Feeling Self-conscious, Fat, and Slow.
Strange Brew

July 25th, 2015

What happened…

Andrew writes: I think I’m becoming a man. I got to our campsite tonight and erected a tarp 10 feet in the air, then I marched over to the fire pit and whipped together a roaring blaze that would be the envy of Hades. Oh yes, I am a manly man now.

The ride today was one of those classic feel-good days. Sure, we had to climb for a couple of hours in the cool air, mixed with rain. We were rewarded at the top though with stunning views of the Columbia Icefields, and a hot lunch, and a scary-fun downhill. So yeah, today felt pretty good.

It was neat talking with Jayme and his partner, both last night before bed, and then again today at breakfast. They started their journey in Anchorage, Alaska, and are cycling south to Spokane, Washington. They brought a 45b dog with them; trailer and all! It’s so awesome, and inspiring. All day, I’ve been bugging Amanda to get a dog. I wonder how that’s going over. I’m holding out a hope that they will show up in the campground tonight and we can talk some more.

We ran into quite a few cycle tourists today, all heading the other way. A few didn’t stop, and just waved. One, Yichao, from Calgary, had such an incredible attitude! Firstly, he has crafted a magical cycling helm for himself. Then he promised us a 30-minute downhill, since he was just finishing up his climb to Sunwapta Pass, and we were about to start our way down. This too proved true. So basically, Yichao is a wizard. A jolly wizard with a warm smile, and a fully-loaded touring steed beneath him. Safe travels to Jasper Yichao!

Then there was Scott Thorpe, from Vancouver. He is one day away from finishing his tour to Jasper, which he started in Michigan. He travels with his best friend, and teddy bear James, to keep him company and to protect him from harm.

So yeah, basically bicycle tourists are pretty rad.

Amanda writes:
Well so much for starting early. I woke up and the clock said 7:30 which means 8:30 now that we’re on MST. We laid in bed until 9 and then really took our time. It was raining so I don’t think either of us were in too much of a rush. Jayme (another cycle tourist) came and had breakfast and we chatted with him for about an hour. It’s always really nice to meet other people, especially other cyclists.

We hit the road a little after 11 and it rained quite a bit. It actually wasn’t bad because we have all the rain gear and kept warm. Our timing was almost perfect. Just as we neared the official Icefields Centre and the Columbia Ice Field, the sun starting poking through. It’s just beautiful, everything I had hoped for.

We were a bit chilled when we arrived and headed inside to warm up. We both agreed we’d probably hide out here for some time until we achieved that. As we started heading inside, we were hit with a wall of tourists. Holy cow it’s busy. As we tend to stick to back country stuff it was a bit overwhelming. We headed to the cafeteria for what I thought was going to be hot water for our tea. Instead Andrew made the decision to buy lunch at $15 a person. That’s not at all what I had in mind. As the sun had cleared I was thinking we’d take advantage of the nice picnic tables outside and make some soup with our wraps; that way we could escape a bit too from the crowds. But for those of you that know Andrew once he gets an idea in his mind, the rest is history. I didn’t want an argument when we were both cold and hungry so let it go. I need to practice more at picking my battles because in hindsight I wish I had of picked this one. When we’re on a $30 a day budget, these expensive lunches are simply unnecessary. It’s hard for Andrew; old habits die hard. As soon as we arrive anywhere with a store he has a difficult time going in and not coming out with something. He’s aware of it and I’m sure he’ll work on it. Until then I’ll need to be of a nag and pick this battle.

After our lunch I thought we were going to hang out and read books, warm up and charge the computer battery. Andrew went to the information centre and I went to my bike to grab my book. Within 2 minutes Andrew was beside me by the bikes and said “we’re leaving”. He packed up his things and road off. Not sure what happened at the visitor centre but I guess we were headed out. I packed up … eventually. In actual fact I took my sweet time to wait for some clouds to clear to get another awesome picture of the glaciers. Then I peddled out and found Andrew on the road up ahead.

The next 35 kilometres were downhill heaven. What a thrill to ride down on the same day you complete a big climb. We had climbed to almost 2100 meters and then descended to 1400 meters; it was awesome. The only lousy part is I know we have to climb it all again tomorrow and won’t have a chance to ride back down it in the same day because 50 km uphill will simply take too long. And so again … I hope we get up early and get started on the road early knowing we have a hard day.

Today’s Photographs

Feeling Self-conscious, Fat, and Slow.
Strange Brew