On Friday May 26th a group of intrepid women headed west to partake in the 2nd Annual CCC Get Outta the Bow Valley Road Ride. They went in search of buttery smooth pavement, sunshine and the elusive post ride ice cream cone. They came back triumphant with 2 of the 3 discovered. Next year they will have to collect more beta prior to leaving about the best ice cream shops in the land.
These are their stories…..
Friday May 26th
Team cars left from Canmore at different times throughout the day carrying the hopes and dreams of the CCC riders. Some riders chose to get a few kilometres pounded out on the bike before they even left the Bow Valley, while others traded in exercise for traveling snacks and good conversation. It was a beautiful day to travel the 93 South with a few wildlife sightings including 3 black bears munching on dandelions in the ditches heading towards Radium.
Our riders got landed in their weekend homes and then gathered at the main team house for a Friday night ride along the Westside Road. This was to be a great ride for the team to figure out how to ride in a peloton. As they headed west in the beautiful evening sun, they learned how to communicate – both with hand signals and voices. Terms like “car up”, “car back”, “end of pavement”, “cattle guard” and “big hole” were tossed back and forth. With fingers pointing out pavement craters left and right – they must have looked like a Saturday Night Fever disco bike group out for a ride. The smooth sections of pavement were noted with sighs of relief, pure enjoyment and the odd drop of the hammer break aways. It was a great ride to start the weekend and helped them work up a big appetite for dinner out at The Station Neighbourhood Pub. After re-fueling, the team headed back to the main house for a planning session for Saturday. It was to be the biggest ride day of the weekend with 2 rides on the docket. The team was sent to bed to rest up and get prepped for the road to Spillimacheen and the notorious Panorama Hill Climb.
Saturday May 27th
Saturday morning welcomed the team with sunshine and warm temperatures. It promised to be a beautiful summery day with highs in the upper 20s to low 30s and sun, sun, sun! As Bow Valley riders, the team was not sure how to dress for such warm May weather. Water bottles were filled to the brim and electrolight solutions were mixed to ensure the functioning of happy legs in the warm weather. Suncreen of SPF level 50 to 100 was passed around the table to help protect their lily white winter skin.
Breakfast was served at the big house – a feed yourself buffet including fruit, yogurt, muffins, granola and other energy loaded delicacies. They were to find out later that the granola would provide some team members with added jets on (and off) the bikes! Once again there were a couple of options for the ride that were presented. Some riders rode from Invermere and others chose to ride from Radium. The Radium riders searched for the elusive location for post ride ice cream cones before the team grouped up and headed out to Spilli together from Radium in a peloton of 11.
The pavement on this ride was beautiful and the traffic was minimal on Highway 95. Even though there was fair amount of room on the shoulder, it was still a bit dangerous to be moving from the front of the group to the back once a rider had completed their pull. The fearless leaders, Couch and Caps, decided that after a few kilometres the peloton would split into a group of 6 and a group of 5 to ensure safer riding. These two groups worked really well over the gently rolling ride to get the team out to the Spilli Bean for a half way snack and drink. The team van, piloted by CCC supporters Dennis, Della, Zippy and Indy met there for a relaxing break in the sunshine. After about 45 minutes of chilling out on the grass they decided that it was time to mix up the groups and head back to Radium. The ride back was marked with fabulous efforts up the hills, massive pulls on the flats and speedy descents. It was awesome to see veteran riders and those who were riding in a big group for the first time smiling and shouting encouragement to each other. Luckily the team photographer, Katrina, was able to capture the beauty of the 1st ride the day. The team zipped back to Radium with promises of ice cream…..once again not to be fullfilled……
In Radium, some riders chose to ride back to Invermere while others loaded up into team cars to save their legs for the upcoming hill climb. It was promising to be a really warm late afternoon/early evening ride. During the 2 hour break, team members rested up, re-fueled, stretched their legs with a walk down to the beach and shared stories from the Spilli ride. Time accelerated into the late afternoon when Couch and Caps called for the team to get ready for the Hill Climb. It was a scorching temperature and the heat radiated off the pavement. Many brave souls mounted their bikes and headed off for the Panorama 40km ride.
Ann Makin comments on the Hill Climb…..
“Ok, it’s time!” The words penetrated the peacefulness of our relaxing sunny lakeside afternoon.
Earlier I had heard myself say “sure, I’ll try the hill”. Little did I know what I would be UP against and if I had, I may well have opted to stay seated (on the patio versus the saddle).
The ride rolled along nicely until I could no longer ignore THE hill that rose upward as far as I could see. I was soon out of gears and wishing I had electric assist but since I had neither, I tried to ignore my burning quads and screaming lungs and instead watch the grass grow as the spokes slowly spun. I heard a whisper (possibly a whimper) “just keep spinning, spinning”. Was I delusional and somehow traded in my two wheels for flippers and was swimming alongside Dorey as we looked for Nemo … “just keep swimming, swimming”?
Smack – back to my road reality! I finally saw a bend in the road and had a faint hope that I was nearing the crest. Oh, please let that be the top before I implode! Yes, it was the crest and I quietly thanked the cycling gods.
I enjoyed the camaraderie and soaked in the surrounding beauty as we continued up to the ski hill. Then … what goes up, must go down (and with a tailwind)! Other than a wide weave around a black bear, it was a fast and fun ride back to the patio. What better way to close the day than sharing a fantastic bbq with wonderful CCC roadie friends.”
The team returned to the house with tales of the epically steep hill, legs pushed to the max and legendary uphill speeds produced by certain team members who crushed it. Couch and Caps treated the team to a delicious BBQ dinner at the team house – demonstrating that they are excellent cooks as well as team leaders. Tips were given regarding safe and efficient group riding and plans were formulated for the next day. There was to be one more team ride before members had to return to their Bow Valley realities.
Sunday May 28th
The original plan for Sunday was to do a ride around Windermere Lake on the infamous Westside Rd. Now that the team had sampled the smooth pavement that was to be had on other roads around Invermere they wanted more. The last ride was relocated to highway 93. It was to be done as a two group ride where one group started in Radium and rode out to meet the group that had parked at Vermillion Crossing. Fingers crossed that the team would meet at the half way mark from both ends and get a 60km ride in to finish off the weekend. Once again it was a gorgeous day filled with sunshine, spinning legs and great team support. The Radium group rode 32kms before they met the Vermillion Crossing group, who had ridden 31kms. Couldn’t have been more perfect than that! The team support van provided 1/2 way snacks and drinks and shelter for pee breaks in the ditch (there were some tourists though that pulled over thinking that the team was a bear jam – instead of a “bare” jam). It was time for the final 30 km push towards the parking lot at Vermillion Crossing – where the team hoped to finally chase down a deliciously cool and refreshing hand scooped ice cream cone….
Once again, the ice cream was elusive….but the team celebrated a fabulous weekend of beauty weather, good laughs and great biking based friendship. The next team event is planned for June 17th when the CCC riders put their legs to the test on the pavement from Lake Louise to Canmore.
Written by Jenn Rowley