Oh hey there.
Day 1 — down!
This morning, after my post and my breakfast and goodbyes with my dad and his fiancee, I was dropped off and met my cycling buddies.
We are a small group of 5 riders. Yes, I AM the fifth wheel, but I’m okay with it. One of the couples is from Norway, the other lives in Bangkok but is originally from South Africa. So I’m in some pretty cool company. The tour guides, Peter and Deiter are a father son duo and Deiter’s wife is also here but doesn’t ride.
Before we even got on the bikes, things got breathtaking. I’m going to post my photos as a slideshow but warning — if you don’t like to look at pictures of mountains or me in spandex, ya might as well skip the whole thing !
Anyways, we drove from Banff to Jasper, made pit stops along the way at lakes and glaciers and wildlife sightings and you can guess it was just majestic. If you’re not a cyclist, drive out here. It’s still amazing. If you are a cyclist, picture how excited I am to ride back the way we drove and to see all the stuff in these photos from the comfort of my bike seat. NOW I get why they say you’ll want to take plenty of breaks to take pictures.
I also think you’ll wanna take plenty of breaks because it’s kind of challenging, but you know…
So that’s that.
We rode about 42 miles in like 2.5 hours. That’s not bad…but it doesn’t do it justice to look at the stats or my Garmin. In fact, I think I might keep my Garmin in my pocket for the next few days’ rides…I think those pictures do it justice and explain why I don’t want to be distracted. The company is great although I wish we had a bigger group and I will admit that the couple from Norway know their way around their gears so they might be a bit off to the races. That being said, we rode as a group for more than half the ride today and I wasn’t alone when we saw that grizzly bear. Yeah, day 1 grizzly bear sighting? Peter said they’ve seen 10 grizzlies EVER on these tours. He’s been running the show on a bunch of tours all around the rockies for 13 years. So that’s an impressive stat–I guess we’re lucky!
On top of that awesome, I had plenty of real foods, some dark chocolate without judgement, dessert included with my dinner (aka a reason to eat just the hot fudge without feeling bad for spending money on a dessert and only having a bite or two), and the realization that I am totally in for a treat!
Now–snack (I know–I ate dessert but I am still hungry), journalling (this could be a treat for you later), and sleep! We wake up early tomorrow and have breakfast at the hotel and then take the bikes out for about 100km. Should be another gorgeous ride–but we want to beat some forecasted thunderstorms. Then we have spare time to hang out in Jasper and we are supposed to fend for ourselves on the dinner front. I suppose it’s a good thing I’m a lone wolf who loves being on my own, but I don’t know what to choose for myself tomorrow! I might just faceplant–100km here isn’t the same as at home–and go with my intuition. It usually steers me in the right direction…
I should have some more recaps for you since I’ll have some spare time to myself, but after tomorrow we’re out of cell phone service/don’t have wifi for two nights. Time to disconnect–yahoo! Not that I don’t love you guys, but what a rare chance these days (I realize that at any point it’s as simple as turning off your phone and computer, but you know that’s not how it works just as well as I do). At any rate, I’ll miss you–but not yet!
Have you ever done a cycling tour?
Have you ever been a fifth wheel on a trip?
If you were going to explore Jasper alone, what would you do? Would you go out to eat without anyone else? I have no problem being on my own so I’m in!