August 1, 2023
As I write these lines, I’m in Le Châble, three hours from the start of the Tour des Stations Ultimate 1000. The last few days have been very busy, between preparing the bike, planning my stops at the reboost stations and frantically studying the weather forecasts.
This is the last chance to talk about my equipment! All around me, the competitors are fussing over their bikes. Some have obviously tried to lighten up as much as possible, with a minimalist set-up. Not so for me: I know I’m not going to win (far from it) and I’ve tried to find a compromise between comfort, safety and performance.
For comfort, I opted for my Scott Addict Gravel Tuned with 32 mm Continental GP 5000 road tires. At the SUCH, I rode on my Addict RC, a high-performance bike but not made for long-distance riding. This time around, I’m opting for a more relaxed geometry and wide tires, in the hope of limiting the inevitable aches and pains that appear in this type of event.
As far as safety is concerned, I’m setting off with plenty of clothing. The weather is forecast to be cool and uncertain, with a significant risk of showers, especially towards the end. Snow may not even be far off… My standard outfit will consist of Velocio Luxe shorts and a Signature jersey. But I’ll be taking along the Ultralight Rain Jacket and the whole range of overshoes, warmers, long gloves, etc. that the brand offers. I’ll also have a change of clothes at almost every reboost station.
With their photochromic lenses, my Julbo Rush glasses will be my faithful ally day and night. And as I’m as blind as a bat, the corrective lenses from Julbo’s RX in house laboratory will mean I won’t have to wear contacts, which are a big problem on ultra events.
Night means lights. I’ve been using Garmin products for some time now, and on this event I’ll be setting off with the UT800 (front) and RTL 515 (rear). Their autonomy won’t get me through the night, although I plan to sleep for a few hours at a time. That’s why I have two of each light, as well as a beefy powerbank. With these, I can face the dark with confidence.
Performance… a big word at my level. Nevertheless, I took a few options to try and go fast. With, above all, my secret weapon: my Shimano GRX groupset with a 30×40 as the smallest gear! What makes the Tour des Stations Ultimate 1000 so special is the climbings: 26,000 metres! To make it over the climbs after 800 kilometers of racing, you need the right gears. Will it pay off? We’ll see…
Enough for now, it’s time for the pasta party with the other participants. After that, it’s time for the final preparations and the start at 3pm. Finish: the best are expected on August 4 in the morning, and I hope to finish on time, i.e. August 6 at 3 p.m. Wish me luck!
Thanks to my partners: Velocio, Scott, Garmin and Julbo. It wouldn’t be as fun without you.