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.
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.
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.