We’ve been out and about lately, practicing with our Salsa Cutthroats down in Georgia, South Carolina and some of the most stellar locales in southern Indiana. It’s been cold. It’s been windy. But at least we’re not carrying any weight on the bikes yet. That comes in a few weeks.
After posting on social media some questions have been asked about what we’re practicing for, how we are preparing, bike set up, etc. Here’s wazzup right now:
We bought our one way tickets to Calgary. Hoping that the Coronavirus and concern over flying is well behind us by the beginning of August, we committed to flying to Calgary and starting the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) in Banff. We’ll ship our bikes ahead of time and bring our bike bags, clothing, etc. in two duffel bags when we fly to Calgary. Once the bike bags are loaded, we’ll mail the duffels home and from then on it’s nothing but us and the bikes until Antelope Wells and the border of Mexico.
You may be wondering how we are going to get home. More on that later.
How do Hoosier flatlanders practice for a long distance bike ride that’s noted for its elevation? Well it’s not perfect, but technology makes it easier.
Using Ride with GPS or the Gravel Mapping website, rides that cyclists have already ridden provide distance, elevation, location and many times even cue sheets. These route maps are downloaded to our Garmins.
We both have a Garmin Edge that provides turn by turn directions. Typically we have a second and third back up for navigation. Google maps on our cell phones and hard copy cue sheets help when there is confusion about the route. That was a lesson learned when we cycled the Appalachian Gravel Growler last year.
For now we are opting for gravel routes, riding some hills, working on endurance and getting reacquainted with our Cuttys, especially the saddle and being out in all kinds weather. Soon we will add our loaded Revelate bike bags and plan some overnights.
We consider our recent car camping excursions a luxury when we bring firewood, extra clothes, the kitchen and extra food. Sure makes everything easier. And less expensive. #lesshotelexpense #moreadventure
Bike Set Up:
The most notable enhancement in this area is converting our bike tires to tubeless. (Thanks for the help Terry Mitchell!)
Tubeless tires “self heal” when they are working the way they are supposed to. Instead of an inner tube inside the bike tire, a special valve stem is used and four ounces of sealant is inserted into the tire. Pump the tire up with a few blasts of air and it’s all set. The sealant rolls happily around in the tire ready to seal up punctures should they occur.
Tubeless tires aren’t full proof, but they do improve the odds of having a “no flat” day. We also carry a spare inner tube and tire plugs.
Below is a two minute video recap from our most recent trip to southern Indiana where we visited three lakes and cycled up a few hills showing what a typical practice weekend looks like. And, the best part? You get to see what it looks like riding gravel without ever getting cold, wet or tired.