Overall, I was pretty happy with how I did in the 2015 Trans Am Bike Race especially considering the difficulty of the event and the injuries I accumulated. Finishing the 4233-mile bike race in eighth place and in under 24 days was not too shabby.
But, with the benefit of experience, in hindsight there were several things I wish I did differently. I had did them, I believe I could have easily finished the race two to four days quicker.
Below is a list of my regrets, with the biggest being at the top. Perhaps this list would help future racers in preparing for the race.
- Not having a more waterproof system for the Motorola Moto E smart phone I used for GPS, which ultimately caused it to fail during the last 4-5 days. All I had to do was keep the phone in a neoprene armband and attach it to the aerobars.
- Not having a backup GPS system. This could have been my other smartphone I used for texting, photos, etc.
- Not carrying water purification tablets which could have given me more options for water in the West.
- Not wearing UV sleeves.
- Not double wrapping the handlebars with bar tape, which might have helped ward off numb hands.
- Not inflating the tires with air more regularly.
- Not having better headlights.
- Stopping in Pittsburg, Kansas and getting an LED headlight at Walmart at 2:00 a.m. in the morning instead getting to bed ASAP and then mounting the headlight to my helmet. I think both were contributing factors to getting Shermer’s Neck.
- Shipping home my rain jacket in Newton, Kansas.
- Using a bivy sack that was not waterproof. In hindsight, I think even a cheap SOL Emergency Bivy would have been better than the Outdoor Research Helium bivy sack.
- Not staying at Larry’s hostel in Virginia and getting caught in a rainstorm later that night, which I spent shivering in my bivy sack and overslept.
- Having SRAM DoubleTap shifters instead of Shimano STI.