CDN GDR – Day 5

18 07 2009
Crusing on empty with the end in sight.

Crusing on empty with the end in sight.

We both slept poorly with grumbling tummies and the first chance we got @ 6am to grab our food out of our neighbour’s SUV we jumped on it and devoured literally everything in sight.  As I was shoveling food into my mouth I knew we blew it not eating the previous night after such a hard day on the bike.  By not letting our bodies refuel overnight we were going to suffer on the last 75kms into Canmore.

Unfortunately that’s exactly what happened.  Riding with leaden legs we pumped our way down the Smith-Dorrien/Spray Trail.  This gravel road is wide, moderately graded without any serious climbs and dusty as heck when vehicles pass.  It should have been an easy ride into Canmore, but it seemed far harder than it should have been. I kept stuffing food into my mouth in the hopes I’d find a burst of energy, but it never came.

My Surly Pugsley rocked for the GDR tour...=-)

My Surly Pugsley rocked for the GDR tour...=-)

Although I wasn’t kicking butt I can’t make it sound totally awful.  The scenery was stunning and knowing I only had to ride 75kms without any major climbs made it easier to simply accept tired legs and enjoy the day.  Like most of the tours I’ve been on the end is bitter sweet.  On one hand you are happy to be done and accomplish a nice ride, but on the other hand your body is just getting fully adjusted to riding hard each day and it almost seems wrong to not climb onto your bike the day after the tour ends.

I’ve lived in Canmore around Y2K so the landscape became more and more familiar as we rolled closer to town.  We live in a pretty amazing part of the world.  Majestic mountains, lush forests and a generally dry climate – perfect for bike touring.

Kurt enjoys the view of Canmore and the end of our tour.

Kurt enjoys the view of Canmore and the end of our tour.

We decided to end our tour in Canmore rather than Banff because we had ridden the GDR route to Banff a couple dozen times before.  Banff is a tourist trap of a town and this would have been high season.  We just weren’t mentally ready to decompress from our GDR tour amid the crush of tour buses and digital cameras.  Canmore sees tourist action as well, but it’s a much more chilled out vibe.  We hadn’t figured out our ride back to Calgary 100% at this point, but if Kurt’s GF picked us up it looked like a long afternoon of hanging out until she could make it up after work.

So with big smiles on our faces we bombed the last downhill into town.  Rolling right up to our favourite patio and ordering beers, wings and ribs before the dust had settled!  Thanks to Kurt for coming along on this tour and making it a lot more fun than it would have been solo.  Thanks to Kurt’s GF SN from driving us down to Roosville at the start of our tour and thanks to my GF Sharon for giving us a ride home at the end of the tour.

I’ll write some posts about my overall impressions of the CDN GDR and our bikes/gear in the next week or so, but I wanted to say how much I enjoyed this ride and how impressed I am with my Pugsley.  I think we’ve demonstrated the Surly Pugsley is not just a snow bike.  I’ll be back on the CDN GDR again – if you have 4-5 days free and enjoy dirt touring this is a great ride.

CDN GDR 2009: PhotosBack to Day 4


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10 responses

18 07 2009
CDN GDR – Day 4 « The Lazy Randonneur

[...] GDR 2009: Photos – Fwd to Day 5 – Back to Day 3 Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)CDN GDR Day [...]

20 07 2009
coastkid

great story vik,awsome scenery too,looks like the pugs handled F&R panniers no probs,thanks for sharing

20 07 2009
Bow Cycle | Vik’s Picks » CDN GDR Tour Reports

[...] Day 5 [...]

20 07 2009
Tamia Nelson

What a great trip, Vik! Pugsley — I want one!

31 07 2009
HardyW

Outstanding, thanks for the posts!

6 10 2009
JMEISER

Leaves me yearning for some time back out on the GDMBR…I know how you feel about Galton’s pass, the climb heading south was cruel and never ending, but the hot meal in Eureka was so sweet… I imagine the pugsley would be extremely capable on the GDMBR, but I wouldn’t want to push that uphill, pedaling or on foot.

2 01 2012
Gary

Hi there Vik

My names Gary, a mate and I are heading over from Australia to complete the Tour Divide potentially this year. I was going to ride my Pugsley the whole way. How did you find the bike travelling that distance? Was it to heavy for some of the climbs or was it just great fun to ride the bike. Did you carry much food and water on the way? And I guess the biggest question we both have and I guess most people have that are not from those parts are bear survival strategies… worst thing we get here are king brown snakes(which are deadly).

Thanks again

Gary

2 01 2012
thelazyrando

@Gary – the Pugsley is the perfect bike for the GDR, just go light as you will hate a heavily loaded bike of any variety on the GDR. Even if you get a heavy bike down the route you’ll wish you had a super light setup every KM of the way – trust me!

Bears are no problem. Just cook before you camp and then store food away from camp in a tree or just hide it if no tree is available. Carry 2 cans of bear spray and a set of bear bangers [noise makers]. Buy extra of both and deploy 1 -2 cans of bear spray at the start of your trip as well as a few bear bangers so you know how they work. After that forget about bears. They don’t want to mess with you and will leave you alone as long as you aren’t munching beef jerky in your tent. You have to try hard to have a problem with bears.

2 01 2012
Gary

Thanks Vik.

2 01 2012
Gary

Vik, where do you buy bear spray and bear bangers. We will be starting in Banff. Do you need a permit? In Australia we need a permit for almost anything that resembles a weapon.
Thanks again

Gary

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