Monday, 26 August 2013

Exploration ride

Post the Banff Fondo and ahead of Mongolia I needed rest, a leg spin, a shakedown ride on the Moots, and wanted to try to explore a bit to connect a route.

Others had good sounding mountain bike plans that were over my fatigue level, so Shawn and I set out.  The Moots has its GPS on with a backup tether (learned that the hard way years back), has the Mongolia maps loaded, and most tools/air on it.  The bike was riding beautifully, I'm so happy with it.

We're poking around for a south side of TransCanada route from 22 over to Sibbald to make shorter loops than the 130k road loop - not so much because we're lazy, but if we can find a shorter one, it lends itself to then adding in more singletracks and doing them on either hardtails or 'cross bikes.  Plus its just cool to know what's out there.

I'm not going to post a map, come ride with us sometime for the knowledge.  Google shows a road that in conversation with a landowner, used to be passable, but is now on private land and is not.  Signs are sort of mixed - Private, use at your own risk - with No Trespassing right there adjacent.  We chatted to the lady, she was conversational, but the message was no go.  It's a key convenience segment of 2km, instead we did up to the TransCanada, and did some gravel on the side, but ended up 1.5km on the TransCanada.  Part of it lends itself to riding further off near the fences than on the shoulder.  1.5km is tolerable in my view anyway...

On to Hermitage road, and the exit of the aforementioned road has no signs indicating not going there, but it kind of looks that way.  Oh well.  Maybe we can paint their fence some day for access...

Continued south to where a private bridge washed out and they're working on it.  Chatted to a fellow there who advised us how to get over to our goal; he gave us the go ahead to use a well travelled No Trespassing Private gravel road.  Golden.  He seemed to be intrigued by our goal of exploring a link, and the road we were on certainly wasn't incrementally damaged by two bikes.  We've unlocked part of the challenge...

From there it was mixed pavement and gravel back, pretty fast.  Shawn blasted off a Strava quality climb on his mountain bike, but we decided not to upload any routes this go around.  Nice little 3h adventure after the Fondo.

Google Maps is excellent, but can't be relied on in the field once you're out of coverage range - your blue position dot just ends up on a blank space as phones can't download the data behind.  I have some Garmin maps, but they're crap for rural detail.  I've ordered a set of maps that supposedly have near comprehensive detail on secondary/tertiary/forestry/oil and gas roads, plus trails.  Hopefully that allows some more plotting in advance and linking rides.

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