Cover Photo: Calgary Skyline from Nose Hill Nature Reserve.
18th – 19th July 2018
Calgary – Wednesday
This going to bed early caper is a winner. We were wide awake at 5:30am, so got up, made coffee, and did a bit of blogging. Today’s plan was to meet two other cyclists, who will be riding with us to Vancouver. In reality, they will be riding ahead of me. Anyway, Art is a Canadian, and we met him through Warmshowers, in 2016. He had ridden across Australia, on his recumbent bike, and stayed with us for a week. We really enjoyed his company, and now he has opted to guide us over the Rocky’s, and get us safely through bear country. The other rider, is John, he is a friend of Art’s and comes from Texas. He has flown up to ride with us too. Both these guys have done extensive cycle touring, and are old hands, so we should be able to pick up some good tips. If we can keep up. We’d agreed to meet in a central place, Brentwood Village (no, it’s not a prison, that is in USA), at 12pm, so we decided to get some last minute riding training in. It was about 13kms, so that shouldn’t be too difficult hey?
Well, let me tell you. Holy bloody hills Batman! Yep, I am so going to be in pain for about two weeks. There is a maze of cycle paths around the suburbs of Calgary, and they twist and turn, (always going up) and you loose track of your direction so easily. We skirted around the golf course, then through some parks and streets, and somehow found our way to Nose Hill Nature Reserve. On the map, there were heaps of cycle paths criss crossing the reserve, but at our entry point, it was a goat track leading into some dense trees. Oh well, it looks shorter to cut straight through, so let’s go.
It was a nice ride, albeit tough. Thank goodness it wasn’t as warm today, only hit about 25C. Just nice.
Lesson number one. If it looks like a short cut, it’s not! It was a track, and hard going. The upside (pardon the pun) was the lovely grassy hills, we rode up and over, the wild strawberries growing everywhere, and the billions of dogs and owners out enjoying the reserve. Finally, we somehow managed to get ourselves to the top of the hill, and the views were fantastic.
Getting to the top was worth ripping out the Aussie flag. Great views.
Getting down the hill to head to the meeting point, was a fun mountain bike trail, which had us both standing on the pedals (not clipped in, it was dodgy as hell) and heavy on the brakes. Woo hoo, what a ride. At the bottom, we just had to head up another hill to make use of the overpass. The road was a super busy one, and sure to cause us stress. The rest of the ride was easy and pleasant, and we arrived before the other two. We found ourselves a Drug Store, and purchased some more Hay fever meds, as the pollen count is off the scales right now, here in Calgary, and yesterday, I was the one suffering the dripping eye and nose, while sneezing every 5minutes. That was uncalled for.
Finally we got to meet with Art and John, and had a great discussion of our needs and expectations. It really feels like we will have a great time with these two laid back fellas. We wondered over to Kilkenny’s Irish Pub, and had some lunch and relaxed, all the while getting little bits of valuable information from the two locals. Eventually, we decided we’d better head home, as thunderstorms were predicted, and we didn’t want to be out in that. My phone was almost out of battery, so we relied on Davo GPS to guide us home. He really is a dick, as he just diverts us for no good reason. But, the truth be known, he did get us home via the liquor store, even though it was an extra two kays. It was so good to get back to the dungeon, I’m buggered and we only rode 29kms. Bloody hell, tomorrow we have to ride 81kms, and it is all uphill. All of it!
I was concentrating on my breathing. The legs held up okay. We also saw two wombats, (ha ha ha, not often I see that side of myself), and a cute as hell White Tailed Jack rabbit, just eating the neighbourhood lawns.