Firecracker 5k

There are two kinds of people in the world. The first kind goes grocery shopping with a shopping list. Within this group are subsets: there are those who alphabetize the list, and those who sort the items according to aisle number. The second kind of people don’t need no stinkin’ list. Furthermore, they like to think up all kinds of ways to make fun of people in the first group. However, because they fail to make a list of insults, they usually forget them.

All of which brings us to Ride The Rockies and how to pack for the big event. I have devised a foolproof way to pack: the night before, I run around like a crazy person grabbing things at random. I am a proud member of the second group of people. Meanwhile, my boyfriend, who belongs to the first group, is sound asleep, peaceful as a baby, with his bags already packed and waiting at the front door. Seriously, I wish I had written down those insults.

Really, let’s talk about packing. One of the drawbacks to my approach to packing is that I end up bringing everything and the kitchen sink. One year, and I am woman enough to admit this, I ended up with 27 pairs of socks on RTR. And no, I am not a centipede.

Obviously, don’t forget the essentials: helmet, shoes (with cleats), gloves, sunglasses, phone, and properly stocked seatpost bag.

You need a simple approach to planning kits. Try this: lay out exactly 7 days of kits: a pair of shorts (or bibs), jersey, socks, and sports bra for the ladies. Put each kit in a separate Zip-Lock bag. Trust me, your tent-mate will appreciate the smoothness and efficiency of your morning kit-up routine. Of course, using your Prada-like fashion sense, you have expertly selected matching kit items with colors and patterns that would make Heidi proud.

Next, let’s talk toiletries. The shower trucks are an interesting experience. You haven’t lived until you’ve showered in a truck. To make it a slightly more enjoyable experience, use a bottle of body wash instead of a bar of soap. After the first day, a slimy, soapy bar gets squishy and nasty. A sealable plastic bottle is better. Another tip for the squeamish: a pair of flip flops is a nice shower accessory.

Out-of-staters may be surprised at how dry it is at high altitudes. Even the manliest of men will be scrounging around for some moisture. I find these to be essential: eye drops, nasal spray, heavy-duty Chapstick with sunblock and moisturizer. Speaking of sunblock, don’t forget the sunblock. UV at 10,000 feet takes a toll.

While we’re talking about lotions and potions, let’s touch on chamois cream, also known as butt butter, utter butter, bag balm, butt paste – well, you get the idea. Some people need it and some don’t. Even if it isn’t normally a part of your daily ride routine, the mileage and potential rain we could encounter means you should pack some.

Another tip that might go without saying: after the day’s ride is over, get out of that clammy chamois as soon as possible. Damp shorts are breeding places for all sorts of nasties, and your rear deserves fresh air and maybe even some baby wipes (another good thing to pack).

Around camp and around town, you’ll need casual clothes ranging from shorts to fleece. But keep it simple. No one, except for Ms. Klum, cares if you wear the same T-shirt twice. Well, as long as it doesn’t smell. Then we do care.

In fact, it’s probably true that less is more. RTR has a 70-pound limit on luggage, but don’t bring 69.9 pounds. Try to pack light. Bring everything you need, but nothing more. No one likes to tote heavy bags around camp. The biking is hard enough.