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August 21st 2015
Published: August 21st 2015
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Did very little other than walk today. 15 kms i reckon. As i said a pleasant town in a beautiful setting.
A brief storm at midday, then a fine afternoon. Had my hair and beard cut, hoping to regain my lost youth(!!) lost to the beard. Haha. Saw a photo of me yesterday , very depressing!!!
Nice to enjoy a quieter day, pizza for dinner, the rest of the wine and a few hours reading. Great.
7 people leave the tour today. A few characters, so will be a loss. Now a group of 12, with more to go later. 2 new arrivals, staying for 10 days, hardly worth the effort of getting to Banff!!! Mostly checking it out in consideration of doing the Silk route next year.

BANFF to Peter Lougheed Park. Section 4 ROAD TO THE SUN (haha) Distance Kms 113.36 kms; Total Dist to Date 3421 kms; Road Condition: good Weather: 11c at rising; 3c 1hr later, covered by freezing cold front all day. 4c tops,mostly 2c, now in tent 0c threat of snow overnight and at the mountain pass tomoorow. Snowing now at the pass!! Heavy soaking rain 75%!o(MISSING)f day!! Time in Saddle: 5.13 hrs; Speed: av 21.7 kph Max speed 58.7kph Av Cadence 77 rpm Elevation: 1100m up; Total up to Date 32,020 m ; 800 m down; down to date 26,747 m

Miserable, wet, freezing day. Everyone sodden. Black humour to the fore!! Supposedly good scenery, but totally clouded in, saw nothing but the road ahead!! No Photos today!
One rider looked to have hyperthermia at lunch! Not surprising as no he had rain jacket. Was drenched. German stubbornness maybe!! Saved by the French women contingent from Quebec.
A govt camping park, but has a shower block. Too cold for shower though and had seen enough water today. However it had handblow dryers, so spent 40 minutes attempting to dry 4 gloves, 2 socks, 2 shoes. Not entirely dry, but hopefully will be reasonable tomorrow, if it dry morning. We have solved the forest fire crisis in western Canada since the trip commenced!

These rides are about endurance and stupidity. You need both attributes! I unfortunately seem to have both. Maybe the later more than the former!!

Now in the sleeping bag wearing t shirt, long sleeve under shirt, polar fleece, long johns, track pants, socks, Marcel Marceau white cotton gloves and beanie AND still cold. A LOOOONG night ahead.

Peter Lougheed Park to CHAIN LAKE Section 4 ROAD TO THE SUN (haha)

Distance Kms 146.10 kms; Total Dist to Date 3567 kms; Road Condition: good, but narrow shoulder. Weather: 0c ,snow at rising,at rising; 2c for first cycle hour,later it warmed up to 12c, storm/hail at camp, now fine. Time in Saddle: 6.36 hrs; Speed: av 22.1 kph Max speed 54.8 kph Av Cadence 76 rpm Elevation: 1200 up; Total up to Date 33,220 m ; 1600 m down; down to date 28,347 m

Last night it rained incessantly until about 3am. It was very cold and we awoke to snow. The wolves howled all night apparently. Thank goodness I had my ear plugs in, as it otherwise might have been unsettling!!!
Every thing was soaked. It such a joy to pack wet gear into a dry bag with dry clothing.

Got on the road by 7.30. A big 14 km climb provided warmth, which stopped the complaining. The mountains and fields all glistened with snow. Snow on the trees looked like Christmas cards. Exceedingly beautiful, and all felt inspired. A welcome coffee break at 30 km to provide some inner warmth. Slowly the sun peeked through the overcast sky and it was time to start stripping off the layers of clothing. Thank goodness for long fingered gloves as they revived my frozen fingers, even if the gloves were still damp from yesterday and after blow drying in the loo.

Stopped for a coffee stop after lunch and ate a reviving whiskey cake and coffee. The scenery now changed to beautiful rolling plains, the trail called the "Cowboy Trail". Good cattle grazing country.
Arrived at camp after a big day. The afternoon traffic was obnoxious. Very little room to ride on the shoulder due to a rumble strip ( like riding over a corrugated roof). Maybe 12 inches, and the drivers in their oversized vehicles tooted non stop if we road close to the white line as we are entitled. Felt like imposing violence on them!!!! Verbal abuse didn't seem enough!! Apparently there were many activities, truck parade, rodeo in neighbouring towns.

At camp, got tent up, then a storm broke bringing heavy rain and hail. We had all seasons today. Tent was surrounded by ice! Now sitting outside my tent writing this. Air is very fresh and quite cool

Chain Lake to Waterton park Camp Section 4 ROAD TO THE SUN (haha) Distance Kms 153.64 kms; Total Dist to Date 3721 kms; Road Condition: good Weather: cool at start then great weather. Time in Saddle: 7.04 hrs; Speed: av 21.7 kph Max speed 56 kph Av Cadence 76 rpm Elevation: 1200 up; Total up to Date 34,420 m ; 1212 m down; down to date 29,559 m

Today was tough. Rolling hills all afternoon and i found it difficult to get into a rhythm. Scenery all day was delightful. We entered Waterton park, another govt park and another entrance fee. Very scenic. Reminds me of the New England tableland, NSW.

Saw a herd of deer this morning.

Stopped often, maybe this was a cause of my difficulty. Alternatively it may be due to a few big days back to back.

Cross into the USA tomorrow morning. Canada reminds me of WA!! Looking forward to a new country. Canada has been much colder and wetter than i expected. Even the Canadian riders agree that the weather we have experienced is unusual for the time of year.

Waterton is another tourist town on a lake situated in a beautiful national park. A pretty place with another amazing hotel Prince of Wales, perched on a hill above the town. Unfortunately to tired to walk up to it. However did wander by the lake which is shared with the US. Great views.
Also ate two delicious ice creams throughout the day- butterscotch pecan, salty caramel.

Waterton park Camp to St Marys Section 4 ROAD TO THE SUN (haha) Distance Kms 78.40 kms; Total Dist to Date 3799 kms; Road Condition: good Weather: cool / showers at start then great weather. Time in Saddle: 3.42 hrs; Speed: av 21.2kph Max speed 54.9 kph Av Cadence 74 rpm Elevation: 1200 up; Total up to Date 36,620 m ; 1000m down; down to date 30,559 m

Today woke to a rain/dew free night. All tent gear would pack into the tent bag. Amazing!
Left for the border, but first the mandatory 15 km climb at 7%! (MISSING)At least the climb was consistent! Not sure what muscles are strengthening, leg or stomach/back. Whatever, they got me there!!
The border crossing was uneventful. I am now in the US for 36 days. All up 44days, frustrates me the 90 day visa issue****

The scenery seemed to change, maybe my imagination, but more rolling hills and "ranches" everywhere. Cattle country! Ate the best cinnamon bun in the USA this morning. My only cinnamon bun in the USA, BUT STILL GOOD!

The ride was relatively easy, although my stats yesterday were better. Must be better because it was a shorter day!!

St Mary's is a 4 shop town, however bought my first tourist items of the trip, in fact first purchase excluding chocolate bars, beer, chips and cinnamon buns!

St Marys to Apgar Section 4 ROAD TO THE SUN (haha) Distance Kms 83.53 kms; Total Dist to Date 3883 kms; Road Condition: good Weather: cool at start then great weather. Time in Saddle: 3.57 hrs Speed: av 21.1 kph Max speed 47.3 kph Av Cadence 70 rpm Elevation: 900 up; Total up to Date 37,520 m ; 1300 down; down to date 31,859m

Today was magical. After a cold start, 0c, we started out early as we had a huge climb to complete, before the road was closed to cyclists.
We cycled through GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, one of the showpieces of the US Nat. Park Service, $12 entrance fee. It borders the BLACKFEET INDIAN RESERVATION. The park now contains 25 Glaciers, however 30+ years ago there were 150 glaciers. Due to the park popularity cyclists are prohibited on the road between 11-4 daily.

Currently we have the TDA accountant on the trip, joining in Banff, and not leaving soonenough in Jackson Hole. I have restrained myself in the past week, but this fellow is a condescending, arrogant arse. He treats the TDA crew poorly, and the customers with arrogant distain. Last night at the rider meeting, the purpose of which is to detail the next days features, he completely misdescribed today, speaking of things that didn't exist or worse, speaking about cycle proposals which were completely wrong, and if followed would have led riders seriously amiss. Luckily most people hold a similar impression to mine and ignore him. It seems to me the office bound workers should remain in their slot, and let the tour crew get on with doing the jobs,I have observed that they do well.

Rant over, the climb from St Mary's to Logan Pass was 31kms at 5% gradient the entire distance. Once settled into a regular cadence it was not so bad. The time limit, 90 mins, was the difficulty and pressure issue. A few took the bus which was probably a good decision for them.

On the uphill it was difficult to see the view, but once at the top, reached with an amazingly strong German women, probably best rider on the trip, the view was marvellous, if not slightly dimmed by smoke haze. On entering the information centre, a mountain goat bounded about 15 feet in front of me. A spectacular animal, large in size, 5 feet at the shoulders with a set of beautiful curved horns. No photo unfortunately.

The descent was spectacular, the views extensive and beautiful. I took the descent slowly to admire the sights. We needed to have completed the descent by 11 am as apparently US drivers cannot deal with road cyclists!!

Arrived at Lake McDonald which is fed by the mountain streams from the snow runoff. A large lake, deep blue, one end McDonald lodge, an interesting lodge, the other end 15kms distance the village of Apgar.

The glacier views were good, still some ice pack,and the weeping wall, a rock face adjacent to the road from which water flows, and then drains through a drain under the road. This road was built in 1930, and is recognised as a construction marvel.
At Logan Pass we crossed the Continental Divide ( once again), at 6,646 feet. It is surrounded by peaks rising to 8-10,000 feet. It was a great feeling to conquer the climb. Its like climbing Mt Tamborine three times. Perhaps now i wont be daunted by the thought of that climb. I was surprised to see that i maintained my average daily speed today.

The camp is basic, just when a shower would have been enjoyed!!

APGAR TO KALISPELL Section 4 ROAD TO THE SUN (haha) end part1 Distance Kms 60.19 kms; Total Dist to Date 3943 kms; Road Condition: good Weather: cool at start then great weather. Time in Saddle: 2.27 hrs Speed: av 24.4 kph Max speed 46.6 kph Av Cadence 75 rpm Elevation: 360 up; Total up to Date 37,880 m ; 410 down; down to date 32,269m

Today was relatively short and easy, no heavy climbs and 60km.
The weather was fine, however the smoke from the fires in Washington state are blanketing the sky. They should send in the TDA cyclists, with our history for rain creation so far on this trip, it is a sure thing we could put it out by our presence.!!

The scenery was grazing land, we are in Cowboy country! It is also bible belt territory and there is every evangelical church imaginable espousing in signs their interpretation of parts of the bible. As fundamentalist as the 'rabid' Islamists!! Traveled some back roads largely empty of cars. Great after past few days of heavier traffic.

Walked around Kalispell this evening looking for somewhere to it. The parts i walked were pleasant and looked like some of those country towns seen in US movies. Will take photos tomorrow. There is a Fair supposedly on in town tomorrow, however little sign of any preparation. Supposedly pig wrestling (a big thing here), a parade and a rodeo. Should be interesting if it happens. Tomorrow is Friday, perhaps its on the weekend and we will be gone.
Arrived at motel early so cleaned and oiled bike and did washing, so as leave tomorrow free of jobs!! Ate an ok Mexican with a margarita and a pint of 2xx beer. Not bad for $25 incl. tip!


24th August 2015

Hi Roger, Feel like I have been a the bike ride with you. Enjoying your blogs. Feel sorry for you riding in all the wet weather. Take care.
25th August 2015

Hi S&G, nice to hear from you. Hope you are both well. The trip is more arduous than contemplated, i believe so because of all the rain and very average camping conditions. Rest day now in Helena, capital of Montana, the cowboy state. Pretty basic. American food average at best!! Cheers for now Roger

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