Gear to see you through an ultra-endurance ride

Gear to see you through an ultra-endurance ride

  • 27 July 2018
  • |
  • Seamus Allardice

Seamus Allardice shares with us some key essential items to pack in for the Trans Baviaans, as well as any ultra-endurance race.

The Trans Baviaans is the largest ultra-endurance mountain bike race in South Africa, with 2 500 riders taking part over two weekends in August. The 230 kilometre route has a 24 hour cut-off time and with the races starting at 10:00am in the morning, everyone rides into the night. That means the kit required to see you safely and warmly through is fairly extensive, but luckily First Ascent has you covered.

About Trans Baviaans

Trans Baviaans is a 230 kilometre mountain bike race, through the Baviaanskloof World Heritage Site from Willomore to Jeffreys Bay. Riders have 24 hours to complete the distance; and though the winners do so in less than 9 hours the average riders take between 12 and 16 hours to complete the course. This year the Race takes place on the 11th of August and the Repeat the following weekend on the 18th of August. To find out more about the race visit

First Ascent - Trans Baviaans

What to wear at the Start:

Men's Pro Elite Cycling Bib

A good, comfortable pair of cycling bib or shorts is essential for an ultra-endurance ride and our Pro Elite range feature the best padding on offer by First Ascent. For men the bib style keeps the chamois in place regardless of how much you move around in the saddle. While for women the advantage of the shorts cut is that they make nature breaks that little bit easier, because in 230 kilometres you are going to stop a few times. 

Men’s Pro Elite Cycling Bib Ladies Pro Elite Shorts
Peloton Cycling Jersey

Made from moisture wicking materials, with reflective print and four back storage pockets, including one which closes with a zipper to keep your phone safely on-board regardless of how fast you descend the Big Dipper.

Men’s Peloton Cycling Jersey Ladies Peloton Cyling Jersey
Heat Shield Vest

A baselayer is a must for the chilly morning and cold descents which mark the first 100 kilometres of the Trans Baviaans route, but it probably will not be so cold during the day as to warrant long sleeves just yet. Therefore the sleeveless Heat Shield Vest should be ideal.

Men’s Heat Shield Vest Ladies Heat Shield Vest
Magneto Cycling Jacket

To be worn at the start or carried with you, in the case of unexpectedly cold weather or rain. Or in the case of you not making it to your pre-packed check point boxes by the time it starts to get cold and dark. With removable sleeves it doubles as a long sleeve wind breaker and a gilet.

Men’s Magneeto Cycling Jacket Ladies Magneeto Cycling Jacket

What to Pack in your Check Point Boxes

You can pack one box per team to be sent to check points 2, 3 and 4. Unless you are determined to only eat and drink your own supplements/nutrition there is little need to pack items into all three boxes. Especially as you’ll be seeing your support crew, if you have a support crew that is, at check point 5. The rule of thumb is to pack extra warm clothing into the box that’ll be going to the check point where you expect to be around sun set. That way you can put on warm gear and start the night riding warm, rather than lose energy trying to stay warm as it gets progressively colder.

Bamboo Thermal Long Sleeve Baselayer Top

Whip off your sleeveless Heat Shield Vest and put on your Bamboo Thermal Long Sleeve Baselayer Top just before it gets dark. This will lock in your body heat, especially if you put your Magneto Cycling Jacket on over it. If you are descending the Big Dipper in the dark a long sleeve baselayer is a virtual must.

Men’s Bamboo Thermal Long Sleeve
Baselayer Top
Ladies Bamboo Long Sleeve
Baselayer Top
Leg Warmers

This one is a little weather and individual dependant; but if it’s going to dip below 15 degrees, if you expect to finish after mid-night or if you suffer particularly with the cold then leg warmers are a must.

Leg Warmer

Weather Dependant Optional Extras

X-Trail Jacket

If it looks like rain on race day having a waterproof jacket with a hood will be a great help. It’ll keep the water from running down your neck which will leave you cold and annoyed, with kilometres still to ride. Rather keep an eye on the weather forecast and turn up prepared.

Men’s X-Trail Jacket Ladies X-Trail Jacket
First Break Long Fingered Cycling Glove

Constructed from a thicker Lycra these should keep your hands warm for the cold mid-night kilometres. If you really suffer from cold hands look into a pair of Thermal Liner Gloves before the race, but be sure to check if they fit under your current long finger cycling gloves before buying them.

First Break Long Fingered Cycling Glove

For the Finish Line

With shower facilities on site, at the Fountains Mall in Jeffreys Bay, at the finish line you’ll be able to freshen up with a nice hot shower before changing into warm, dry clothes. Fortunately First Ascent have you covered there too, with a range of comfortable options for when you are too wired to sleep but too tired for jeans.

Transit Down Jacket

With a 650 fill and the ability to pack away into a little cylindrical stuffing bag the Transit Down Jacket is as much part of the cyclists wardrobe as the casquette. Wearing a down jacket post ride is like getting a long soothing hug, and if you think we’re overstating it try telling us you don’t want a hug after finishing the Trans Baviaans.

Men’s Transit Down Jacket Ladies Transit Down Jacket

Other Essentials:

Chamois Cream

Designed to help prevent chafing and saddle sores you’ll definitely need a health application of chamy cream before you start the Trans Baviaans. Try Chamois Butt’r Eurostyle (R299.90) from Sportsmans Warehouse.


You’ll need at least two water bottles, though with the water points all 50 kilometres or less apart you should be able to get by with just two if it’s not too hot. Try the First Ascent 800ml bottles or the Aqueous II hydration pack if you prefer to have the peace of mind of carrying 2 litres of fluid on you.


To keep your face and neck warm when it gets cold or to keep the dust out of your nose and mouth a buff/bandana/flexi band are Trans Baviaans essentials. We would suggest wearing one at the start and packing a spare, in a check point box, for when it gets dark. If you need one, or two, check out the Capestorm Flexi Bands from Sportsmans Warehouse.

First Ascent - Trans Baviaans