Shoes are your most important equipment. I’ve already discussed shoes. This list covers the other elements of clothing and equipment you will need for the Ridge Run.
This list is based on what I use and represents my biases. If you are a competitive fast runner, you may want to go lighter than my recommendations. If you are slow and will be out all day, you may want to take more stuff.
I like to use tight fitting bike style shorts. Tradition loose boxer style running shorts tend to ride up when using a waist belt or fanny pack. When sliding down snow or dirt, bike style shorts are also preferable to regular running shorts. Some bike type shorts are compression style with a high Lycra content. The tight fit of compression shorts make them feel restrictive to me. Lycra adds weight. I personally prefer lighter less restrictive shorts. Look for a future Blog on Lycra Compression Clothing.
Unless it is bitter cold, I do not recommend tights. Even in 2005 when we had freezing temperatures, high winds, snow and ice, I wore long bike style shorts and knee socks instead of tights. I admit I am biased against tights. I just don’t like the tightness around my knees. You may have a more positive experience with them.
Under most conditions, I like to use a light long sleeve shirt of synthetic material (polyester). There are a couple advantages to a long sleeve shirt. Even if it gets warm, you can always hike up or pull the sleeves up to convert it to short sleeve. If it gets hot, you can take the shirt off and the long sleeves allow it to be tied around your waste.
If the temperature is warm to begin with and you are certain good weather will hold, you can save a bit of weight by using a short sleeve synthetic shirt. If it is sunny and warm, a light colored (white) shirt will be cooler than a dark shirt.
If you’re a woman, you will need a good jog bra under your shirt.
If it is a cold day, or the weather looks threatening, you will want to bring a very light jacket. I use just a single thin layer nylon jacket.
Lately, I’ve had good success with Smart wool socks and OxySox compression socks. I’ve gotten terrible blisters from various synthetic running socks. Thorlo comes to mind. Compression socks are knee high and warmer than the crew style Smart Wool Socks. The Smart Wool Socks add a little extra cushion and comfort. Compression socks have a proprioception advantage over regular socks.
Proprioception is a fancy word meaning you can feel your feet and ankles and have more neural feedback of whereyour feet are. This can help you react quickly to rough footing and avoid sprained ankles.
Damaged ankles force me to wear braces to prevent ankle sprains and further damage. Braces help secure my ankles at the cost of added weight and restricted movement. If you have normal strong ankles, be thankful you do not need them. If you have ankles that are prone to twisting, wearing braces can give you peace of mind.
I use a light weight baseball style hat made of synthetic material like nylon. I also bring a separate polar fleece headband that I can wear over the hat. The brim of the baseball cap shades my eyes from the sun or rain or snow. The headband keeps my ears warm if it is cold or windy.
On cold days, I use light weight polar fleece mittens. They are light and I can tuck them into my shorts or stuff them in my fanny pack if it warms during the day and I no longer need them. I find gloves restrict the circulation in my hand and make my hands cold.
Some runners choose not to carry a fanny pack and rely more on the aid stations. I like to use a fanny pack so I can carry a water bottle, a gel flask and supplements. As the day warms up, I can stuff my unused jacket, gloves, and head band into the pack.
I bring a gel flask that carries 6 oz of gel. It fits in a little holster on the fanny pack. During the race, I force myself to take a swig every half hour or so. I’ve never used it all up during the race.
My preference is to bring a 20 oz water bottle. I start with the bottle filled with Gatorade. I refill the bottle with water at Ross Pass Aid Station, Bridger Bowl Aid Station and the Mount Baldy Aid Station. I may add a packet of Emergen-C to the refilled bottle.