Not many things survived 24 hours in the recumbent tandem. Most of our belongings ended up on the floor of the human-powered vehicle, crushed and soaked in the sweat, water and urine of two people. It was a grim environment. Hot, incredibly humid, cramped and unhygienic.
Fortunately the various items of expensive (and quite heavy) recording equipment and cameras survived and so did the tandem, which was pretty much as good as new at the end of the 565 mile ride. It needed a good rinse with a pressure washer, but it was otherwise ok.
We survived too – in spite of various items of Guy’s clothing causing him some (well-documented) intimate discomfort. My clothing on the other hand gave me no trouble at all. Part of it was pure luck, but it was mostly because of the clothes I was wearing.
As well as one pair of shorts, I wore a total of three baselayers. All brilliant, but chosen for different parts of the event. A couple of very light mesh ones for the daytime but for the colder, darker hours I wore a merino t-shirt provided by Armadillo Merino. In fact, if they’re good enough for astronauts, they’ll do for me.
First off, these are incredibly comfortable. Some merino garments can itch and irritate the skin, but this is the softest and smoothest out there. The fit can be ‘roomy’ if you order your regular size and you’re not a beefcake (I’m not a beefcake) but size down a little bit and it’s spot-on.
The styling doesn’t shout “look at me!” as there’s hardly a visible logo – just a small one on one sleeve and near the lower hem, so ideal if you’re a logo-averse or on the telly.
Performance-wise, I couldn’t fault the shirt at all. The temperature in the tandem dropped quite dramatically during the night but my core temperature was nice and steady. The shirt inevitably got wet but it didn’t ever feel saturated or become heavy in spite of the environment making evaporation almost impossible.
I’ve worn the t shirt pretty much all the time since – in 24 hour mountain bike races, running or popping down the shops. A truly brilliant piece of kit.
I’ve since received a pair of Armadillo socks which I’ll wear through the winter (including the Strathpuffer 24 hour race in January) to see if they can help keep my toes warm. Stay tuned…