Fiona Kolbinger’s Transcontinental Race Winning Kit

A closer look at Fiona Kolbinger’s kit for TCRNo7.

09/08/2019
Fiona Kolbinger's TCR7 Kit Grid

 

On August 6, 2019, Fiona Kolbinger made history by becoming the first woman to win the Transcontinental Race outright. More impressively, it was Fiona’s first-ever unsupported ultra-race. The German rookie completed the Burgas-to-Brest continental crossing in 10 days, 2 hours and 48 minutes.

Her achievement has made waves across the cycling world and beyond and many want to know more about how she trained, what she packed, and how she kept so focused for the duration on an average of just four hours sleep a night.

Thanks to a pre-race Strava post from Fiona, we know what she took with her during the race. The 24-year old blitzed the ~4,000km with a minimalist and ultralight setup, which included Apidura’s Racing Saddle Pack (7L) and Racing Handlebar Pack (5L) on her Canyon Endurace. Her full kitlist is detailed below, along with a spotlight on a few of the unexpected choices she made that can make a big difference when going the distance.

Kitlist

 

Packs

Apidura Racing Handlebar Pack (5L)
Apidura Racing Saddle Pack (7L)
Rapha top tube pack
Osprey Ultralight Stuff Rucksack

Gadgets

USB plug
Garmin eTrex Touch
Accessory cables
USB splitter
Mech hanger
Abus cable lock
AA Battery x8

Personal hygiene and care

Babywipes
Chewing gum x2
Toothbrush
Meridol toothpaste
Factor 50 sun lotion
ASSOS Chamois cream
Compeed Blister patches
Lobello sun protect lip balm
Caffeine Gel x6
Hydration Tablets

Maintenance

Inner tube x4
Tire boot
Set of patches
Abus cable lock
Roll of electrical tape
Cable tie x8
Spare Continental GP5000 tire
Topeak Hexus 16 multi-tool
Finish Line CC Wet Chain Lube – 120ml
Tire lever x4
Shimano Ultegra brake pads
Section of tire

Essentials

Passport
Credit card x2 in waterproof ziplock
Wearable reflective tape
Giro Foray helmet
Set of Roeckl Polartec gloves
Cateye Volt500 front light
Knog Blinder Mob rear light
Pearl Izumi leg and arm warmers
Rapha Souplesse Rain Shell
Yeti Fever Zero sleeping bag
Sunglasses plus an extra visor

Fiona Kolbinger on the TCR

Significant Choices

Ultralight

By its nature, bikepacking requires riders to travel light and Fiona has championed this with her packing choices. With the notable absence of many comforts cyclists may be used to, Fiona’s kit list is ultralight – even compared to other Transcontinental Race competitors.

Hygiene

An often overlooked, but essential, aspect of ultra-racing is staying healthy. With the riders’ bodies under stress day-after-day, the chance of getting sick increases. TCRNo7’s unpredictable weather saw a significant number of riders suffering with ailments ranging from nuisance colds to race-ending saddle sores. Fiona’s inclusion of basic hygiene essentials including babywipes and chamois cream helped her avoid falling victim to similar problems.

Roadside Repairs

While packing spare inner tubes is the norm, packing a section of tire is a real contingency for a worst-case-scenario. With TCRNo7’s adventurous parcours, this was a sensible insurance policy. A new tube will be of little help if the tire has a sizable slash in it, but a section of tire used as a patch can prevent the [new] tube from bulging out.

Riding with patched tubes wrapped around her shoulders, in the style of Tour de France riders of old, clearly helped Fiona minimise time spent off the bike during the day and focus on riding instead of maintenance and repacking unwieldy tubes.

Routine

Fiona rode with metronomic efficiency, resting consistently and maintaining a daily routine that was both fast and sustainable. Kit choices such as an ultralightweight sleeping bag rather than a bivy bag meant she had the flexibility to stick to her routine regardless of the overnight temperatures or the availability of suitable accommodation.

Putting it all Together for a Winning Ride

No single element of Fiona’s kit or strategy won her the race on its own but each had a significant role to play. It is exceptionally rare for a newcomer to manage to perfect so many different complex challenges, however, with most riders improving as they gain a deeper understanding of the race and its demands. Fiona herself has suggested she could have ridden harder – and we believe her! We can’t wait to see what she’s capable of as she gains more experience.

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