All Set!!!

Well, I am as ready as I will ever be. Bike is loaded with gear and approx 6000 calories of food onboard. I am guessing the bike weights approx 60lbs with no water loaded yet. After the 1st 10 mile stretch there are no food options for 90-ish miles, plenty of streams to pull water from along the way so I will start with just 2 liters.

Race starts at 12:00 Mountain Time tomorrow. Hope I can get some sleep, getting very anxious to get this party started.

Fully Dressed

Where & How do I carry the Bear Spray

One thing I always had an issue with during my training rides was trying to figure out where and how I would carry my Bear Spray.

As it is a potentially important survival tool which needs to be easily and quickly accessed quickly, figuring out where to effectively carry it always gave me trouble.

At one point the handy fabric holster that the Bear Spray came with was zip-tied between two water bottle mounts where it took a good yank to have it in hand and ready to fire. I also tried wearing it on a belt around my waist, or zip-tied to one of the suspender straps to my hip pack. None of which I was confident in nor happy with how it rode.

I saw an add on Facebook for a product that a company makes that adapts the narrow Bear Spray to a water bottle diameter.

That got me thinking, I bet I can make one myself. So off to the REI in Kalispell, MT. I grabbed a sample Bear Spray canister off the shelf and then went to the bike section of the store. I tried numerous bottles until I found one that fit but just barely. Inserting the Bear Spray canister fully into the water bottle I took a measure of how much I would need to shorten the bottle. One problem I encountered was that the Bear Spray fit so well that it was vacuum locked I to the bottle. No problem, just drill a hole in the bottom of the bottle since it will no longer be an enclosed bottle.

And Walla!!! Bear Spray holder that fits conveniently in one of my 5 water bottle holders. Losing the water capacity won’t be an issue in Grizzly country. Once I get south out of Bear country I planned to dispose of the Bear Spray anyway and the regain my water carry capacity.

PS – I also made one for Paulette as well. I need to make sure my ride home from Antelope Wells is not eaten by a Bear while on her MTB bike adventure too.

Idaho Falls

Pit stop on our way to the northern border brought us to Idaho Falls. We took a little time out of the Rubicon to take advantage of the nice paths in the downtown area.

Nezt stop? Headed to Whitefish Bike Retreat for a few days.

and-a Austin, we have a problem….

So, one thing I did not anticipate in my preparation for this event was that some of my cold weather gear may not fit after losing 18 Lbs since March. Went for a brief ride this morning in Idaho Falls where it was a nice 53 F this morning. Quickly discovered that my leg warmers would not stay up. Solution is to wear the leg warmers tucked under the leg of my spandex bike shorts/bibs.

FINALLY – Started the journey to the Canadian Border

Everything has been check thrice. The Kid has been briefed to take care of the house and cats, to include much to his dismay, petting the cats. Everything loaded into the trusty Rubicon for both mine and Paulette’s adventure, there really is nothing left to do but drive.

We set out a day early to not only break up the drive just a little bit but to put an end to the stress of, “whatever do I need to bring “.

Rolled thru Llano Texas right at supper time so of course we stopped at Coopers BBQ (arguably some of the best on the planet) Sorry, no foodie photo’s, we were to hungry. Made a nice sunset cruise thru Central Texas making it to Lubbock around 11PM.

Castell Grind 2021!

After skipping a year in 2020, the Castell Grind – and consequently, the Team IPA annual birthday celebration – returned with a vengeance! The weather and the increasing availability of vaccines came together to ensure that we had a great ride and a wonderful weekend getaway. Many thanks to the organizers!

Team IPA riders at the start line (photo by Dawn Skinner)
Halfway round the 32 mile North Loop
Left-to-right: Castell Grind organizers Debbie Richardson & Mike Drost, adventure writer Pam LeBlanc & her husband Chris.

Getting back into racing!

We all know how 2020 went. The team continued to ride, solo or in small groups – one of the advantages of no traffic meant we could move around town more easily, and there have been a lot of Southside and Brushy Creek rides! Hopefully these will continue, even when traffic picks back up. The race calendar is picking up – you can see our upcoming events on our shared calendar:

TMBRA races are firing back up – two of us went and swept the Spring Series ‘Rocky Hill Roundup’ this past weekend – a little too crowded in the start gate area for our liking, but we hope things will smooth out as the season progresses.

Some sweet Castell Grind gravel is coming up in a couple of weeks, and several of us are looking forward to the Big Sugar 50 and 100km races in Bentonville this fall. Meanwhile, our friends over at Capital City Racing will be putting on some local gravel races for us to enjoy.

Let the good times roll, and keep the rubber side down!