If the movies have taught us anything, it’s that the Apocalypse is inevitable and likely very near. Why we would be the people important enough to be chosen by fate to witness and attempt to survive the end of the world is mysterious, of course, but the fact is that medical science is closer to creating viable zombie viruses than ever before. We assume. There’s no actual data to back it, but there wouldn’t be, would there?
If you’ve played enough Left 4 Dead or watched any apocalyptic film ever, you know that physical fitness is going to be a major determining factor of who survives the initial cataclysm. Running from Fast Zombies or asteroids or infection vectors takes stamina and proper nutrition – and equipment. In fact, if you view surviving the Apocalypse – zombie-based or otherwise – as a physical challenge akin to, say, a Tough Mudder or Triathlon, then the margin of survival may very well be the equipment you place in your Triathlon Zombie Survival Bag. You do have a Triathlon Zombie Survival Bag, right?
Equipment for the End of the World
1. Bike Fit
Even if the Apocalypse is curiously (and unexpectedly) zombie-free, speed may be a key factor. Even without zombies you’ll likely have to flee any number of Militia Survivalists, cannibals, rogue mercenaries, or feral children. While your less-prepared neighbours suffer leg cramps and side-stitches trying to flee on foot, you’ll have your bike. Since you’ll be doing a lot of fleeing, it’s best to be comfortable – a bike ﬁt will allow you to pedal away faster with less effort by making you more aerodynamic. Want to get the extreme beneﬁt and ride away that much faster? Get a Retül Bike Fit or head to a wind tunnel such as the A2 Wind Tunnel in Mooresville, NC.
2. Anti-Chafﬁng Measures
If you’ve run a marathon you know how a bra strap or shirt/underwear seam can go from mild irritation to bleeding ulcer in just a few hours. Surviving a zombie horde is like competing in an endless Ironman. Pack plenty of Body Glide, DZ-Nuts, Lip Balm, and baby powder, or spend the apocalypse wincing and muttering every time you move.
3. The Right Shoes
When you’re fleeing a triathlon transition or being forced to walk 26.2 miles because you you didn’t get a bike fit, you’re going to wish you’d thought ahead when it comes to footwear. You want something aerodynamic, but easy to slip on and off for those moments when your camp is raided by a Mad-Max style biker gang of triathletes. A great shoe to get you on and off the bike while still being extremely stiff and being able to transfer the power to the pedals is the Specialized S-Works Trivent. It has been highly engineered for the quickest transition time possible and features a new tri-closure system for the fastest possible time in both transitions.
Without the right socks, your shoes will quickly become torture devices, and inspire you to just let the other athletes eat you instead of suffering one more mile of blisters and other wounds. Smartwool PhD Run Graduated Compression Ultra Light is a good choice. Their wicking properties and soft texture with graduated compression will make your feet and legs happy. With improved blood ﬂow and a shorter recovery time, you’ll be able to flee from the feral endurance athletes who seek to eat you no matter how often they use their radiation-produced psychic abilities to locate your hiding places. This sock is also half-cushioned allowing you protection from shock and abrasions.
4. Rim Tape – Mr. Tuffy Bicycle Tire Liner
You can see the scenario: You break into the local grocer in search of your first meal in days, when you suddenly hear the tell-tale scraping of giant Ants, made huge from irradiated insecticides and hungry for human flesh. You dash out to your bike, and find a flat tire. You set off on foot, trip and fall, and are instantly swallowed whole.
OR, you thought to supply yourself with durable rim tape – nobody does it better than Mr. Tuffy – and you ride off to investigate that convenience store you saw a few miles back, hoping they have vegetarian burritos in edible shape.
5. Clincher Tubes
Don’t go halfway with your tires and get trampled by the panicked hordes of survivors fleeing various horrors. You need tubes that won’t puncture as well – Slime Lite Tube Presta Valve Bicycle Tubes work best. There’s actual slime in those tubes that seal punctures in a jiffy. If you get a flat while racing away from, well, anything, better to fix it fast than have to stop, dismount, and change a tire!
6. Fast Durable and Reliable Tires
You can have the best rims, tubes, and tapes in the universe but if your tires are bosh you’re going to be one of the first victims of the zombie herd, my friend. There are two brands of tires that I recommend: Continental Gator Hardshell Duraskin Urban Premium Bicycle Tires (I have these on my current race bike with well over 1,000 miles and they still haven’t shown much wear; http://amzn.to/P3vJhN) and Schwalbe Durano Raceguard Clincher Road Bicycle Tires (at 700×25, it’s a big wheel, but one so big will hold up to a zombie and take you to the podium on race day when you stumble upon a Barter Town-like dystopia that forces you to race for your life; http://amzn.to/SXCkow.)
Don’t be one of the extras in the zombie movie who are so concentrated on forward motion they forget that sometimes you have to stop. And also check around corners and in dark places before announcing your presence, but stopping comes first. SwissStop Full FlashPro Brake pads and holders / SwissStop Yellow King Pads are both extremely reliable and work very well in any type of environment – even the post-apocalyptic – with ‘Gore Ride-On Professional Brake Cable System.’
You’re going to crash. You’re riding your bike in a scenario where dead bodies and debris litter the ground and then the dead bodies reach up and grab at your ankles as you pedal like mad. You’re going to crash, and a helmet is all that stands between your survival and you spending eternity seeking to eat brains. Giro’s Air Attack Shield will see you through to getting up, dusting yourself off, and staying one step ahead of whatever horror is chasing you this time (http://www.giro.com/us_en/air-attack-shield-16170.html).
Protect yourself – it’s even more important in an end-of-the-world scenario, especially if minor wounds can be infected with the Rage Virus. All that biking is going to take a toll on your hands, too, and you’re going to need your hands in order to perform amateur surgery on your fellow survivors when they get injured by irradiated cannibal hill-billies. Pearl Izumi makes the sort of gloves you can rely on whether you’re racing or fist-fighting a monstrous oversized ant.
10. Hydration Pack
You don’t dare drink the tap water now; can you imagine the pathogens in the water supply after the apocalypse? Stay hydrated with the Camelbak Hydrobak, 1.5 litres of watery goodness that’ll keep you going while your fellow survivors are forced to live on the endless supplies of energy drinks left behind, and never sleep again.
11. Insulated Vest
The world may be largely on fire after the apocalypse hits, but the nights will still be cool. Survive in style with the right kind of lightweight insulated vest, like MontBell Alpine’s Light Down Vest.
Food is number twelve because the first few hours you’ll spend just fleeing various horrors and hordes of other endurance athletes. You might be able to scavenge when you have a few moments of peace, but until you’re safely away from danger you can’t risk trying to locate that elusive vegetarian burrito or peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Energy foods will keep you going no matter how relentless the psychic feral children of the Ironman apocalypse are. Cliff Bars or Quest Bars are always a good bet – delicious and nutritious, they’ll keep you going through the endless marathon of survival.