My first race of the season is approaching fast. It is not going to be warm, dry and dusty; like the H12 MTB Race that kick-started my 2016 season. In fact, it is most likely going to be snowing…
Next month brings the TorTour Cyclocross Stage Race in Switzerland.
The race format of the TorTour Cyclocross event is unique; in that it is the only long-distance multi-day cyclocross winter race in existence.
The event is spread over a three day long weekend, with a mix of long and short stages:
- Friday - It all begins with a short 23 kilometre lapped circuit race. Something to warm up the legs...
- Saturday - A long loop of 80 kilometres, almost entirely off-road. With 700 metres of climbing, and highly challenging terrain; you can expect to see a well strung-out field of riders.
- Sunday - A little shorter than Saturday, at 74 kilometres. However, the addition of 1260 metres of climbing (and the snowy terrain) should make for an interesting finish.
With competitors already signed up from 15 different countries, it is set to be an incredible event. (There are still spaces available if you fancy it!).
The average temperature for February, in Zurich, is around 4 degrees Celsius; with a wind chill factor normally pushing the "feels like" temperature down to about minus 3 degrees. That's going to require some warm kit.
Here's what I'm provisionally packing as riding kit...
- Kask Infinity Helmet
- GripGrab Aviator Cap
- GripGrab Windster Cap
- Oakley Jawbreaker Prizm Trail Sunglasses
- GripGrab Headglove
- dhb Merino M200 Base Layer
- dhb Aeron Full Protection Softshell Jacket
- Sportful BodyFit Pro Base Layer
- Sportful Fiandre Extreme NeoShell Jacket
- Gore Bike Wear Windstopper Short Sleeve Base Layer
- Castelli Gabba 2 Jersey
- Castelli Thermoflex Arm Warmers
- Sportful R&D Bib Tights
- Gore Bike Wear Windstopper Oxygen Bib Tights
- dhb Aeron Windslam Roubaix Bib Tights
- GripGrab Winter Socks x3
- GripGrab Polaris Winter Gloves
- GripGrab Raptor Gloves and Merino wool liner gloves
- Gore Bike Wear ONE Jacket
- Vaude Termatic RC 2 MTB Boots
My Kona Private Jake Cyclocross bike won't be unfamiliar to regular Wiggle Blog readers or social media followers.
This bike has been some places… check out my '10,000 Kilometre Test Review'.
To adapt the bike for the vigorous challenge that the TorTour cyclocross presents, I've made a few tweaks:
- Tyres - I've fitted Schwalbe X-One Bite Tubeless tyres to the Kona, for added grip in the snow, ice and mud.
- Handlebar Tape - I've wrapped the bars with Lizard Skins DSP Camo Bar Tape for extra grip.
- Mudguards - Mostly from Tate Labs and RapidRacerProducts - hopefully for a bit of added protection.
Stay tuned for more updates on kit, and then live coverage from the race itself!
Here's another taster...