With 6 races across Europe in the European series, starting in April with France, and with race’s ranging from 24 to 36hrs, there is something there for everyone from the novice to the elite.
The series offers great opportunity to see parts of Europe that aren’t in the travel guide brochures, and best of all, do an adventure with your friends and create memories forever.
As the race’s are not expedition length race’s, they are very manageable for first timers. Be it buying gear or using up all your holiday’s as most race’s will only require one or two days holidays.
So as a first timer what do you need to know and what kit you need.
For individual kit you will need all of the below.
You’ll need a MTB for these types of races a hard tail is perfect to get you started. Nothing fancy, just be sure it’s in good working order. Helmet is mandatory. A map board for the bike. Decathlon do a really good one that’s reasonable cheap.
Trail runners, these are important for grip in rough ground and muddy condition.
Waterproof jacket & over trousers. It’s worth investing in a good jacket.
Socks are important, so make sure you have comfortable socks. For training or racing in wet weather you can get waterproof socks and they are great. I also recommend darn tough and woolie boolie socks. Both are merino wool and keep the feet toastie even when wet.
I tend to wear tights racing, but you go with what your comfortable wearing if that’s shorts or ¾ lengths. Just be mindful these type of race’s go off the beaten track so the leg’s might get a few scratches..
You will also need cycling short for the bike legs, it’s important to pack them in the correct bags for transition, so they will be there when you need them. Again I would recommend investing in a pair that are comfortable and good quality.
Most of these type of races, and as a minimum, You will need to carry a hat/buff, gloves and a spare long sleeve top for the entire race.
A base layer and/or a mid-layer depending on the climate is very useful. Merino wool base layer are great to have, but not necessary.
For the kayak section the race organisers will supply paddles and buoyancy aids unless you want to bring your own. I would suggest a pair of bike gloves for this section as it helps stop the hands from blistering.
Backpack with a whistle (or else you will need to carry one). The backpack is an essential piece of kit and there are loads of options out there, so it’s worth trying one on to see how they fit before you buy, because you could be wearing it for long periods on the bike and hike stages. Something light with lots of easy access pockets for food Is the way to go. Everyone has their favourite so you will need to find yours. 10ltr packs up to 25ltr are a good range, but depending on the race length, and how well you pack is key key and will determine the size, however a pack that you can bungee down or fold down to smaller size is a neat option to have.
You will also have to wear the race bib on the outside of your clothing at all times. This is supplied by the race organisers.
You will need front and back lights for the bike and head torches for the hike and kayak stages. There are loads of option out there. Some option are AYUP lights, Fenix lights, Ledlenser and Petzl to name but a few.
For travel you will need a bike box, there are loads of Irish teams that have travelled with them and can advise and help with this or maybe even lend you theirs if you talk nicely to them ? . They are easy enough to make from the plastic board and tape up. Check out YouTube for hints and tips.
So you have all your gear but you also need Team kit.
Map’s, these will be supplied by the race organiser. You will need to bring pens/markers to mark up the maps with your route for some race’s. You will also need to bring a compass. I would advise the team to bring 2.
Sometimes race organisers will ask you to carry a team shelter and/or a tent. This will Depend on team size and race length. This is usually only required for 36hr+ race’s. These can come in which in very handy for a snooze during the race.
Sleeping bags, wetsuit, kayak backrest all might be required depending on the race.
A first aid team kit, phone, camera, there may be other items they require you to have, So it’s important to check though the check list of each race as the can slightly differ on items.
This sounds like a lot of gear but even a first timer to these type of races you would be surprised what you already have. If you hike from time to time then you already have a backpack you can use that. If coming from quest type race’s you already have the shoe’s, whistle, waterproof jacket so you are more than halfway there. Everything else can be begged, borrowed or stole ?
So I say just go grab a coupe of like minded mate’s, make a plan, book those flights and go make a life time of memories and have fun doing it.
France 1-3 April this is a 24hr hour race https://www.raidinfrance.com/rifspirit
Italy 6-8 May this is also 24hr hour race https://www.nirvanaraid.it/
Netherlands 20-22 May 24hr hour race https://www.raidlowlands.com/
Estonia 1-3 July 36hr race https://wilderness.ee/en/tactical-foodpack-expedition-estonia-july-1-3-2022/
Switzerland 10 Sept different options available https://www.wapiho.ch/
Spain 8-9 Oct Distance 160K http://www.raidgallaeci