How Ashton Lambie Packs for 1000 Miles of Gravel Racing.

ashton lambie
How Ashton Lambie Packs for 1000 Miles of GravelCASEY MILLETT

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Ashton Lambie, the mustachioed maverick of track and gravel, is tackling a his longest challenge ever this weekend: the Flint Hills Ultra, 1000 miles of gravel that makes Unbound look like a casual day on the bike.

It’s a far cry from his former life of sub-four minute fame, but he couldn’t be more excited about it. He’s also well-prepared, and we were curious about what you pack for an all-out excursion like this one.

What kind of bike is he riding?

ashton lambie

The bike itself is his normal gravel rig, kitted out with a few fun new additions like 650B Zipp Firecrest 303 wheels with wide 47mm Vittoria gravel tires and a freshly-installed Dynamo hub that can power his light and computer during the long, long rides. He plans to average 200 miles per day, so that means finding a way to keep the computer and light running for 14-plus hours on the dusty gravel roads of Kansas.

What's in the bag?

ashton lambie
Ashton Lambie

In his bags, he’s pre-packed:

  • A spare chamois. “I’ll rotate my chamois every day, so one is always getting washed and dried at night,” he says.

  • Bag Balm—Lambie’s favorite option for a chamois cream / friction fighter. He notes that the antiseptic properties are also a plus when riding 200+ miles/day for five days straight. ("Trying to stay on top of some modicum of hygiene is important!")

  • Extra long-sleeve jersey/jacket. While temperatures will likely be warm, Lambie is prepared for cooler morning starts and evening finishes.

  • Duct tape, zip ties, extra batteries for his wireless shifting, and a spare derailleur hanger, plus flat-fixing gear and a multitool. “I like being as prepared as possible to fix things on the bike,” he says. “But at the same time, I don't want to add a lot of extra weight, so most things can do double duty.”

  • Needle and thread. “Whether it’s fixing a hole in a sock or a jersey, or even sewing up a tire that gets a slit in it, a needle and thread can be surprisingly useful!”

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste. “I’m not so into weight and space-savings that I’m cutting my toothbrush in half like some people do for rides like this,” he says. “But bringing it is so important. It’s five days where I’m eating a lot of sugar. I don't want teeth sweaters—that’s gross.”

ashton lambie

What’s not packed:

  • Much ride food. Food-wise, Lambie has a massive Bento-style box on his bike plus two large water bottles, and he believes the route is populated enough by gas stations and grocery stores that he’ll be able to fill up continually. While he knows most of what he eats will be carb-heavy, in a five day effort like this one, he’ll need to diversify and add in some protein to stay satisfied. Fortunately, gas station snack stops are the randonneur's preferred way to fuel!

  • A bivvy or sleeping bag. While some competitors opt to sleep wherever they decide to stop for the night, Lambie has planned his hotel/cabin stops along the way so he can wash his chamois and get some solid rest—and lighten his load for riding. This does mean some days go long: He’ll max out at 260 miles in one day. But the ability to get solid sleep inside is an important part of his strategy to both finish and enjoy the ride.

With 1000 miles ahead of him and only 15 competitors on the start line, what does success look like for Lambie? There’s no gold medal or rainbow stripes at the finish line this time—just the chance to make it back to Emporia, where the race finishes, in time for the dinner being held to induct new riders into the Gravel Hall of Fame. Lambie is looking forward to the event, since he's been told that the food is going to be fantastic.

Besides that tight timeline, for him, just getting to the finish line—hopefully in time for dinner—is the only goal. “Winning is finishing,” he says. “The cool thing about brevets like this is that you don't really get anything for winning. They’re long, self supported, and so difficult that just finishing within the set time limit is the win.”

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