NR03: Lake Louise

Man, real cold this morning! Gotta be in the low 40s. Don’t wanna get up! But we’re out by 8:30 or so for a snack breakfast and tear down, and off we go. The original ride plan had us going 80 miles today, but our efforts the past 2 days have reduced that to less than 40. A nice easy day for sure. We stop almost immediately at the other Waterfowl Lake a little south of us, and hike a few hundred yards down to the lakefront. Absolutely stunning. The still waters reflect a beautiful steep mountain (Howse Peak) illuminated

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NR02: Banff National Park

Nice last night – rain on the tentfly. Makes the sleeping that much better. Seems like it cooled things down a lot too. We’re all up by 7 and ready to go by 8, and I bet it was in the high 40s maybe. In checking our maps, we note “only” 17 miles to breakfast, but oh my. This segment takes us up on a brutal climb to the Glacier Skywalk tourist attraction. We’re talking a sustained 9-10% grade, actually one of the toughest I’ve encountered. The views around here are stunning, including lakes, icefields, glaciers, alpine forest, monstrous mountains. It’s hard

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NR01: Jasper National Park

The four of us get up early, pack the vehicles, and complete an hourlong drive to Jasper. I kept watching the car thermometer, noticing it dip into the low 40s in the low spots. Brrr. We soon find ourselves in the town of Jasper. Touristy but not nearly as crowded as I might have imagined. Bikes are readied and panniers loaded. Time to get this thing started! Linda takes a group photo and heads off on her own, with a plan to golf and spa her way around British Columbia for a couple weeks. I know she’s going to love this

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Six Days to the Start

Finally on the road and headed north in the SUV. We met with Phil earlier this week and he brought over his bike and almost all his gear, holding back just enough to fly with. Jack will fly from Atlanta with his boxed bicycle and gear to Calgary. Phil will fly from Chicago to Phoenix to Calgary as well. From there we’ll all meet up in Edson Alberta, not far from our start point in Jasper. Linda and I took our sweet time, taking six full days of driving and golfing to get there. Non-stop drive the first day to Provo

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Are We Ready?

The tour is almost upon us. Jack, Phil and I have been exchanging emails for last minute information. A prevailing tone has been a wondering if we’re collectively ready for this. Since returning from vacation travel 30 days ago, I’ve gotten in 395 miles and just under 14,000 feet of climbing. 168 miles and 8,000′ climbing were about 75% loaded on the Surly.  Jack’s done a bit more than that.  Phil did the Mormon Lake and Luna Lakes rides with me, so he’s likely on par. As Jack points out, we’re about to try 800 miles and 30,000 feet of climbing

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Luna Lakes Conditioning Ride Day 3

Wow, just a little bit of everything today. A very eventful day on tour. Up at the crack of dawn this morning. Phil made black coffee and I added some Pop-Tarts for calories. We made our way out onto the streets about 6AM just as the sun peeked over some nearby trees. Eastward on NM12 and immediately into climbing mode. The route is especially pretty in the morning, cut deeply through a few rock walls. The long morning shadows in shades of orange were a sight. This first climb is a real doozy, about 2200’ in 12 miles. I stopped

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Luna Lakes Conditioning Ride Day 2

To our delight, this was one of those truly great-to-be-out-here days. We needed it after yesterday. Eggs and bacon at the Largo Café for breakfast. The cook then brought out 2 huge pancakes for each of us. Who are these for? (They come with breakfast.) Phil and I could barely touch them. To the general store for provisions. For me that’s Fig Newtons, Skittles, and a can of 7-up. Oughta last 40 miles, along with 4 liters of water and the Pop-Tarts I had. Certainly reflects a riding mode, being so carb intensive. South down NM32. The air was humid

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Luna Lakes Conditioning Ride Day 1

Phil and I decided to test our mettle on this tour as part of conditioning for the Northern Rockies later this month. I’d actually ridden this back in 2008 on my Trek road bike, and then again in 2010 on the Surly unloaded, both times supported by the GABA Tucson group. But this time we’ll ride it unsupported and thus carry all our clothes and provisions in panniers.  We did decide to stay in motels, alleviating the need for tent and sleeping bag. Quick summary of the ride is shown in this map: We drove up Thursday evening and stayed

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2017 NR Tour Planning

Jack planned last year’s tour in Minnesota after RAGBRAI, so the task logically fell to me this time around. I had no idea what difficulties I was about to encounter. Spent most of the month of June in Europe. I’d hoped to do some planning while away, but that’s really hard to do in a foreign land surrounded by great family, great scenery, great food, and much activity. I finally arrived home in early July with planning as my top priority, and soon felt it crash in on me. A simple look at Day 1 out of Jasper revealed no vacancy at

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Mormon Lake Loop

Record heat in Phoenix today. Here in July that’s saying something, as the thermometer topped out at 118F (48C). Instead of fighting it, Phil and I jumped into the SUV and took off for Flagstaff to get in a training ride. In searching for bicycle routes online, I stumbled across a map from Absolute Bikes describing a Lake Mary and Mormon Lake Roads route as “the classic Flagstaff road bike ride.” Our quest for the day was thus set. We breakfasted and staged at the IHOP near the intersection of I-40 and I-17, and were soon on our way southeast

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