Monday, 29 June 2009

Will Ride For Chocolate...

What a glorious day for a ride! Last week Heather asked if I'd like to ride from Johnstone Canyon (Alberta) to Radium Hot Springs (British Columbia). What a great ride I thought....except that I'd need to get some water along the way and there wasn't really anywhere to stop... 'No problem!', she said, 'my friend Amanda is going to drive and be vehicle support!'

First thing I thought - GET OUT! That is so cool! I've driven this road many a time and it is gorgeous in there. To be able to ride it would be a gift. So we did.

Here is the story of our day in pictures...

As mentioned above, we started out in Johnstone Canyon. Here is our driver Amanda. Hi Amanda! Thank you for driving our water and making sure we don't get eaten by bears (which Heather appears to attract I might add AND who I've seen along this route too...)

Of course the first thing we had to do was get all our fluids etc onto our bikes. Heather was testing out Hammer Perpetuem. Hmmm, do you think by the look on her face she likes the taste? Or perhaps it was the dry heaving she did after taking a few sips that made me think she didn't like it?? Pretty sure the last time I saw something that funny was when I saw the video of Jen's son Alex testing out gels.

So we headed out of the parking lot and went West on Hwy 1A till we got to Hwy 93, which we proceeded due south. The first bit of the ride is relaxing, then you get to a climb up to the Storm Mountain Lodge and beyond. It's not a bad little climb, not steep, just long. Here is a picture of Storm Mountain and it's brother across the valley, who's name I know not.

Once over it's a nice long ride down hill. Nothing wrong with that except that there were cracks in the road which someone decided they should fill in with sand, grit and pebbles. This would not have been an issue but they just left it in a mound from 1 to 2 inches high. The best part was that some were perpendicular to the way my tire was rolling, which gave me a wake up jolt every time I went over one. No, that's not a pylon in the middle of the road edge, it's the red arrow I drew in to try and show one of the bumps....

At one point I had some sweet speed coming down a hill, then come to a flatter portion where I went into aero. Then I hit one of those 'tire no roll' bumps and my neck snapped. It hurt. I kind of wondered how I'd feel today, but thankfully it's not too bad. I was having flashbacks to the time I had whiplash and it wasn't pretty!

For whatever reason I had to pee not less than a million times this ride. Last weekend in the race, nothing, this weekend, a million times. I kid you not. The good thing is I got to stop and see some pretty flowers...

Don't worry, I didn't pee on them. At the same spot I HAD to stop and get the following pictures. Any guess which province my heart belongs too?

At the same spot we had a rather unfortunate incident. Don't worry, it didn't involve pee. As I was taking photos of the wee flowers, Heather decided to adjust her bike seat as it was troubling her back. I was standing about four feet away and could hear the crack. The crack of a seat post pin shearing that is.

Picture if you can an electrician and a mechanical engineer pondering said snapped pin. The mechanical engineer immediately started to wonder why the pin sheared, how we could get it out of the clamp and where there would be a spare pin that we could take from the bike and still not mess with the integrity of any of the other components. The electrical engineer, well, she did what she knew best and grabbed some electrical tape.

I swear to you this world would fall apart if it weren't for electrical tape or duct tape!!! Heather's artwork and expertise is most apparant. Good thing it wasn't up to the mechanical engineer or we'd still be standing there pondering the next move!

I gotta say I was mighy impressed with Heather's attitude about it all. A lesser person would have thought, oh well, I guess I can't ride. Heather fixed it up, took it out for a test ride and rode the next 100 km like that. Several subsequent applications of tape had to be applied as it would squish down a bit, but still, very cool! High five for a brilliant attitude!!

There were many gorgeous sights as we made our way south. We were in a valley so had mountains on either side, wild flowers scattered about, rushing rivers and babbling brooks.

There was also the reminder of the fires from a few years back. I'm happy to report that there is alot of new growth amongst the burned trees. Hopefully the pine beetle won't get at it; however you can see the remains of it's wrath as well.

I'm sure you are wondering at this point if I was enjoying myself at all? Well if you could get a close up of this photo you'd see I have a grin from ear to ear...I was in my happy place!

I was having a pretty great ride too I should add! This despite killer headwinds that were there about 98% of the time. The winds have been from 40 - 60 kph in this neck of the woods, so I'll assume they were pretty good down there. Normally the signs hang straight down and in aligment with the post. Today however, there was a ever so slight angle visible indicate the strength of the winds...

As we neared Radium Hot Springs I had the pleasure of using an outhouse rather than nature's washroom. I must say, they have some very clean outhouses in BC!

The odd time the wind died down and I wondered if it would be ok to take a little dip in a lake means glacial water doesn't it?!

Eventually we got to the climb that signifies our approach to Radium. I swear this hill doesn't seem hill like when I'm driving, but on a bike. Holy hannah banana I was having visions of Anarchist all over again! I wound around left and right so you kept thinking you were at the top then you were denied! I took a wee break at what I thought was the top and discovered these rogue wild roses (the ALBERTA provincial flower) growing far into BC country...
They were trying to camoflouge themselves amongst the daisies, but I spotted them.
Oh, and I was wrong about the climb being over. After my quick stop I thought I was going downhill, but my legs didn't work. There was yet another hill to go. Gasp, sputter. This is when the wind seemed to die down of course. Not for long though, it was back up and I wondered what was worse, climbing in the heat, or climbing with a headwind. Huh.
Once over the hill we hit traffic. They were paving the roads so had both directions stopped. Here's where things got even more fun...
I, of course, scooched to the front of the line just in time for them to start waving along traffic in the direction I was going. I was pedaling along keeping up to traffic (this was downhill and they had to go slow for construction purposes) when the flat dude said 'Hey! You will be safer riding on the opposite side of the road - there's room there!' Ok! So I shoulder checked, saw no one behind me and I zipped between stopped cars (in the opposite direction) and what I found was a cyclists dream....
Fresh paved road totally cordoned off with pylons so it was all MINE! HOOOYAAAAAH! I letter rip at this point, totally tucked into my bike and let gravity fly me down the hill. I'm sure the drivers, where were sitting still in 24C heat and looking at this fine section of perfectly good road that they could be driving on, but weren't allowed to, were wondering where this insane blond chick with the big arse smile came from. So. Much. Fun.
Alas, the pylons narrowed and I had to stop and go back onto to the proper side of the road... I spotted Amanda driving by at that point and was glad she made it through the big lineup or we'd have to wait a bit in Radium. I then zipped along with traffic into town. It was a major blast!
Finally, we were there. This is a house in Radium. Yup. It's someones house. Right in the middle of the road. As you can read by the signs, his house has been on Weird Homes. Not sure why though....

All totalled we rode about 117 km. My bike computer said ride time was 4:35; however we stopped along the way and fixed seats and had pees and WAIT!!! I forgot a most important thing! Amanda, the sweetpea she is, brought along chocolate. Mmmm. So everyonce in a while we would also stop and get a piece of chocolate.
What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday!
Thank you Heather for inviting me on this most bodacious adventure and thank you Amanda for your wonderful smile, photos, driving and of course - chocolate! I had a brilliant time!
Peace out my wonderful friends!


  1. What a great ride. Be careful with the Alberta roses - their thorns are longer than you are, just about. Yes, THAT green means glacier fed water, not algae. Perpetuem *is* disgusting; it tastes what I imagine those barium milkshakes would taste like. Or worse.

  2. Amazing ride Susi! It is an amazing route for sure, and how great that you had a support vehicle. And it is hilly too!

  3. WOW!! That looks like you had a great beautiful. Chad and I love to go out and ride the bow valley parkways because it is soooo nice!

  4. Ooooo this ride sounds like it took you back to riding basics-enjoying the ride for the love of riding and not the sport-awesome!

    Killer climbs, chocolate and mountain beauty-wish I could have been on that ride with ya. Glad you had so much fun :)

  5. What a great ride!! Very cool that you guys snaggled a support vehicle too! :) :)

  6. Wow looks like an awesome ride,I might have to make vacation plans up north. I'm used to bears but it would be good to not worry about gator bumps in the road.