Rockies Summer of 2002
STONY SQUAW AND THE BENCHLANDS
DAY 8 - STONY SQUAW
This was our first trail of the day. The night before we had pulled into Canmore and hooked up with Greg; then on for dinner and libations. The next day started with a small ride at Stony Squaw in Banff National Park. After the usual antics and logistics of assembling a large group - off we go! The trail starts at 1370m and stops just short of 1700m.
The route starts on the switchbacked road just to the east of Mt Norquay then cuts up the approach heading north east towards Cascade Mountain then down the Stoney Squaw creek back to the highway. It is not a long ride.
The climb was brutal at altitude and we were all suffering. Of course Rob brings along these two guys from his neck of the woods deep in the heart of redneck Alberta and one of them, Mike, takes off on us. I try to chase him down and just as I catch sight of him I drop my chain. My heart feels like its going to jump out of my chest so I take the opportunity to take a rest - using the excuse that I have to take pictures, of course.
Here is Kevin from Fruita - my old climbing buddy. He is smiling! The sunavub*tch said he was out of shape! Why the hell is he smiling then?
Roger, another piker sleeper, from Atlanta is hot on Kevin's tail. Here is another unassuming rider who looks just like a normal average guy who then promptly rides your ass off and then hands your butt to you for dinner but yet is so nice about it you can't help but feel like you deserved it. Yes, Roger hurt us all week with a smile on his face and a wiggle in his butt.
It is only after we get to the top that Rob tells me that the guy I was chasing - Mike - is a Top 10 Junior Expert ranked nationally and is racing on a US college scholarship. Great! After I find a nice tree to beat my head against we get this fantastic group shot from the top.
Speaking of rednecks^^^^ - I mean riders who have really - and I mean really improved, here is Rob. Still the only guy I can think of who can match me one for one on fart and gay pig sex jokes around a campfire. If that isn't a ringing endorsement I don't know what is.We won't even mention the squirrels...
Here is Suzie from the same vantage point framed in the gargantuan granitic grandeur of the Canadian Rockies.
After the initial rooty, twisty-turny descent the singletrack opens up into doubletrack. Here is Bob chasing squirrels down the trail with Mt Norquay in the background. The run in the background is called Top Gun and is known for its Volkswagen Westphalia size moguls. If you can ski more than 30 runs of Top Gun in a day you get a pin! WOooHOoooo! Maybe they should throw in crutches?
Here is Brian - another one of those stealth bombs - who just sneaks up on you and then destroys you without a so much as an "excuse me". Of course Brian is from Fruita just like Kevin. Just like Kevin, he is out of shape. I'd hate to ride with him when he's in shape.
In the late afternoon, a small group takes off and rides the Pirate Trails. At some point I manage to cartwheel off a smallish drop and mangle my legs. This causes unusually great consternation among the campfire crowd. Ken takes this opportunity to drop hydrogen peroxide kickapoo joy juice on my weeping sores. I especially enjoyed the effervescent bubbling of the joy juice as it pooled in my capillaries.
DAY 9 - BENCHLANDS
The next day I am sore. Luckily we have a later start and Sharon is handy with gauze and bandages. The group splits up with half the group taking off to do Jewell Pass and Mt Baldy while Greg takes half of us to check out his local trails in the Benchlands.
These are not just your typical local trails. They are Canmore style - great trail bed- fantastic condition and nice and narrow. Of course the views are Rocky Mountain gorgeous. The trails are to the north of the town and we ride all the way out to Harvie Heights and back.
Did I mention the views? Brad certainly seems to like them as do Sharon and Dave.
Rob is a mere distraction in front of the Three Sisters - Canmore's signature peaks.
We assemble for the obligatory happy smiley group shot. Who farted?
Here I am stalking Cort again. I really didn't mean to Officer! This shot nicely shows off the quality of Canmore trails and the views.
There is surprisingly large amount of downhill given how little climbing we do. Perhaps this is an Albertan moebius loop? Sharon negotiates a rocky tight corner.
Brian follows with a pained expression. Is this the hardest stuff you can throw at me he seems to ask?
All the way from Whitehorse in the Yukon; Sherm is a regular at Canmore. There must be something in the air that agrees with him for I certainly would have had my legs fall off if I pedalled around all those climbs on flats.
The toughest part of the trail is the Microwave Drop - an intimidating rock ledge. My legs still feel like hell and my confidence is pretty shot so I drop my seat and play it nice and safe.
Mark drops it with no problems despite riding a 3 year old Atom Bomb with what must be 3 inches of lateral play! Get a new fork Mark so you can open up a huge can of whoop-ass on all of us.
I would like to say that Dave made this but I would be lying. It must have been the air shock Dave. You're right up there with Rob for most improved rider.
We finish the ride off with a glorious set of fast downhill singletracks and then its off for more food and drinks. Aahhhh Canmore! Annie asks "Where's the beer?"