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  1. #1
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Golden Triangle Tour

    DAY 1

    The first day's ride was 106 kms and was a great 106 kms!! It started with about an 8 km climb (6% grade) which I cruised right up. Then the route was flat to downhill until toward the end when we reached a climb that was about 4 or 5 kms long and varied between about 6% and 8%. I cruised right up that one too. That was a real boost for me because 6 months ago, I probably would have walked them. OK, I wasn't especially fast but maintained about 10 or 11 km/h ... a nice steady, comfortable pace, and faster than walking. After I reached the top of the second hill it was a long fast descent into the town of Radium.

    There was one guy who blew past me on the second climb like I was standing still! His looks reminded me a bit of Pantani. (did I spell that right?)

    We encountered a wide variety of weather, which caught some people off guard (many were in shorts with very little other protective gear). At the top of the first hill, and part way down the other side, it snowed, then sleeted (ouch!), then rained ... and it continued to rain on and off for the rest of the day. When the sun was out it was quite warm, then it would cloud up and get quite cool ... so there was a lot of stopping to put stuff on, and stopping to take stuff off.

    The scenery on the whole route is fabulous!!! Majestic snow-topped mountains, turquoise rivers and streams, pine forests. But I didn't see any wildlife! There were rumors of bears around, but I didn't see any. Maybe tomorrow.

    Supper will be served in about an hour so I'll go for that ... I'm hungry!! I missed the second snack stop because I was too fast, and they didn't have it set up yet. (what a weird feeling for me ... to be too fast for something!!!) Fortunately I always carry my own food.

    After supper I plan to take the shuttle bus up to the hotsprings and have a little soak. That'll be nice! My IT bands are a little bit sore ... I wasn't too impressed with that, but maybe the hotsprings will loosen things up. Then ... I might RELAX and read a bit. This supported stuff has something going for it!

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    DAY 2

    There was A LOT of food at supper on the first night, and it was quite good - loads of pasta, salad, fruit, and great deserts. I sat with a couple who I saw and chatted with on and off for the next two days - it was nice to make a connection because up to that point, I hadn't really gotten to know anyone.

    After supper I decided to go to the Radium Hotsprings and soak, and on the shuttle bus up, I met another couple who I also chatted with on and off for the rest of the way. Both couples were travelling about my speed. The hotsprings were WONDERFUL!! I did all sorts of stretches while I was in there to try to loosen off my IT bands. They also relaxed me and made me quite sleepy.

    At about midnight the wind started and it just howled!! It was lifting the tent a bit, and the top of the tent was swaying back and forth. Of course, every time it did that, the back wall hit me and if the noise of the wind didn't wake me, that did. I also dreamed a lot about bears, so I ended up with quite a restless sleep.

    On top of that was the worry that the wind might be coming from the wrong direction and I'd end up spending my "easy" day slogging into a gale. However, in the morning, while I was packing up I overheard people saying that the wind was good, and it was. We all just flew along! I don't think I've ever had a tailwind the whole way before!!

    The route from Radium to Golden was beautiful ... there were log, and wood-sided houses and cabins all along the way, set on green hills with trees around, and a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. I don't recall going that route before, although I know I must have when I was a very little girl (I lived in that area when I was about 2 or 3), and I thought it was fabulous!

    We had a snack stop early on in the day which almost came too early -- I was still full from breakfast, and then we had a lunch stop at about 11:30 (or that's when I got there). And just like the previous day, it started to rain when I pulled in ... just drizzling while I got my lunch and ate it, then when I was finished, it started coming down more heavily. I put on my booties and rain hat, and left figuring I'd rather be on my bicycle generating heat in the rain than sitting out there getting cold and wet. About 10 minutes up the road, I was back into sunshine again, but I found out later that the people who had opted to stay waited at least half an hour for the rain to pass.

    I arrived in Golden at about 1:30, an hour and a half before the luggage truck was due to arrive so I cycled around the town a bit and found a convenience store for something to drink, and a yummy chocolate-mint bar. By the time I got back to camp, the truck had arrived and so I was able to get my stuff and set things up. After that I took a walk along the river and through town ... very nice.

    Supper was quite good - it was the "closing night" supper where awards were presented to the oldest and youngest, and we all had to stand to show where we were from and things like that. The meal was very nice ... except for the meat. I am not fond of beef, and especially not half-raw beef. I passed. But the rest was good! I sat with an older guy with whom I had started talking about Randonneuring while we were in line ... and then he introduced me to his friends who all wanted to know about Randonneuring too!

    After supper the guys who had camped around me came back, and one of them started asking me questions about my bicycle setup ... and of course that drifted into Randonneuring. Then 4 of us sat around till about 10:30 talking about our cycling adventures and whatnot. That was quite interesting.

    Shortly after I dozed off, the trains started up! We were camped next to the tracks, and Golden is a busy little train town. I was told later that the trains were active till about midnight and then they started again at 5 am, but I had the impression that they went all night ... roaring up and down the track, horns blowing mournfully, echoing off the mountains, and shunting. I could have slept through the rest, but it is really hard to sleep through shunting!

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    DAY 3

    About 6:30 am, I crawled out of bed and shivered my way over to the toilet block. Then I began slowly packing everything up. I did get it all packed in time for the luggage truck, and I managed to get breakfast too, although they were starting to run out. And I was among the last 50 or so riders to leave.

    First thing out of Golden was a hill which went on for quite a while and had some steepish parts to it. What a way to begin a day! I rode up, keeping my pace nice and comfortable, and amazingly I began to catch the riders in front of me. I was picking them off one by one ... what a great feeling! I'm not the slowest climber out there!! Of course, at the same time, for every rider I passed, I was passed by about 4 riders. Oh well, I'm also definitely not the fastest climber out there.

    The next bit consisted of small rollers and a tailwind ... lovely! The scenery continued to be spectacular as well. I stopped to take a photo or two. I also identified the place a mystery photo on the RM1200 was taken! Thank goodness for that ... it has been bugging me for almost 3 years that I couldn't place where that photo was taken ... it was taken between Field and Golden:
    http://ca.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/mac...83.jpg&.src=ph

    I had the route profile in my mapcase, and I was watching the places marked there go by, and was waiting for a particular one, so I would know where I was (I rarely actually use my computer anymore ... not sure why). An hour and a half later, I was still waiting to see this place. I kept thinking that it should be around the corner any time, and when I saw it, I would know that lunch was only about 20 kms away. Just then the terrain changed and it dawned on me that I was right next to Field, where we were having lunch. Sure enough we rounded the corner and there it was. I must have sailed right by the other place without seeing it ... but what a nice feeling to be about 20 kms ahead of where I thought I was!

    It was lovely and sunny when I arrived at the lunch spot, but about 5 minutes later it became overcast, and started to snow. Hmmmm ... I'm seeing a pattern here! I got my lunch and curled up in a corner to shiver and eat ... and then I decided it was time to tackle the BIG HILL. This was the biggest climb on the whole route. I was told it was 20 kms long, and quite steep in places. I had been looking forward to this climb with a bit of dread for the whole trip. As I set out, I made a foolish mistake ... I put my long fingered gloves on for the first time on that route. My hands just couldn't take the cold anymore.

    Between Field and the start of the climb there was a bit of a flat stretch to warm up the legs after having lunch, and then the climb began. I shifted down into my 30T chainring in preparation, and got settled, and started to climb. Once again, I was steadily passing people in front of me, and once again for every one I passed, I got passed about 4 times over. Within a few minutes I was HOT. My hands were so hot they were itchy in those gloves. I shouldn't have put them on!! And for the very first time on the whole tour, my jacket and three jerseys felt too warm. I kept plugging away for a few kilometers looking for a place to stop and take my jacket off, and then I spotted an outlook area for the Spiral Tunnel, so I turned in.

    The Spiral Tunnels are a feat of engineering which were built for to ease the gradient for trains to get up the mountain.
    http://www.greatcanadianrivers.com/r...tory-home.html

    I took a look at the info they've got about them, took a photo, chatted with various people there about cycling, and while I was doing all that, one girl asked me if I'd cycled up from Field. I told her I had, and she asked me if it was hard. I told her it wasn't bad at all, but that I thought the worst was yet to come ... after all I hadn't got to the steep bits yet.

    So, with my jacket off, I continued on, and with in a kilometer ... it flattened out. "Ah, it thinks it can fool me", I thought "I'll round the corner and this wall will rise up in front of me!" I rounded the corner ... and ... it was flat. "OK, next corner" I said to myself, and kept saying that to myself until I reached the border between British Columbia and Alberta ... the highest point on the road. After that I had to believe my eyes when the road DESCENDED! That was it. A short 4.5% grade hill ... that's what I was so worried about!!

    It snowed lightly all the way up the hill and down the first part of the descent, but after that the weather was cold, but all right. I sailed down to the next snack stop where I stood around and chatted with the various people I had met along the way, and then one of the guys and I headed out to do the last bit. There were a couple climbs in that stretch, but nothing major.

    Just before we arrived back at the starting point, one of the tour trucks pulled up beside us and told us that a bear had been spotted near where we had all parked so we were to keep our eyes open.

    We arrived at the corner to a small cheering section and the playing of bagpipes!! But no bear. The club had been really good about labelling everything else along the way (directional arrows, warning signs that the shoulder was narrowing, etc.), I thought they should have had the decency to label the bear too!! But he was probably frightened away by the bagpipes!!

    Then I loaded my stuff up, grabbed a snack, and headed for home.

    It was a really nice tour ... very well organized! The only complaints I would have is that they didn't provide enough beverages or salt and salty things. I'm not sure what it is, but I am so thirsty lately, and hungry for salt. Other than that the meals and snacks and things were excellent, and they provided a shuttle service for the hotsprings so we wouldn't have to ride up there and back, and the luggage part went very well. It was good ... and I am so glad I could spend the weekend in the mountains.

  4. #4
    cyclotourist
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    I thought it was a bit chilly and a few too many people. There must be another 300 or so besides the 300 EVCC riders.

    Saw a bear just south of Kootenay crossing on Saturday.

    Amazing tailwind on Sunday.

    I rode up Kicking Horse Pass with the 14 yr old daughter of a friend. Her first real bike tour. What a place to do it.

    Another fun weekend on the Triangle.

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skookum
    I thought it was a bit chilly and a few too many people. There must be another 300 or so besides the 300 EVCC riders.

    Saw a bear just south of Kootenay crossing on Saturday.

    Amazing tailwind on Sunday.

    I rode up Kicking Horse Pass with the 14 yr old daughter of a friend. Her first real bike tour. What a place to do it.

    Another fun weekend on the Triangle.

    Were you out there? There were 380 EVCC riders going CJ > R > G > CJ and there were a bunch more going the opposite direction from the Edmonton club. Plus there were spouses and partners who just rode bits and pieces of the ride. So I'd guess that there were probably well over 500 riders on the road.

  6. #6
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    Yeah I was there, not with the EVCC but going the same direction.
    Judging from the number of cars at the non EVCC parking lot I would guess another 300 riders, some going the other way.

    I noticed Don Hollingshead in the back of the van taking pictures. He took one of me, have to see if it shows up on the website.

    The Herald had a letter today from somebody complaining about the cyclists on the narrow section of #1 going up Kicking Horse canyon.

    How early did people start heading out from Golden on Monday? We left the Golden Rim motel at 8AM. There really wasn't much traffic on the road until sometime after 9.
    Last edited by skookum; 05-26-05 at 09:08 PM. Reason: fix typo

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skookum
    Yeah I was there, not with the EVCC but going the same direction.
    Judging from the number of cars at the non EVCC parking lot I would guess another 300 riders, some going the other way.

    I noticed Don Hollingshead in the back of the van taking pictures. He took one of me, have to see if it shows up on the website.

    The Herald had a letter today from somebody complaining about the cyclists on the narrow section of #1 going up Kicking Horse canyon.

    How early did people start heading out from Golden on Monday? We left the Golden Rim motel at 8AM. There really wasn't much traffic on the road until sometime after 9.

    Don took several photos of me. I rode the RM1200 in 2002 and he was the photographer then, and I got used to having his camera in my face the whole time.

    I'm not surprised there was a complaint. There was some couple from another country in the tourist information place in Field complaining up and down how incredibly dangerous it is for cyclists to be on the road like that. Kind of silly really, because all the cyclists I could see (50-odd of them) were riding single file, and the #1 up Kicking Horse has been widened nicely to have a pretty decent shoulder. I don't recall having anything I would remotely call a "close call" with traffic on that whole ride.

    I thought most of the riders left quite early -- like ... maybe ... between 7 and 8 am. I didn't leave until 8:30 and there were only about 50 riders around when I left. But I could have been mistaken. Maybe there were a bunch still in their tents or something!

  8. #8
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    It is a narrow stretch of highway. I was over the narrow part before there was much traffic. If people are encouraged to leave early, they will be through the dangerous part before the heavy holiday traffic begins.

    The letter complained of cyclists "wobbling" into traffic, but my impression was it was more a problem of perception than reality. I didn't see any wobbling and most cyclists on this trip are fairly experienced, they aren't wobblers.

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skookum
    It is a narrow stretch of highway. I was over the narrow part before there was much traffic. If people are encouraged to leave early, they will be through the dangerous part before the heavy holiday traffic begins.

    The letter complained of cyclists "wobbling" into traffic, but my impression was it was more a problem of perception than reality. I didn't see any wobbling and most cyclists on this trip are fairly experienced, they aren't wobblers.

    Well, from what I overheard in that tourist place, the drivers who were complaining were very nervous drivers to begin with, AND one of their biggest concerns was that it was unsafe for us to CLIMB that hill ... I'm not sure what they were thinking ... that we were going to keel over partway up with heart attacks or something?? Oh well, I thought it was a good route (all the way around) and I will be doing part of it again this coming weekend.

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    They've posted the photos on the EVCC site for the Golden Triangle tour. Some good shots of the scenery in the Canadian Rockies!

    http://www.elbowvalleycc.org/Photoal...es/default.htm

  11. #11
    Senior Member jnoble123's Avatar
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    An excellent journal report that I really enjoyed reading.

    Thanks for sharing it with us!

    ~Jamie N

  12. #12
    Retro-nerd georgiaboy's Avatar
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    Not to get off topic. But I have a question.

    Is the Golden Triangle a land area in the shape of a trangle based on measurements equal to the golden ratio?

    I just wondered because:

    1. Golden Triangle is a math expression.

    2. I am a geek.

    You don't have to answer, it's just my mind wandering.

  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgiaboy
    Not to get off topic. But I have a question.

    Is the Golden Triangle a land area in the shape of a trangle based on measurements equal to the golden ratio?

    I just wondered because:

    1. Golden Triangle is a math expression.

    2. I am a geek.

    You don't have to answer, it's just my mind wandering.

    No ... sorry. In fact the route isn't really a triangle, it's more like a rectangle. But it is a three day tour which starts in Castle Junction and goes to Radium, then to Golden, and finally back to Castle Junction. So because it has three days of riding I guess that's why they call it a triangle. Plus one of the stopping points is the town of Golden.

  14. #14
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    I thought you where touring in Toronto!

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