Monday, 18 May 2015

Water Valley North - pure beauty

Ryan Young and I saddled up for some exploration today.  I've wanted to explore north of Water Valley for a while.  7C start but warmed up to about 15.  Roads rolled just beauty today, very nice clay packed gravel for 90%.  It was like road riding, but with better views and limited traffic.  It didn't take us more than a half hour of riding to be absolutely certain that today... we were winning in all respects.

We didn't do any at a blistering pace as we did 145k yesterday, and today we were just riding, not half wheeling.  Truth be told you can't half wheel a guy with as good of a Tom Boonen beard as he has right now, that adds a lot of Watts.  Although the distance wasn't that long overall (148 overall, I missed 6 with Garmin on pause), there was lots of climbing on this loop.  I'd gladly ride this again with a group to share the joy, but right now will say if guys want to race hills, do it late in the ride, or do it on your own.  There's so much joy in just riding this one for the sake of bike riding, that depleting energy early and letting all the late hills put you into the pain cave just isn't really the way to enjoy this kind of stuff.

We had some traffic on each segment.  Out of all the 4x4's, trucks with camper trailers, only one guy was a dick all day.  Everyone else exchanged waves and gave wide berth.  Beauty.

This is on the forestry trunk road, probably a half hour north of Harold Creek, the mountains are in the background but hard to see on this photo.  Beauty.  Smooth rolling, trees shielding wind, riding bikes happiness.

This is essentially the top of the descent down into the Red Deer river valley.  This was an out and back we could have skipped, but why skip when things are going well?  Pretty steep climb coming back out.

Somehow like 3 hours elapsed until my next photo.  Oops.  Here's home sweet home.  Only in Water Valley.

We passed/were passed by lots of trucks pulling camper trailers and loaded up with quads and dirt bikes.  Everyone was so nice.  They all seemed mystified we were on bikes way out here.  One guy stood with his horse in his ranch front lawn toward the end almost slack jawed.  Two guys in the drops aren't a frequent sight out here, dirt bikes, Jeeps and quads mud bogging, hill climbing and just having fun are extremely common.  You know what?  They would have thought we were even more crazy had they known we parked a perfectly capable 4x4 in Water Valley to do this on skinny tires (ok, not that skinny - bring your Continental 28mm GP 4 seasons at 70-80psi depending on your weight for this one).  Two tubes per person just in case (Ryan had one flat), and instead of carrying excess water, the All Clear and two bottles should work.  

Note the high departure angle rack mount... just in case we needed to do a little off road.

This is a Grade A ride that definitely makes BikingBakke's cut for a "Tour of Alberta, rural roads amateur edition".  

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