It’s not even the end of March and the Legacy Trail from Canmore to Banff is in excellent shape. With this morning’s weather forecast suggesting sunny skies and a high of 17, we applied parental pressure to the point K opted to join us for our first ride of 2015.
We got a late start, since we had to check tire pressures, pump up our rear shocks a little and make sure all the tools and spare parts stowed indoors for the winter were still in the proper underseat kits, “just in case”.
So it was about 10:30 when we left Three Sisters and almost 11 o’clock before we’d unloaded our bikes at the Canmore Visitor Centre, strapped on helmets and started pedaling. (I know, loading up the bikes to drive 10 minutes seems crazy, but we didn’t want to make the first ride of the year too hard. Plus, it’s my first ride since injuring my knee last October and I preferred to start with something relatively flat and entirely paved.)
The big sign that shows the daily / seasonal count of Legacy Trail users is still covered up for the winter. We encountered more than 70 riders / runners / rollerbladers during our ride today, so the 2015 annual count is going to be considerably low!!
Thanks to a pretty stiff headwind (and also, perhaps, too much screen time), K struggled a bit on the 9 km stretch from the Canmore Visitor Centre to the Valleyview Rest Area. After a bit of a relaxation / water break in the red chairs, he opted to carry on towards Banff and his average speed picked up quite nicely on the second half of the outward leg of our ride.
It was great to see that the repairs required after the June 2013 flood fully completed. The penultimate km before the gate with the counter at the Banff end of the trail is better than ever.
We stopped just long enough to peel off a top layer before turning around. The ride back to Canmore was a lot quicker and easier, partly thanks to the overall slope of the trail and partly because the headwind that we fought all the way to Banff became a helpful tailwind as soon as we turned around!
We played a bit of bicycle leapfrog on the return ride, in order to take a few photographs (including one of an east-bound CN train).
I noticed a TransCanada trail sign being installed beside the Legacy Trail, just inside Banff NP gate. Good to see bits and pieces being connected. I hope the nation-wide project is complete for Canada’s 150th in 2017.
For a complete Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail description, including parking and transit options, please read this post.
Total riding distance = 36.5 km (Canmore Visitor Centre to Legacy Trail gate just past the Tunnel Mountain interchange near Banff)
Moving average speed = 19.5 km/h
Total time = 2 hrs 15 minutes