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Wanderlust cured’s Travel Diary

Monday, 06 Jul 2009

Location: Kananaskis Country, Canada

Map21.7kms, 2200ft elevation, 5+ hours, 6kms of uphill, kms of technical downhill descent, riding through the clouds with 4 friends - one of the biggest rides yet!

I wished the rain away on Sunday as we had a big ride planned, its called Jumping Pound Ridge & Cox Hill and known as one of the best rides in North America. I have added a link to the photos on facebook and included a topographic map, trail map and elevation gain map to show you what kind of trail this really is!
Sunday morning started early as we got up, packed over 3 litres of water, lunch, energy bars and chews to cope with this steller ride. 9am we leave Canmore to meet a friend in K Country who was waiting with his bike to join us on this ride. We all carpooled the rest of the way, left one car where the trail would end and shuttled with 5 people in a 2 person truck/ute (little squishy and one way to get to know your fellow riders) to the south trailhead where we would start the ride. As you can see from the elevation gain map the beginning was all up - all 6kms of it! Over one river crossing with the cows watching us as they grazed away leaving their sloppy poop behind to be spattered all over our legs as we rode through it. Nice.
Up, up and more up, parts of which could only be walked up...stamina and will can only get you so far on this kind of trail. Through forest trail covered in big jagged rocks, giant tree roots and slippery tyres made for an interesting and tough uphill. As the trail started to open up we found ourselves on the ridge, wildflowers in full bloom and we stopped at lookouts, had our lunch on the first summit and then started a first descent into the cradle of the two mountains. The first descent was never going to be long enough as we started to climb again, this time not to steep, but extremely rewarding as you saw the trail for a kilometre ahead winding its way over the alpine ridge. Some of the photos in this area are amazing. We hit an area where the clouds were being pushed up over the ridge onto us - the result is one lone biker taking on the mountain heading into the clouds. A quick stop at the summit of Cox Hill as some of us changed our sweaty, wet and by now cold clothes for one steller descent - approx 6 kms down, this seems fairer with all the climbing we had done. Those with the downhill bikes sped down this hill at amazing speeds, those who had their hardtails, who had enjoyed easier climbing had a rough time as the bikes battered their way down cox hill...each kilometre putting strain on the arms, hands and calf muscles. I came off the trail at one stage and managed to stay could have been much worse as the brakes just had nothing left in them and the scree on the trail made for a slippery ride. It wasnt until the last kilometre of the ride that the thuder started to that we were at lower elevations the trail had a nice flat mud to get some big speeds up to finish off the ride...right near the carpark the rain started, once we found shelter and hail the size of peas and the relentless rain pounded down making the trails we had just ridden down like highways of slush. High fives all around between the brave 5 that did this ride and a quick shuttle to get the car to head back home for the most well earnt hottub I have had since I got here. Awesome! Check out the pics, would love to hear what you think!

Back to Saturday - I had been out to play disk golf which is a game played with frisbee like devices, same scoring system as golf, all par 3, and you throw the disk into a metal chained basket, similar course to golf and definately more fun. I seemed to have quite the throw and look forward to getting back on the course.
Saturday night had me babysitting for a few extra bucks and as I am allowed to help myself to food a big bowl of icecream with sprinkles had me up late as the parents had gone to see Xavier Rudd playing in Banff...a late night and I was hoping enough sleep for the next day!

Now forward to Monday and I'm relaxing, watching the rain pour down outside, listening to the thunder. They nickname June, 'June Monsoon' and I guess as we had a long winter here so it has taken until July to fully come down. Work should be interesting this week...maybe cancellations might lead to some movie days in bed as the rain comes down. Good day for the ducks I guess.

Im hoping to get to the famous Calgary Stampede this week/weekend and will keep you all posted on that. Trails might be too wet for any riding and thats about it planned.

R.J out.