By the Iceman himself, Cory Wallace

Last Saturday I had a goal to ride the Icefields Parkway, a 230 km stretch of highway through the Canadian Rockies from Lake Louise to Jasper.  I took my Kona Libre on this ride and it took just under 10 hours to complete on snowy highways in -8 to -18 Celsius conditions.  My plan was to take a rest day in Jasper and then head back to Canmore, thinking to get a lift part of the way.  When I woke up Monday morning there was weird urge to ride my bike, so I ditched all plans for vehicle support and hopped on my Libre…  

Leaving at 8am, there was no real plan except to just ride my bike until I got tired.  What transpired was a 313 km ride through the Rockies from Jasper to Canmore which had its share of adventure!  Starting tough with headwinds and a snowstorm leaving Jasper National Park it transitioned into a calm ride down a quiet Icefields Parkway.  There were two 2000 meter + mountain passes to cross over.  The first one was Sunwapta Pass near the Columbia Icefields as I road into gale-force winds and a solid snowstorm.  Going 8-10 km/hr it was going to take two days to get to Canmore!  Luckily these winds turned into a tailwind as I descended the icy highways towards Saskatchewan Crossing. Having stashed a 2 litre thermos full of green tea and a large bag full of Clif Bar snacks in a snowbank last Thursday when I drove to Canmore I had a treat waiting mid ride.  This was a big lift on the first journey back to Jasper, and I was counting on it again, but unfortunately some Vermin rodent had beat me to it.  This immediately put me on food rations for the rest of the ride and the green tea had frozen so it was of no use either.  From here it was another solid climb into a headwind to get over the 2070 M Bow Summit before nightfall hit. From this point forward the ride turned into a vision quest through the dark and silent Canadian wilderness with still 140 km to go.  

My buddy Leighton had offered to pick me up in Lake Louise but I was still rolling good and the body was asking for more.  After 2km on the busy Trans-Canada highway into Lake Louise I opted to detour up to the 1A.  Highway 1A was dead quiet, not even 1 car, just a big Moose that nearly derailed the day. It was too late to slam on the brakes as it stormed out of the woods, so I just pinned it and luckily got out of its way before getting smashed.  After this the adrenaline was firing good which helped pick up the pace.  The temperature dropped to -12 Celsius, not bad, but enough to remind me that I had to keep moving so my sweaty body wouldn’t freeze up. The last 4 hours of the ride I was unable to drink anything as my thermos and water bottle both froze, and I wasn’t in the mood for sourcing out water. Hitting Banff at kilometer 290, the plan was to hop on the Legacy trail for the final 23 km into Canmore. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it.   Figuring I had gone delusional from lack of hydration and food I stayed on the Trans Canada, cruising into Canmore thanks to a massive tailwind. It was sketchy being out on this busy highway at night but with 2 flashing lights and a fluorescent yellow 7 Mesh jacket all the vehicles gave me loads of space.  I later found out the Legacy trail isn’t maintained in winter and was just under a blanket of snow.  This made me feel better about my delusional route-finding skills   Rolling into Canmore, 14 hours and 313 km after leaving Jasper was a pretty great feeling after starting the day with no real plan except to just ride my bike!  Stay tuned for the gear check and video highlights