ESSENTIALS FOR A SEASON ON THE ROAD
I COULDN'T LIVE WITHOUT
Following a season of racing, it's not just your cameras, lenses and computer you rely on. To get your shots you need to travel to the races, get to your spots when you get there, stay warm and dry on the mountainside, try and look after your health so you're in good condition to work and attempt keep your kit working for the entire season as you bounce from job to job. So while it's always the camera bag that is checked first when you leave, you come to rely on certain other things almost as much. These are the seven things I don't head to the races without.1. The waterproof:
If you're going to stand on a mountainside for eight hours a day then you need to be prepared for the weather, and the most important thing is always the waterproof. When I have reviewed waterproofs for Pinkbike over the years, I remember seeing outrage at jackets costing more than $100. Yet if your first concern in picking a waterproof is price, chances are you don't rely on one. After you've been caught out and found yourself hunched trackside, shivering violently from the ice cold water that has soaked through the seams of your jacket, wishing your riders would hurry up and go past so you can get off the hill to stop your core temperature dropping any further, suddenly a jacket that will reliably keep you dry starts to look like very good value, regardless of the pricetag... Most mountain bike-specific jackets aren't designed to cope with those kind of conditions, so you have to look to mountain sports - I chose this Norrona Bitihorn. It's a 3-layer Gore-tex construction so stays dry and windproof all day, it's light, folds down to virtually nothing and it's blue. It's the first thing I pack when I get ready to leave home.
2. Shimano MW81 shoes:
When you're travelling with heavy things like cameras, computers and bikes your luggage allowances disappear alarmingly quickly. So the idea of taking several pairs of shoes is a non-starter. If you're going to jump on a plane to the other side of the world to go and work in whatever weather conditions nature's sense of humour decides to throw at you, then that one pair better be good for everything. Unlike most other race series, for the Enduro World Series you need to ride to get to your spots, but there's still a lot of time on your feet - for this the Shimano MW81s are perfect. They are forgiving enough to hike, run and scramble to wherever you need to get to, they work well on the bike, they last well and, maybe most importantly of all, the body is made from Gore-tex, so they're about as waterproof a shoe as you'll find.3. Park Tool IB-12:
When you're working on the bike then you don't want to add any unnecessary weight to your camera pack. Yet it's never a great idea to ride without any tools on you - the IB-12 is a great compromise. It has just enough tools to deal with most regular problems you're likely to suffer from, but is small and very, very light - in other words perfect for stashing in your camera pack.4. A good knife:
Living in a city you get used to only psychos and teenage wannabe-gangsters carrying knives. Yet once you start living and working out in the mountains you quickly realise that a decent knife is one of the most constantly useful things you can have on you. Whether you need to prune the vegetation for a shot, prize open the jammed brake pads on the rental bike you're using that weekend or skewer a slab of beef from a Chilean barbeque, then it's one tool it's hard to be without.5. Berocca:
When you're 21 you can survive on grease, alcohol and cheap cigarettes. Sadly, as you get a bit older things start to get a bit more complicated and running across continents takes its toll on your body and health. On the road it's hard to keep control of your diet too, so a good hit of vitamin C in the morning makes a world of difference to warding off the niggling colds and viruses that can drag you down and sap your energy. My personal, unscientific theory is that it's good to take them when you get off a plane, as that's when your body is most run down and you're most susceptible to picking up illnesses.6. Melatonin:
I need to thank Matt Delorme for putting me onto this one. Jetlag is a bitch. There's nothing worse than sitting there in your hotel room, wide awake at 4am knowing you're going to spend the next day feeling like shit from lack of sleep. Melatonin helps set your body's rhythms - simply pop one before bed, go to bed with the curtains open and let the sunlight wake you naturally to reset your body clock. It's not perfect, but it certainly makes jetlag a lot easier to deal with. If you're reading this in Europe you might need to order yours from the States, as they don't seem to be easily available on this side of the Atlantic.7. Eclipse fluid and sensor swabs:
Spending a summer on the road means there isn't time to send your kit off for service and working trackside means that your kit inevitably becomes filled with dust, dirt and pollen. So having the ability to clean your own sensor not only saves you money and stress, but also time stuck cloning out those ugly dark spots from the sky. in processing It's a bit of a delicate process, but once you get over the initial fear of touching a 1,000 Euro sensor, then it becomes a quick, easy job. One note - this isn't something you can scrimp on - you have to buy sensor-specific swabs made of the right material and only eclipse fluid leaves no residue on the sensor. I found this out the hard way a couple of years ago, using a lens cleaning solution on the sensor left smears all over the sensor, which resulted in a panicked trip to the nearest pro shop some 50km to remove the smears before the action started...
Article: Matt Wragg