Less than a day to the Grand Depart!

I tried to sleep in this morning, but with sunrise at 5:30am, my room got bright and I was up before 7 (that’s before 6 AZ time).  Today was prep day. Get my bags packed and go for a test ride.

I took my time organizing my gear, but I’m sure I’ll be making changes as the ride goes on.  Frame bag was the easiest to pack because it has the least amount of stuff in it, mostly a water bladder. I adjusted my aero bars moving them a bit farther out. My shoulders were too compressed the way I originally had them.  That moved my Feedbags to the inside which gives my knees a bit more space if I’m riding out of the saddle.

The Sweetroll on my handlebars was also fairly easy to load. I moved my tent outside of the Sweetroll so I could bring a change of riding clothes when the first set gets really rank. We’ll see how long I last before I have to use that set.  When I got to my seat bag I found out that I left the compression straps for my sleeping bag at home! No way that sleeping bag fits when it isn’t highly compressed! Added that to the list of stuff I needed for the ride.

After getting the bike mostly setup, I headed into town to stop at an outdoor shop for a couple last minute items (compression sack, matches, denatured alcohol to use as fuel for my stove).  The shop didn’t open until 10am, so I walked through town to find someplace that served omelettes for breakfast. That made for perfect timing to get back to the outdoor shop when it opened.  They had everything I needed except for the denatured alcohol, so I walked over to a hardware store to look in their paint section. No luck. A quick search online revealed that denatured alcohol is hard, if not impossible to find in Canada. The hardware store had a small camping section where I found methyl hydrate which can be used as a substitute (although it is more toxic, so you have to be more careful with it).

After the hardware store I headed over to a Safeway grocery store (who knew Safeway is in Canada??) to get water for my water bladders, a couple advocados (cause I like them) and a couple oranges.  Got to have a few fresh items to go with all the processed foods I’ll be eating!

Kind of a long walk back to the hotel carrying all that, but I was able to finish packing before noon changed into my cycling clothes and headed out for a test ride. Banff is incredibly scenic! One of the most scenic rides I’ve done. I took a bike path out of town for a few miles just to make sure everything was secure and my bike was functioning properly.  Fantastic views of the mountains and I even passed a beaver dam. Very cool!

I made my way back through town to find the starting point of the Tour Divide.  It starts just past a pretty impressive looking hotel.  I rode a mile or so down the route just to get a sneak peek. Man I hope the whole trail is this nice!

We have a riders meeting later this evening then the rides starts in waves tomorrow morning at 8am.  I will not be leaving at 8am, that time is for the fast guys.  I’ll probably leave closer to 9 or maybe even 10 to allow the trail to clear a bit.  I’ll be taking it slow and easy, but expect to ride until around 10pm tomorrow or 12 to 13 hours on the bike. Good times!

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