Friday, August 15, 2008

Road Trip

I first heard of the Banff-Lake Louise area from Geri. It has been on our short list of destinations for the 11 years we've been together. The area came up this year as I heard of anxiety in Rando circle around the lottery for 100 spots in the 2008 Rocky Mountain 1200. I had no desire to participate, but I thought the area would make for a good week-long trip and Geri enthusiastically agreed. We decided that driving would make more sense than flying as Geri had been told it was a great drive and five years had passed since our last road trip vacation.
We loaded our 2 bikes and 2 travel bags into Geri's 34 MPG hatchback and were off to Canada. We're each other's better half in many, many respects- in this case Geri is an indefatigable driver and I can't stay awake in a car for more than an hour. We left Salem at 5 AM. I was asleep 2 hours later and dozed off and on for the next several hours.
Geri had been enjoying the drive despite my nonparticipant status.

Shortly after crossing the OR-ID border, she woke me up- "nimrod, you're missing some great scenery!". Subsequently the drive turned as advertised. The already spectacular terrain was augmented by stormy weather.

We arrived 16 hours later to Canmore, which was our base for the week.
The weather thankfully improved through the rest of our stay. Banff, Canmore and Lake Louise have lots of great road bicycling routes. However, the crown jewel has to be the route from Lake Louise to the Columbia Ice Fields. Geri and I did it by car and we both thought that was the most scenic drive either of us have experienced. It was then that I developed marked envy for the RM1200 participants for experiencing that magnificent stretch of earth on a bicycle. And we didn't get to take in Jasper. As we were driving back home, my thoughts were on plotting the return to see that area in a bike credit card touring manner. 10 days or so, 50-100 miles a day, stop in different towns, stop each day for a good dinner and a comfortable bed. The stats for this trip: 2000 miles in the car, 200 miles on the bike, great memories and a can of bear repellant as a souvenir.
Can't wait to see that area with more snow on the mountains.

Canmore, Alberta 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Celebrity Sightings

I'm not much on roadie culture in general and professional cycling in particular- find it hard to spend my discretionary reading time on that crowd.  One of the exceptions is Chris Horner who unfailingly comes across as a good guy. So when SIR's site included the entry "Chris Horner is a class act" I clicked to read the story. It reinforced all the prior accounts about him-strong rider, even better person. In the synchronicity that sometimes occurs, being a shutterbug, I recognized the name of the photographer-Heidi Swift-as I was reading the signup for the Timothy Lake brevet.

As it turned out, I wound up spending a good chunk of the ride with her group which included Natalie Ramsland, a noted Portland area frame builder and Salvatore Bondi, who aside from being a tocayo, was a strong rider and generous with his wheel.

It was a day for good company, optimal weather and a very scenic route put together by Michael Wolfe.

Timothy Lake 2008