Jasper to Banff Bike Ride, The Second Posting For The Last Day – The Pictures

Perhaps you will sense a different feeling to this post when compared to the earlier ones from the ride.  Of course, one of the reasons this post is different is because of what I did to myself at the end of the day.  The other reason is more sentimental.  I want to acknowledge my travel companions. The focus is not just on the scenery but on the people who accompanied me.  I am going to break my own unspoken rule and specifically mention names.  I am hoping that nobody minds.  We start in the morning as we get ready to depart Lake Louise.

Being his usual helpful self, Rick had packed our luggage into the back of Ben’s van for the last day’s ride. He was quite proud of his effort.   Rick also did his bit to keep us entertained as we rode every day.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is Ben giving us instructions for the last day.   Ben was very thorough in his support.  Go ahead and take a tour with him at Mountain Madness Tours.  You will not be disappointed!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe had been riding thus far on the Icefields Parkway.  From now on we are on the Bow Valley Parkway.  The funny thing is that my bear sighting was pretty soon after we saw this sign. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe road ran beside the Bow River.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is a picture of the riders on the move.  You may notice that the road markings here are very different from those encountered on the Icefields Parkway.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA freight train awaits beside the road.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKoushik, the heart and soul of our riding team.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne way to smell the flowers, perhaps on another planet (get it!?).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANancy and Stacy, old college mates.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABen in his vehicle, after overtaking one of the riders.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI stopped with KP at a memorial point for the Castle Camp internment camp.  Even though this episode happened during WW1, it is not difficult to imagine something like this happening even  in our modern times.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe last paragraph in the wayside marker for the internment camp below reads “In total, eight thousand five hundred and seventy-nine men became prisoners of war in twenty-four camps located across Canada during the internment operations of 1914-1920.  Most were foreign nationals, a few were British subjects or Canadian citizens.  The majority were non-combatant, unemployed civilians – victims of the 1913 depression, racial prejudice and wartime hysteria. Many of the internees came from western regions of Ukraine, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.”OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStacy, Nancy and Sally.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Bow river.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABen’s van and trailer at the last stopping point.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAResting before the last push.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASally and Bob, our riding leaders.  They were the youngest and the oldest in the group. Bob, a former triathlete, took on the hills we encountered as if he was on a mission. Sally was not too far behind.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA squirrel observing the goings-on at this last stop.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was the last picture I found on the camera after the trip.  I did not take this picture.  The time stamp on the picture leads me to believe that it was taken after I fell off the bike.  I suspect that Bob, who had retrieved the camera and eventually delivered it to my home, took a picture to see if the camera was working. A great picture from that perspective.  The camera ended up in better shape than I did!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA That was the end of the ride, but not the end of my adventures.

If you want to continue to read about how I got home from Canada, start with this posting.

Jasper to Banff Bike Ride – The Last Day, maybe a partial posting..

Those who may be reading this blog regularly will know that there was a break in the postings between day 5 and day 6 of this trip. This blog will also look different because I do not have my camera with me to download the pictures I took on the last day.  I might have another posting on the ride when I have pictures.  The pictures do help me remember more details of the adventures.

The last day’s ride from Lake Louise to Banff was the longest, about 60 km.  We left the Icefield Parkway in Lake Louise and got on the Bow Valley Parkway as we headed towards Banff.   We biked on a shaded road for most of this section, surrounded by tall pine trees. Off to our right flowed the Bow river. A railroad line ran along the riverside.  (The pictures I will post will give you a better sense for this.)

I was not able to take a picture of the amazing encounter that I had with a bear.  I was riding at the rear of the group when the black bear ran across the road right in front of me. I stopped the bike, but it had already disappeared into the bushes.  There was no time to pull out my camera. The person riding in front of me confirmed that she had had also seen the bear sitting by the side of the road. Wow!

We had our usual stops along the way for snacks and sightseeing. As we got closer to Banff, we got more focused on the riding.  A group of the riders were leading with a somewhat fast pace, and a vaguely defined and somewhat ragged Peloton of some of the riders began to take form. I was towards the back. I had one other fast rider behind me, whom I was prepared to slow down if needed.

Then disaster struck just a few km from our final destination.  My wheel went off the the edge of the road because I had gotten too close to the side, and the cycle skidded on the gravel beside the road. I could not fight the laws of physics. I took a toss at high speed.  The result was fairly devastating. I have seen my helmet after the ride, and I am pretty sure it saved my life.  I ended up in a hospital in Calgary (from which I am writing) for a few days.  Because of my injuries, I have to take the train home.  It will be some time before I get home.

People have been very very kind to me since the fall.  It is overwhelming. A riding buddy stayed back to keep me company for a couple of days.  My brother arrives to accompany me on the train ride to Toronto.  My daughter drives me home to Gaithersburg.  Everybody is so concerned.  I feel a little bad for ruining the end of the ride for others.  But we also did have a wonderful and unforgettable time for the most part, and nobody and nothing can take that away from us.  I am so happy we did the ride.  What happened was my careless mistake. I am usually cautious, but I let my guard down.

I, unfortunately, did not get a chances to say goodbye properly to most of the others involved in the ride in the end.  They all made the experience even more special. They also took care of me when I fell.  I owe them all a depth of gratitude.

I will have pictures after I get to my camera.