Mosquito Creek to Banff - Finally riding my dream - CycleBlaze

August 2, 2018

Mosquito Creek to Banff

Not a lot to say today. The route wasn’t as scenic as further north and there was a smoke haze due to forest fires in BC (plus some new ones much closer caused by lightning). Nearing Banff, I could even smell woodsmoke. I didn't take many photos today.

Up early (though I wasn’t the first), ate breakfast, packed, and on the road...freezing. I was wearing the same layers as yesterday (all clean stuff, though, since it’s riding day 4), but I wasn’t warming up and according to Garmin, the temperature was dropping. It was hovering around 4° so I stopped and put on my warm jacket under my rain shell (which was acting as a windbreaker today).

I probably wasn’t warming up because the route today is mostly downhill, especially the first 24 km to Lake Louise, and the sun wasn’t up yet. It actually was up, but behind the trees on the east side of the road. In fact, today’s route was mostly the typical BC-style tunnel of trees, but with occasional glimpses of the rocky peaks above.

Morning sun on the peaks to the west
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I detoured into Lake Louise Village, not very far since there was a promising coffee shop in the little mall just off the highway. I thawed myself with a latte and treated myself to a cookie. I though, briefly, about riding up the hill to Lake Louise (the lake, where the Chateau is) but changed my mind. Showers are forecast for this afternoon, I’ve been there before, and judging by the full parking lot here where you can catch a shuttle up, it will be crowded.

The Bow Valley Parkway was pleasant as always. I met another cyclist at the fancy portal (new since I was last here) and rode with him. We were well matched; although he was on a carbon road bike and not riding loaded, he is relatively new to cycling and from Saskatchewan. That being so, his bike had flat prairie gearing and he had had no opportunity to practice riding hills at home. He had also started in Jasper, with his wife driving their RV as support vehicle, so I thought he was doing pretty well. I think he will look into a new cassette and derailleur for his next trip.

I don't remember this sign the first time I rode from Lake Louise to Banff. It might have been there in 2013 when I rode the Banff GranFondo, but I didn't notice.
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Looking back up the Bow Valley toward Lake Louise
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The HI Banff Hostel has a feature I remember from staying at French youth hostels way back when. It’s out of town and up a hill! But it’s very nice and guests can get a free 3-day transit pass. After showering (oh that felt good!) I took the bus into town and wandered around. I had thought to visit the hot springs, but just didn’t feel like it today.

I had dinner at Banff Avenue Brewing, where I shared a table with another solo traveller who arrived just after I did. She is from Brazil, living in Vancouver to study English for 6 months, and here on a week’s hiking holiday. It was my idea, since it seems silly to go to a pub and sit there reading a book while you drink your very good beer and eat your Elk Brewer’s Pie (minced elk & pork, stout gravy, mirepoix vegetables, peas, corn, mushrooms, potato soufflé), and it made for a pleasant hour.

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Today's ride: 88 km (55 miles)
Total: 303 km (188 miles)

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