Bike Odyssey
North America 2004

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Journal for 16-June-2004 : Calgary

A fabulous sunny morning today. In fact it was a fabulous morning all round. For starters we could actually see the spectacular rocky mountains the lines the valley we were flying down. There are literally hundreds of brilliant peaks visible from the road, any one of which would be considered a National Treasure if it were located in Australia. Think of traveling 50ks and in every direction seeing Cradle Mountain, or something like it.

The riding was fabulous too. Light traffic down the old highway, with gentle to modest hills that rolled down more than up. A thumping tailwind didn't do any harm either.

The transition from the mountains to the prairies was just a touch abrupt. In the space of 5ks, the massive granite mountains lining the road were replaced with low grassy hills. Wild forests were replaced with farms. Worst of all, our tailwind was replaced with a headwind.

Lots of kids hooning around in the car park at Ghost Lake, which hosts a massive marina, which was barely smaller than the lake it sits in.

The weather changed on the way to Cochrane. It was spitting rain and freezing cold by the tome we got there. As the rain approached the temperature dropped at least 10C. We found the Subway in time to avoid the worst of serious rain storm. Our poor bikes wern't so fortunate.

Horrible rain and a nasty 3k hill leaving Cochrane. Up the hill our black tyres gained white spots as we cycled across the freshly paint road markings.

Super Fast riding along 1a to Calgary downhill with tailwind. A *really* huge storm was chasing us, and somehow we outran it to Calgary's outskirts. In fact, we continued to outrun the storm until we had to make our first turn, which was wrong and necessitated a map check. Our map opened at about the same time as the heavens. We quickly rode off to find shelter somehwere, *anywhere*! A Calgary bus shelter (which needed all 4 walls to be of use) did the trick.

Found the bike shop where our new tyres were waiting for us. Linda nearly froze to death outside while I waited for them to find them. Actually, a big thanks must go to the guys at Bow Cycles, who spared no effort in tracking down the replacement chains I needed, by calling all their competitors. Really good service, and much appreciated by me at least.

Tired, cold, hungry and lost we found a suitably cheap motel, that we rather foolishly didn't bother inspecting a room of before checking in. The Bate's Motel might have been a better choice.

I spent the evening riding all over town looking for the shop which had the right replacement chains. Turns out they didn't (but had something near enough) but just thought they did.

The Calgary TV weather explained today's thunderstorms were a direct result of all the heat. It maxed out at 16C today.

I stayed up till midnight late installing the new chains on our bikes. Imaginative use of candles to treat the chains prior to installation made it look more like I was conducting a saence than making bike repairs.

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