Now before you start thinking that this post is about how I got on a bicycle and rode through the mountains let me set things straight – I drove, in a truck. My husband was the one who biked this moutain trek, alongside my brother in law.
When Cody mentioned that my brother in law wanted to do a bike ride through the mountains this summer I thought it was a neat idea but part of me thought it would never happen. Cody only just purchased a road bike earlier this year and there’s a big difference between biking mountain terrain and biking through the relatively flat Alberta prairies where we live.
But he did it. Three days, 321 kilometres, about 15 hours of cycling.
Day 1: Castle Junction, Alta. to Golden, B.C.
On day one the boys got on the road around 1 p.m., approximately two hours later than we had planned – we’ll go ahead a blame that on babies and gas stops. Cody and I and the boys had stayed in a motel in Olds, Alta. the night before and it had just poured rain on our drive to meet my sister and brother-in-law and their new baby in Castle Junction. Thankfully the rain eased up before we got there and the boys were able to take off under cloudy but sunny skies.
My sister and I and the kids had thought we would kill some time at Lake Louise before leaving Alberta to meet the boys half way to Golden for a water break. However, it was Saturday and Lake Louise was packed. Both of my boys had fallen asleep in the car and we decided to abandon our first plan and head towards Golden.
We stopped at a cute little rest area in Field, B.C. After having some lunch (packed not purchased), we headed towards the little park where Elijah was super excited to get rid of some of his energy. There was also a small pond he could dip his feet into and the park was next to the train tracks. It was the perfect rest stop for a busy toddler.
Field also happens to be approximately half way between Castle Junction and Golden. Cody spotted our truck in the parking lot and the boys stopped for a water break. He remarked to me later that he and my brother-in-law agreed they had been a bit too ambitious to start and had to adjust both their pace and the amount they talked while riding. With less chatter and a better pace the boys were setting themselves up to succeed.
Cody blew a tire 10 kilometres out from Golden. They were able to do a quick roadside repair and continue on. My brother-in-law had the supplies they needed, to which Cody was grateful. Rookie cyclist mistake. Always carry spare tire tubes and a patch kit.
We stayed at Mary’s Motel in Golden. We were fortunate to be able to stay in two of the rooms in the newer building. They were clean, spacious and contained jacuzzi tubs. I would definitely recommend this place, although my sister and brother-in-law had stayed in an older room the night before and they said the new rooms were a huge improvement. So booking here may be a bit of a gamble.
In an effort to save some money we made our own supper. On day one we had spaghetti and brocoli and cauliflower salad. It was delicious.
Day 2: Golden, B.C. to Radium Hot Springs, B.C.
On day two the guys got on their bikes only one hour later than planned, around 11 a.m. The weather looked perfect for riding. Not too hot and no rain. The terrain between Golden and Radium was more flat, which meant the guys made good time on this day.
My sister and I took the kids to a park near the hospital in Golden and then moved on to the splash pad. This area also had a very large park and outdoor pool. It would be the perfect place to spend a whole afternoon.
Because we misjudged how long it would take the guys to reach Radium, we ended up meeting them about five kilometres outside of town. My brother-in-law waved us by, turns out we should have asked Cody if he wanted us to stop. He was out of water and needing a bit of a break.
When we arrived in Radium my sister and I found our hotel for the night – the Radium Chalet. It was about a kilometre straight up a steep incline. This meant we had a nice view from the hotel – but it also meant that the boys had to finish their day with a hard climb. Sorry guys.
We stayed together in an apartment-style room. There was a private bedroom with a queen sized bed and a loft with one twin and a queen size bed. It was perfect for what we needed. There was also a pullout couch in the common area, a large bathroom and kitchenette, and two balconies. The guys made good use of one of the balconies to do some bike maintenance.
We used the barbecue facilities on site to cook dinner on the second night – bbq chicken and potatoes and peppers. Another declicious success.
We also took advantage of having four adults and three children and took turns at the Radium Hot Springs Pools. It was so relaxing, however, Cody and I did remark to each other that you know you’re partents of young children when you are soaking in a hot pool, surrounded by mountains and talking about Paw Patrol.
Day 3: Radium Hot Springs, B.C. to Castle Junction, Alta.
On Day 3 the guys got an earlier start since both familes had a few hours drive to their next destination following the ride. They started at 8 a.m. and got to Castle Junction around 2 p.m.
This day was the most scenic part of the ride, Cody said, and also the section with the largest climb. Cody said right at the start of their ride the guys climbed 13 kilometres in over an hour and then flew down 10 kilometres in 10 minutes.
We met the guys at a rest stop approximately four hours into their ride. They were wet, but still in high spirits.
Elijah was done with road trips at this point, just over tired. Both Ezra and my sister’s baby (who is just five days older than Ezra) were refusing to nurse properly and crankier than ususal. So after meeting the boys we headed to Castle Junction where we waiting with sleeping kids until the guys arrived.
The ride was a huge accomplishment for Cody and made me think about how much he has changed his lifestyle in the last two years. He is not only 100 pounds lighter, he is much more active. He’s traded in his street bike for his peddle bike and bags of chips for protein shakes (not always, come on, we all enjoy some snacks every once in a while).
Most recently I have noticed his hips and waist are smaller than mine (thanks boys!), and he is an inspiration to me and I know he will be to our boys when they are old enough to recognize the amount of work he has put in to increasing his health.
Also special thanks to my brother in law for throwing the idea out there, giving my sister and I the opportunity to spend a few days together, and encouraging Cody to complete the ride.