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More Packing for Yakking!

More Packing for Yakking!



Here I go again!
I’m about to fly out to Nepal, once again, to take part in The North Face Yak Attack 2013 Mountain Bike Stage Race.

Taking a bike and all the necessary paraphernalia that goes with riding in an international stage race can take a bit of creative thinking with a checked baggage weight of 30kgs! (Along with a miserly 7kgs of hand-luggage)

I might be a be a shade over my limit! Hopefully a cheery smile and a dim look on my face might help to win over the staff at Ethiad’s  check-in desk, otherwise I’m gong to have to try and pull off the “I’m taking part in an event for charity” angle again. (It worked for me last year). If that fails I’m going to be crying in my latte and shelling out for the obscene excess baggage charges.
I thought it might be slightly easier this year due to only requiring kit for The Yak Attack, and not for a trekking trip too, but I was sadly mistaken!

But it does mean that I can carry some of things that I had to do without last year.

Over the course of the last 10 months I’ve rebuilt my bike and reduced its weight considerably with the lavish addition of carbon components here and there (read that as pretty much built a new bike and now I’m skint!), which has dropped it down to the magical 10kg mark. Phew! This is equally as important for the luggage allowance as it is for carrying it over Thorong La.

I can tell you that I’ve been scratching my head for over a week wondering what to take and what I can do without.
Sadly the first casualty was my netbook, my one luxury travel item, that is just too much of a luxury this year.
So along with the bike I have the all important lubes and cleaning kit to keep it tip-top on the trail, and all of my necessary cycling kit; helmet, chamois shorts, tops, gloves, socks, Shimano SPD compatible boots (These will also double up for the hiking stages too), and a pair of Hillsound Trail Crampons for the pass stage.
Spare tyre, tube, puncture outfit, tools, survival blanket, and first aid kit are all compulsory items. Plus a pump, gear cables, mech-hanger, chain link, spokes…

The biggest weight issue is hydration, nutrition and recovery products. They are an absolute necessity of course but they take up well in excess of 3kgs.
I have a carbohydrate/hydration mix, and power bars, from Torq Fitness; and a bunch of recovery-shake sachets from For Goodness Shakes.

Neutrino Ascent 700 sleeping bag and a Neutrino Endurance down jacket from Rab are bulky but help to protect the bike during transit and are a total requirement after Stage 4. Once we hit Taal the temperatures start to plummet. Other kit for the higher altitudes includes base layers, mitts & liners, Buff, hat, expedition weight hiking socks, waterproofs, and a very nice looking Softshell jacket by Bergans of Norway courtesy of my great friend Wilco Voulon from The Netherlands. (He ordered them specially for our Everest Marathon trip but has graciously sent me my jacket early to use this time) Thanks mate 🙂

My beautiful Osprey Atmos 25 pack will carry everything I need on the trail, for the race. (My thanks to Domonik Wolf of Osprey Europe for supplying that). I have also purchased an Osprey Talon 8 lumbar pack that I can use during the first four stages instead of the Atmos (I will also be able to use this for the marathon in May). This year I will be using bottles instead of an hydration bladder and I have bought a Camelback Podium Chill bottle especially for The Thorong La (pass) stage that will hopefully prevent my warm drink from freezing during the hike up. Hopefully!


And then I still need my normal clothes and toiletries etc. I will buy some of these in Kathmandu, I see no point in carrying liquids that are easily available when I arrive.

Camera, GPS, mobile phone, chargers, trekking poles, head-torch, spare batteries…. the list goes on.

Once again I will be transporting all of this in the excellent Evoc Bike Travel Bag and my robust water-proof holdall from Blacks Leisure.








 As I look at my relatively meagre pile of kit I wonder to myself how on earth can it weigh 42kgs?
20kgs of bike and travel bag are what cause all of the trouble!

Don’t forget that you can follow the race via The Yak Attack website and Face book page, and also on here and my facebook page. You will see all of the links at the side.
I will blog where possible but after day 4 there is virtually no internet access available. See you all on the other side! Thank you for your unwavering support.



About The Author

Neil Cottam

Neil is the founder of Chase The Rainbow. He has spent a lifetime exploring the outdoors, from a childhood climbing trees and scrambling his bike around old pit heads to hiking in the Himalaya and backpacking around Europe and Asia.

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