Canmore Gathering 1999-

Day 1 of Riding
Sunday. Benchlands - 2hours, ~200meters of climbing

We arrived at 10:00 at the bottom of Coxhill in the rain... Calgary Dave arrived and mentioned that climbing to 2200 meters when it is raining at 1700meters could mean we might hit snow... So we decided to ride into Canmore to discuss options over coffee. After sitting in a coffee shop for 2 hours, the rain finally stopped and Dave and Lee convinced me and Julliet that riding in the Benchlands would be a good option since that area drains fairly well and the trails do dry up remarkable fast here.

We rode for about 2 hours in twisty turny up and down rolling single track. Occasionally taking in the remarkable view of the three sisters and chinaman peak from the Benchlands. We were debating whether to go ride the other side when the sky opened up and pissed down on us. Thank god I brought my MEC full length coated nylon rain jacket! That made our decision and ended that day of riding.

Day 2 of Riding.

Elbow Loop; - 41.5 km 1600-2225m 625m total elevation gain.

The day started out sunny with pretty high cool winds and some higher white clouds.

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This being the Rockys we decided to bring some extra clothes, 'just in case...' We headed off at about 11:30 along the Little elbow trail which is a good two wheel drive road that takes you along the little elbow river, fortunately we did not have to ford the river at this point.

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with Mount Romulus towering to the north of us, and the Opal range towering to the West. On our East were the high peaks of Mt. Cornwall and Glasgow. This is a nice steady climb, we passed a couple of horses, dodged a couple of droppings and made our steady way along the road.

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Can you see me????

After riding for about 12 km in about an hour, we got to the point where most of the elevation gain began.

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Along the avalanche carved sides of what was probably Cornwall we trudged along every so often looking at the towering mountains surrounding us. As we got to the top of the pass, we could see the Misty Range in the distance, we could also see the darker gray clouds and rain falling between the Misty Range and the Range we were going around... We got to the top of Tombstone Pass where it flattens out for a bit, then DESCENDS!!! the descent is a double track, not very technical but fast. Lee takes off, Hadi is hot on his trail, I'm racing to keep up, all of a sudden Hadi slows down with a flat. As he is fixing his flat, we see the clouds grow darker and the air grow colder, then pitter patter the rain starts... it starts out soo slow, by this time Lee has come back up to see what's up. Hadi has almost finished fixing his flat so Lee goes back down to his bike. By this time the sky decided to open up, so Hadi and I hide under a tree to wait it out. We wait there for about 15 minutes, we put on all our extra clothes, then we decide to go to where Lee was hiding since it seemed like the rain was stopping. After getting to where Lee was, now we are wet, the rain picks up so we take shelter again.

At this time three other riders pass, us. Nuts to try to ride in the cold rain since it will eventually stop! After the rain stops we start off, now we just want to get going since we were quite chilled. We caught up to the other riders who said they rode because they had just finished eating and were already cold!

As we rounded the pass, we got to a section that had a rather Steep slope off the trail beside us

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Notice I am now fully clothed, indicative of how cold it got.
Also notice the grey slopes behind me... Noel - Any Ideas here???? Imagine STARTING at 2900meters!!! Can a helicopter fly that high?

Or you can be normal... like Lee and go down the mere 45degree grassy/rocky slopes and STILL impress the other riders that we caught up to along the trail (they are behind the tree in the back of the picture)

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The descent from the top of the pass had us go around Mt. Cornwall and the Banded peak heading us back to where we started, now we had Cougar mountain and the Big Elbow river to ride along. This part of the descent is also fast and not very technical, lots of loopy loops and rock gardens where you can get a flat if you go high speed through them, as Lee found out 4 times!!! Fortunately by this time the sun was out so it was not so cold. While Lee was fixing his 4th flat he noticed that his Shimano 9 speed chain had a bad link, again.

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After we fixed all of Lee's mechanicals, we just wanted to get back since it was now 5:30, 6 hours into what should have been a 3-4 hour ride... Lee and I were off ahead riding along the flat Big Elbow river valley when we noticed Hadi was not around... Back we went to find him to find that his peddle had fallen off!!! go figure.

We were back at the campsite by 6:30.

Had our showers with the camp shower bag, ate Persian Shrimp rice and relaxed by the fire.