My Cannondale 1983s loaded up with a full complement of Arkel GT series panniers!

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.

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.

a mountain vista

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.

enterring Banff Natiopnal Park

I crossed into Banff National Park, crested the Continental Divide and entered Alberta just after 5:30, having come 135km in just over 7 hours. The heat of the days was subsiding and in my weariness I decided to push on for Banff rather than camp at Castle Junction. I started to have thoughts of staying in a bed.