Checking the ditches travel blog

Peace Bridge

A sleeping duck

Canal pathway between Calgary and Chestermere

Looking back over the shoulder as I head for Cranston

Sample Training Rides

I did three rides early in the week that are kind of indicative of my training. All the rides were on pathways in Calgary. I do have to go for about ten minutes on traffic streets before I get to the pathways. And then I can go for kilometers and kilometers before having to come close to vehicles again. That doesn’t sound as good as miles and miles.

On Monday I took a trip that took me to the west end of Calgary: Bowness Park. I started my ride by heading east into the river valley and turned north to Inglewood. I then turned to the west and cycled through downtown on the pathways bordering the river. I was able to use the new Peace Bridge to cross to the north side of the river.

This bridge cost me less than $20 of my tax dollars. The City of Calgary operating budget for 2011 was 2.7 billion dollars. The bridge cost 25 million dollars. My property taxes are just under $2000. (and I am not separating the school tax from the property tax) The ratio of the 25 million that I pay is $18.50. I have used this bridge twice now so my cost per usage is going down. I think it is a good deal and Calgarians who complain about it should relearn their arithmetic.

On the way back from the park I circled around the Glenmore Reservoir. At the far west end there is a little oasis that I always stop at to admire the scene and sounds. I looked through the bushes and lo and behold there was a duck, sleeping. It was sleeping like a stork, on one leg with its head tucked under its wing. And here I thought ducks had house boats on the water that they used for sleeping.

This ride totaled out at 73 kilometers or 43.8 miles and miles. The weather was cool when I set out but the sun finally burned its way through. For lunch I stopped at Angel’s at Edworthy Park to have a coffee and a (not so) Heavenly Breakfast Sandwich. When I got home after three and a half hours of pedalling I still felt strong and lively.

On Tuesday my ride took me out to Chestermere. There is a path that runs along the irrigation canal that dumps water into Lake Chestermere. I have to do more city streets to get to the canal pathway. Once on the pathway this is a leisurely ride.

There are no hills, just flat pathway. On the weekends this pathway is filled with cyclists but in the middle of the week it is for my use alone. I almost want to scream at anyone I come upon to get off this path, this is mine,


all mine!!

I didn’t encounter anyone.

It is about 27 km to the Tim Horton’s in Chestermere. I stopped in for a chicken salad meal combo. For less than five dollars one gets a decent sandwich, a cup of coffee and a doughnut of choice. I go for the double chocolate. I used to avoid Tim Horton’s, that is changing dramatically.

Seeing that this path had no hills, I traversed the Diamond Cove lump when I got back into Calgary. Going through Doggie Heaven at the end of Southland Drive, three big dogs came running after me. They were howling and growling and looking none to friendly. I howled back at them so that they wouldn’t give up the chase too easily. Glad there is a fence between the pathway and the dog off leash areas. Not sure if they are after me or the bicycle but I’m not about to test it out.

I went up and over the Diamond Cove lump to see how my legs would handle it. No problem. And then I had to go back up from the other side. No problem. By the time I got home I had put 67 km behind me. Again I still felt strong and lively at the end of it.

My weekly training schedule was going down the tube. On Wednesday I did a ride that encompassed a lot of South Calgary and totalled out at 86 kilometers. This was to have been a smaller ride but I was enjoying it so much that I kept on going.

I started out by going down into Cranston which is in the SE corner of Calgary. It is adjacent to where the new South Calgary Hospital is being built. It is about 18 km from home to the southern limits of the ride. But I didn’t come straight home. I came back to Highway 22x, crossed the river and went south into Lafarge Meadows and around the new community of Chapparel Valley. Don’t’ know what is going on with the housing there but they certainly have an aversion to colour. All the houses and fences and dogs are taupe or brown or not quite brown. It is an eye sore. I digress

I came back into Fish Creek Park and headed west. I did a short detour to go to a Tim Horton’s on Midlake Blvd. See what I said about my coming to like the place. I had a breakfast sandwich with coffee and a double chocolate donut instead of the grease filter. I sat down at a table. A few tables over was a group of white hairs having a morning coffee and bemoaning the state of worldly affairs. One of them had his walker parked off to the side. It was coloured brown. Why not supe it up, put some colour into it.

A few years ago when I landed in the hospital and needed a walker to get around, I was given the choice of a taupe colour or one that was painted psychedelic. I grabbed the psychedelic one and raced up and down the halls with it. Then a couple days later a physiotherapist cornered me, took it away and made me walk on my own. Because I didn’t fall down she exclaimed that I didn’t need the walker anymore and a person doesn’t want to rely on it.

But . . . ,

But . . . ,

but I just got going on it.

Well, say goodbye to it. She left me standing there as she wheeled away with my walker. She wasn’t my favorite hospital person.

One of my friends commented to me about my upcoming summer adventure, that he had envisioned me in a rocking chair on the front veranda, bad mouthing today’s youth. I told him that I will still be able to do that in the future. In the meantime I had a few things to do. I left the white hairs to their schemes for saving the world and got on with my bike ride.

I rode back into Fish Creek Park and on to its west end where I picked up the 37th St. pathway. It heads north to the Glenmore Reservoir. My ride was going good. I continued on, circled the reservoir and then took the pathway that led through Sandy Beach, went through the Stampede Grounds and then dumped me back into the Inglewood area. I finished the ride by reversing how I had started my ride on Monday morning.

I did stop for a cyclist in need along the pathway a few kms short of Carburn Park. He was searching through his gear looking for tire levers so that he could change a flat tire. I had the levers. He put his cell phone away. Not sure who he was going to call. It wasn’t AMA.

We chatted away while he worked. I looked at his bike and saw that it was a Nishiki. And it was a Nishiki Tri A. Just like the one that I have hanging from the rafters of my garage. He was still using his 25 year old bike and beating his buddies on the road. His buddies had the newest models with the brighter bells and wilder whistles. I didn’t tell him that I had thoughts of scrapping my Tri A. Now I have thoughts about taking the Tri A out and chasing down the punks that blow by me as I plod along with my off road bike. Next year. I still have training to do that does not involve racing.

There were still two hills to get up before I got home. I bade farewell to the cyclist after he made sure everything was going to work. I steamed up the first hill and steamed up the second hill. My conditioning is showing itself. A ride of 86 km wasn’t putting much of a dent in my strength at the tail end. This was good.

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