Day 17: Canmore to Calgary, AB
Today was just what I expected it would be a few blog posts ago.. foothills and headwinds. The foothills were fun, a rolling challenge in making sure you had enough speed going into the next incline. But the headwinds made that near impossible.
We faced 20-30km/winds right in our faces. Our average speed is usually 20-25km/hr but today was down to 10km/hr. Catherine kicked my ass today and often found herself a good kilometer ahead of me. The thing about headwinds is that the harder you push into them, the harder they push back. Cat's quicker cadence served her well but my slow power strokes left me without any leg power within the first few hours.
The day started out in Canmore where a lady chatted us up and advised us to take the 1A through Cochrane instead of the Trans Canada 4 lane highway. I don't know if our original route would've been any better but we usually take advice from locals over Google wherever possible.
We did 115 slow kilometers today. Every single one was a battle. I spent a lot of the day looking down at my handlebars watching the white line whiz by while considering the choices that led me to where I was. By the end of it I realized that none of it really mattered and what did was that these were my choices. Every hill, every bear and every windy day. All part of the process, all part of biking across this beautiful country.
We stopped at a gas station just past Ghost Lake for lunch, tomato and chip sandwiches with bacon puffs and a hot dog for dessert. That gave us not only the energy we needed but also a nice break from the wind. Enough to boost our confidence heading into Cochrane anyways.
There was a huge hill in Cochrane, over 200m incline in less than a kilometer. We danced and ate more snacks when we got to the top. From there it was downhill all the way to Calgary. The wind was still strong but our spirits were stronger and we raced all the way to Calgary. We're staying with one of the nicest people in the world, a guy named Jeff from Indonesia. He told us his wife sends us her regards as she went back home for a visit. He had a streak and shrimp dinner waiting for us and got us to help him polish off a bottle of wine. So all in all it was another great day in Canada.
For those keeping track at home, our wildlife spotting skills got waay better. I forgot to mention 3 whitetail deer and 2 moose from our ride in Kootenay. Then today we saw a whole herd of mountain sheep. I only counted that as one but there were at least 2 dozen about 20ft from the hwy. That puts living things in the lead with 20, roadkill at 19 and 9 vehicles that got a little close. The story today was right after we pulled into Calgary and I guess someone didn't like bikes in their neighborhood. We were on a 4 lane divided street with parked cars about 500m ahead and an entrance to a shopping centre between us and the cars. We were right near the curb and a white car sped up to get to the entrance before us, which is fair but then the guy cut us off and slammed on his breaks. We both stopped and looked around and saw no other cars or people nearby that he needed to stop for. We gave ourselves another high five for surviving the enraged roady and went on our way.
We won't let it leave a bad taste in our mouth because Calgary's bike path system is pretty darn fantastic. Worth the visit anyways.
I'll stop yakkin' your eyes off and get to bed. Don't know where we're headed tomorrow yet, but it's probably east.
Until next time,