with my gear in 2018. Everything fitted in the 12 litre Kathmandu vest pack, everything worked. But over time and through experience and stuff wearing out I wanted to make some improvements.
The first two changes were easy to decide:
- Garmin Forerunner 935. More features, more performance data, and running dynamics. But most importantly, it has more than twice the battery life of my 235 so I don’t have to run twice as quickly.
- Black Mountain Distance FLZ poles from Mont, sold by Michael Milton himself!
No such thing as bad weather; just bad clothing
The next equipment consideration was clothing. By virtue of my height, my clothes are huge. Those YouTube stars have rain jackets no bigger than their thumb but they still meet the minimum standard. My Kathmandu Flinders ngx jacket folded to the size of a football. It’s a great jacket especially in moderately-heavy rain, but it’s big and heavy.
The UTA50 mandatory gear list describes a rain jacket thus: “A premium jacket would have a waterproof rating of over 15,000 mm hydrostatic head and a breathability MVTR rating of 20,000 g/m²/25 hrs [sic]…”. But I skipped the last part of the sentence that reads, “…however much lower ratings are completely acceptable.” So a ’10k/10k’ would be fine?
The Outdoor Research Helium II jacket reduced the weight from 385 g to about 130 g and the size of a football to a sandwich.
Even if I was hoping for a 10-hour time that would still be a long event and a night-time finish. So I packed extra clothes including spare socks and gloves, and thermal tights.
New Vest Pack
My 12 litre Kathmandu vest pack had space and some nice features and was inexpensive. I had to hack it with a velcro strap to attach the Salomon quiver for my poles. What I really wanted was a Salomon pack.
But could I find a Salomon 12 litre pack in XL? Nowhere in the world, it seemed. I checked with Mont and Find Your Feet and both were hoping for stock by April 2019… only for deliveries to be delayed until July! I went against my principle of supporting my LRS (Local Running Shop) and bought a Salomon ADV SKIN 12 Set from Wiggle for $150 in a fetching shade of Sulphur/Citronelle.
(At UTA Expo I bumped into Mike from Salomon Australia who gave me the S/Lab shoes [see below] and I told him that I felt a bit squalid buying online. He apologised for having none in stock in Australia.)
I was very lucky to win a pair of Salomon S-Lab Ultra shoes as a lucky door prize at Mont‘s UTA information night. My first run with them was quite painful but a change of insole fixed that. They are lighter than my La Sportiva Akasha (most shoes are) and I’ll wear them in shorter races. For UTA50 I stuck with the superior comfort and tread (deeper than my other trail shoes even after 400 km of wear!) of the La Sportivas.
Compared to 2018…
Nike Pro 3/4 ‘semi-thermal’ tights
- CompresSport calf compression sleeves
Injinji mid-weight short socksLe Bent Le Sock Outdoor Light Crew Uniqlo Dry shortsKathmandu Zeolite Men’s Active Shorts
- Uniqlo Airism base layer
- Nike running shirt
- Castrelli arm warmers – Strava-branded, Strava-orange coloured
Sugoi beanie – map motifSeveral Buffs (which was one of the mystery mandatory gear Nike Aero cap
- Oakley prescription glasses with transition lenses
- Turbine up the nose
- La Sportiva Akasha shoes (size 14 1/2!)
Kathmandu gel cycling glovesFluoro orange polypropylene gloves – protection from rocks and railings
- Salomon soft flasks with Osprey straws (The new Salomon soft flasks have a narrow opening, which apart from being difficult to fill, won’t fit Salomon straws!)
- Bib belt
Kathmandu Zeolite running vestSalomon ADV Skin 12 running vest with Salomon Quiver
- Kathmandu UltraCore thermal shirt
Kathmandu Flinders ngx Rain Jacket 20k/20kOutdoor Research Helium II rain jacket 10k/10k Endura gels, Clif bars, Carman bar (But I forgot the Kyoto Marathon amino and salt pills!)Shotz gels (caffeinated and non-caffeinated); Amino acid and salt pills; Peanut butter and jam burritos (real food!)
- Spare BCAA and Creatine
- Wildo fold-a-cup coffee cup and Sea and Summit folding cups
- First aid kit: compression bandage, band-aids, spare Aussie Butt Cream, Hisamitsu pads, space blanket, spare food.
- Kathmandu Raven 200 headlight and spare AA batteries
- Battery pack and cables for iPhone and Garmin
235935 Not taken:Black Diamond Distance FLZ trekking poles; Kathmandu thermal tights; spare socks; Sugoi gloves
Now, to wait for the bus to the start.