One bike, 900 miles, two legs.

The final night of camping is soon at an end (yay!) and we wake to the expected blue sky and crisp temperatures. As it’s going to be a long day we all woke up early, had breakfast and were on the road before 7:30am. Well, it took me longer to get ready this morning, so I was later than the rest, but I soon made some good progress and caught up to some riders.

A hazy, cold morning heading out of Banff
A hazy, cold morning heading out of Banff

It was about 30 miles or so before we started to have no mountains in front of us, a strange feeling after having their presence for so long. The tortured rock towers began to open up into a wide valley, with the Bow River – the one that caused all the flooding in Calgary – snaking its way through the middle. There was quite a lit of heavy traffic on the highway we were on, partly because of the industrial units along the way, also because of the construction to repair the damage caused to Canmore and the surrounding towns in the floods. We passed some evidence of the damage, huge amounts of rock piled up at the sides, bits of tree everywhere and still some pumps removing water from buildings at Exshaw. Just incredible.

Bow River Valley
Bow River Valley

It was then a series of rolling, somewhat twisty miles on 1A as the mountains slowly disappeared behind us, and I developed a strange sense of agoraphobia now that the comfort blanket of the mountains had been taken away. There’s just so much sky…

Bye, Rockies :(
Bye, Rockies :(

Incidentally, the place that photo was taken had the highest concentration of mosquitoes I’ve yet experienced. If I’d have stayed much longer, I don’t think much more than an empty husk of a body would be left by now. Horrible creatures.

Anyway, from this point onwards there was the most painful headwind, just in the direction we needed to travel. Up and out of Cochrane was a real drag on a busy highway, up a relatively steep and almost never-ending hill. After a couple of hours grinding our way to the metropolis of Calgary, we made it to the city limits. I couldn’t help but notice the ‘Welcome to Calgary’ sign had been shot quite a few times. Must be that kind of place.

After following the tricky instructions for a while, the leading group were coming the other way – the footbridge we were supposed to be travelling over was washed away in the flooding and the only option we found would work and get us to our destination was a terrifying trip two exits on Highway 1, the main artery going West-East across Canada. It was, as we thought, pretty horrible and one of the group fell on some loose gravel as we tried to get across of junction. Just to add to the stress at the end of a long, hot ride. Did I mention it was hot and sunny? High twenties temperatures and an unrelenting sun made for a sweaty, uncomfortable day in the saddle.

Thanks to some excellent navigation under pressure, we made it to the university where we are staying the night.

Final Destination
Final Destination

We’ve had our end-of-ride pizza and beer, now I’m tucked up in bed in the poshest university residence I’ve experienced yet, looking forward to sleeping in a real bed with a real pillow. Little luxuries after two weeks of camping!

GPS stats – 91 miles, 2321 ft ascent

2 COMMENTS
Chris Hannon
July 11, 2013
ad

Really well done Ben! :-D

James
July 11, 2013
ad

Quite an achievement Ben. Well done mate. Enjoy the bed!

Post a comment