Today was a #5 ride.
After dropping Cindy off at SpeedTheory for her morning spin class, I made my way over to meet Jeff at Cadence. Kate surprised us by being there too, great!
Off we go in -9C. Felt a little cooler than we thought or than forecast was. Out through Tuscany ravine which was packed nicely, and finally a bit of warmth by the top of 12 mile coulee road. Jeff and I chatted most of the way out to Cochrane while Kate was up the road; Jeff hadn't ridden more than 2:45 all of 2013, so he was feeling out of endurance. I have no doubt he'll come around fast. Kate showed us a new way to get some additional single track in the Cochrane Ranch historic park, so we did that on empty stomachs, then emerged out into the parking lot where the chill of the valley gave way to warmth. New route on paths all the way to the coffee stop…
Although I'm trying to trim down, I can always make room for the soup stop as they make a terrific thai chicken out there. As we were relaxing, with Jeff needing a gel on the couch to even be able to place his order, Thomas Yip walks in. Perfect.
Nice paths out of town, in the sun, across the old bridge and up out of the river valley. We checked right (west) as we shed a layer and saw nothing but purple clouds on the horizon. We hoped we could make it most of the way back before the front blew through.
OK, so don't underestimate the speed at which storms blow through the prairies. Not 10 minutes later before we even got off highway 22 we were riding out bikes at what felt like 15 degree angles hoping we weren't going to get blown into traffic in massive crosswinds. Got off onto the gravel for a straight west shot for a few minutes which felt amazing, we all spun out right away. Turned back south on the gravel to work toward airport road and the sidewinds brought a rain squall so we were soaked. By the time we got to airport road it was snow, now sticking to us. Airport road was a coast, then Thomas and I elected to go up Old Banff Coach Road (massive side or headwind, either felt like a hero or thought we'd be pushed into traffic randomly). Snowed the rest of the way into town. Wx.ca showed 60km/h winds and weather Canada labelled it an "abnormal weather pattern".
To be honest, I wasn't super uncomfortable, but had I not had Gore tex winter boots, helmet cover, gloves, jacket and pretty good pants, it would have been very uncomfortable. That stuff is amazing from -9 to rain to snow I was actually comfortable all day.
Great ride, great company!