Monday, June 25, 2007

Riders on a Storm

The plan was to get up early Sunday and ride 100kms before the daily thunderstorms hit. The alarm went off at 7am, but we were not ready to get up. So we killed the alarm and slept in until 10:30am. We would pay for the extra snoozing later!

We started off from the end of the C-train line where my Taifun lives in a bike locker and headed west on Hwy 22X. It was nice and warm with some beautiful sunshine to power our ride. There was some sort of organized ride earlier that day and they were just finishing up as we rode towards Bragg Creek. I wonder if they thought we were stragglers from their ride?...=-)

Sarah cruised along comfortably at 25kph on the flats and hit over 70kph on the downhills! It looked like the highway crews had been out and swept the shoulders clean - very nice. The only garbage I saw were discarded GU packages from other cyclists....=-(

We reached Bragg Creek just as the thunder cell was getting very black. Seeing as we were quite hungry [no breakfast because of our late start] we thought we could wait out the storm while having a bite. The food was good and it looked like the storm was moving away from us. Just to be sure we hit the coffee shop for some hot chocolates. Wearing all our clothes - which didn't add up to much we ventured north on Hwy 22.

The pavement was wet from the storm and we didn't have fenders so we were pretty wet in short order! Getting to Hwy 8 wasn't bad. We had a tailwind and although we were a bit wet it seemed like a fun adventure. Of course that is when the storm hit in all it's fury. We endured loads of rain and quite a bit of hail on this 20km stretch. Without fenders we got totally soaked. As it turns out the Taifun's 20" rear wheel throws water right into the back of my helmet...=-( At one point I was getting nasty road grime thrown into my face from Sarah's rear wheel and into the back of my helmet from my own bike.

Sorry for the lack of pics from the storm phase of our ride, but I wasn't in the mood to stop for some happy snaps - not to mention I was pretty cold so riding was the best way to stay warm. The SPD sandals seemed like such a great ideal at the start of the ride, but during the storm I was wishing I had packed something more than a lightweight wind jacket. Like all gnarly moments this one eventually ended and we reached Calgary as the rain stopped. The sun warmed us up and dried us out. That felt great - even if we were covered in grime and grit.

We had to cut across some freshly cut grass for 1km to get to 37th St SW and the access to the Glenmore Reservoir bike pathway. We both fell a couple times on the slippery wet grass uphill. I waited for Sarah on the road and she was taking forever so I went back to check on her. She was okay, but she could barely make any progress on the grass. I didn't think much of it until she couldn't get up any speed when she was back on the pavement. A little investigation revealed she had mangled her rear brake lever jamming on the rear brake. That will give you a good work out going uphill on wet grass! We released her rear brake and rode the bike path towards Sean & Deanna's place.

We had decided to stop in for a visit and hopefully score a cup of warm tea. They were home and obliged us with some welcome hospitality. With more storm cells building we decided to bail at this point. Good thing too as Sarah had sliced open her rear Primo Comet on a large shard of glass leaving her tire DOA.

It was a fun ride - even when the hail stones were pelting our faces - a bad day on the bike is still better than a good day at the office. We'll be installing fenders on both bikes and be carrying a bit more in the way of spare clothing in the future.

We ended up riding 83kms, which is the farthest Sarah has ridden to date and the longest ride for me on the Taifun.

Next time my alarm goes off at 7am for a bike ride I might just get my lazy butt out of bed...


Steeker said...

dispite the storm and the bike parts you had a really cool adventure together,,,

Jerome said...

Man that looks like too much fun! I had eased off the burnen desire for a bent, but it's lighten back up again. I couldn't seem to find the link on bentrideronline that shows where used bikes are. Where am I not looking? I stopped into cyclepath on Sunday to see what they had, but I think I'd like to try and find a used one.

Good on you for the ride! I want one soooo bad! Have fun.