The Gear Cyril used to win Laguna Seca's 24 hour solo mtn bike race

Written by Cyril Jay-Rayon
Created Date: Monday, 29 June 2009 19:22

Now that I have two 24 hour mountain bike races under my belt (Hurkey Creek in April and Laguna Seca in June) , I'd like to share with you a brief description of some of the products I used during these races that truly made a difference and helped me win. Most of these products are provided by our team's sponsors that we hand picked because they work for us in adventure racing. It's no surprise that they also work tremendously well in 24 hour solo mountain bike racing. If they didn't, I would't have them as sponsors. I only use what works for me:

nuun - As always, nuun is my trusted source of electrolytes that are so crucial in ultra endurance races. Because of the light taste with no sugar, I can take nuun for hours without upsetting my stomach.

Prolong - This sports drink is not a direct sponsor but is sold at Feed The Machine, the team's endurance sports nutrition supplier and adviser. Prolong worked remarkably well at giving me a liquid source of energy throughout the race. It kept my energy levels high and sustained throughout. With a blend of soy protein and complex and simply carbohydrates, it worked beautifully without upsetting my stomach.

As you can imagine, when you compete for 24 hours, you end up eating a lot of food so I kept supplementing my nutritional needs out on the course with Gu's Roctane (Roctane's is Gu's new gel with amino acids which really help in long distance races), Sharkies (great organic treats to chew on), and ProBar (delicious whole food bars). Variety of good sport specific nutrition is the name of the game.

Light and Motion
Seca 900 - A crucial element to 24 hour racing is your light system. If you don't use a good one, you simply have no change of doing well. I've used Light and Motion systems for years. Over that time, I've tested their reliabiliy and durability all over the world in expedition length adventure races (3-10 days long) and I've never had one fail. Not only are their reilability a given for me, they also produce the best lights as they are leaders in innovation. For my 2 races, I used the lightweight Stella on my helmet and their new Seca 900 on the handlebar. I raced the Seca 700 at my first race but Light and Motion gave me their new 900 system at this race. Just when I thought you couldn't get any better than the 700, they kept innovating and the 900 came out that is not only brighter (29% more lumens than the 700) but also the light projects a broader beam allowing you more peripheral vision which is really nice to have especially when trying to ride as fast as during day time down twisted single track.

GelBot - Hydrapak's GelBot water bottle and gel cylinder combo was key in getting me water and gel from the same water bottle without them mixing. This system worked incredibly well. Take some Roctane and chase it with water all from one bottle. It kept my movements to a minimal which is important in long races.

Turner Flux bike - If you haven't ridden a Flux yet, you're missing out. Comfort, efficiency, and speed is what I got out of mine at the race. Try one and you'll be hooked!

Rudy Project Exowind glasses - The Exowind are the most comfortable and form fitting glasses I've ridden with. They stayed on firmly throughout all the bumps and vibrations the trail dished out. And, they come with Photochromic Clear ImpactX™ lenses that adjust to the varying light conditions so I was able to use them all day without having to change lenses. I also raced with Rudy's Slinger helmet which is their lightest and the one that fits me best. The Slinger's comfortable and adjustable fit made using a helmet mounted light all night a none issue as the extra weight of the light did not move the helmet. It stayed comfortably in place.

Ergon GX2 grips - These ergonomic grips offer perfect comfort and they pampered my right wrist which was still recoverying from my crash at the last race. They are excellent for any type of riding by they excel during ultra distance riding.

Suunto T6c wristop computer - The T6c was as reliable as it had been in my first race and helped me pace myself througout the race which was key to success. I tracked my heart rate, lap time, and splits at different points along the course. As a result, I was able to break up the race in smaller manageable sections and kept up my speed. The data I was able to download after the race was invaluable at helping me prepare for my next race. You can trust the information the T6c delivers.

TekoMERINO™ wool socks - I've been using these for years and they keep my feet happy regardless of the conditions. They wick well when I sweat, keep my feet warm in cold races, and are incredibly durable. They were ideal to handle the varying conditions of a 24 hour race.

Michelin XCR A/T tires - I've been using these tires for a few years and they never disappoint. The XCR A/T have an aggressive tread pattern so they handle a wide array of conditions but still offer low rolling resistance. Combined with their lightweight design, they are ideal for pounding mile after mile of single track.

FSA's XC-300 SL wheels - Although all my components on the Turner are FSA and they performed brilliantly, the XC-300 SL stood out on these races because they handled the punishment of 24 hours of racing remarkably well and I really pushed them hard. After both races, they were still perfectly trued. That's a testament to their amazing durability and good design while still being light. If you need a top notch reliable set of wheels at a reasonable price, look no further.

Hayes Stroker Trail brakes - If you want to know if your brakes are reliable and durable, ride them for 24 hours non stop on single track with 38,000 ft of descending. Mine passed with flying colors. Braking was still impeccable after 24 hours. It's a comforting thought to know your brakes work well when your cat like reflexes left you hours prior.

Ibex's Woolies Crew - This base layer is so comfortable and helps regulate your body temperature so well that it's an ideal garment for a 24 hour race given the varying temperatures you encounter. I also used Ibex's Arrivee bib shorts at the Hurkey Creek race when temperatures dipped in the teens at night. They kept me toasty warm and also stayed extremely comfortable as the temperatures rose again when daylight returned. Their fit and comfort is also top notch.