North America
August 10th 2015
Published: August 10th 2015
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Stage 24. Swan Lake to Grande Prairie 3rd SECTION - ICEFIELDS). Distance Kms 115.34 kms Total Dist to Date 2678 kms Road Condition: good road until entering GP, then bad road surface from winter damage and heavy trucks. Weather: Overcast weather Time in Saddle: 4.18 hrsSpeed: av 26.7 kph Max speed 59.7 kph Av Cadence 75 rpm Elevation: 575 m up; Total up to Date 22,502m, 523 m down; Total down to date 20,093 m

Woke to a very heavy dew, every thing as wet as if it rained. About 12c most of the day. I must be getting acclimatised as it felt warm, however that may be attributable to the layers i had on!

Most of the morning riding was relatively flat and fast. The road surface was new. After lunch we entered Alberta and a time change, 1 hr advanced. The Landscape changed to rolling plains, reminding me of the New England Hwy in NSW. Many grain silos, train bulk commodity wagons and fertiliser and seed sales warehouses. There is also timber growing and felling in this region.

Grande Prairie is the service centre for this region. Ugly, full of shopping malls, huge trucks and crappy road surface. The cold weather, snow and frost seems to destroy the roads, causing buckling, pot holes, and crumbling surface, not good for bikes!! The road played havoc with my rear derailleur, resulting in the gears changing up and down like an automatic. Liam, the bike mechanic worked on it for an hour, so hopefully it will work better tomorrow.

Another poor campsite for tent campers. The camping is at the bottom steep gravel hill, the showers are at the top of the hill! I dont know whether tent campers are second class citizens, but the North American grounds to date i rate as poor. Perhaps if i was driving an RV, my view would be more charitable!! I also dont know if these are the only grounds available, or wheter TDA is cheap!!

Stage 25. Grande Prairie to Kakwa R. (3rd SECTION - ICEFIELDS). Distance Kms 86.58 kms Total Dist to Date 2766 kms Road Condition: good road Weather: RAIN ALL DAY Time in Saddle: 3.55 hrsSpeed: av 22 kph Max speed 57.2 kph Av Cadence 69 rpm Elevation: 850 m up; Total up to Date 23,352; 650 m down;down to date 20,743 m

Awoke this morning to rain, it had rained since about 3 am. Up at 5.30 am!!

Some other drama in camp overnight, another non TDA camper, high on drugs, had an argument with the campsite manager and proceeded to DO wheelies In his truck on loose gravel around the camp. Then the manager confronted the drugged hoon. The hoon ran into the managers truck, the cops were called, and the hoon escaped. I heard the first part, but was asleep by the time the cops arrived. Another interesting evening in North America. The second camp incident!

It rained all day, making the ride more arduous than necessary. The wet road grit, played havoc with chain, gears and brakes, so cannot confidently say that the bike after the lengthy service was improved.

Another campsite without showers. A warm shower would have been appreciated. Also pit toilets. Therefore the indian lentils curry should make for an interesting start!! Most everything is wet or at best damp. Packing wet camping gear with dry clothes, even wrapped in a garbage bag, means things get damp. This trip is on a par with crossing China last year in arduousness. I was expecting better!

The views today were not memorable.

Stage 26. Kakwa R. to Grande Cache. (3rd SECTION - ICEFIELDS). Distance Kms 92.18 kms; Total Dist to Date 2858 kms; Road Condition: goodWeather: rain, then sunshine about mid morning onwards. Headwind all day;Time in Saddle: 5.13 hrs; Speed: av 17.6 kph Max speed 54.2kph Av Cadence 69 rpm Elevation: 1567m up; Total up to Date 26,319m ;1000 m down; down to date 22,743 m

Today was hard. After yesterday's rain, the thought was that it would be fine today. At 2.30am when i got up to go to the loo, the stars were shining brilliantly. The first sighting!! I thought great. However at 5 am the rain started. Rising at 5.30 it was still raining. Still at 6, so I had to start pulling the tent down. Rain is worse than heavy dew!!

With the bike squeaking after the rain and grit of yesterday, and with the threat of overnight rain, i put off lubing the chain. Consequently the bike sounded awful to lunch. I applied lube then, which made gear shifting easier and the bike quieter.

The hills were tall today, gradients up to 11% on many of the inclines. The final climb was 5 kms with a gradient between 9-11%. It was a killer. All riding today was tough as there was a solid headwind most of the day, making low gear necessary to even descend hills! Luckily no head wind on the last big hill.

The scenery,when not looking at the white line was mountains with the occasional fast flowing stream, appealing. At the base of this town's mountain is a coal mine. The first i have seen here. A lot of Canada's electricity is generated by water, hydro power.

No animals to mention. All the camps refer to the threat of bear, but no evidence has been sighted to date.

Clear sky as i write this, feels cooler, so perhaps a cold night. This camp is a skiing base come October. Huge off road vehicles ply the muddy trails at the moment!! Very tired tonight. Feeling the constant strain of big cycle days and the thrall of camping, especially when there are limited toilets and no showers.

Spoke with Mem and George today, which was great, as telecoms in these remotes part of Canada have been difficult. Congratulations to Georgina on passing her final Chartered Accountancy qualification. A fantastic achievement making Mem and I are very proud.

Stage 27. Grande Cache to Gregg Lake (3rd SECTION - ICEFIELDS). Distance Kms 53.23 kms; Total Dist to Date 2911 kms; Road Condition: good to lunchWeather: 6c at start, then overcast.Time in Saddle: 2.38 hrs; Speed: av 20.2 kph Max speed 53 2kph Av Cadence 75 rpm Elevation: 960 up; Total up to Date 27,279m ;460 m down; down to date 23,143 m

Poor sleep after a hard day is not the best way to start another 114kms. Felt poorly and in need of a rest, so got on truck at lunch for transfer to the camp. A good decision, as not doing much seems to have refreshed me somewhat. Hopefully will be strong on the bike tomorrow.

Scenery as previous, although I did see a wild deer whilst seated in the truck.

Another very average camp ground. The showers are up a two km gravel hill road, from the camp. We need to cycle this tomorrow! Most people seem to be of the view that tomorrow is a hotel night, so they will wait until then. Wet wipes provide some reprieve.

Gregg Lake is pretty and the camp ground is sold out for the next few nights. Canoeing is very popular. Would hate to capsize as the water is very cold. Doesnt deter the locals though. Clearly made of hearty stuff!

Stage 28 Gregg Lake to Jasper. (3rd SECTION - ICEFIELDS). Distance Kms 99.36 kms; Total Dist to Date 3011 kms; Road Condition: good Weather: sunny morning,then overcast then rain, then sunny. Time in Saddle: 4.37 hrs; Speed: av 21.5 kph Max speed 53.9 kph Av Cadence 78 rpm Elevation: 700 up; Total up to Date 27,979m; ;800 m down; down to date 23,943 m

Today the weather was kind, slight showers on the road, but heavy rain whilst sitting in the pub having a relaxing beer before check in. Raised a glass to George for her 24 th birthday.

The scenery was majestic, tall mountain peaks, that must look beautiful when snow covered, and still looked great without. A few small lakes surrounded by spruce and conifers. The trees are taller here in the south.

The road surface and shoulder were good. Making for a very pleasant ride.

Yesterday's afternoon rest was well needed. Have now cycled over 3000 kms in 31 trip days with 17 days of rain.

We entered Jasper National Park about 50kms from Jasper town and will remain in the park until after leaving Banff in about 5 days. Every Person staying stopping in the park must pay an entrance fee for park maintenance.

Jasper has about 5000 permanent residents and many thousands of tourists. One of those cute looking tourist towns optimising the beautiful scenery. A fantastic laundry, with multiple washers and dryers, internet cafe, and coffee shop. A very switched on owner. When i visited the place it was fully utilised.

Went to Jasper Park lodge for drinks and dinner. An Australian woman on the ride worked there in the 1990s. A log cabin style lodge of large proportions, apparently employs about 1000 staff, so she said. Full of tourists, many of them Chinese. Ate an expensive meal which left me bloated. I think the cycling has altered my eating capacity. A pleasant night with 6 other riders.


Slept poorly, as Sunday night is party night it seems and the revellers were up past 2am. Had the ability to open the window which was great other than for the revellers. Air con otherwise freezing!!

Bike shop this morning, cleaning and greasing. The bike needs it on a regular basis. Then to that wonderful laundry for two hours. How easy it is at home!!

Now back in room exhausted. Will wander the town later.

Many pretty parks and the mountain ranges are spectacular. There is a mountain which has a head like a sleeping man. I might join him later!! My room mate, an irrepressible personality has set out to climb it today. Good luck to him!! A coffee shop looks as exciting to me on these days off, what a joke that is, haha.


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