Photo evidence! Bikes parked at the candy shop.
Well, as summer winds down, we reflect. With family and things happening around us, we didn’t get a chance to ride as much as we wanted. We did do a couple of great (easy, low-impact) rides with our friends Russ and Lucie though, and I thought I’d share. We did the Canmore-Banff Legacy trail along the river, and we also did a loop from our house to downtown Calgary and back. In both cases, we took full advantage of our surroundings halfway through the rides to snack. Hey, if you’re riding, you need to reload, right?
Canmore-Banff Legacy Trail
Here’s the GPS plot. First off, we need a rematch on this ride. It was Adena’s first ride on her roadie in quite some time, and we ended up stopping a few times to make adjustments and repairs as we went. That’s fine, but it detracted from the rhythm of riding a bit. She was thrilled, though; she loves going fast on the road bike way more than riding her mountain bike. Whenever we’d stop to make an adjustment, it was like she was being tortured… she wanted to go!
The only trouble is that the trail starts on the Canmore side just at the park gates. There’s also nowhere to park there. The way we did it was to park in Harvie Heights (right here), ride along a trail towards the park gates, and then go the wrong way over a one-way overpass to the other side of the highway. Once there, we rode about 1km up the Trans-Canada against the flow of traffic (the move looked like this going from B to A). A bit unnerving, but there were lots of people making the journey and it’s the only way to hook it up. Access: a small oversight on the trail designers’ part!
The trail itself is awesome. You’re just off the highway, enough separation to take a little bit of an edge off the noise from the Trans-Canada. To Banff, it’s an easy, undulating ride with a predominantly uphill trend to it. This is a place where mountain geography works out for us in the long run when we out-and-back. It’s uphill, and also generally into the wind to Banff. So, it’s a little bit more work, but you still have some chances to really hammer down a hill and get a bit of a break. Back to Canmore, however… a generally trending downhill route with a tail-wind. Talk about fast! I absolutely hammered and ran my speed up quite high.
One of the benefits of Banff, of course, is that you can stop for food. Our first stop was the Candy Shop (Adena and Lucie’s idea). Shortly after that, however, was a trip to McDonalds where I scarfed a cheeseburger, medium fries, and (believe it or not) a large Coke. Tourists gave me some strange looks at me in my full cycling gear nomming on Rotten Ronnie’s. I think had the UCI decided to test me after this venture, I likely would have tested positive for something. Still, it was the energy boost I needed to absolutely obliterate the route back to Canmore. What a great afternoon!
Working hard… or hardly working…
Downtown Calgary Loop for Pizza
Here’s the overall plot of the ride. It’s one thing to plan a nice ride. It’s quite something else (and more motivating) to plan a ride and add food to the middle of it. I am reminded of this excellent article from Bicycling magazine when I state this. We had planned to do a ride, but Adena suggested that it would be prudent to get lunch part way through, and it would be even more prudent if we were to eat something Italian… we are riding after all! Most prudent of all, she suggested lunch at Pulcinella, the perfect food for the halfway point of a road ride.
It started cool. I had knicker tights and a jacket, and everyone else was decked out in long-sleeves as well. We rode down to Baker Park through Silver Springs on the hill that I usually climb on my way home from work. Adena loved this hill, but thought it was a bit silly that I willingly climbed it every day. Russ and Lucie met us at the bottom, and we saddled up our whole peleton. We rode through Bowness to Edworthy Park and across to the south side of the river to meander past downtown. We got stopped by a train in Edworthy, but it was no big deal. By the time we’d wound our way downtown, we were definitely hungry. It’s quite possible that this was amplified by the fact that we’d planned in advance to stop and gorge ourselves.
Catering to cyclists, they let us park our bikes in the vestibule.
Pulcinella was a wonderful distraction. We had Parmesan Tempura and Oyster Mushrooms in a Gorgenzola Cream Sauce for appetizers (hello, rich!). For pizza, I had a pretty simple Margherita, and we all had some mineral water (con gas).
After our delicious distraction, summer had decided to return and it got hot outside. Even though I tried to keep the pace and the exertion down, I had too much clothing on. I eventually had to tie my jacket around myself so that I could survive the return trip along the north side of the river, back through Bowness and to where Russ’ Jeep was parked by Baker Park. At that point, Adena and Lucie left us and took the Jeep back to the house so that Russ and I could attack that hill and climb home. What punishment! Still, it’s a rewarding climb, and it was my punishment for letting myself go at Pulcinella.
There you go. A couple of very simple stories about some very easy 40km rides that ended with or were enabled by food.
Here are a couple of other random photos from the ride:
One satisfied customer.