Friday, June 12, 2015

Banff



Well, I made it through the travel process of Brisbane-Los Angeles-Calgary-Banff without too much trouble.  I even managed to snag a business class seat on my Virgin Australia flight to LAX. That was very nice and a bit unexpected! 



While suffering through the haze of jet lag I managed to find a post office to mail some packages out to strategic points along the route.  I hope I addressed them correctly! 


Arriving in Banff I was blown away by the sheer beauty of the place.  The weather has been warm (25C)and clear. The mountains are stunning and the town itself,  while touristy,  is very quaint.



A few of us assembled our bikes in front of the "Y" and it was good to put some faces to internet names.




I soon found one of the local bike shops,  Soul Ski and Bike, where Jason the owner hooked me up with some allen keys to tighten my pedal and my stem.


I thanked him by purchasing some bear spray.  He gave me a quick tutorial on how to use it which I sincerely hope I do not need display. 


The are about 6 Aussies staying in the YMCA. It was nice to meet Seb and Bethany from Canberra, Mick from Taree (riding Single Speed!), Simon from Beechworth and of course Mark from Brisbane.


Dave, another Brisbane rider needed some new pedals and with none available in Banff we decided to go for a pedal to Canmore to buy some.

So Mick, Dave and I set off along the 20odd kilometre bike trail that parallels the highway. It was great to spin the legs but I could feel the 4500ft elevation on the few slight uphills we rode.


The scenery was breathtaking and it was hard to concentrate on where I was going while trying to take in the views. 


After having pedals fitted we found an ice cream parlour and partook in a couple of scoops of the best ice cream I have had in a while. 

The pedal back was slightly uphill and into a stiff breeze so got the heart rate up a bit but the views again took the mind off the hurt. 

I have limited photos as my cunning plan was to buy a camera that connects with my phone via wi-fi but of course it won't connect so all my awesome photos are stranded on the camera. 


The race starts tomorrow, in less than 22 hours!  I have my gear on the bike and it is time to sort out the last minute items before we push off. The weather has been perfect all week but the forecast is for 13C and drizzle in the morning.  Oh well,  take it as it comes I guess. 

This will be my last post until I finish but just a reminder that my previous post has the links to the various sites where you can follow our progress. 

Cheers and here is hoping for the best!






Sunday, June 7, 2015

Time To Fly






Well, not quite race day but I set up my training plan to end a week early as I have some planes, trains and automobiles to catch before I straddle the Muru in Banff.

I started my Training Peaks program back in early February and I find it hard to believe I have come to the sharp end already. Just 1 more sleep and I will be at the airport trying not to catch someone else's flu for 14 hours to L.A.



The reason I posted the TP message up is because actually, I do feel fit and strong. Probably the fittest I have been since my early twenties and at 80.5kg(177lb), the lightest I have been since my mid twenties. I could maybe lose another kg or two but that would be it. I am pretty happy with where I am physically and mentally.


 After knocking over a licence renewal at work I can concentrate on putting the final touches on my kit and packing it carefully into a bike box.


 Appropriately, that box is called a Bike Pack.



I was lucky enough to have a small send off lunch with good friends and family where my lovely and VERY understanding wife presented me with a cake she had made especially for the occasion. I especially liked the Arnott's Tiny Teddy bursting out of the trees. ;)


Just before I head off I would like to thank some people for helping me get to where I am. There are many of you so I won't name names in case I miss somebody out but let me just say the advice, support, encouragement and light hearted ribbing over the last six months have all been greatly appreciated. Much more than I can ever convey.
Thank you.






Links to follow my progress -

Trackleaders - This is THE place to watch Blue Dots (and of course Pink ones too).

Bikepacking.net - The official, unofficial forum where everything Tour Divide Race gets discussed. This is a great place to get a feel for what is happening on out on the trail.

Tour Divide Homepage - Find the "official" home page of the tour where the rules reside as well as various other links.