In September 2010 I picked up a 1983 Cannondale, my first touring bike. With the cooling weather (north American Fall) and working long hours I was not able to take it out on any long rides (and thus, nothing noteworthy to post—I may in the future reflect on my experiences all-weather commuting through the Canadian winter). As the weather warmed in 2011, I was finally able to take this bike out on a few rides, and to prepare for a longer trip. As part preparation, I rode from St Catharines to the MEC at Burlington and back.
The Birch Fall Classic was the first mountain biking event I have participated in. Whilst I was coming off long days touring with a loaded trailer, I did not envisage having 8 hours of trail riding in me so I asked the organisers to pair me with another rider. What the event proved to me is that Manitoba does have hills if you know where to look! It was a warm and prerty tough day... and an enjoyable one.
It was nice to wake up in my tent not thinking of any mountains to climb. I was feeling pretty good given the last 9 days of exertion, crossing 5 serious Mountain Passes (Allison 1342m; Anarchist 1233m; Paulson 1535m; Kootenay Valley viewpoint 1400m+; Continental divide 1640m) and a few other sizable climbs.
I rose and packed camp early in anticipation of another hot day, hoping to get past the anticipated steep and challenging climb out of Radium Hot Springs. I was on the bike by 7:15. The ride to Radium (38km) was uneventful. A short climb, some spectacular scenery, and a early heat provided a indication of what was to come. I stocked up on supplies, not knowing if I would make it to Banff and what services were available prior to Kootenay Park Lodge. The adventures of the day provided many more photo’s than any other day.