24-year-old Fiona Kolbinger pulled off not just one of the biggest feats in ultra-endurance cycling last week, but arguably one of the most impressive results of the year in any sport by winning the brutal Transcontinental Race - not because she was the first female winner, but because it was reportedly her first competitive ultra-distance bike race of any kind.
Who is Fiona Kolbinger?
Kolbinger clocked a distance just shy of 4,000km, with self-supported participants able to choose their best route between the race checkpoints, and finished 10 hours ahead of second-placed Ben Davies in a time of 10 days, 2 hours and 48 minutes.
As she wasn't really marked out as a serious contender to the outside world prior to the race beginning (apart from training partner Bjorn Lenard perhaps) a Strava post from Kolbinger showing a breakdown of her entire kit list before she started flew under our radar - and now her bag brand of choice Apidura have listed everything in that photo. Here's exactly what she was stashing before setting off, and what she was stashing it all in...
Apidura Racing Handlebar Pack (5L)
Apidura Racing Saddle Pack (7L)
Rapha top tube pack
Osprey Ultralight Stuff Rucksack
Kolbinger went pretty light even compared to other Transcon racers, keeping the main triangle of her frame clear and on-bike storage limited to her bars, behind the saddle and on the top tube. A handy addition was the Osprey Ultralight Stuff Rucksack, that is small enough to pack away in one of the bikepacking bags but can be utilised when carrying extra food or provisions after a pit stop.
Four inner tubes
Set of patches
Abus cable lock
Roll of electrical tape
Eight cable ties
Spare Continental GP5000 tyre
Topeak Hexus 16 multi-tool
Finish Line CC Wet Chain Lube – 120ml
Four tyre levers
Shimano Ultegra brake pads
Section of tyre
Kolbinger's list of spares suggest she's capable of completing most simple bike maintenance tasks, something that could make or break your race if you're stuck for hours due to a mechanical you can't fix. Spare brake pads are a wise choice, and she's managed to cover every eventuality for a puncture, even packing a spare section of tyre to do a big patch job if the worst comes to the worst.
Garmin eTrex Touch
Eight AA batteries
The GPS unit of choice was the Garmin e-Trex touch - perhaps a bit surprising as the battery life isn't as large as some of the latest computers on the market, but it did the job. Cables and batteries presumably allowed her to charge and add juice to some of her items on the go, such as her front and rear dynamo lighting.
Hygiene, care and nutrition
Two packs of chewing gum
Factor 50 sun lotion
ASSOS Chamois cream
Compeed Blister patches
Lobello sun protect lip balm
Six caffeine gels
Obviously Kolbinger consumed far more on route, but it appeared she started her journey with just some budget Wiggle caffeine gels and hydration tabs. Chewing gum would appear to be an unusual choice... it could well just be something to concentrate on during particularly monotonous stretches of road!
Two credit cards 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
Abus cable lock
Kolbinger's choice of helmet is an unpretentious one, the Giro Foray being widely available for around £40. As well as her dynamo lighting she also ran additional Cateye front and Knog rear USB lights.
Obviously with no support crew at the self-supported TCR, that means you have to carry all your own gear for the duration of the race; and for those at the sharp end that often means sleeping gear, as roadside naps will generally take less time than checking in to a hotel. Kolbinger packed just a super light sleeping bag from Yeti Fever for times she opted to sleep out, which the brand say can withstand temperatures down to -1c.
We would have loved to have combined this breakdown of Kolbinger's kit with a more detailed inspection of her bike, a Canyon Endurace WMN CF Disc, but we're still awaiting pics and details promised to us by Canyon. If and when we get those details, we'll tell you all you need to know about the bike that propelled her to victory too!
Main image: James Robertson Photography for the Transcontinental Race
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