And, whilst these tech upgrades won't make those gruelling uphill slogs any less painful, they might just get you to the top warm, chafe-free and with enough telematic data to keep you entertained whilst waiting for the spin-cycle to finish...
1. SEALSKINZ MID LENGTH SEA EAGLE
Being dry is as much about improving your performance as it is about comfort.
Sealskinz socks have top-secret patented technology, which give them great breathability while being completely waterproof.
The Sea Eagle has a tongue-in-cheek design that pokes fun at stuffy golfers, with a comfortable fit thanks to their elasticated ankle and insteps.
Save money on expensive shoes and invest in socks, because trench foot isn’t a great post-race hangover.
2. BOARDMAN CX TEAM
The CX bikes are the love-child of road and off-road, although cyclocross racing was around long before mountain biking.
A couple of years ago the UCI relaxed the rules and cable-activated disc brakes began to appear.
The purists will moan about weight, but when racing in muddy conditions being able to stop is pretty handy. After all, these are little more than road bikes with fat tyres.
The disc-equipped Boardman CX Team is stiff, light and responsive, and great for the first-time racer
3. ENDURA THERMOLITE WINTER BIBSHORTS
If tyres are important as contact points with the ground, the right shorts are equally important contacts with your bike.
During a race you’ll be on and off, riding and jumping obstacles, so a bibbed short will stay tight, won’t chafe and will keep you warm.
Endura uses ‘flat lock’ stitching to avoid uncomfortable rubbing and its gel insert with an antibacterial finish will ensure you won’t be walking like John Wayne the morning after the race.
4. OAKLEY RADARLOCK
While chasing down that elusive leader of the pack, the last thing you need is a big dollop of mud in your eye.
The Radarlocks have a hydrophobic treatment applied to their clear lenses so muddy water will run straight off, giving you a clear, unobstructed view of the backside of the rider you’re chasing.
The lenses also darken automatically in bright conditions, making them suitable for virtually any weather conditions.
Think of them as a lighter alternative to mudguards for a sport where weight is everything.
5. CONTINENTAL CYCLO-X-KING
It’s easy to forget that tyres are the only thing connecting you to terra firma.
You need to make sure your tyres can clear mud, grip and roll well. The Cyclo-X King, as the name suggests, does all three.
It has a wide tread pattern for better mud dispersal, while providing larger knobs (no sniggering) for less rolling resistance on harder ground and improved ‘bite’. They meet UCI regulations for width too, to save you from any humiliating disqualification issues.
6. GARMIN EDGE SERIES 500
Your race will last just over an hour – and if you have time to look at a computer you’re not working hard enough.
But using a data logger to show how you performed, like just how badly you tailed off on the last lap, will give you valuable training feedback.
The Garmin Edge 500 links to both heart-rate and cadence monitors to give you telematics worthy of an F1 team, while the handy ‘Courses’ mode lets you compare rides over the same route.