Packing for the Pyrenees

22 08 23

Now in its fifth year, Further remains a new frontier in adventure cycling.

This year the Further series will feature three events. Further Pyrenees (the original), Further East (now in its third year), and new for this winter, Further Scotland.

The man behind the races is Camille McMillan. He's notoriously light on information ahead of the races, so picking the right bike, picking the right route, and learning how the rules work is all part of the magic of the race but can cause a few headaches for those who like to be well prepared.

This Friday 28th August riders will set off for Further Pyrenees from the spectacular Refuge de Ruhle, a mountain refuge 2185 metres above sea level. 

Surrounded by towering rock faces, the terrain is as beautiful as it is intimidating. Riders will then spend up to four days traversing the high mountains of the Ariege department, taking on the unique blend of off-road riding and plenty of hiking.

Sleep is an essential part of Further Pyrenees due to the curfews in place at night for riders' safety. This means that staying warm in uncertain weather is a necessity, and a balance needs to be found between packing light enough to carry your bike for longer than seems sane, whilst also being able to stop at night and stay safe.

Rich Rothwell will be back on the start line for his second attempt at the race, and has shared a few thoughts on his kit choices ahead of the ride.

Words by Rich Rothwell

The Pyrenees can be fickle.

Whilst temperatures will be generally high in August, (they were in 2022) there is the chance of being caught in an intense storm with heavy cold rain. High up, this can quickly become hazardous.

Pockets of low night time temperatures are also possible: last year the long descent of Port de Cabus was extremely cold and I needed every item of clothing I was carrying.

You could be lucky and only need warm weather clothing. I do not like relying on luck. My kit list covers everything from extreme heat to very cold and wet. This kit list is versatile and easy to pack.

  • Absolutely essential for easily storing and accessing food, clothing and a phone whilst moving.

  • Extremely light and extremely breathable for the high temperatures.

  • Cinched around my waist and my helmet, this traps heat and is essential if I am unlucky and caught in a storm.

  • Perfect for colder night time descents and the basis for my thermal layering

  • Remarkably effective way of adding core temperature.

To complete my versatile and reliable kit list I will also be taking leg and arm warmers, thin hot weather gloves as well as an additional warm pair of gloves. Sleeping wise, I will be carrying a summer sleeping bag, bivvy bag, inflatable mat and pillow.