Day 14: Canmore to Calgary
There’s nothing like starting a 95km bike ride with a quick run. Call me nuts, but before I left the UK I thought it would be fun to do some trail running in Canada.*
Finally this morning I actually made use of the running gear I’ve been lugging around by joining Betti, Ric and Sofi Wanderer for a refreshing 5k run along the river. Betti and Ric are incredibly lucky to live in Canmore – it is such a beautiful place. And we were incredibly lucky to stay with such wonderful hosts. Grey mountains watch over the old mining town on the edge of the Rockies. We ran on perfect dirt trails alongside an ice-cold fast flowing Bow river.
The run was followed by a delicious breakfast (I’ve been craving fried eggs so much!) back at the house. We carried on chatting and laughing for hours. It was midday before the Wanderers and I packed up our panniers and said our goodbyes. I sure hope to be back in
Canmore again one day.
What a beautiful day for cycling. Sunshine, lots of short hills to sprint up and long, easy descents. Fuelled by fried eggs, laughter and the 5k run warm up, my legs felt powerful as I climbed out the saddle to sprint the short hills. Slowly the mountains slipped further behind us. Over the course of the day the surrounding jagged mountaineer smoothed into rolling hills and then flattened into a pancake horizon of green fields.
As we headed out of the mountains the wind picked up. First it was a soothing brushing across my chest, then it wrapped around my head, muffling my ears. Then a strong northern wind battered against my wheels, buffering my bike back and forth as we descended. Towards Calgary I approached a number of sharp descents that were nerve-wracking to tackle in the wind. A large articulated lorry (semi) stormed by, whipping the wind so much that my tshirt nearly flew off.
There weren’t many places to stop. By 4pm we hadn’t found a shelter for lunch so sat out under the sun munching crackers and avocado. I turned around to catch a last glimpse of the Rocky Mountains. It’s been an adventure. I do love a good hill climb. And I hope to come back here (Kettle Valley rail trail Ruth?) But the mountains are only the beginning.
I’m headed into the prairies and it will be like this all day: hot, flat and windy. In order to get to Winnipeg in time for Canada Day I’ve got some serious biking to do. Expect 150km days and long, hot hours in the saddle. I’d best get running.
*This idea was inspired by my New Zealand travel buddy Sina would used to go on a run almost everyday while travelling around Canada and NZ. I thought it a very cool thing to do.