The Toughest Day

I recently learned that a Living Sound band member and friend, that I had travelled with 40 years ago in Asia, was doing a 3 month bike trip from the Arctic Ocean down to Montana. When I found out that Thomas Hall would ride through the Lake Louise area, I decided to join him for a couple of days of bicycling.

Mark & Tom

On the second day of our trip, Tom and I started at the Columbia Icefields Campground with a 5 AM wake-up in the dark. We had a quick breakfast (hot water on instant porridge), packed up the tents and gear, and were on our bicycles by 6:30 AM… just as the sun was coming up. The views were spectacular.. this is considered by many to be the most scenic road in North America. The mountains, glaciers and rivers are unbelievably gorgeous.

Columbia Icefields to Lake Louise

There was nobody on the road so we boogied down the mountainside highway with speeds up to 60 km/hr….(the fastest that I had ever gone on a bike). After doing a quick 30 miles/50 km….we had an early lunch at Saskatchewan Crossing… spicy chili.. that later gave me the runs… (that’s another story)

Then we started the long steady climb (2500 ft/759 m elevation over 26 miles/42 km) back up to the Bow Summit. Then it started to rain.. and rain.. and rain. That was the toughest climb of my life. Over the last few kilometers I had to stop a few times to get my heart beat down and give my legs a break… it was challenging and miserable at the same time… but I loved it.

Tom and I got separated because his recumbent bike and packs are quite heavy and a lot slower on the hills. Somehow we missed each other at Num-Ti-Jah Lodge at Bow Lake and I later got a note from a passing motorist that Tom was on his way to Lake Louise.

Bow Lake

So I boogied down the road and finally caught up with Tom at the Husky Restaurant there. The total distance for the day was 82 miles/132 km.. the longest distance that I have ever ridden.

The Lake Louise Hi-Hostel was fully booked when we phoned but they did find a place for us when we showed up at the door.. so we didn’t have to tent on a wet evening.. we got a comfortable warm room that we shared with 3 very nice people… a great end to a very long day.

What a great, challenging, wet and very memorable day… loved it.

Note from Tom: Thanks, Mark, for your presence and companionship during our brief travels. Have you ever sailed down the backside of a mountain at sixty kilometers per hour while your biking companion was playing on his saxophone, “We Will, We Will Rock You” right behind you?

Mark: Check out my new book: “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure’. It is now available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

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2 Responses to The Toughest Day

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