This past March I raced in the Gran Gravel 500 (Bryan, Texas) in unseasonably cold conditions dipping down to the mid 30’s with nearly constant mist and fog. A week of rain before race day made for some extremely muddy roads. Despite the general exhaustion of pedaling 500 miles essentially nonstop for 50 hours and 50 minutes–I wasn’t all that uncomfortable.
How? A dialed in bike fit and some excellent gear to compliment it. Most notably, my new Storm+ “12 Hour” bibs from Pactimo.
An all too common road during Gran Gravel.
This was my second go at this monster gravel grinder. Last year, I went through about half a tube of chamois butter and was reduced to standing every few minutes for the final 300 miles because of general discomfort and chaffing–and these weren’t cheap bibs I was wearing. But frankly, I didn’t expect to be comfortable for that long, and I wasn’t.
Fast forward to this year. After way too much time spent reading reviews of different bib shorts, I decided on Pactimo’s Storm+ “12 hour” bib. With no more than a few miles ridden in them, I had my fingers crossed that they’d be the answer as I straddled my bike at the start line of the race.
12 hours, 24 hours, 36 hours of racing passed by and I couldn’t believe it. No chamois lubricants, no baby powder, no- nothing needed. I recall thinking my backside was nearly as happy at mile 375 as it was at mile 20. The fleece brushed material on the inside of the bib complimented my leg warmers perfectly and any water or mud splashes actually beaded up and rolled right off the shorts. They were warm, even as snowflakes began to fall in the wee hours of the morning.
The bibs were dirty but still repelled the water nicely
These bibs did exactly what they were designed to do. They were absolutely comfortable in temps around 30-60 degrees, and the short repels the wetness and muck nicely–at least in the misty conditions and splashing puddles I experienced.
The chamois? Well, you honestly kind of forget about it. If you want the tech-specs check out the website. What I’ll say is I pushed the “12 hour” recommendation to “50 hours and 50 minutes” and they held up beautifully while I was pushing my mind and body to new limits. I finished over two hours faster than last year despite much more difficult conditions and only sleeping for 50 minutes in total–and I couldn’t have been happier.
Cheesin’ at the race finish
You can bet I’ll be sporting them at the perpetually wet and chilly start of the Tour Divide this June and if you’re a fellow Bikepacker who is also critical of your gear’s durability and functionality–Pactimo has you covered here
Recovering post-race at home in Colorado. The bibs have also been ideal for getting outdoors to ride in the shoulder seasons here.
Self proclaimed ultra-endurance Bikepacker