Friday, July 30, 2010

Again in the AM

Lucky me I got to go out again for another prework mountain bike ride. My destination was Telephone Loop in West Bragg Creek. Normally, this is XC skiing country, but being summer makes it a fantastic (and muddy) bike ride. Enjoy!

Here is my GPS data from the loop.

So like any of my adventures, they usually occur in the morning. This one had a monkey in the back seat.

The trailhead is only about 5 mins west of Bragg Creek, past the fancy schmancy houses and into K-Country. I also am making use of my new Thule Bike rack which arrived (thereby completing my Thule winnings). Thanks Thule! This rack is SOLID!

It sure was beautiful. There were times when riding east into the sunrise that I couldn't even see cause of the sun in my eyes. When I could see again, I saw a Pandora-esque type landscape, minus the man eating beasts and things-that-glow-when-you-touch-them plants.

The first part of the trail is groomed for XC skiing, but then the Telephone Loop actually goes rustic and a little wilder. I did the loop CCW, and the first part going north was a blast! Rolling hills and lots of mud (+ 1 timid rider).

This little dude thought it would be funny to run out in front of me and scare me! It would have been a delicious mistake. The picture is so dark cause I actually had to use flash! Bummer, I would have liked a better photo. I started riding again and this guy ran with me in front of me until he bolted off into the woods. I miss him already...

Such fantastic riding! I wish I could bring everyone I know with me! It would be so much fun!

The trail bounced between single track and wide trail. I think there was even an old road.

Riding south along the loop got very boggy, muddy and wet. I forgot my riding shoes so I used my Airwalks, which are now soaked, muddy and filthy. I'm sure they stink too... Oh well, I needed new shoes anyway.

I love being up with the sun. Mornings are more beautiful than evenings, I say. Perhaps it's a desire to be in the light again, or maybe the sun looks better when it shines from the east.

Just before the final downhill back to the car, there was a nice meadow / swamp that gave me the view of the east side of Moose Mountain. This picture just does not do justice...

More shots of the meadow, and a steamy morning pond! Betcha don't get that in the evenings!

There was one stream crossing, so my shoes got soaked. Probably for the best. But I made it back to the car, cleaned up, put on my work clothes and headed off to work. Of course, I had to take my hero shot first.

Driving on the way to work, I saw a neat photo op. So I took advantage of it and took this photo. Turned out alright.

I may not be the best (actually I'm not at all) mountain biker out there, but what's important to me is not being the best but just getting out there and enjoying the fresh air, delicious grouse and muddy trails. Get out and have fun!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Ok, so for years, literally, many years, I have wanted to try a kayak. I have been in a canoe many a time, but there's a strange appeal to kayaks that I could not understand. So, on Thursday after work I went to Aquabatics in Calgary and rented myself a boat. Yep, finally. I was hoping to rent out their Liquid Logic XP10, but they only had a Dagger Approach 9.0. Fine by me...

My lucky car, with yet another thing it can haul along with it. Thanks to Thule, I have a nice kayak rack, so I put it to good use and off to Ghost Reservoir I headed. 10 minutes from my door... life is good.

The wind was up and the lake was choppy, so I stayed close to shore. Still, I felt like a cork bobbing up and down in the swells. The waves were so high, it was almost possible to surf them. But not quite, and perhaps I will save that for another day.

Kayaking came very naturally to me. After some minor adjustments, some foot pedal tweaking and a decent stroke, I was moving along pretty good. I've always wanted to travel to the little island on the east side of Ghost, so now I was finally able to. I could see off in the distance behind my Mt. Yamnuska.

Because everyone who paddles a kayak has to take this photo...

Since I had the rental for 24 hours, I got up early at 5am to get to the lake in the morning and do a 1st-thing-in-the-morning paddle. What a treat! 6am, no one on the lake, smooth like glass. The main purpose behind my kayaking is fitness and outdoor adventure, so the 6am kayak may become a regular ritual next year when I hopefully have my own boat.

This time, I paddled north up the inlet towards Ghost River. Again, like glass and I was able to hit the 9:00 minute/km mark with my paddling. A good pace for a newbie.

I felt creative, so I took this photo and called it Le Drip D'oar...

The cool thing about being in such a small boat is that you can go places you've never been and take unique photos. I'm sure you can go just as many places in a large boat, but there's something far more romantic about paddling with just the sound of your own breath and the swish of the paddles and wake. I paddled under the highway and took a photo that actually turned out quite a bit better than I had anticipated it would. It also showed me just how much graffiti there is under a bridge.

And of course, while paddling, one must look up. Tons of swallows who nest under the bridge were rather alarmed by my presence. It made for another photo opportunity.

I wish I had discovered or at least tried kayaking years ago, like when I was 13, cause then I could have been doing it for all these past years. But since I just discovered it, I will enjoy it now and from now on. I need my own boat. Until I can afford the one I want, I will just continue renting one. For me, swishing across a lake at 6am beats indoor cardio, anyday, hands down and paddles out.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Canoe Canoe Canoe Canoe Canoe Canoe!!!

So thanks to my pastor, I have a canoe on loan for a few weeks! I called up a buddy of mine and we headed to Ghost Reservoir, 10 minutes down the road. I love being so close to everything! Cochrane rocks!!!

Sweet! A canoe fits on my car and actually looks good on it!

Paddles were cleverly tucked inside on the rack underneath the canoe. That's using my thinker!

Meet Nate. Nate likes canoes. Nate likes water bottles. Nate is about to fall into the water.

Nate is also good at looking like a cool dude. I wish I could agree with that, but just look at those socks...

Meet Lorne. That's me. Fresh from being in the water. Lorne likes canoes. Lorne likes water. Lorne likes being outside.

Lorne also like paddling and pointing at things while he is in the canoe. I was trying for my explorer pose. Surely, Lewis and Clark or McKenzie must have done this once upon a time during their travels.

See? See!!! I told you Nate was going to fall in the water.

I told Nate to look like he was paddling like mad, so this is what he did. Are you convinced he's going anywhere?

Apparently, when I go canoeing, I end up spending time both IN and ON the water. I guess I have to make sure I only stay ON the water when I bring my wife and son with me.

And to add to all this funness of mine, I won a $500 rack from Thule in their Win a Rack Wednesday contest that they have on their site! Yeah, sweet is right! So I phoned them up (after confirming it was NOT a scam) and told them I already have a rack. They said I could have $500 in other stuff then. So I ordered the following:

884 Roll Model. For easy loading of a kayak. I don't own a kayak yet, but when I do, loading will be a breeze. At least those rental kayaks will be well secured and easy to load. One step closer Lorne... one step closer....

871XT Fairing, to eliminate that pesky wind noise. Also used for being a driving billboard for Thule.

594XT Sidearm. I already have a bike carrier, but this one is better. And free. What more could a guy want? Now I have two bike carriers!

All I have to say is thank you so much Thule! I think this is an awesome prize to win and I will cherish it every time it is used! What a blessing!