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

    I just got an email confirming my acceptance into the Golden Triangle tour put on by the Elbow Valley Cycle Touring Club here in Alberta!!

    I did the tour two years ago, and really enjoyed it, so I am looking forward to riding it again.


    Would any of you happen to be planning to ride it too?

  2. #2
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Nope. Its always on my mind, but I never get around to making it happen. I guess what keeps me from actually registering is I am not super keen on group "anythings". I like to tour with one or two people and the idea of so many people doing the ride gives me headaches. Especially when I can ride the same route a week later and have the whole road to myself.

    I'm not knocking it as I see that other people really enjoy it and similar rides. Maybe I'll try it one day and find its absolutely delightful!

    What did you enjoy about your previous GT? What didn't you like?
    safe riding - Vik
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  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    The vast majority of my rides are solo, so when I can do a group ride, I often jump at the chance!! I don't mind riding solo, but it gets really lonely out there, and I often long to see even one other cyclist off in the distance ... or something to let me know that I'm not the only cyclist on the planet.

    So the first thing I liked about this tour is that there were other riders out there!! But the thing with this tour is that the riders don't all ride bunched together in one big group ... we were spread out all over the place There were many times when I rode alone, but I could usually see a rider or two a ways ahead of me, or behind me if I looked back ... and every so often I'd ride with someone and chat for a while. I found that aspect really nice. By the third day I was riding with a small group who I'd gotten to know. And that was nice too.

    Another thing I liked was that we could all ride at our own pace, with people or by ourselves as we wanted. There's no pressure. The official start time on the first day was 8 am, and we had to check in by then, but we could leave whenever we wanted to leave. They had scheduled times (which were really quite flexible) for meals, and they warned us that if we rode fast, we might arrive at our destination earlier than our gear (not a problem for me, or for 95% of the riders), but other than that we were on our own. I spent my first evening swimming at Radium Hotsprings, and then lying in my tent reading (wonderfully relaxing), and the second evening wandering around Golden and taking photos, and then chatting with a bunch of other cyclists. Basically I did what I wanted to do.

    Third, they provided food like I have never seen on a ride before. I have various dietary issues (no milk, no peanuts, very little meat), and the vast majority of organized rides I've been on have provided very limited food selections, and heavy on the peanut butter. I've ended up paying full price for the ride ... and then eating all my own food. (A little pet peeve of mine). But the GT tour was GREAT!! They provided a lot of food (piles of it!!) and a wide variety of food ... and good food!!

    For a very low price they provide camping spots, all the food you can eat, and sag/baggage support. You can do the whole tour lightly loaded ... luxurious!

    At Radium, there was a volunteer who drove a van from the campsite to the hotsprings and back all evening long. I really liked that, because if you're familiar with Radium, getting to the hotsprings is a bit of a climb, and after a long day's ride the idea of climbing back up to the hotsprings is a bit daunting, so being shuttled up was very nice.

    They had a mechanic van in case anything went wrong with the bicycles ... and Don took photos like he always does on rides around Alberta so we've got keepsakes of our ride. This was the year I rode: http://www.elbowvalleycc.org/Photoal...es/default.htm

    Plus it was a beautiful ride ... the mountains are gorgeous!!

    ----------

    What didn't I like???? Ummmmmmmm ... I don't know. I really enjoyed myself last time and thought they put on a very good event. If I had to find something, I might say ..... that the meat at the dinner on the second day could have been well done (I'm not fond of medium rare), and there could have been a word of instruction regarding the camping on the second night to let us know that we could just go in and pick our sites ... a group of us sort of stood around chatting for a little while wondering what we were supposed to do before someone came along and told us to go ahead. That's about it!! Nothing significant.

    ----------

    I should mention that if the tour were a couple weeks long, I might start finding the group thing a little wearing, but spending 3 days sort of with a bunch of people isn't bad at all.

  4. #4
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Hmmmm....sounds pretty good. Might be something I'd do with my friends who are not hardcore cyclists, but would still like to do some "touring".
    safe riding - Vik
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  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Someone new is organizing it this year (and did last year too, I guess) ... the lady who organized it when I did it had been organizing it forever, and really seemed to know what she was doing ... so I hope that the quality is the same.

    I'm all for heading out on self-supported tours - I really enjoy that sort of tour .... but sometimes it's nice to be sort of pampered on a tour ... having all your meals prepared for you, having your gear carried, etc.

  6. #6
    cyclotourist
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    The GT has been going since 84 and has gone through several organizers, and each of them believed that when they left, the tour would collapse.

    I figure the biggest threat is Parks Canada or the RCMP, who don't like to see that many cyclists on the highway.

    Which way are they going this year?

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skookum
    The GT has been going since 84 and has gone through several organizers, and each of them believed that when they left, the tour would collapse.

    I figure the biggest threat is Parks Canada or the RCMP, who don't like to see that many cyclists on the highway.

    Which way are they going this year?
    Castle Junction > Radium > Golden > Castle Junction

    Same way they did it two years ago.

  8. #8
    cyclotourist
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    The traditional route, then. I've done it half a dozen times but never the opposite way.

    I am looking forward to the finishing of the Kicking Horse Canyon section of the TCH. It will be cool to cycle that elevated roadway they are building there. (If cycling will be allowed on it)

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    I did the GT last year and really enjoyed it, unfortunately it's not on the agenda this year because I'm working in Argentina till June.

    But next year I plan to be there!
    2006 Lemond Sarthe
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Castle Junction > Radium > Golden > Castle Junction

    Same way they did it two years ago.
    Same way they did it last year too.
    2006 Lemond Sarthe
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  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skookum
    The traditional route, then. I've done it half a dozen times but never the opposite way.

    I am looking forward to the finishing of the Kicking Horse Canyon section of the TCH. It will be cool to cycle that elevated roadway they are building there. (If cycling will be allowed on it)
    Are you planning to ride it again this year?

  12. #12
    In the wind mercator's Avatar
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    I've signed up. First time for me.

  13. #13
    cyclotourist
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    I may do it with friends rather than the organized tour. Not sure yet.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by skookum
    I may do it with friends rather than the organized tour. Not sure yet.
    I've toured this route solo, fully loaded (camping) and I've also ridden it with the GT. Both were great trips and a lot of fun, but so different they might as well have been on different planets.
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  15. #15
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bccycleguy
    I've toured this route solo, fully loaded (camping) and I've also ridden it with the GT. Both were great trips and a lot of fun, but so different they might as well have been on different planets.
    Two years ago, I rode the Golden Triangle tour on the May long weekend ... lots of fun, very relaxed pace, really enjoyed it.

    The very next weekend I rode a 400 km brevet, a good portion of which was the Golden Triangle tour route!! That one was much more strenuous and faster paced. It was also completely self supported.

    The difference felt kind of weird .... I'd cycle past the spots where the tour had snacks and lunches all laid out, but there was no one there, and I had to keep pedalling, and I knew that there would be no stopping for the day in the middle of the afternoon. Like you say, the two rides might as well have been on different planets.

    The people, the organizations, the pace, and everything can give two very different feels to a ride!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    The vast majority of my rides are solo, so when I can do a group ride, I often jump at the chance!! I don't mind riding solo, but it gets really lonely out there, and I often long to see even one other cyclist off in the distance ... or something to let me know that I'm not the only cyclist on the planet.

    So the first thing I liked about this tour is that there were other riders out there!! But the thing with this tour is that the riders don't all ride bunched together in one big group ... we were spread out all over the place There were many times when I rode alone, but I could usually see a rider or two a ways ahead of me, or behind me if I looked back ... and every so often I'd ride with someone and chat for a while. I found that aspect really nice. By the third day I was riding with a small group who I'd gotten to know. And that was nice too.

    Another thing I liked was that we could all ride at our own pace, with people or by ourselves as we wanted. There's no pressure. The official start time on the first day was 8 am, and we had to check in by then, but we could leave whenever we wanted to leave. They had scheduled times (which were really quite flexible) for meals, and they warned us that if we rode fast, we might arrive at our destination earlier than our gear (not a problem for me, or for 95% of the riders), but other than that we were on our own. I spent my first evening swimming at Radium Hotsprings, and then lying in my tent reading (wonderfully relaxing), and the second evening wandering around Golden and taking photos, and then chatting with a bunch of other cyclists. Basically I did what I wanted to do.

    Third, they provided food like I have never seen on a ride before. I have various dietary issues (no milk, no peanuts, very little meat), and the vast majority of organized rides I've been on have provided very limited food selections, and heavy on the peanut butter. I've ended up paying full price for the ride ... and then eating all my own food. (A little pet peeve of mine). But the GT tour was GREAT!! They provided a lot of food (piles of it!!) and a wide variety of food ... and good food!!

    For a very low price they provide camping spots, all the food you can eat, and sag/baggage support. You can do the whole tour lightly loaded ... luxurious!

    At Radium, there was a volunteer who drove a van from the campsite to the hotsprings and back all evening long. I really liked that, because if you're familiar with Radium, getting to the hotsprings is a bit of a climb, and after a long day's ride the idea of climbing back up to the hotsprings is a bit daunting, so being shuttled up was very nice.

    They had a mechanic van in case anything went wrong with the bicycles ... and Don took photos like he always does on rides around Alberta so we've got keepsakes of our ride. This was the year I rode: http://www.elbowvalleycc.org/Photoal...es/default.htm

    Plus it was a beautiful ride ... the mountains are gorgeous!!

    ----------

    What didn't I like???? Ummmmmmmm ... I don't know. I really enjoyed myself last time and thought they put on a very good event. If I had to find something, I might say ..... that the meat at the dinner on the second day could have been well done (I'm not fond of medium rare), and there could have been a word of instruction regarding the camping on the second night to let us know that we could just go in and pick our sites ... a group of us sort of stood around chatting for a little while wondering what we were supposed to do before someone came along and told us to go ahead. That's about it!! Nothing significant.

    ----------

    I should mention that if the tour were a couple weeks long, I might start finding the group thing a little wearing, but spending 3 days sort of with a bunch of people isn't bad at all.
    Another great thing about the GT is that it is completely self-supported, no government grants, no uncertainity if it will get funded, etc., etc.

    It also has the endorsement of the various highways departments, Parks Canada and it's used by the RCMP as a training example of how a large event like this can be organized safely on one of the busiest weekends of the year.
    2006 Lemond Sarthe
    2000 Trek 7500FX

  17. #17
    cyclotourist
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    Quote Originally Posted by bccycleguy
    It also has the endorsement of the various highways departments, Parks Canada and it's used by the RCMP as a training example of how a large event like this can be organized safely on one of the busiest weekends of the year.

    A lot of the locals don't like it and complain regularly to Parks, Highways, whoever they think will listen. I know a few years ago Parks put an upper limit on the ride, but of course so many people do it free lance that it means nothing. I usually skip the breakfast in Golden and eat in one of the greasy spoons on the highway. Then you can hear the locals griping about the cyclists and how the tour should be banned. There are often letters to the editor in the local papers, too.

    I have seen some pretty stupid behaviour over the years so there is a reason for some of the concern.

    I wonder what it will be like this year going through the construction zone in the kicking horse canyon.

  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Just thought I'd bump this up to see if anyone else might be planning to do this tour. It's 2 weeks away!

  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I'm almost set to go .... this will be my first tour of the year!

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