I tumble out of bed onto stiff legs and I open the drape, check the sky. Blue! White clouds too, but not too sinister looking.
The plan for today is to ride Hwy 1A, the Bow Valley Parkway, from Lake Louise to Johnson Canyon and back again. About 65 km, hilly, little traffic and nice pavement.
We climb as soon as we ride away from the hostel, our legs talk to us about the ride yesterday and ask us why we are doing this again. There are two climbs before the road descends and levels out. Mur and I have ridden this route before and we know that it is net downhill to Johnson Canyon. I tuck in behind Mur and we spin out our legs and do a swift cruise along the straight stretches. The group gets spread out along the road but everyone is not more than a handful of minutes apart.
We stop to regroup a couple of times and before we know it we are at Johnson Canyon. Snacks, pee break, more liquids before the slog up to Lake Louise.
We travel slower on the way back. The front group has 5 riders in it and we come together and break apart with each ascent and descent. Everyone’s legs scream on the up hills.
We get a shock as we ride by a small grizzly in the ditch. There are a few cars around the bear and we gear up ready to sprint, move into the on coming lane and don’t slow down as we speed past. He is more interested in eating than a few bike riders. The Edmonton Journal had an article in Saturday’s paper about two grizzly cubs in this area that made it through the winter without their mother. This must be one of those cubs. Bear Number One!
We ascend the last seemly endless climb and it is a rush of speed down into Lake Louise and a deserved shower, lunch and rest. The ride is tougher for some of our group than others. We all know we will be stronger riders after two days in the mountain.
We drive home through Saskatchewan Crossing and Rocky Mountain House. We spot a black bear in the ditch. He is also more interested in eating than two tired riders peaking out of a car window. Bear Number Two!