June 19, 2008

6/19/08 Canmore, AB

86.6km/1060km

Well, without a thermometer, I couldn't exactly tell you how cold it was this morning, but I don't think -5C was off by much. Not only was I using my sleeping bag, but a silk liner, plus I had on socks and shirt and a fleece jacket, and I was still freezing.

I think it was by consensus that at our usual wake-up time of 6am, we all rolled over for another thirty minutes of sleep. Even then it was hard to pack with numb fingers. Even though it was a beautifully sunny morning, I had my rain gear on because I thought it would hold the heat in better.

We stopped off at Logan's Bakery in town before heading out on the highway. We had a bit of tailwind and it was pretty flat, but I was reluctant to go very fast because it would just make me colder with the wind-chill factor.

Jim bundled up for some cold riding

Again, the scenery was beyond words. The highway was lined with snow-covered mountains, with the river alongside reflecting like crystal. At one point, we stopped to watch an elk graze alongside the highway.

At Castle Mountain, we were finally warm enough to strip off a few layers and get off the main highway. We took Hwy-1A which parallels Hwy-1. It was a great decision. It meandered through the woods and traffic was light, and even when we did have a car or RV pass us, it was going so slow I figure they too must be in awe of the views.

A great ride on a peaceful road

Eventually we had to join back up with Hwy-1, the Trans-Canadian Highway, outside of Banff. It was like riding on I-70 back in Kansas City, and we had to ride about 30km (19-miles) of it. But here we had a strong tailwind and a gradual downhill so I could easily maintain 25mph with no effort.

On the highway near Banff

We met George's wife, Ellen, and his daughter, Sadona, along with Ellen's nephew, Jay, for lunch at a local pizza restaurant where we proceeded to stuff ourselves. We are all staying at a family condo in Canmore. Canmore is the home of the Canadian Cross-Country Team and the Biathalon Team. We have great views of the surrounding mountains from the deck.

Dig in Mike!

Also joining us tonight is Judy and Pete. Ellen grew up with Judy in Calgary. And we got to celebrate with Judy and Pete there 30th wedding anniversary tonight with dinner and dessert. And Judy and Pete have offered to put us up at there house in Calgary when we ride through there on Saturday.

Judy & Pete

The plan is to take tomorrow off the bikes and let Ellen be tour-guide, showing us all the cool places she grew up with here. I think we'll even go back to Lake Louise to see the lake itself. But for me, I'm exhausted and am looking forward to a day off.

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