Camp it up
OK, so after the last couple of missives now you know why you’re there and what to wear, but where are you going to vogue between laps?
It’s far more important to have a good campsite than a good bike at these things. Face it, you’re gonna use one 4-6 times more than the other – and that’s just during race hours… not to mention the best bits – anticipation before and reflection after.
So the camp. Start with a chair. It is the single most important piece of un-bike gear that you will pack. The rule is if you bring a chair you can sit anywhere on any chair… because ultimately if there was a full round of kicking out of bums from chairs of owners, the dude on their arse on the ground would be the clown that didn’t bring a chair!
Next, the canvas room (or rooms). You need two. YOU need two. One is the big hang-out tent, or tarp, or luxury camper-van if you’re riding with James Packer. This one you share with the team, the WAGs (or HAGs) and the groupies that a great team will inevitably draw to itself (of course the microwave, TV and coffee machine might have something to do with that too). The other is somewhere to sleep, get changed, be shagged in (if you’re lucky) then escape to if it pisses down and rider #4 is fast-but-a-pain-in-da-arse. Think about where you pitch it. You don’t wanna be in the middle of the main walkway – and similarly do not do what ASG did once and tie your tent off to a convenient bit of infrastructure – only to find at midnight that sleeping next to a generator driven light tower is taking the soothing sounds of the white noise generator to extreme levels! Then you need to piss in three corners of your hang-out tent (metaphysically speaking).
Bring three storage things. For YOUR things. Store nothing for others and be a bastard about lending stuff.
Bring an esky. Doesn’t need to be a huge one with everything in it, because you KNOW you’ll do at least one steak sandwich or pancakes, or (heaven help) lentil burger from the food dudes. No, the esky is to keep all your chow and drinks in. It’s your fuel dump. When you’re knackered at the end of a lap, this is where you go to refuel. You don’t wanna be dashing all over the tent, looking under your mates’ dirty knicks and banana peels for that box of muesli bars you think you left over there… Stash the beer in the bottom. If you’re riding properly you’ll need a few for Friday and perhaps two for Sunday.
Same with gear. Get yourself a $2.99 plastic tub from Kmart to toss your lights, spares, pump, etc in. Same principle. You know what you’ve brung, and you’ll be able to quickly find that spare battery at 3am in the middle of your double lap without having to wake every bugger up to find the keys to Nigel’s car, only to remember you’d tossed it in with your sleeping bag… Get all office-stationary-anal on your gear.
Tool box. Take enough for the jobs you’re comfortable with (the really tricky ones you sorted with savvy recruiting… you did recruit a mechanic onto the team, didn’t you?). Keep an eye on it, and if it’s small enough, keep it in your Kmart box.
The final gear bag is your sleeping tent bag – with clothes, sleeping bag and mat, head torch, spare bog roll – and perhaps a small folding, hand tooled art deco display cabinet for your socks.
So there it is. The perfect camp. You’ve got you space laid out and you know where it all oughta go when you’re knackered and half cut after sniffing two post race beers.
And best, you’ve got even more reason to be there early on Friday to make sure it’s all sorted.
By Awesome Sock Guy