Things to Do Over Labor Day Weekend in Every US Time Zone

You could accuse Ibex of being Vermont-centric, and you wouldn’t be wrong. We love us some “freedom and unity” (our state motto rocks, does it not?). Though we’re proud of our New England home, we’re not so drunk on the maple Kool-Aid that we can’t appreciate the rest of our beautiful nation. With Labor Day on September 1, heralding the “end of summer,” what better time for a virtual cross-country trip?

We know you already have 20 ideas for camping and outdoor fun this month. But in case you’re feeling like a little something different, we’ve pulled together a mixed bag of things to do this Labor Day weekend – across all time zones.

Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone:

  • Waikiki Roughwater Swim (Oahu, Sept. 1): 2.384 miles (to be exact) of swimming along Waikiki Bay. It’s a long way, but then you have the rest of the day to sip coconut drinks and surf the famed Oahu waves. Bonus: You can get 5 percent off airfare by signing up the swim.
  • Kauai Marathon (Kauai, Aug. 31): If you’re going to run a marathon, why not turn it into a destination event? The Kauai Marathon is 26.2 miles of sweat-soaked beauty.
  • Ka’anapali Fresh Signature Food & Wine Festival (Maui, Aug. 30): If your feeling less labor-some this Labor Day, hit up the 3rd annual Maui festival to eat, drink and live aloha.
  • Camp and Explore Izembek National Wildlife Refuge (Alaska, anytime): If you find yourself near the Aleutian Islands this Labor Day, plan to hit up this stunning mélange of geographic and biologic beauty. Days are getting short up in those latitudes, so Labor Day may be one of your last chances for the year. Getting there? Not easy, but worth it.

Pacific Time Zone:

  • Bumbershoot Everything Festival (Seattle, all weekend): Indulge the right side of your brain with this music, comedy, literature, ideas, theater, and arts festival. The coolest part is that with all this culture, Bumbershoot does not take itself too seriously. Bonus: It has its own ice cream.
  • Portland PDX Beer Quest (Portland, all weekend): If three days of tracking down the best microbrews on the left coast doesn’t satisfy your need for adventure, join the Haunted Pub Crawl through old town Portland. Spooky!
  • San Francisco Base Camp (in and around SF, all weekend): There’s so much going on in and around San Francisco around Labor Day that the city becomes the perfect gateway to fun. A few ideas: The Sausalito Art Festival, the Matisse Exhibit at SFMOMA ends in September, it’s the perfect time to see blue and humpback whales migrating south, Shakespeare in the Park offers free outdoor plays, and then there’s simply gorging yourself on fresh harvests and sourdough bread from one of the many farmers’ markets around town.

Mountain Time Zone:

  • Wydaho Rendezvous Mountain Bike Festival (Grand Targhee, Wyoming, all weekend): Get in your last charging rides of the year or just cruise the Teton Valley on one of the 2015 demo bikes from top bike companies. Either way, you’ll still be in one of the most gorgeous places on the planet at one of the most gorgeous times of the year.
  • Salsa Fiesta and Mountain Run (Creede, Colorado, all weekend): After you walk, run or race your preference of a two, 12 or 22-mile course outside of the cool, cultural mountain hamlet of Creede (Southern San Juan Mountains), head into town for a salsa tasting with tomatillos and New Mexico green chiles from the 2014 harvest.
  • Santa Fe Fiesta and Zozobra (Santa Fe, all weekend): Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the U.S., so there are lots of stories to tell from its 400-plus year history. The weekend kicks off with Zozobra on Friday night, August 29, when a five-story tall puppet named ‘Old Man Gloom’ is ceremoniously burned – taking all of our cares and worries with him. The Fiesta officially begins on Saturday with food, dance, art and the ever-popular Pet Parade. 

Central Time Zone:

  • Chicago Jazz Festival (Chicago, all weekend): If you want country, go to Nashville. If you want rock, go to Seattle. If jazz is your thing, Chicago is your place. This free festival is regularly named one of the best events around, with a mix of stages and intimate pop-up venues.
  • Minnesota State Fair (St. Paul, ends Sept. 1): We cannot, in good conscience, propose a list of Labor Day events without at least one good old-fashioned state fair, and Minnesota is a doozy. Over 1 million people attend each year with little more promotion than the promise of some rides and meats on a stick. (Not joking. It’s what they promote.) But this fair has much more going on, including: 5K runs, an EcoExperience, music, rides, talent contests, dog stunt shows, and art workshops to name a few.
  • Mississippi Valley BOLD Tour (Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, all weekend): This three-day, 150(ish)-mile, cycling tour is a charity event that supports the biking community of the Midwest. Beginning and ending in Dubuque, Iowa, the tour is a non-competitive ride through rolling hills and small towns.

Eastern Time Zone:

  • National Bacon Day in Boston (Boston, Aug. 31): What a glorious coincidence that National Bacon Day falls smack in the middle of Labor Day weekend this year! Not since chocolate and peanut butter have two…nevermind. You get it. Anyway, Bostonians are no strangers to bacon. So while you tour the city on the hunt for the best BLT, also check out: the Mass Brewers Fest, the Boston Arts Festival, the Gloucester Schooner Festival, and of course, the Ibex flagship store on Newbury Street.
  • Sunrise Drive up Mount Washington (New Hampshire, Aug. 31): At 6,288 feet, Mt. Washington is New England’s highest peak. You can drive or ride your bike up most any day, but the road opens only after 7:30 a.m. Three days each summer, the road opens early to take advantage of the sunrise, inevitably made gorgeous by the ever-changing weather and endless vistas.
  • Jay Peak Trail Running Festival (Vermont, Aug. 30-31): If you haven’t yet begun to train, you may be happier with the 5K and a post-run beer. But if your feet have treated you well this season, cap off the summer with either the 25K or 50K Ultra run.

Whatever you do, we wish you a happy and relaxing Labor Day.

Love,

Ibex

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The Ibex Guide to New England Swimming Holes

Warren Falls: photo credit Michael Sipe

We’re a New England company so we talk about a lot of things associated with the north east- things like firewood, maple syrup, variable weather and hiking with dogs. We rarely talk about swimming holes. Yet, because it is the height of summer, because we’ve really enjoyed our June and July to the fullest, we’re breaking the very first rule of swimming holes as we bring you, the Ibex Guide to New England Swimming Holes also known as Rules of For Not Ruining A Good Swimming Hole.

1. You do not talk about swimming holes. Especially the secret, out of the way ones like the little pool in (location redacted). Swimming pools are like directions in New England, if you have to ask for them, then you haven’t been around long enough to get an answer. Silence in this matter is golden. You can’t get there from here. Loose lips sink ships.

2. Don’t be an idiot. YES, there are countless absurdly high cliffs to jump from, to swan dive off of, from whence to cannonball in a blazing pile of summertime glory, but don’t be an idiot. Enjoy jumping, diving, cannonballing and caterwauling into water but leave behind the Dirk Danger dives. Show off doing something that’s less likely to get you killed. Like stand-up paddle boarding on glassy calm lakes. We came here to get cool, not fear for your life.

3. No suit. No problem. Depending on location, swimming holes often require jean shorts or a birthday suit as the most appropriate attire.

4. When possible, run, bike, hike or paddle to the swimming hole. It isn’t just about leaving the front seat of your Rambler puddle free, it’s also a matter of maximizing the swimming hole enjoyment. Show up bloody hot and ready for a break and that first jump (see rule 2) and post jump chillout (rule 3) are going to feel that much better. Reminder: toss your Arrivee Bibs on a line, inside-out, immediately after washing when you return home.

5. Pack snacks. Suggestions include: summer sausage, cheddar cheese, crackers and chocolate. Water makes one hungry. Just be sure to follow rule number six:

6. Leave no trace. Because swimming with a collection of post-lunch trash is no one’s idea of a great summertime experience. Pack it out, brochachos.

7. If you bring a beverage, it should be in a can. There are countless great things to drink from cans. (Looking your way, Heady Topper.) Nothing will bring a great swimming hole down faster than a bloody foot with a glass shard in it so skip the old timey Coke bottles. Keep it clean, people.

8. Bring post-swimming wool. Yes, we’re biased but it really does make a difference. The smoothing temperature effect of a Seventeen.5 tee post dip is delightful beyond measure and will keep that fresh feeling on you longer.

9. Push the season. Soaking the legs in your favorite pool during peak foliage or stepping in after an early spring ride is amazing. Those that arrive early and leave late win the party.

10. Avoid routine. You have your go-to spot, but there are others. Find them.

Just don’t ask us how. We follow Rule #1. (Mostly.)

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Back to School: Kid-Approved First Day Fashion for Parents

Kids are so much cooler now than when we were their age. It used to be that back to school shopping was an annual rite of passage — not only to accommodate growing bodies but also to set up your fashion flair for the year.

Today, kids will wait to start shopping until a few weeks after courses begin. Apparently, it’s not cool to have a crisp new outfit on the very first day. And second, as my teenaged niece explains, “You need to scope out what everyone else is wearing so you can go in another direction for personal style.” If only I’d been so savvy I may have saved myself from an unfortunate year of neon patterns in the late ‘80s. 

Let it be known that while your kids may wait to shop, parents who are dropping them off at school have no such luxury. If it’s up to our kids, we need to present the perfect fashionable-yet-not-trying-to-hard, comfortable-yet-not-sloppy, on-trend-yet-age-appropriate, and effortlessly cool outfit. Bonus points if it includes pieces they can borrow (while denying they would ever wear them, naturally).

Ibex has you covered with easy-to-follow outfits that have you securing your children’s love, admiration and sartorial respect, while transitioning you effortlessly to the next phase of your day.

Dad’s Can’t-Go-Wrong School Delivery Get-Up:

  • Start with an Ibex Ace Shirt, for a casual, cool vibe.
  • Top with a sweet Shak City Roller if it’s chilly. (Bonus points if you ride bikes to school, though it’s not a prerequisite for this mid-weight layer.)
  • Pull on some Merino Crew Socks, because showing up with stinky feet could equal adolescent excommunication.
  • Find a cool pair of jeans. Everything else is a slam dunk, but here’s where you’re on your own, and it can be a minefield. What “cool” absolutely does not include: pleats (!!), high or NC17-rated low rises, embellishments or overwrought pocket detailing, and acid wash.
  • Socially conscious shoe, like an Oliberté Nakobo Chukka.

Mom’s Can’t-Go-Wrong School Delivery Get-Up:

  • Start with the little black VT Dress. You know how fall weather starts with a brisk morning and typically ends with hot afternoon? This sleeveless wonder will keep you comfy throughout.
  • We usually wouldn’t tell you what to wear under that dress, but here’s a tip if you’re accompanying your kids by bike: Be ready for the breeze. The Balance Boy Shorts offer plenty of coverage and are seamless for saddle sitting comfort. 
  • For the morning commute, slide on a bright pop of color with the VT Hoody – mid-weight layer with a sleek silhouette.
  • For the afternoon pick-up, pair with a cool wrap scarf that you already have in your closet. Bonus points for seasonal colors.
  • Keep it all functional with a Reclaimed Wool Felt Tote Bag for your tablet and work gear.
  • Shoes are dependent upon what Mother Nature is throwing your way, but this versatile dress pairs with just about anything: leather sandals, beefier espadrilles, a trendy pair of sneakers or even a low bootie. 

Here’s to keeping the peace on the first day of school and beyond.

Happy Back to School.

Love,

Ibex

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Pros and Amateurs Weigh In: 5 Tips on Running the 120-Mile PepsiCo TransRockies Run

From August 12 to August 17, 2014, runners from around the world will run 120-miles over a six day period during the PepsiCo 2014 TransRockies Run. They’ll hoof it through the heart of the Colorado Rockies, spending 97 percent of their time over 8,000 feet and gaining over 20,000 feet of elevation throughout the week. The field is plush with competitive pros and ambitious amateurs.

Ibex is proud to sponsor our own super-mega-team of elite distance runner, Kara Henry, and professional climber/amateur runner, Joe Mills. You may remember Kara and Joe from their jaunt around the Austrian Alps last year? Well, apparently 80 kilometers (49.7 miles) in the Alps wasn’t enough for this couple. So on to 120 miles of Rocky Mountain bliss, it is.

We asked Kara and Joe to share some training and racing tips for long, hard events like TransRockies. And just so you know you’re not alone in your apprehension/excitement/concern/thrill, we’ve asked them to rate their emotional responses for dealing with different elements of the event. Even as the most talented athletes that push their bodies, their hearts and heads may be struggling to keep up the enthusiasm (just like ours!). So, stay human and run on.

Ibex: Have you ever raced the TransRockies Run?

Kara, the elite runner: This is my first multi-day event, but I’ve done a couple of 100 milers that feel like they’ve taken multiple days off of my life… does that count? [Ed. Note: Yes. That most certainly counts.] I love the level of ‘busted’ you can get to in long events like this. It’s pretty rare for the average person to feel as completely wrecked as we’re going to get. Then we’ll look back on it and pretend it was fun!

Joe, the casual runner: I have never run TransRockies, or really raced at all for that matter. So far I have jogged a 10K and a half marathon as fun runs, but that’s it. I’d say the closest thing is free climbing missions on El Cap - the last one was six days and you are working hard every day. I’d say it’s pretty close, but at least with the running all you have to worry about is putting one foot in front of the other.

Ibex: Let’s get to your tips. Also, on each topic, we’d like to do a verbal Rorschach test of sorts. We’ll throw out the experience, and we want you to come back with the first thing that comes to mind - at least with regard to your general state of enthusiasm.

Topic # 1: Covering long distances… day after day after day.

Kara’s (the elite) excitement level: Questionable.

Joe’s (the casual) excitement level: Psyched!

Kara’s training tips for covering long distances day after day: Putting in big mileage weeks in training is key, but understanding how your body is going to react to racing day after day is a mystery. I have a sneaky feeling I’m going to want to throw myself off a mountain by day four.

Joe’s training tips for covering long distances day after day: Run a lot of mileage. They don’t need to be fast miles; it’s just about getting your body used to moving for extended periods of time. The goal is to be able to throw down a long run and not be crushed afterwards.

Topic #2: Feeding yourself and staying hydrated on long runs.

Kara’s (the elite) excitement level: Meh.

Joe’s (the casual) excitement level: Gummy bears!

Kara’s training tips for food and water: Because each day is only 25 miles or less, I’ll stick to gels and water. I prefer being able to eat real food on long runs, but we’ll be moving too quickly (hopefully) to be able to digest the pizza I would rather be eating.

Joe’s training tips for food and water: I eat a lot when I run, others eat less. For me it’s very important that I never crash because it’s very hard for me to come back from that. Long runs are really just an excuse for me to plod along and eat fistfuls of gummy bears.

Topic #3: Evening recovery. 

Kara’s (the elite) excitement level: Ecstatic!

Joe’s (the casual) excitement level: Vacation!

Kara’s training tips for recovering at night: All I want to do is eat a lot of food and drink too much beer. This is not good recovery. Don’t listen to my advice.

Joe’s training tips for recovering at night: Do some brief dynamic stretching after the run, but mainly focus on self-massage of all the problem areas you may have. For me, it’s IT bands and calf muscles. Foam rollers work great for this, or a Nalgene bottle if you can’t pack a roller.

Topic #4: Pushing through - or what to do when you’re hitting the wall.

Kara’s (the elite) excitement level: Un-psyched.

Joe’s (the casual) excitement level: Bummed.

Kara’s training tips for when that wall’s a-coming: I don’t want to be around, or talk to, anyone when I hit the wall. I think it’s best to recognize what is happening to you and remember that things WILL turn around. I like to fake positivity when I’m hurting… but if someone else tries to cheerlead me, it will get ugly. Sorry in advance, Joe.

Joe’s training tips for when that wall’s a-coming: It’s cliché, but just stay positive. For most people, at some point on any huge run they are going to feel like shit and hit a low point, but just believe that it will get better because it usually does. When that happens just have something on hand that you know will lift your spirits through that low-point - whether it’s Taylor Swift, or for me, a fistful of gummy bears.

Topic #5: Weird things/tips you’ve learned from running really, really far.

Kara’s (the elite) excitement level: Weeeeeeeeee!

Joe’s (the casual) excitement level: Daydream.

Kara: Hallucination is real! When you look back on it, it’s hilarious but at that moment in time, it’s not so funny. Also, your bodily functions become the go-to topic of conversation and you really believe they’re interesting… but they’re not.

Joe: Being out running for five hours or more can be pretty boring for a lot of people, and it can be easy to focus on the miles left or how ‘over it’ you are… and then it just drags on. You just have to have the mindset that you’re going to be out there a long time. Enjoy the scenery and some time alone with your thoughts and stop checking your watch every mile.

Good luck, Kara and Joe! Thanks for the straight talk and the tips. Here’s to safe, swift (of both the speed and, perhaps, the Taylor variety) and fun miles. You most certainly will be earning your beer and gummy bears next week.

- Ibex

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Ibex Joins Harpoon Point to Point Bike Ride in the Fight Against Hunger in Vermont

When doing the right thing includes a healthy, fun bike ride followed by a delicious craft beer and a big party, the question is not, “Why?” The question is obviously, “Why not?”

Ibex is once again a sponsor of the Harpoon Point to Point, a cycling event in our beautiful, Vermont backyard. Literally. The routes go right through White River Junction, Ibex World HQ. 

Riders participating in this 12th Annual Point to Point can choose from a 25-, 50-, or 100-mile course. All routes begin and end at the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, Vermont. Start times are staggered with the hopes that everyone will end up back in Windsor to kick off the after party together.

You can check off your cardio and your fermented needs for the day, but what about the soul affirming “check” of generosity? Umm…check. The Harpoon Point to Point is a fundraiser for the Vermont Foodbank, an organization that annually feeds up to 86,000 Vermont residents statewide.

For us, the Harpoon Point to Point ride embodies just about everything we stand for: community, health, love of the outdoors, good beer, taking care of one another, and celebrating the joy of movement. We feel there is a distinct lack of sheep in the event, but considering how many riders will be wearing Merino cycling gear, we’ll let it slide…this time.

Come and get on your bike in the spirit of fun and community.

While online registration closed on August 4, you can still donate to the Vermont Foodbank directly or through the Harpoon site. If you’re interested in riding this year, please check in directly with Harpoon to check on availability. If you’ve missed the 2014 opportunity, mark your calendars for 2015. Harpoon does a great job of supporting riders with training tips, fun facts and fundraising support.

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Ibex End of Summer Sale Begins August 4th

You know when you’re buying back-to-school supplies and the store clerks are busy putting up Christmas decorations? Too fast, right? Well, considering our End of Summer sale begins on Monday, August 4, it may seem like we’re a little itchy on the seasonal trigger finger, too. Not so fast, oh, revelers of warm weather and late sunsets.

Here’s the brilliance: 

With summer gear going on sale in early August, you still have plenty of time to get outside and enjoy the “lighter side” of Ibex and the dog days of summer. Stock up, sock up and go have some fun. 

We’ll be back in touch as the equinox draws near with the new fall collection. Until then, happy end of summer.

Love,

Ibex

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