Monday, July 29, 2013

Day 19 Banff to Calgary

It was sad farewells as we say good bye to Ed and Julie this morning.  Ed is off to join Cycle America as a router for the next five weeks, as they travel across Washington and down the West Coast and Julie is back home to Colorado.  Liam was not riding either as he was taking an extra day in Banff.  This left just five riders.  So we were off down the road out of Tunnel Mountain campground in Banff.
We rounded the corner from the campground an there was a herd of caribou with the calves.  They were feeding alongside the road and totally unconcerned that we were there.  The calves were so cute.  
We rolled down the hill and were all set to jump on the TransCanada when Ken T discovered that the bike path to Canmore had been reopened from after the flood which totally amazed us huge portions had been wiped out in the flood.  The repair crews had been busy in the last month rerouting the path and rebuilding it.  This was great news as the highway is extremely busy and noisy.  There was a pretty strong headwind down the pathway but there was a fair amount of shelter from the trees so it wasn’t too bad.  It wasn’t until we broke out of the trees and onto Highway 1A when we hit the full force of the wind.  Earnie and I both tried pulling into the wind and the best we could do was about 12-15 kms/hr.  So Ken C stepped up and he is such a powerful rider that he pulled us all the way from Canmore to the Ghost Reservoir where we had lunch a distance of 60 kms at 25+ kms/hr.  It was an amazing piece of riding.
Lunch was a great break and everyone was feeling pretty happy as we had only 50 kms left to get home and the wind was shifting to the north. After lunch we had only one more hill to climb and the Cochrane hill is normally a 20 minute climb so after our journey it seemed like nothing.  The wind was howling down the hill so it was much more than a simple 20 minute spin but we made it. Once at the top of the hill the wind was a huge cross wind that made steering a straight line a challenge but we made it home.
The last 135 kms were behind us.  The last 7 days had been pretty tough as there was no rest days and 870 kms ridden.  The total tour was 2013 kms in 17 ride days with only 2 rest days.  I was very happy that the tour had been a total success. Everyone had had a great time.  We had seen an amazing piece of Canada. This stuff just isn’t on the tourist maps but the beauty is unbelievable.  

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