Want Campagnolo? On a budget? Read on . . .

By Greg Overton

In past issues of this column we have featured classic Nuovo Record and Super Record components from the 70s and 80s. As these parts get harder and harder to find, and consequently more expensive, I'm getting customers who are looking for alternatives for their older bikes.

There are components from companies such as Gipiemme, Galli, Simplex and Ofmega which were and are lower cost knock-offs of classic Campy parts, but the overwhelming sentiment and passion is still with Campagnolo. As a result, I am getting more inquiries for the Victory and Triomphe groups of the mid-80s.

Campagnolo introduced Victory and Triomphe as entry level performance groups in 1986, when Nuovo and Super Record were replaced with C Record. The idea was to offer choices that were wider apart in price and quality than the Nuovo Record and Super Record combination before it.

As design of the new groups progressed, Campy expanded even this range of options with both Corsa (road) and Leisure (touring) versions of them. Victory and Triomphe are almost identical in appearance to each other, but if one knows where to look, there are mechanical upgrades in the Victory range that make it more appealing.

Let's begin with the rear derailleur. Upon first look, they are identical. However, closer inspection shows that the Victory rear derailleur received pulley wheels from the same durable material as C Record outfitted with bushings instead of the C Record ball bearings. In addition, the derailleur came equipped with an alloy cage plate with adjustable spring tension similar to Super Record as well as closer spacing of the pulleys for quicker shifts. The Triomphe rear had steel cage plates with less spring tension and slightly longer cage to accommodate a wider variety of bikes.

Victory also had the long-used adjustable placement of the derailleur body (geometry) to accommodate variations in gearing and spacing of freewheels, along with superior bushings at all pivots in the body. These differences were consistent on the Leisure versions of both derailleurs with changes being longer cage plates to take up extra chain and slightly lower placement of the upper pulley wheel.

Finish was typical Campy polished silver with the shield logo on the outer body. These derailleurs are not as rounded and sculpted as C Record, but they are very reliable and accurate in their operation.

Victory and Triomphe front changers were identical in design except for one extra pivot pin in the Victory seat tube clamp for more precise fit on the seat tubes of higher quality frames. Triomphe was available only in clamp style, while Victory was offered in clamp or braze-on. Leisure versions of each were offered and featured reinforced cage plates which were wider and taller to accommodate variations in front gearing.

Cranksets for these groups are becoming desirable with the cyclocross/dirt road riders mainly because they have the capacity to accept down to a 35 tooth chainring. Crankarms are virtually identical with Victory getting the integrated extractor from C Record, and a slight difference in the spider arms on the drive side. Here Campy designed in a little added stiffness to the Victory crank by tapering the spiders just slightly as they went out to meet the chainrings. The spider arms are kind of beefy to begin with, and the Triomphe crank got a short stop off in the design studio and received a narrower taper and then angled back out to meet the chainring.

Bolt pattern for both cranks is 116mm, which is unique to these cranks, so spare chainrings are few and far between, but if one knows where to find them, they are available in limited sizes. The small bolt pattern allowed a wide range of gearing and Campy offered rings in 35 to 43 teeth for the inner ring, and 50 to 53 for the outer. Most popular these days is 36/50 for mostly off pavement use. Although Campy did not offer either crank in a triple, there are inventive owners who, armed with an extra set of chainring spacers, would mount a 35 or 36 on the inside of the small chainring, then a 43 in the small ring position (creating a middle ring), with a 50 or larger outside ring. Voila', triple crank.

Brakesets for Victory and Triomphe have distinguishing aesthetic differences, but both work quite well.

Victory was offered in short reach only and had caliper arms almost identical to the last Super Record version with the front surface coming to a sharp ridge following the contour of the arms down each side, and the name Campagnolo engraved in the classic cursive style. Victory cap nuts were a neat looking cone shape, and the adjuster barrel had a grey "O" ring for gripping.

Triomphe brakes were the Nuovo Record style rounded front surface with the Campagnolo cursive script engraved. These brakes were available in short and long reach versions, had a hollow ended cap nut and black "O" ring. Both brakes were offered with normal or allen bolt and both had the same quick release opener held on with rivet pins. Levers were identical for each model except that Victory lever arms were drilled for weight savings.

Victory and Triomphe hubs were the same, with typical terrific Campy quality bearings, high polish surface and chromoly axle. They did not have greasing ports incorporated like the upper ranges, but did use the same internals. Has Campagnolo ever made a poor hub? The only difference between Victory and Triomphe was the quick release skewer. Victory used a lever much like the classic curved style from the Nuovo Record group, with a smaller nut that had teeth around the perimeter for gripping. Triomphe skewers had tapered square ends reminiscent of the ends of a bottom bracket spindle- square with rounded edges- and tapering down towards the end. Both were offered in large and small flange styles.

Headsets for both models were the same, and styled after C Record with squared styling, they were larger than C Record, and as a result looked sort of chunky.

Bottom brackets were also the same with spindle length and thread size being the only variations. Quality was again typical Campagnolo standards.

These groups also came with seatposts styled after C Record. They were aero shaped with a single adjusting bolt but were heavier alloy and thicker walled. That single adjusting bolt was steel and the post was noticeably heavier overall.

Another piece in these groups was platform style pedals which mount the toe clips on top of the pedal instead of on the front. In those days they were called "aero" pedals. I think Shimano initiated the style, but Look pedals were the hot set up. Very few "aero" pedals survived-or were purchased for that matter. You're not missing much if you don't have the pedals, and good luck finding replacement clips.

All in all these groups have been a terrific bargain for years, with their great hubs, bottom brackets and headsets, derailleurs that shift great and brakes that are terrific, along with great range in available gearing. If you have an older bike, or a new one and want an affordable alternative to the Nuovo/Super Record groups, either Victory or Triomphe would be an excellent choice. I would recommend Victory because of the upgrades mentioned, but both work very well and have a reputation as being "bullet proof." I have a mixture of the two on my old cyclocross bike and have found it to be as solid as anything I've tried. It doesn't click and it only goes to seven in the back, and you'll have to search a little bit, but it's neat stuff and growing in value, and it makes guys like Editor Bob and myself say, "wow, that's cool."

A close-up look at the Rocky Mountain CC

By Rob MacLeod

In Part I of this series I outlined my motivation and plans for a set of reports on the Utah bicycle club scene. Clubs are what make cycling grow and prosper the world over. Yet many riders do not really know what clubs are about and what they offer. The goal of these articles is to review the state of bicycle clubs in Utah, with a few diversions to Idaho and perhaps even Europe to give us a reference point.

As I write this edition, I am enjoying the buzz of being "on assignment" in Idaho. In fact, we have escaped for a few days of skiing and biking in the incredible Wood River Valley but being on assignments somehow makes it seem more legitimate. cycling utah can be found in many of the bike/ski/outdoor shops here in Ketchum. Many Idaho racers also come to Utah to participate in bike events while no Utah rider would pass up a chance to participate in the Women's International Challenge or the Boise Criterium every summer. So I will spend some time here gathering information on the club scene in southern Idaho. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it!

My dilemma with this second article was how to pick which club(s) to highlight. There are 14 race clubs in the Utah, at least three groups that focus on touring, and probably some other organizations I have not discovered yet. It will take me all year to get through them all. But you will be looking to join a club soon, so how do I get information to you soon enough to be of any use? It is also too early in the season for me to have ridden with many other clubs or even obtained information from them all. Here's my solution.

I will begin with a list of all the clubs I know about, with at least a contact name and phone number of as many as I can find. If your group is missing from the list, let me know. Then I will focus on the club I know best, the Rocky Mountain Cycling Club (RMCC). As I said in my first article, I was president of this club and am still a member. I'll try hard to be unbiased.

So what do you do with all this information? My advice is to find the clubs in your part of the state and start calling. Ask some of the questions based on the next part of this article to get a feeling for the club, and then go participate in some club events. If the fit is comfortable, you will sense this pretty quickly.

The Rocky Mountain Cycling Club

The Rocky Mountain Cycling Club (RMCC) has existed under the current organization since only 1992 (they called themselves the "Bagel Peddlers" in 1992). However, the history actually extends back to the "Pedali" club that existed for many years before. The transition in 1992 coincided with new sponsorship from Brackman Bros. Bagel Bakery (now Einstein Bros Bagels) and a mission to support Utah's "all-star" racing team. From this time, "Team Brackman's" and "Team Einstein's" have simply dominated bicycle racing at the elite level in the region.

I recall my first ride with the club, when I was shopping for a group to join. People were fairly friendly, the pace actually pretty mellow, and we rode in pairs toward the mouth of the Big Cottonwood Canyon. My paceline partner explained that with the RMCC, you have the "best racers in the state." I started looking around very self-consiously at this point, wondering who these guys were in the group and when I would get dumped off the back as they showed their stuff.

I needn't have worried. Even then, the weekend club rides were not part of the race team training plan and I was with other weekend warriors, intent on a good workout, but not about to launch searing attacks. And this perhaps best of all summarizes the dual personality of the RMCC — "the friendly club" is the unofficial motto.

The RMCC is the home of the best race team in the state, make no mistake, and racing is a theme of the club and its activities. However, only 25 percent of all club members take out USCF licenses (I'll explain the mechanics of the USCF in a future edition). The rest of the over 100 members range from fairly fit fitness riders to mountain bikers and cycle tourists who rarely join an organized club ride. There is even a chapter of the club in Sacramento, CA.

Strong sponsorship and extensive club benefits are two reasons for the popularity of the RMCC. The main sponsor of the club is Einstein Bros. Bagels, which translates into many opportunities to eat bagels at no, or low cost. All club meetings also take place at Einsteins' stores and all rides depart from an Einsteins' location somewhere in the Wasatch Front. Secondary sponsors include Louis Garneau (clothing and helmet manufacturer), PowerBar (power bars and gel), Chisco ("The Band", belts, etc), Smith Sport Optics (glasses), Wound-Up (forks) and discounts from local businesses Wild Rose, Guthrie Bicycles, the Golden Phoenix, local sports masseurs Bel Morgan and Shauna Edson, and AirTouch Cellular. Annual Membership dues for the RMCC are $75.

Other club benefits include a monthly newsletter, a year-end awards banquet, an informal email mailing list, and a comprehensive ride schedule consisting of 5 different rides per week. Weekday events include the ever popular "Climbing Ride", essentially a race/time trial up Emigration or Mill Creek Canyons, the "Cruiser Ride", where a moderate pace is the rule, and the "Womens' Ride", dedicated — but not limited — to women in the club. On the weekend, the Saturday morning endurance ride is the longest and perhaps most challenging of the schedule, with Sunday morning's outing a joint ride with the Utah Premier club at a slightly more mellow pace.

Support of bicycle racing at the RMCC takes the form of sponsoring the elite racing team, promoting the annual "Einstein Bros, Downtown Criterium" and also informal encouragement and cameraderie at local races. Club members race in all categories, with perhaps largest numbers in the Category 3 and 4. An important facet of the RMCC racers is a strong sense of the team aspect of bike racing. This has been the hallmark of the elite team's success and this ethic has filtered down to the club members. Mutual support and respect are paramount, which means that a flat tire or badly timed red light on a club ride do not mean an instant solo trip home.

There is little structured training for racing or riding in the RMCC with the emphasis on learning by example and asking questions. Club rides can include some high paced sections, but no explicit race or tactics training. New riders will, however, get instruction during a ride on how to participate safely in a paceline or deal with other potentially dangerous situations. Club members are always willing to share — and discuss passionately at great length — their knowledge of equipment, training, and tactics.

The RMCC also holds a monthly "Ride of the Month", which is typically a longer, more challenging ride, with options for early turnarounds. These are typically well attended rides, with between 20—40 participants. In late summer, mountain bike Rides of the Month are also organized, although participation in these events in the past has been meager.

As you can tell from the schedule, the RMCC agenda is almost exclusively directed towards road riders and all active club members ride dedicated road bikes, use clipless pedals, and would be considered very fit in any comparison with the general riding public. Like many other bike clubs, the RMCC is a very good place to gain fitness and experience with cycling. There are many cases of dramatic improvements by riders who started the season with just some basic fitness and simply rode regularly with the club. Some have gone on to become excellent racers, and others now maintain their fitness with continued participation.

This theme of improvement through participation will arise again and again and is perhaps the most frequent motivation for joining a bicycle club in the first place. By riding with a group, especially a group that challenges but does not overwhelm, improvement is automatic and while not effortless, is surprisingly pain-free. Unlike many sports, road cycling does not require great technical skill and fitness follows quite directly from simply riding. There is no magic and hence no impossible barriers to overcome. Just do it.

So, until next month, get on the phone to the clubs nearest you and go participate and ask questions. And to all the other clubs, please complete the questionnaire I have sent you or contact me directly if you are not on the list and have not received anything from me ([email protected] cvrti.utah.edu or through cycling utah). Now back to being on assignment...

Here is a list of Utah bicycle clubs who have official status with the United States Cycling Federation (USCF), with location, a contact name and phone number.
Alpine Velo
Rusty Butler Orem (801) 222-9875
Brianhead Bike Club
Cesar Munoz Brianhead (801) 677-3621
Bridgerland Cycling Association
Ron Stagg Logan (801) 753-4044
Equipe Del Corazone
Chuck Collins Salt Lake City (801) 582-8332
Logan Race Club
Craig Curtis Logan (801) 753-4020
Dirk Cowley Salt Lake City (801) 944-8488
North Shore Cycling Club
Joel Bingham Sunset (801) 825-8632
Rocky Mountain Cycling Club
Alex Lee Salt Lake City (801) 694-1897
Salt City Racing Team
Rod Golsan Salt Lake City (801) 278-6820
Untamed Spirit
Walter Wilhelm Salt Lake City (801) 277-6481
Utah Premier
Mark Smith Salt Lake City (801) 263-9753
Velo City Cyclists
Scott Miles/Mike Pratt Draper (801) 576-8844
Wasatch Wheels
Jim Yorgason Ogden (801) 476-0728
The X-Men
Thomas Cooke Park City (801) 649-5663 Now, the groups that organize rides and tours but are not explicitly “racing” clubs.
Bonneville Bicycle Touring Club
Jon Smith Salt Lake City (801) 596-8430
Wasatch Mountain Club
Sierra Club -- Utah Chapter

The life and times at the OTC

By Heather Albert

While I was at the National Team Training Camp at the new Arco Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Chula Vista, California, I thought it would be nice to give my fellow cyclists in Utah a brief overview of what goes on at an elite level training camp.

The entire camp actually started at the OTC in Colorado Springs, CO. Athletes were there for a few weeks and went through a barrage of tests. They did VO2 max and lactate threshold tests and also had blood work done. Then they arrived in Chula Vista on January 26.

Since I have obligations outside of cycling, I was only able to attend the San Diego portion of the camp, which ran until February 26.

I flew into the San Diego Airport on February 1st. I was told that someone would be there to pick me up. I guess I had tunnel vision as I walked off the plane, because I missed the volunteer waiting for me. I went to baggage claim and wondered how I would find the person assigned to pick me up. As I looked around, I saw a lady holding up a sign that said, "ARCO Training Center" with the Olympic rings beneath the writing.

I approached her, and she asked, "Are you Heather?" I was so relieved to find her. Her name was Mary, and she volunteered at the OTC by delivering athletes to and from the airport. After getting my luggage, we loaded it into the van and took the 30-minute drive to the OTC, which is in Chula Vista. Mary was very nice to talk with and she even offered to take me down to Tijuana on a day off. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to take her up on her offer.

The OTC was miles away from everything else. It overlooks a lake with nothing else around it. This OTC was much smaller than the one in Colorado Springs. The OTC had a nice visitor's center, dormitories, a small weight room, a sports medicine facility, a main office, a good size cafeteria and dining hall, a track and four soccer fields. Everyone there was really nice too.

The sports medicine help (open every day), along with doctors (a primary physician comes on Tuesday and an Orthopedic Surgeon comes on Wednesday) were all provided by the OTC. They also had washing machines and dryers that were free to use; you only paid for the detergent.

I checked in and was given a key to my room and a meal card, which also used hand identification. Mary drove me close to my dorm and solicited the help of an unsuspecting athlete to help carry my luggage to my 2nd floor room.

Each dorm had 3 rooms and two bathrooms. Two person bedrooms were on either end of each dorm, as were the bathrooms. Then there was a middle room with a TV, refrigerator and a couch that pulled out into a bed. Each dorm could house 5 people, so one person got stuck in the "common room." That was supposed to be my room, but I arrived with a bed still vacant. First come, first served! Each room also had a phone; three phones per dorm was about right for five women. There was a security guard at the athletes entrance 24 hours a day, and they also had other security personnel roaming the grounds continuously. This made the OTC pretty safe, so everyone just left their bikes outside their rooms. Bikes were not allowed inside the dorms (there wouldn’t be room for them even if they were allowed inside).

The cafeteria was the best part. It was open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m., with hot meals served during breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours. However, there was always fruit, cereal, drinks, sandwich stuff, desserts and ice cream available throughout the day. You could go to the cafeteria as many times a day as you wanted. I only went for the three meals, but still the concept is great, especially for athletes. The food was also really good. They had great fresh fruit, desserts, bagels, salad, soups and entrees. The OTC was sponsored by a naturally lite beef company, so lean cuts of beef were served almost daily. They also had an abundance of chicken and fish. They were considerate of those watching their fat intake, with fat-free alternatives; fat-free frozen yogurt, and many other items were made low fat.

The National teams had a reshaping this year, I guess that happens every post-Olympic year. The United States Cycling Federation (USCF) is preparing for the 2000 Olympics.

The biggest change came for the men's road team. The National team is now just for espoir men (18-23 years old). These men also have to qualify each year to stay on the team. Then once they reach 24, they are expected to find a pro contract.

For the women's road team, they cut the "National Team" down to four core women: Dede Demet, Karen Kurreck, Mari Holden, and Laura Charameda. Henny Top is the women's road coach.

This year Top is giving several up-and-coming riders a chance to qualify to go to Europe. There were five of us here who fit into that category. The qualifications for making the National Team have also changed. Winning the National Road Championships used to automatically put you on the team.

However, now to earn a spot on the National Team, you have to place well at European races. Therefore, to make the National Team, you must first have results to be invited to go to Europe as a developmental rider. Then you have to do well when you are there.

The National men's and women's track (endurance and sprint) teams were also there training. Altogether there were about 40 cyclists.

When I first arrived, the cyclists and rowers were the only athletes here. However, in the last week the men's soccer team, U.S. Olympic gold medal women's soccer team, women's field hockey, women's junior water polo and all four regional soccer teams for 15 year olds were there. You definitely get spoiled when you are the only ones here. The cafeteria gets mobbed with so many hungry athletes!

The training there was so nice. We had great weather to train in. The training was the biggest unknown for me when I arrived. I wasn't quite sure what the purpose of the camp was. Now I know that the purpose for the women's road camp was to let Henny get to know the new women and to make sure we were training hard and well.

The training was done in blocks. We had three hard days followed by two easy days. Henny always pushed us on the hard days and told us to "rest as hard as you can" on the easy days. If we were all tired, she threw in another easy day. The training has become so much more scientific. You train extremely hard and then you rest, so your body adapts to the training.

We rolled out for our scheduled training sessions at 9 am. If we had a double day, we'd roll out again at 3 pm.

Here is an example block: On Tuesday we did V02 intervals, which was a maximum effort. Wednesday we rode for 3 hours with some tempo on climbs. We climbed about an hour that day. On Thursday we did 8 x 3 min. V02 intervals in the morning. Then, in the afternoon, we did 6 x 3 min. V02 intervals. On Friday, we did 8 x 3 min. V02 intervals, and then we did an hour spin in the afternoon. That ended our hard block, so the next two days were individual and we did what we wanted to for rides.

We also had two race simulations. We did an 11-mile loop, with a lot of climbing and descending. The race simulation was a nice way to train hard and you got to test the other riders out. We started Lactate Threshold (LT) intervals. We were working on volume of intensity. We did 4 x 15 min. intervals one day, then 3 x 15 min. intervals the next day and a race simulation the following day. The LT intervals were supposed to train your body to get rid of lactate more effectively, so you could maintain that pace for longer periods of time. We did those intervals 5-10 beats below our lactate threshold.

We did all of our intervals up Honey Springs, which was a 45-minute climb. The climbing made it easier to keep your heart rate up to where it needed to be. We spread out and started all of our intervals individually, so we could concentrate on our own zones.

Henny also followed us in a Saturn automobile to critique us and keep us motivated. During the VO2 intervals, she followed each person for at least one interval. Then she would have her window open and yell, "Up eh!" which basically means push harder. Then she would also remind us to keep it smooth and keep pushing the entire interval. She would say, "Don't give up on yourself. Fight for it. Finish strong." My best intervals (everyone else's too) were when Henny was following. We always went out and back on a 10-mile stretch of Otay Road.

After a hard workout, Henny motor paced us back to the OTC. That was always a welcome relief, especially if there was a head wind.

The most interesting thing about being at the OTC: there wasn't a whole lot else to do besides train and eat. People with cars were loved and are always being bribed to go somewhere "off campus." I studied while at the OTC. I am scheduled to take comprehensive exams for my Ph.D. in April, so I never had enough hours in the day. However, everyone else was just "killing time" by playing cards, watching movies or doing similar things.

One of the highlights for the women was a party for Carmen Richardson's 30th birthday. We all got together (even Henny) and played some great games. We laughed so hard, that security told us to keep it down. A male cyclists came into the party while we laughed uncontrollably and marveled, "There is no alcohol involved. This is pure estrogen!"

It was nice to get to know the women on a more personal level. It was also nice to have Henny around for coaching advice and to find out exactly what she was looking for in those she would select for the Europe trip. It was also nice to rub shoulders with the other cyclists there. On rides, I liked talking to the different riders and hearing their stories about how they came to be there. Everyone had their own battles they were fighting, trying to be the best cyclists that they could be. This camp and the National Team was just a start for many, and an important step to others.

Emergency first-aid kit made easy

By Richard K. Wallin, M.D.

If you have never needed a first-aid kit on a bike ride, then you are very lucky. I was, until a Memorial Day mountain bike ride along the Lake Bonneville Shoreline Trail. I came around a curve a little too fast, and found two rocks jutting out of the trail. Unable to negotiate between them, I made the split-second decision to leave the trail rather than take the chance of hitting a rock.

A direct result of my decision was my right elbow coming in contact with the ground at a pretty high rate of speed. As my wife and friends came around the curve, there I sat holding my bleeding elbow. I did not have anything with which to wash the dirt and gravel out of my arm. I did not even have a band-aid to put on it. We finally washed it out with some water from a water bottle. I finished the ride, then called my partner who put 18 stitches in my arm.

I have a small first-aid kit that I almost always take with me backpacking and cross-country skiing, but I had not yet gotten into the habit of taking it on bike rides. As I found out, a first-aid kit should always be part of your equipment when participating in any type of outdoor activity.

Nice first-aid kits can be purchased at local sporting goods stores for around fifteen to twenty dollars. I prefer to save the money and make my own. My kit is not only less expensive, it is tailored to fit my needs. For a container, I use a zip-lock bag. It's easy to open and close, and I can see its contents from the outside. A first-aid kit does not need to be large or elaborate to be effective. Here is a list of what I find most useful:

1. Bandaids, lots of them and several different sizes. I include a lot of the regular-sized ones, especially if kids are along on the trip. I also include one or two of the extra-large size for those big boo-boos. I find the smaller sizes are too small to be very useful.

2. Several cotton balls and some disinfectant to clean cuts and scrapes. An empty plastic film canister will hold enough disinfectant to do a good job on even the ugliest wound. They are tight, and do not leak. I have had liquid remain in them for years. Hint: Do not use alcohol, it stings like crazy. Use either peroxide or a soapy skin cleaner like Phisoderm.

3. Two to three square gauze bandages and one or two small rolls of gauze. These are useful to cover large scrapes that a bandaid will not fit over.

4. A roll of tape. I like to use a roll of tape that is almost empty. That way it takes up less room. It can be adhesive or paper tape, it doesn't matter, as long as it will hold a bandage on.

5. A mild pain killer such as aspirin or acetaminophen. I almost always get a headache the second day into a backpacking or mountain biking trip, and without something to relieve it, the trip becomes miserable.

6. Some small sample packets or an almost empty tube of antibiotic ointment. This can be very helpful to prevent wounds from getting infected.

7. A cotton triangular bandage can often be folded small enough to fit into your first-aid kit. Mine are made from old sheets. It should be big enough to be made into a sling if needed. It can also be used to make bandages for the hands, feet, ankles etc. (Remember all those Boy-Scout first-aid requirements you had to learn?)

8. If you have enough room, a small elastic bandage is nice also. It really comes in handy for sprains.

9. Beg a No. 11 scalpel blade from your local family doc. It is the best thing I have found for removing splinters. Needles do not work because they are only pointed on the tip. They poke into the skin, but cannot cut it to reveal the splinter. A No. 11 scalpel blade is pointed, and also sharp on one side. It is so sharp it almost painlessly cuts the skin to get into a splinter. It can also be re-sterilized with a match and re-used.

Although there are a lot of other items you could think of, these are the ones that I find the most useful. I can usually fit all of this into one of those small sandwich-sized zip-lock bags. Then the whole thing will fit into the back pocket of my jersey, or a small pocket of my fanny-pack.

So do not trust your luck anymore. It is better to trust your own first-aid kit, then you really will be ready to "hit the trail."