There are two phases of packing for a race.
Phase 1: I’m going on a trip. Yay! I will lay everything out neatly, pack it tightly, and know exactly where everything I need is inside my bag. Being prepared before a race is key!
Phase 2: I’m going home. Cram everything in the bag now as quickly as possible. I don’t want to think about anything but a burrito and how many minutes between me and my bed.
In the spirit of racing preparedness, Black Line Sprinting has created an excellent bag for keeping everything neat, organized, and accessible. For the inevitability of post-race hastiness, the VeloRacing bag isn’t ideal. But it’s not trying to be.
It’s a big, boxy bag with internal dividers held in place with Velcro. It holds its shape perfectly, so you don’t have to deal with the bag collapsing in on itself as you empty it. The dividers essentially subscribe to the “place for everything, and everything in its place” mantra, which makes a lot of sense in the lead-up to a race.
Two U-shaped zippers allow access to different parts of the bag. The front zipper opens to reveal a helmet pocket, which is separated from the rest of the bag by rigid dividers. The top zipper opens to show the rest of the bag. It unzips on two sides — the top and the back — to allow complete access for easy cleaning and packing. The unzipped flap can double as a pad to stand on when you’re getting changed in a parking lot or trail head.
The bag isn’t huge and at first glance it will seem like you won’t be able to get everything you need in there. But it’s deceptive: We were able to easily get kit, shoes, water bottles, sunglasses, helmet, tools, nutrition, and a few other odds and ends in there with no problems. If you’re kitting up for a winter ride, you might end up tighter on space, but in most situations you’ll be able to get everything you need and a few things you probably don’t in there.
And when it comes time to just toss it all back in there post-race, BLS includes two water-resistant bags for stowing your dirty duds. That way you can keep them separate from the clean stuff.
Of course, because the internals are divided and intended for specific purposes, it’s not really possible to simply dump all your stuff in there and be on your merry way. So even post-race, you’ll need to think about where you’re putting everything. That’s a bummer for the dump-it-and-run crowd, but if you’re attempting to organize your race life, the VeloRacing Bag essentially forces you to do exactly that.
It’s plenty rugged, with big zippers and water-resistant material throughout. Unfortunately, you’ll pay top dollar for that durability. For a bag this size, the price tag seems a bit excessive, yet we can still see the VeloRacing Bag remaining a staple in our race prep for years to come. So perhaps it’s simply an investment.