Saturday, June 23, 2007

June 4th, 2007. Distance: 95 km, Odometer: 1438
Calgary, AB - Gleichen, AB

Leaving Calgary this morning wasn't easy. It was just so fun and comfortable but the road was beckoning and I can already feel that the few days that I had off has pushed me back a few steps fitness-wise. The ride was mostly flat but I was uncomfortable on the bike - a lot like when I first started out. Today's head winds were annoying as well making my average speed for the day one of the lowest. It's weird to think that wind could be a more formidable opponent than mountains, but it's completely true.

May 31st - June 3rd. Nothing
Calgary, AB

My time in Calgary was filled with throwing around the Frisbee, partying it up with Brad's friends and his mom, hanging out at the park, Foosball games and generally checking out Calgary. We stepped into Canada's largest bicycle shop and my knees let go. It was awesome. One evening I spent visiting with my aunt Susan who spoiled me with supper and conversation of our family's history. It was great hanging out with her - I'm glad I got too because one of the main personal reasons for the trip is to visit with people I've lost touch with and aunt Susan was definitely on the list.

Thanks Aunt Susan, Brad, Kathy and all of Brad's friends for making Calgary awesome.

May 30th, 2007. Distance: 101 km, Odometer: 1325
Canmore - Calgary, AB

Again, mostly downhill today but I really feel like I need a break. It's like I'm tired of pedalling, without being tired at all. Just tired of it, you know? Oh, I saw a dead wolf on the side of the highway! It looked like it was sleeping and I had never seen one before. Scared the poop out of me. The mountains are slowly leaving me and the terrain is getting flatter and flatter. I'm not complaining, that's for sure. Calgary seems like a fun city. I get to visit my great buddy, Brad, from school and finally take a break, the first day off since Vancouver - 13 days ago. Brad's mom was visiting him as well, so I scored an excellent home-cooked meal and got sloppy on some cocktails. It's great to spend time with Brad this way because we both feel that it's cause for celebration, what with me arriving alive and just for visiting since we haven't seen each other since Halifax.

May 29th, 2007. Distance: 80 km, Odometer: 1224
Lake Louise, AB - Canmore, AB

Easiest 80 km of my life, yet also the most strenuous. It was all down hill, but because of my lack of sleep last night in the hostel, everything in my body was especially ache-y which made the ride seem really long and arduous. So far, Alberta seems like a continuation of BC with many rocky mountain ranges. Of course, that makes complete sense and I don't know why I was half expecting some sort of change when I entered the new province. I'm staying at a campsite tonight that only cost me $10. It has communal showers and weekly 'resident meetings' so they can share their thoughts on how the campsite should be ran. I thought that was interesting and commune-like. Canmore seems like a nice town. I also noticed that it is filled with beautiful women. Maybe I'm only thinking this because I haven't really seen people in a long time. It's a nice place, regardless.

May 28th, 2007. Distance: 110, Odometer: 1145
Golden, BC - Lake Louise, AB

Today was difficult but completely manageable. Outside of Golden there were a bunch of steep climbs and again outside of Field - larger than yesterday. The latter climb was through Kicking Horse Pass which is also on the BC - AB border. There were a few plaques up talking about the difficulties the trains used to have in the area because of the gradients of the hills. After a number of derailments, engineers designed spiral tunnels through the mountains to lessen the grade. Neat stuff. Of course, there were no spiral tunnels for poor ol' me and I took the route head on. And in the end, I was the victor. At least, that's how I felt when I crossed the border. I can't believe that I cycled completely across British Columbia. Wow. Into Alberta was a joy ride - all down hill straight to Lake Louise. I'm splurging tonight and have accommodation in a hostel. I'm roommates with a couple from Quebec and another from Switzerland. It seems like everyone here is young and pumped and doing exciting things. It's a great environment and I'm thinking I won't shy from future hostels when I get a chance.

May 27th, 2007. Distance: 132, Odometer: 1035
Revelstoke, BC - Golden, BC

I made 1000 km today and flew threw Roger's Pass. There was a neat display there about the official opening of the Trans Canada Highway. The climb today wasn't nearly as difficult as the ones I encountered in between Hope and Princeton. Maybe they weren't as steep. Maybe I'm slowly getting fitter. I don't know. But it was a great feeling reaching the summit. There were a few people stopped at the top that spoke with me - mostly in wonder, I guess. I mean being up there with my bike makes me seem really ... misplaced. Like a penguin in New York, just completely lost and probably with a few screws loose. It was awesome being up there though. The air was cold but energetic and the sun was out.

Part 1

Part 2

May 26th, 2007. Distance: 107.0, Odometer: 903.41
Enderby, BC - Revelstoke, BC

I had a great day today and I owe it all to Alexandre Dumas, the author of 'The Count of Monte Cristo'. I forgot that I had this audiobook on my iPod and, when I started listening, my mind stopped wandering about the pain in my legs or discomfort in my wrists or how many hills I'd have to climb today, and instead stuck to the story. I've listened to audiobooks on mp3 before, but while cycling I find the story much more colourful and vivid - probably because I have so little else to concentration on. I'm in a campsite again tonight and it's beautiful... I'm looking out of my tent door and all I can see is this gigantic snow-capped mountain. The wind is crisp but not chilly and I feel great after today's ride. Not exhausted - energized. The owner of the grounds is a wonderful french guy who was really interested in hearing my story. Checked out my bike and everything. I like that I can inspire interest in people. It's a good feeling.


Shannon said...

I like the bike cam. it's a neat way to see you and your travels...Glad to see the bear and not a cougar. See you in Toronto very very soon!

Diana said...

Hey Phil, Glad to hear you are doing so well on your trans Canada adventure. Kudos to you. Stay safe! Diana