Thursday, June 30, 2016

Quiet Time

Mike and Mel have gone shopping and the boys are napping. The house is quiet which is rare. It's a very active gang that lives here. Here in the basement every footstep can be heard from Mike's to Campbell's. Even after an 80km ride no alarm clock is required, no complaint here as I can't wait to get up and see the boys every morning but don't want to be the reason they wake.

I finished up the Cycling Challenge yesterday with 80km. I'm pretty sure that is my longest ride of the year. Normally I don't stop. Yesterday I rode 35km and stopped for about 20 minutes fro coffee and a brownie in the middle of Fish Creek Park. Rejuvenated I did another 25km before stopping for a banana and the last of one water bottle. I switched out my bottles and headed for home.

As I crossed the floor of the valley for the third time I suddenly felt stronger as I thought of the long ride not only this day but the whole month. 1000km may not seem like much, I've done more in a month before, but work, weather, and two days driving sucked up a lot of time. For something that started as just "well I ride anyway I might as well throw my name in the hat too" it became a focus. I'm glad to be done and can ride without having to worry about keeping up an average of 35km a day. My appreciation for better tires has never been higher. I remember back to the Conquer Cancer rides and hearing of people that flatted four times in a day over 100km so I guess 4 flats in 1000km is not all that bad and I can now say I've added changing out a flat on the side of the trail to my list of cycling resume.

After all the talk of a grizzly blocking the trail, riding the Legacy Trail from Canmore to Banff and back was a highlight. I don't think I could ever get used to the closeness of the mountains in Canmore. No matter the direction you look, they are right there. My simple five minute trip to pick up pizza was amazing. I had to cross the Trans Canada to the north side of town and saw an amazing light show as the sun set between the peaks and through the clouds. I pulled up in front of the pizza place and stepped out into the street and the Three Sisters were right there just over the crest of the road.

Moraine Lake was busy as usual. The Rockpile was crowded and I've never seen more selfie sticks. Another fellow and I traded cameras and took pictures of each other but they aren't much to look at. You wait about 5 minutes for your turn and then somebody climbs into your shot from the restricted area below the rock wall. I tried to load the Nikon on my tripod but the wind was fierce and everything was shaking so my planned longer exposure shots were ditched. I always feel rushed. Next time I think the camera will stay in the car and I'll just sit there and let it all soak in.

Jess was still under the weather so we headed down the Bow Valley Parkway and managed to see a small black bear rooting around in a field just off the road. He was totally oblivious to the half dozen cars that stopped to rubber neck.

It's been a hectic ten days.
rest stop on the Legacy Trail
Lael in Canmore
Moraine Lake
Three Sisters overlooking Canmore
setting sun in Canmore, good thing I only had my phone
or there would have been some hungry folks waiting for supper

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Day Two

My second day on the road started so early I won't even share the time. I arrived at Mike's door at 12:30pm. It was a perfect day, uneventful and clear weather all the way.

I pulled up and could hear both Cullen and Campbell yelling Papa, Papa! Nothing else will erase the weariness of a long drive so quickly. The last item unloaded out of the car was the bike I had picked up for Cullen, a 12" Norco Ninja. He was very excited for his new bike. Minutes later had pedalled about 12 feet with just a push to get moving. Then a little farther and faster so we headed for the open space that a nearby park provided.

In no time he was doing laps around the entire park. You can see a short video here. After supper Uncle AJ and Aunt Jess came to the park to check it out and he proceeded to learn how to get rolling from a standing start.

This morning Mike and I took him over to Fish Creek Provincial Park about ten minutes from the front door. There are miles and miles of paved and gravel paths to ride. He managed a 5.1 km ride and then another which included stopping for a drink and a brownie. He got tired on the return and walked his bike in. But he learned how to work the coaster brake (pedalling backwards) and soon created his first skidmark. He picked up coasting downhill easily and only gets mad if he doesn't beat you to the end of the section. He loves ringing he bell when approaching anyone walking on the path. It was probably one of the slowest rides I've ever been on but one I'll never forget.

Cullen on 'Jillian', Fish Creek Provincial

Friday, June 17, 2016

Anything But

After making this drive 5? times I was expecting just another boring two days on the road. I was up at 3:15 and on the road by 4:30. Not to self: check the loading of the bikes to be transported in the light of day. First time in the dark is not all that easy.

The last forecast I checked said sun across the prairies for both Friday and Saturday. Well that was 100% correct until I got to Dryden and saw nothing but purple in the western sky. The first drops hit the windshield just outside Vermillion Bay. It continued to get more intense as I moved west. Shortly after crossing into Manitoba the clouds were literally on the road in the distance and I was alone on the highway thinking I should have checked the radio for warnings instead of toe tapping to my playlist. It poured cats, dogs and a few small ponies. Even at 70 kmph and the wipers flapping away like hummingbird wings, it was tough to see. If not on a divided highway I would have been waiting it out on the shoulder. I had passed all my normal lunch spots and finally stopped at a rest stop about 75km from Winnipeg. I checked the radar pages and saw the purple mass of clouds I had just driven through. Parts of Winnipeg saw 41mm of rain in a less than an hour.

As I moved around Winnipeg on the Perimeter highway I got in the middle of a traffic jam. 100 yards to a set of traffic lights saw three cycles pass before I even moved and then another three to get through only to find I had a few intersections to get through before I would clear the logjam. An accident involving a pickup pulling a horse trailer collided with something carrying bags of white powder. I was thinking of the poor horses when I saw the trailer and then the cab of the truck came into view. I'm not sure there were horses in the trailer but there was definitely someone in the driver's and he just has to be hurt. There were a dozen people from an environmental cleanup crew brushing up the powder but they had nothing but orange jump suits as safety gear so the powder must not have been harmful. A good kilometre of the opposing two lanes were blocked off. The entire 4 lane road had been closed earlier so I was lucky to hit the sang when I did.

The only other high/low lights were a scrawny young moose and about 75 kilometres of construction on the divided highway between Brandon and Winnipeg. Surprisingly other than the construction zones time went by very quickly and even those were mostly at 90kmph without any actual stops so not all that bad.

I'm showered and fed, all set to catch as much of the Jays game as I can before getting some sleep. Another full day on the road tomorrow, one entry in the pool in Calgary says I'll be there at noon. Not likely. I'm guessing 3pm Calgary time but we'll see what the day brings, I'm hoping for a little less excitement.