Friday, August 17, 2007

Bow Valley Parkway 100K

With the weather looking questionable for the weekend I took Thursday off and went up to Banff to do some riding. I parked at the east end of the Bow Valley Parkway, about 6lms west of Banff. Usually the parking area is full of cyclists' vehicles, but this time it was empty - the benefits of riding mid-week. It was pleasant riding through rolling hills lined with birch trees. I didn't see any other cyclists during the first part of the ride. About 25kms in I was stopped for 10mins at a construction zone that was only allowing alternating one way traffic to pass. I couldn't complain as there were quite a few nicely paved buttery smooth sections on the parkway. A glaring contrast to some other sections that were heavily frost heaved. During the second 25kms I passed quite a few cyclists on group tours heading the opposite way. Everyone seemed to be happy and enjoying a great day out on their bikes. Traffic actually seemed heavier than usual, but I suppose that a lot of people are on holidays so Thursday is pretty much a weekend day at the moment. Vehicles gave me lots of room and there were no crazy passing maneuvers so it was all good. This part of the parkway was lined with coniferous trees and is a bit more "lumpy"...=-) The Fujin was climbing well - I was using my small chain ring for a change as an experiment to see if I'd feel fresher. Nothing significant to report yet on that yet. Climbing seemed a bit easier, but it took longer to get up the climbs so I am not if I came out ahead or not. I'll keep trying things out and see if something jumps out at me.

When I got to the end of the parkway I enjoyed the killer hill down towards Lake Louise. I was going so fast I didn't notice the wind until I turn onto the Trans Canada Highway heading east. I almost always have had a mild to moderate tailwind on the return leg of this route. This sends me sailing at 40-50kph towards Banff and is a great recovery after pushing hard on the final parkway climbs. Sadly this time I was greeted with a very vigorous headwind. If I pushed it I could maintain 30kph, but it certainly wasn't a recovery. What can you do? At least I was on an aerodynamic bent so it could have been much much worse. I got a few honks of support along the way which was nice. At one point a travel van pulling a large black trailer with "ICE" & "TRICE" stickers on the back went past. I figured those trikers might stop up ahead and have a cold drink waiting for me...=-) I guess they weren't down with a two wheeled brother because they didn't stop at all. I finally rolled in to the parking area happy to see my truck.

My avg speed for the ride was 29.1kph. My PR on my DF road bike is 31.1kph for this ride. With a normal tailwind or no wind at all I should be able to beat this on the Fujin. I'll have to get back up there again this year and give it another try.


Anonymous said...

Hey Vik, did you try to see how slow you could get going up the hill. The other day out of my rocket I was fighting to keep it at 5k and hit 4k to see how slow I could climb a nearby hill. Nice to see you enjoying your LR, but did you ever get a best time with the Volae? BTW, when we went to a wedding approx 10 years ago there was construction goin on in Banff, have they not finished yet?

Vik said...

When I rode back up Bow Summit recently I was going 4-5kph on the Fujin and it balances no problem at all. That bike has the best handling of any bent I have been on.

I didn't ride the Bow Valley Parkway on the Volae so I can't compare the two bikes. The Fujin is faster uphill, but I can't put a specific number on it. Th Volae is probably faster on the flats when the roads are rough due to the larger front wheel.

They are widening the Trans-Canada to two lanes in either direction between LL and Banff. That work has been going on for a while and probably won't be done for a few years.