The Joe Barr 500 – WUCA European Championship with Q36.5 by Chris Beattie
When your season revolves around two events everything must be perfect and that includes clothing – absolutely equipment
Preparations for this 500 mile Ultra Cycling race began last year as soon as I was back riding after breaking my femur. It was my target, my motivation.
A couple of trips guiding for Nick at Sommet in the Dolomites and Switzerland in September confirmed to me I would have the strength to race again after riding the big mountain passes. It was to be a full on winter. A week per month in Girona would ensure a consistent block of good weather to get the base miles in. I was to arrive at the start line in good shape!
The weather on race morning with terrible, storm Hannah had arrived, very wet and exceptionally strong wind was going to batter all the riders for the first 12 or 13 hours before drying up overnight accompanied by a further temperature drop to 2 degrees Celsius. I knew clothing choice was going to be critical. I had to maintain a dry, warm core to push the body for this distance in the extreme weather in the northern part of Ireland. I had to be capable of racing!
I rolled from the start line wearing: Salopette Wolf 2.0 bibs, base layer 2, Woolf arm and knee warmers, jersey short sleeve Woolf, Vest Insulated Woolf Bombardino, R-Jacket Insulation, Be Love Seta socks, Sottocasco and termica gloves. Even the R shell protection made an appearance when it was getting dangerously cold with wind chill. I conquered the conditions and had the opposition broken by night fall. I just had to manage the time gap over night, stay warm and be able to race to the finish if there was any late push from the second placed racer. We could not relax!
As I approached the night section with my crew we completed a stop for a bike change and clean, dry, warm clothing. All completed in 10 minutes. I played safe with an Intimo longsleeve Teddy Berry base layer, Termico skinsuit, Salopette Elite bibs, vest insulated Woolf Bombardino, Plus socks, Termico toecovers, Sottocasco and Be Love 0 gloves. This gave me a perfect balance of warmth, aero performance and visibility overnight and the ability to strip off layers again the following morning for the blast to the finish. To be fair the body wanted to shut down in the early hours but a boost with a spell wearing a Vest from the Crossover Equipment range giving an extra layer of air insulation fleece got me fired up again. However I am not so sure my Crew Chief was to keen to give it up from the support car!
We managed the conditions and I kept warm, dry, focused and alert. I was able to race and ended up taking the win and smashing the course record for good measure. The icing on the cake was lifting the WUCA solo 500 mile European Championship – result!
Yes I was a Corridore with all the attention to training, diet, bikes, crew kit etc but without the Q36.5 equipment on race day I would not have made the finish. This puts the garments you wear to the most extreme test and I can confirm they excelled. For now I will recover before training resumes for the next event when Chris Beattie goes racing but you should check out the range of apparel used and see if you can go the distance!