1000km of FITS along the Mongol Derby ride with Jade Sevelow-Lee
I recently returned from what I would describe, hands down, as the toughest and most amazing 10 days of my life, and FITS was there for every stride. In late August I left for the most remote corner of the world I’d ever been to, Mongolia. I went to compete in the world’s longest and toughest horse race, The Mongol Derby. 1000k (630miles) of open, unforgiving steppe on 27 semi-wild Mongolian horses. It was to say the least, unpredictable. But what I could count on was that my FITS gear was going to get me through the race without fail.
Weather in Mongolia is as unpredictable as the horses. Mornings are cool, afternoons are scorching, without a cloud in the sky to shade you, and evenings often bring on blinding rain/hail storms. Choosing my apparel (aka protection) was no easy task but Mollie and Sheryl from FITS were up to the task. Armed with the TREADS Lite Breeches and the Breeze Shirts for day to day riding, the Hawley Hybrid for cold and misty mornings, and the Erin Base Layer and TREADS Wind Pro for the cold Mongolian nights, I was set.
I can’t say enough goodness about the TREADS Lite Breeches and the Breeze Shirts, I honestly don’t even know where to start.
Toughness: 1000km in 10 days is no easy feat for any piece of equipment, and while other rider’s pants and shirts were literally coming apart at the seams (one girl had to duck tape multiple parts of her pants back together) my FITS didn’t even bother pilling. On day 8 a horse decided he was terrified of a bush and took off bucking, throwing me into a prickly bush and dragging me 15ft before he stopped. Not even then did my FITS show any signs of distress. Neither my pants nor my shirt came home with a single hole. Even my leather half chaps came home with holes if that tells you anything.
Element Protection: FITS gear provided unparallel protection from the elements, sun, wind, hail, you name it, I tested it. The same shirt and pants that kept me cool and wicked away my sweat during the midday heat, dried quickly to keep me warm after an early evening rainstorm. I never suffered from heatstroke like many others thanks to FITS cooling technology, and at the end of a long day I kept incredibly warm in my Hawley jacket, Erin, and Wind Pros even without the heat of a fire.
Comfort - Comfort for me means a lot of things, but let’s get all-technical for a second. FITS flat seams are absolutely flawless. Could you imagine riding 1000km with a sock that was folded over weird? Well that’s what it would be like if your pants’ or shirts’ seams were poorly designed. But with FITS I never even worried about saddle sores or rubs because of their well-designed cut and fabrics. On day 7 I had a horse fall on me in a bog. It caused me to come off and my pants were FULL of absolutely rancid black water. I got back on and within 5 minutes my underwear were chaffing me to the point of crying. I got off, cut them off with my knife, and rode the last 10k of that leg in nothing but FITS thanks to their well-designed triangle gusset; which kept the seams out of the places they shouldn’t be.
Cleaning Up and Going Home - I think it’s a real testament to how I feel about my FITS that after the race while many of the other riders were burning their smelly, ripped, ruined, and absolutely disgusting clothes that they had worn for the last 1000km in the bonfire, I was packing all of my clothes into plastic bags to take home and wash to wear another day. And wouldn’t you know, I swear on all that is horse-holy, I washed my FITS TREADS Lites once and could have shown in them that same day. Even the massive black dirt stain right on the front came out. As for my white shirt, well, I don’t think there’s any way to get 10 days of dirt, armpit sweat, and multiple bloodstains out, but I still love it so much that it became my schooling shirt; bloodstains and all.
For 10 days and 1060km (I may have gotten lost and added a few kilometers) I had FITS on my sides, and my back, and my legs, and now that I’m back in my every day riding I’m still proud to wear my TREADS to the barn and my Hawley out to dinner. But really, more than just having an incredibly technical and well thought out riding collection, FITS has become my family and helped get me to the World’s Longest and Toughest Horse Race, The Mongol Derby.
Thanks FITS family, I couldn’t have done it without you.