Saskatchewan Riding

August 15,2012

The weeks of house renos and a taxing weekend at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival have taken their toll. We could not keep our eyes open last night and finally surrendered at 9pm. We arose promptly at 7am this morning. That is the third night we have slept 10 hours, but what better place to do it than in an open air venue like a tent.

Our intent is to pack up and then ride a few km. before setting out south. The skies are not looking conducive to a ride and the wind is howling.  Good for blowing away mosquitoes but not so good for riding. It is not as if there is a sufficient wind break along the highway to give some shelter. We decide to nix the ride.

Debbie on Battleford XC ski trail

Between The Battlefords, mid North Saskatchewan River is a very large island easily accessible from Battleford. There is a network of hiking trails on the island and we thought we might go for a walk. The trails are marginal for hiking but Debbie realizes that they are laid out as XC ski trails in the winter. Not having been here in the winter we can only guess but we both think that if they are properly maintained they would be wonderful to ski on.

We manage to survive the onslot of mossies and return to the car with our blood dip sticks showing almost full. After a short car tour of The Battlefords we hit the road.

As we leave town I realize the wind is coming from the NW and we are headed due south. For those of you that do not ride a bike this means that if one of us gets on our bike and the other drives and plays ‘service vehicle’ we can do our entire ride with the wind, and remember the wind is howling.

At Biggar, the home of world champion curler Sandra Schmirler, we stop for lunch at The Biggar Regional Park. A pleasant little park with a picnic area and campground. The towns and villages in Sask. seem to have such facilities.

I decide I am going to ride with the wind. I have been watching the shoulder, it looks fine, and the traffic on the highway is minimal. After changing my clothes I climb on my bike and start to ride. Once I am on my bike I realize how strong the wind is. I click through the gears and I spin out in all the gears in my small chain wheel and have to shift up to the big chain wheel  before I reach 500M. I warm up in 53/19, I ride 40 km over hill and through dale without using my small chain ring once. It was fast, very fast, for a recreational ride. At 43km I had averaged 36km/hr. I love riding with the wind.

Murray on the highway

Murray on the highway

When I stop Debbie hops on her bike. She has the same wind with the same affect.  It is an exhilarating ride. Debbie averages 30+ km/hr on her bike. We both agree the rides were a great idea.

We park our tent in the Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park on Diefenbaker Lake. Have a much needed supper and wander down the shore to spy on a group of pelicans lazing on the water. No rain. Another early turn in.

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