Nepal Bound – Manaslu Trail Race

One week on from Festival Les Templiers my next and final adventure for 2014 is rapidly approaching.

This friday I am lucky enough to be flying off to Kathmandu and going back to where this crazy journey originally started. Two years ago I signed up for my first mountain stage race and really havn’t looked back. Since then I have travelled the world to race in some spectacular places and met some crazy new friends along the way. It really has been life changing.

Since this is my third time back in Nepal, I think (well I hope) that I am pretty clued up on what kit I need to take with me. As the race is split over 8 days and goes over 5,200ms elevation, we need to take a reasonable amount of kit but still pack light. We will have porters carrying our main bags daily but there is still a strict weight restriction and so therefore getting it right is essential. Last time I was there, overnight temperatures dipped below -15 at the pass but by the last day we were in shorts and smothered in factor 50.

So with all this in mind I thought I would give an insight into what my essentials will be:

SHOES
Asics Fuji Racer – super light (8.7oz), flexible trail shoe, stripped down version of the Fuji trail shoe and has the feel of the Asics road racing flats which I like. Perfect for compact and rocky terrain which is what I shall be on. I wore these for les Templiers, no problems with blisters or rubs….yes my toenails were ruined but that was on the descents and lets face it my hooves arent ever going to win any beauty prizes….
RUNNING PACK
Haglofs Gram Comp 12, weighing in at 275gs, this bag is super light and sits well on your back. I’m not a big fan of bladder hydration systems but this bags gives you both options as it has easy access pockets on the side panels for silicone bottles which I will be using and also a pocket for a 2 litre bladder. Also looks pretty cool too….
SLEEPING BAG
Haglofs LEO -10. This may sound sad but I really cant wait to climb inside this bag at the end of day one, it is so warm and cozy i may never come out of it. Designed for mountain marathons, its light (0.92kg), 800 fill goose down filling and ergo shape means I will be snug as a bug in a rug. It also happens to be neon green so I will look just like a glow worm.
JACKET
Haglofs Gram Q Jacket and pants. Although it shouldn’t rain, this GoreTex 3 layer shell jacket will keep me warm and dry in the cold winds that we will get as we climb higher and at the same time remaining breathable.
DOWN JACKET
Haglofs Essens 11 Q down jacket. I was lucky enought to be given this jacket at the Outrun the Sun event in Chamonix earlier this year. Its ridiculously lightweight (250g) but still very warm, it also packs up into a tiny ball so great for packing in my running bag for the finish. Ive lost count of the jealous looks I have got from my running mates when Ive worn it.

OTHER ESSENTIALS:

Headtorch and spare batteries (no electricity for most of the time so this little baby is quite important…..esp if i need a wee in the night!!)
Merino buff and long johns…..need I say more
Super warm gloves and mittens. I will use thin Asics gloves for the day and then my fleece lined knitted yak wool mittens at night.
Haglofs Fanatic H Cap, thermal beanie.
Asics compression socks……I fear I may never take these off…..
Sunglasses and Asics Visor. Super important to protect my eyes especially with the glare over the glaciers.
Chia Charge bars. I found these little beauties last time I raced in Nepal. They really did keep me going everyday. The thought of enjoying the sweat flapjack with a flask of chia at the end of the stage was always a highlight of my day.
S Caps. Although i am not racing all out this time I will still be losing salts and so far I have found these easy to take capsules the perfect way to keep my electrolytes in balance.
Suunto Ambit. I really don’t think there is any other GPS watch out there that can better this amazing piece of kit. Last time I was in Nepal it lasted 8 days with only one charge and gave me stacks of data. It also tells the time, which is useful.

So along with the usual running attire, this lot will be in my 10kg max pack.

I will try and blog before I leave Kathmandu on the dreaded days bus ride to the start. If anyone wants to you can have a look at the race website, I can thoroughly recommend this race if you want a serious running adventure in the mountains, but be warned, its addictive!

manaslutrailrace.org

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