the forums on bikepacking.net are a great resource for the race. I read everything I could for the year I prepped for the race.
I do think that a sub 20 day race is / will be a phenomenal race. The guy who set the record pedaled an average of 170 miles a day to finish in 16 days.
I pedaled between 65 (bad mechanical days) and 170 (my longest) each day, with an official average of 96 miles a day, and that took everything I had. Don't underestimate the amount of climbing, its uphill all day/everyday.....and the monotony of it will grind on your brain.
I averaged about 16 hours a day on the bike, since I knew I wasn't going to win (LOL) i opted for regular sleep, about 6 hours a night. I spent approx. every 4th day in a motel, the value of a shower cant be overlooked.
I did come up on one grizzly, almost wet myself, but he(she) took off like a shot as soon as my squealing brakes locked up. I did carry "bear spray" and had my hand on it the second I saw the bear. On camping nights, a couple times there were metal bear boxes, other times, I put my bike/food about 100 yards from where I was sleeping. It was never an issue, never woken up by hungry animals.....LOL
This year I will be pedaling towards Mexico again, my goal is 22 days, based on about 125+ a day. I will use the same gear as 2012, but am moving to a titanium frame and rigid fork (last year was carbon hard tail and suspension fork)....the change up will (in theory) help my climbing...
I used and purchased the lightest of everything I could find, my entire rig weighed in at 44 pounds in Banff.....I think it will be close to the same this year.
I hope that helps....Look forward to meeting you and everybody in Banff in June..... happy pedaling and keep the rubber side down!!!