The previous few weeks have seen a steady dose of volume. Last weekend was our course recon of Pentincton. My legs were ready for a slight decrease in intensity this week. Our trip was inspired to join up with our friend Sara and a few others; as they were traveling to the western mountains. Her friends were inexperienced bikers - providing a wonderful excuse to have to hold back on the ride we had planned.
On Friday we braved the sporadic mountain weather. Neglecting to factor in the base elevation at which our route began - I found myself a bit underdressed for the occasion. Going slow was nice and easy, but did little to warm my bare legs and hands in the wet 50 degree weather.
After a slow start featuring some highway riding to the steadily climbing "Icefields Parkway". (In retrospect - it should have been more obvious to pack warmer clothes). Nice easy spinning for the first 20k, up until the two slower friends turned around - eventually we picked up the pace in hopes of warming up. The increase in tempo left us with the realization that we must be at a decent elevation. After about 40k and a few spectacular views of the cloudy aquamarine glacier fed lakes, at a potty break for a hiking trailhead, I learned that our elevation was 1900 meters. That's a far bit over a mile high.
Eventually our elevation topped out at about 2100m. Kim's garmin data should be interesting. At 45km point, the road descended 400 meters at a 4-6% grade. On an out/back route planned - what went down, must go up to get home. Finally at 55km I was able to convince the group that instead of the arbitrary (Ironman) distance of 112 miles, we could instead do a metric conversion of the distance and turn around at 56km's instead. The heavy rain in the distance we were traveling supported by logic.
On the climb back up I stayed back with Sara to get her up her first official mountain climb. She managed quite well. A quick banana bread break at the top and then we were back to a mostly downhill return trip. Descending may be faster - but when your doing it for more than an hour with bare wet hands, it is cold. The sun peaked out for short moments just to tease us. Kim tried to take a few shifts out front to return the favor of the warm draft I had been providing her. To be fair, I didn't get much of a draft off of her, but I do see why the boys seem to enjoy the view so much. Yeah, that's my babe.
With 10 km to go and the Icefields Parkway about to end - we suddenly found ourselves next to a line of stopped traffic. A few ambulances ahead at a curve in the road. The road was blocked off by a police cruiser. 45 minutes of sitting in the rain while medivac came to rush what we guessed to be an injured female motorcyclist to the hospital in Calgary. Not exactly a scene I'd care to have front row seats to again. Eventually we returned to camp, stoked a fire, ate bratwurst, cookie dough and a couple of beers.
This morning we arose to sunnier weather. Our friends had left early to white-water raft. Kim and I enjoyed a leisure breakfast of camp-style bacon, eggs, and coffee from the perc. We checked out an hour late upon deciding to hike instead of run. We found a nice 5k climb where we gained a good 500 meters. Map estimation round-trip 3 hour hike, done in crocs in half the time. Rather cool hike, but we had to hurry to hit the road for 10 hours of driving. We made it home by 11pm - but I'm still awake when I should be in bed.
My goals need to be revisited to include more sleep.