Christoph Strasser’s Transcontinental Race Winning Bikepacking Kit

A closer look at Christoph Strasser’s bikepacking kit for TCRNo8.

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On August 3 2022, Christoph Strasser arrived in Burgas, Bulgaria, completing his first ever unsupported ultra-distance race and winning TCRNo8 in just 9 days and 14 hours.

Strasser is well known in the ultra-distance community, holding just about every supported record, but TCRNo8 marks the first time he has raced unsupported. Despite being tipped by many Dotwatchers as one to watch, being first across the line was anything but a foregone conclusion. Christoph delivered a masterclass in pacing, only taking the lead in the race’s final stages and beating his closest competitors to the decisive ferry crossing into Bulgaria.

Here we explore Christoph’s minimalist setup, detailing the contents of the Expedition Saddle Pack, Racing Frame Pack and Racing Long Top Tube Pack attached to his Specialized S Works Roubaix – along with a spotlight on a few of the kit choices that had an impact on his race. What does a rider who’s used to having a support crew pack when he has to carry his own gear?

Bikepacking Kit List

Packs

Apidura Expedition Saddle Pack (9L)
Apidura Racing Frame Pack (4L)
Apidura Racing Long Top Tube Pack (2L)

Hygiene

Sun Cream
Travel toothpaste
Chamois cream
Wet Wipes
Face Mask
Water Disinfection Tablets
Antibiotic Tablets
Salt Tablets
Caffeine Tablets
Plasters
Himalajska So (salt)

Miscellaneous

Passport
Cards
Cash
Erima Whistle
Hip Lock

Electronics

Cellular Line 3000 Battery Bank
SRAM Battery and charger
NC-17 Connect +
Headphones

Tools and Spares

Spare Cleats x2
CO2 Adapter
Tire Piece and Repair Patch
Specialized Tire Lever
Specialized Multitool
Spokes x4
Rear Hanger Mech
Chain Links
Spare Brake Pads
Spare Inner Tube X 2
Spare Dynamo Cables
Dry Fluid Chain Wax
Pump
Knife

Clothes

Owayo Rain Jacket
Thermal Winter Jersey
Winter Gloves
Leg Warmers
Socks
Bib Shorts
Swimming Shorts
Base Layer
Latex Gloves
Reflective Ankle Strips
Nathan Reflective Vest
Sleeping Kit
Sleeping Bag
Bivvy Bag

Christoph riding a paved road in the mountains during the TCR

Significant Choices

Self-Support

Christoph is used to having a support team, capable of carrying supplies to deal with any issue or emergency, so it’s interesting to see what he’s prioritised carrying when space is at a premium. His medical kit is more sufficient than the average rider and he carried a healthy supply of spares, with four spokes and two spare cleats. Importantly, however, none of the ‘extras’ he’s carried add significant weight or volume to his pack list, proving how considered his choices are.

Feeling the Heat

Usually, riders in the TCR complain of excessive heat, so it’s interesting to see Christoph packing thermal layers. That said, many riders carry an insulated gilet or jacket and Christoph was frequently photographed wearing his thermal layer unzipped, so it may be that he found the best of both worlds with a layering system that was warm enough for the cold nights, but not so warm that he had to stop and change his layers frequently as it warmed up during the day. Heat management and layering depend heavily on the individual but this is the first time we can recall seeing this approach at the TCR.

Ready Salted

It’s not uncommon to see hydration tabs in a rider’s kit list, but Christoph is perhaps the first we’ve seen cross the finish line with a box of salt. Clearly, replenishing salt in the heat is important and Christoph has re-stocked mid-race. Racers often resort to salty foods but it’s not uncommon to sprinkle some salt in your bidon and a packet of salt is often easier to find than some hydration tablets or ‘proper’ sports hydration drink.

A Pacing Masterclass

While Christoph’s kit list offers some insights into how he approached the TCR, coming from a supported background, it was his pacing that really shone through as the driving force behind his fast and efficient finish time. During the early stages of the race, Christoph was one of the few front runners clearly riding to his own pace. While the race leaders were pushing each other to breaking point, Christoph was riding like a metronome and managing his effort. As riders tired and slowed down around him, he continued to pick up pace and gradually reeled in the race leaders before taking the lead himself to catch the decisive ferry and put an entire night of riding between himself and the second finisher.

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