Training is Well Underway!

20th – 21st July 2018

Willowrock Campground to Banff 55kms

The first half of today’s ride, was on the highway again, with the same sort of hills as yesterday. But only to Canmore. About 5kms out of Canmore, I came up to Will and John, sitting and waiting for me and Art. I hadn’t seen Art for a bit. The last time was just as I passed a service station, heading up another hill, and I thought he would have caught me on that. We had waited about 30mins, and were a bit concerned, so John rode back to see what had happened. Only minutes later, they both rolled up, telling us Art had a flat tire, and all was well. Excellent, let’s go get some brunch at The Bagel Company.

 

The distant mountains look like a film backdrop. Unreal!

It was super busy, and quite nice. Heading back out to The Number One, we lost Will at the traffic lights, he got two reds. We went right, and he had no idea, so went left. Both roads work, but we had lost Will. Art went on the hunt, John and I carried on. Art popped out, no Will. Hmm, I better check my phone. Sure enough, he had just headed back to the highway, headed for Banff. We tracked him down, regrouped, and then discovered a cycle path all the way to Banff. Yippee!

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Busy tourist town. Skiing in the winter, mountain biking and hiking in the summer.

After a bit of “How do we get to the cycle path?” discussion, we cut across country, went down the off ramp the wrong way, and made it onto the path. Aaahhh, nice, no cars. Plenty of cyclists, and still hills. It was a lot nicer though, and a couple of nice spots for a stretch and a view.

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Wrong way? Doesn’t feel wrong to us Aussies.

 

John, the Happy Texan just love sunshine riding, and hills, it seems. Art is a machine, that just keeps going and going. Us two lazy buggers, just struggle to catch up.

No idea what time we reached Banff, the bloody sun doesn’t go down until almost ten, but the last 2kms, to the hostel were ridiculous. First gear, all the way, barely maintaining walking pace. I had to stop twice, to breath, and a couple of guys walking passed me. As I said, ridiculous! At least the hostel was nice, and had a little restaurant, there was no way any of us were going back to town until we leave tomorrow.

 

I’m happy we are almost done, until I see the final hill up to the hostel. Things changed pretty quick. We all had to dry our tents after a dewy night, but once that was done, we could relax, eat and sleep.

Banff to Lake Louise 65kms

Art has us up and at ‘em, eating breakfast in the restaurant, by 7am. We had a shorter day, but no less hills to conquer. We started off on The Number One, but then diverted onto the 1a, the old highway. Heaps less cars, no trucks, and a speed limit of sixty. Much more enjoyable. There was also, lots of things to see. We spotted out first chipmunks, so tiny and cute. 

 

Same hilly riding, but nice without the billions of trucks and RV’s.

 

Around lunch time, we pulled into the super busy, Johnston Canyon, for a looksie. Art and John had seen it before, I didn’t want to use up my legs walking, so Will went for a walk to check it all out. The rest of us, corralled the wagons, to make a coffee and some lunch. There were a billion rangers around, and you are not supposed to cook or have food, there are bears you know. Luckily there were so many people, we weren’t noticed, and we spent about 2 hrs, relaxing and eating lunch. Wills report of the canyon was, “Just too many people, double prams, dogs, kids, ugh”. 

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The Happy Texan loving his ride.

 

Crazy busy with people. You’d have to come at sun up to appreciate the beauty in peace.

There were heaps of road cyclists passing us, and not too far along, a couple who had passed us, flagged us down. They told us that about 15kms further along, the road was actually closed. Thank you so much. That would have been the shittest, riding all that way then have to ride back to here. So back out to the highway, and into Lake Louise town centre.

 

There were some cool sites along the hard riding. A nature bridge for wildlife to cross the road safely. There are fences along the road, that herd the animals to the bridge. It works really well, and they have infra-red cameras that capture the usage. We also spotted some rafters having a great time.

It was really getting cold, and starting to rain a little. The guys went shopping, and I guarded the bikes. There were a billion people here, all dressed for hiking in the winter. Finally with all the shopping done, the rain stopped, we cycled the 1.5kms to the campground. There was a line up. It was fully booked, everyone was pre-registered, so why the line?

 

How crazy is this line up, with Art just patiently waiting his turn.

Finally Art got our info, and we headed off in search of G25. We literally had to cycle around the whole massive campground to get to our site. Later on, in search for the showers, we found a short cut, and got a little pissed that the young guy didn’t mention it. Anyway, the campground was lovely, we could have a fire with their wood, and the neighbours gave us some fire lighters and the use of an axe. We had to ride our bikes to the showers, which were miles away, but we had a really nice night.

 

It was great to arrive at last, and we enjoyed pre-dinner snacks, beer and wine.

 

Annoying having to cycle to the shower, there was only one block for the entire campground. But hey, at least there was one, and the water was hot. The neighbours car, this is not unusual here. They are huge. The fire was difficult to light, with wet wood, but with perseverance and determination, Will and Art made it happen.

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