Buyer's Guide - Mountain Bike Race Setup for Hot Conditions

May 08, 2018

Buyer's Guide - Mountain Bike Race Setup for Hot Conditions

By Peter Ebro, GripGrab

A race setup for a mountain bike race in hot and dry conditions can seem pretty straightforward compared to a setup for cold and wet conditions. But with the right gear, you can gain small advantages that will help you come out on top when the race ends — both in terms of comfort and competition. In this guide, you’ll have an overview of my setup for the Danish mountain bike relay race H12 in May 2018.

 

What I Considered

H12 is a 12-hour relay race in teams of four people. Each lap is 12.5 km and very fast. We chose to swap riders for each lap, so I was only on the trails for around 33 minutes a time.

My choice of clothing is made from these considerations:

  • It must be light but still provide me with a minimum level of comfort so I can perform again and again for 12 hours.
  • It must be thin and breathable because of the dry and sunny conditions with temperatures around 20 degrees Celsius.
  • It must give me a solid grip on the handlebars so I can control the bike on the technical parts of the route.

    Race Wear

    I wore the GripGrab Race Wear consisting of the Race Bibs and the Race Jersey for the whole day. The material is thin and breathable, and I could use the jersey with a sleeveless mesh base layer underneath without overheating or getting cold from my own sweat. By 8:00 p.m., when I headed out on my last lap, the temperature had dropped to around 15 degrees; I chose to wear a thicker short-sleeved base layer underneath my jersey.

    The Race Jersey is tightly fitted with elastic sleeves with so-called “fullgrip” silicone bands that keep them in place at all times. The back pockets are very flexible, so you can bring a gilet and your other essentials, but still tight enough to keep my very few essentials (a spare tube, a CO2 pump, tire levers, and a mobile phone [in case of emergency] in place, even when riding over the technical passages with exposed roots.

    GripGrab Race Jersey

    GripGrab Race Jersey Men's / GripGrab Race Jersey Women's

     

    For me, the most important part of a bib tight is the padding. It’s the key to a comfortable ride, especially on longer rides where you're spending a lot of time in the saddle. The second most important part is the fitting on my thighs. I like it with a silicone completion so it will stay in place. The GripGrab Race Bibs offers me exactly those two things — and does it brilliantly!

    GripGrab Race Bibs

    GripGrab Race Bibs Men'sGripGrab Race Bibs Women's

    Gloves

    When riding a mountain bike I prefer gloves without any padding so I’ll have the most undisturbed grip on the handlebars. I brought with me both the GripGrab Racing Glove and the Vertical Glove, which both feature the InsideGrip technology — it offers a perfect and secure grip on the handlebars, even when your hands get sweaty. Read more about the InsideGrip technology here …

    GripGrab Racing

    GripGrab Racing

    I prefer the Racing Glove because it is so very thin and well fitted, but brought the Vertical for the evening laps with lower temperatures. I never swapped but stayed with the Racing Glove for the whole day.

    In longer races, where I’m on the bike for many hours I’ll go for a padded glove like the SuperGel XC or the Shark.

     Peter Ebro racing in Scott H12

    Photo: Jesper Halvorsen / Action Photo Crew

     

    Socks

    I typically get chilly feet easily, even when conditions are reasonably mild. But for racing I like to wear thin socks, so for Scott H12 I wore the Lightweight SL for most of the laps. For the last evening lap, I put on the Racing Stripe Sock, which is slightly thicker.

    GripGrab Lightweight SL

    GripGrab Lightweight SL

    GripGrab Racing Stripes

    GripGrab Racing Stripes

    I actually also brought with me a pair of Windproof Socks and RaceAqua X Shoe Covers in case of bad weather. But they both stayed in the bag for the whole day — I was all good with the thin summer socks. 

     

    Warmers

    On the last evening lap, I put on a pair of warmers because of the dropping temperature. I chose the very thin Arm Warmers Light, which gives you just a little bit of warmth and minimizes the wind chill effect on your arms. I felt good out there — not too cold or too warm.

    Peter Ebro at Scott H12

    Photo: Michael Jensen / Action Photo Crew

     GripGrab Arm Warmers Light

    GripGrab Arm Warmers Light

    Race Comfort vs. Training Comfort

    It's important to differentiate between race comfort and training comfort because of two factors.

    In a race, you are willing to compromise your level of comfort to be even the smallest bit lighter, more aerodynamic, or more able to grip the handlebars.

    In a race, you are also making a bigger effort and you’re therefore producing more heat than in a training situation, which means you don’t need to dress as warmly. (This will also apply in an interval session, but not in the warm-up and cool-down periods.)

    In this post, my gear was for race comfort.

    Now, after the race, I wouldn’t change anything in my setup. I think it worked out perfectly for the conditions we faced. I had a great time on the trails!

    Read more blog posts about mountain-bike-related topics:


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