Our mountain pass breakfast routine has been to go to Tim’s for a nice hearty and warm breakfast instead of just oats. Turns out the coffee is key for mornings where you jump straight into a mountain pass. On our way out of town we ran into some friends we made the previous day who are a family riding across the country for a food bank. It’s crazy how in such a big country you can meet so many people who are on similar adventures.
Immediately out of Golden and we were climbing. This road really felt like it had proper mountain pass scenery with winding roads cut straight into the mountain side.
After the winding roads, the views closer to the top were absolutely stunning as we looked onto the giant snowcaps looming on the BC/Alberta border. On the way up we met another pair of people that are also riding across the country (they too have a support van following them). We had a bit of a back-and-forth chase race as we had some mechanical issues out of sync with their breaks.
Summitting the Kicking Horse Pass in about 3 hours (following a long drag of 6km at 6%), meant we had reached the BC/Alberta border. One province down!
The descent was fast until Lake Louise, where we stopped for lunch. After the quiet interior roads, the crowds of tourists were an unwelcome surprise. For the full experience we bought some food for a picnic lunch and headed up the steep road to the lake…between the hunger and heat, these 3km at 10-11% felt waayyy harder than the previous 70km of climbing.
From Lake Louise it was all downhill and tailwind to Banff. We crushed out 60km at about 38kph average, just fast enough to catch up to a local who was out for a ride. Even after nearly five hours of riding, when you see a fellow cyclist up the road, you can’t help but chase.
In celebration of the first week and province completed, we went out for a fancy dinner of a variety of local meats.
One more day to Calgary then we take the first rest day of the trip!
We had a rather slow and hectic start to the day with running around for getting breakfast, groceries, stickers, and a bag we (I) forgot at the hotel. When we finally hit the road around 10:30am we had a nice tailwind at our backs and a gentle downhill gradient to make the first hour and a half real easy.
It still comes as a shock to me just how quickly the mountains end. We round one corner and can see a wide open gap between two hills. Once we pass through that gap we’re abruptly into flat and rolling fields.
Along with the abrupt ending of the mountains, the tailwind also quickly turned into a strong cross/headwind. The wild wind and wide open skies meant we could see the storm rolling into Banff and Canmore. We still had clear and sunny skies headed for Calgary!
On the long flatter roads we could really settle into a groove and pound out the kilometers. After a hearty lunch at a roadside diner, we rolled into Calgary at roads that seemed like we shouldn’t be allowed to ride, but had surprisingly good bike infrastructure.
We rolled in to the city in the late afternoon and set to work navigating the extensive bike path network. The amount of greenspace in this city is truly astounding!
There was a flurry of activity this evening as I worked to prep some final things for an job interview I was having the next morning, but we rounded off the evening by eating way too much food at all-you-can-eat sushi.
With 8 days, 1030km, and 35 hours of riding completed, the first leg of the journey is over! Now to refuel and stock up on supplies during our rest day in Calgary before heading out for the flattest part of the trip!
Cheers and Ride On!