Thursday, April 10, 2008

Icefield's Parkway Tour September 2006

Update: I had this posted on my personal blog and decided to move it over to my more bikey blog.

So the labour day long weekend rolled around and I had not done a real mountain ride all year. Add to that a new touring bike and what else could I do, but go for a trip through the mountains. Anna has a new touring bike as well so it was easy to convince her what a great idea it would be to ride from Jasper to Calgary.

Anna guards the bikes while we stop at Lake Louise for a rest stop. Thanks Bob for the lift to Jasper. It only took 5hrs to drive there, but it took us 4 days to ride back - we must be out of shape.

Anna psyched to ride - just waiting for the coffee to kick in.

My Surly Long Haul Trucker loaded and a bit rear heavy.

Finally on the road. HWY 93 winds through two mountain passes 230kms from Jasper to Lake Louise.

Taking off my thermal underwear - in full view of passing motorists - where else?

Reason #1 why you might want to bike (or at least drive) the Ice Fields Parkway.

Keeping an eye on Anna.

The weather was wonderful - cool mornings and hot days with lots of sun.

She is an "Adventure Cyclist."

Hwy 93 was lightly traveled and in great shape. The wide shoulders were nice for biking and 99% of cars gave us lots of space.

We only saw two other touring cyclists. They were headed north to Jasper.

Reason #2.

A little stretching for some tight shoulders.

Reason #3.

The bikes on lunch break. Food was over priced and low quality along the parkway, but for hungry cyclists it did not matter - we ate everything in sight regardless.

Reason #4.

Vik spots Mount Edith Cavell using his extensive knowledge of Alberta geography.

Reason #5.

Giving it all on the downhills. BTW - did you know that Serratus means 100 in Indonesian?

It is hard to tell, but I am having a nap on this picnic table.

Ou est les mouflons? We didn't see any.

The rarely photographed Blue Alberta Yeti.

The parkway featured lots of beautiful flowers and grasses to keep us entertained on the long climbs.

Home sweet home - Jonas Creek Campground on our first night of the ride.

Anna checking out the Athabasca Glacier.

Hydrate or die was our theme. Even I "the cammel" drank a ton of water and gatorade.

The top of Sunwapta Pass - hard work!

Offroading in the campground.

There were so many spectacular views they almost became ordinary.

Anna was hard to photograph. She moved so fast she was a blurr.

Our motto switched back and forth between - "...slow and steady wins the race..." & "...lets take a rest break..."

The Num-Ti-Jah Lodge was the only good food on the parkway. We ate till we nearly burst and then we each stole 3 cookies for later. I would love to tell you the guilt gnawed away at me, but the truth is the only thing that got gnawed were the cookies.

Anna reflecting on Nature's beauty.

Strike a pose.

We saw some Elk on the drive up to Jasper, but no big animals on our bike trip.

Reason #6.

No flats and no broken spokes - sweet!

Reason #7.

We spent 5 to 7 hrs riding each day. With all our eating and rest stops we pretty much rode from early morning till dusk.

Reason #8.

Anna's bike lacked a kickstand - luckily she made do with a Vik-stand.

A room with a view at Waterfowl Campground on night two.

Barba-trick! Barba-Vik!

The campgrounds we used were really nice and had lots of room in the hiker/biker walk in campsites. They even had drinking water and clean toilets - what more could tired bikers ask for?

This little guy was trying to hitch a ride. He said he wouldn't bee a bother. Anna kicked him to the curb - she is tough like that.

The freedom of the open road.

Reason #9.

Treacherous mountain roads. I though I might slide right off on my way to Bow Summit.

Reason #10.

Did I mention we did a lot of riding.

I had to stop and soak it all in - okay my real reason was I was tired, but the Alberta Wide-Screen Channel was hard to beat for back to back great shows.

Reason #11.

Due to a beauacratic SNAFU at the Canmore Alpine Clubhouse (details to be featured in a special rant later this week) we had to stealth camp off the road near an equestrian centre. The horses caught us, but they didn't tell anyone.

Considering two of the freeze dried meals I ate were from 1989 they were reasonably tasty or perhaps I was just really, really, really hungry?

Keeping an eye on things.

Our rogue campsite. That is the Alpine Clubhouse road just past the trees. Our stealth tent was hard to see. No one noticed us.

Making my get away from our hidden campsite.

On our way to Calgary.

It was supposed to be downhill to Calgary, but the 1A had some tricks in store for us.

Seems like I was always pulling up the rear. Just call me "the turtle."

Getting fired up for that next hill.

See no stinking hill can ruin our happy vibe.

Everything checks out, we are go for launch or was that lunch?

My truck vs. his truck. I bet you he isn't running 90psi!

Mount Yamnuska.

I often felt like we were being followed.

Rolling through the foothills.

Reason #12.

Anna on the 1A past Exshaw - notice the lack of shoulders.

Anna breaks out the stove at Ghost Resevoir.

Getting into a full tuck for the downhill run into Calgary. There was the uphill horror show called the Cochrane Hill, but we'd rather just forget about that!

Cruising the bikepaths back to downtown Calgary.

5 mins from home - yeah!

We made it! 450kms ridden over 4 days. Zero flats. Zero broken spokes. Zero rain. Two sore butts and two big smiles. We are ready to do it all over again - just not this week...=-)


Josh said...

Looks like fun.

Anonymous said...

Are you going to do this ride again? This time on your Challenge.


PS loved the trip photos and comments. Indonesian for 100. :-)

Vik said...

I did a 160km ride last year on my Fujin that was essentially the southern half of the Icefied's Parkway and back. If I started in Jasper I could ride to Lake Louise in one day no problem on the Fujin. That would be a super fun ride as long as I can get a lift up to Jasper.

fridrix said...

Gnarly ride, dude

Doug said...

The "reasons' look spectacular. I will have to get my Trucker out on some overnighters!!

Anonymous said...

I am so jealous!

Steeker said...

dang ! that looked like alot of fun, nice post and pic's

Steve Fuller said...

Trips like that are the whole reason I bought my LHT. Now too bad I didn't have better scenery around here.