After talking about it and wanting to do it for almost 20 years, I found a few suckers,
I mean, partners, to join me to bike from Jasper to Banff along the Icefields Parkway.
Jeff and Steve came in from Seattle and Dan and Luca came in from Colorado and my
amazing wife drove the support vehicle.


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Here I am opening a present from my friend Dan. He got me a shirt that reads "Confidence - The feeling
you have before you fully understand the situation." It's from Colorado and it's pretty awesome.


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Here are Jeff and Dan packing up the van.


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I rented a 15 passenger van and then removed two rows of seats so that we had enough room for
our bikes, our gear, our food, and us. It was pretty full, but it worked really well for us.


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Here's my beautiful wife with a pretty rainbow in Jasper. I was hoping to give the guys a good
sense of the area we were going to be biking in, but it poured rain the whole way from Lake Louise
to Jasper. I think the boys were scared.


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Dan and Steve needed very little coaxing to get up on this bighorn sheep.


Day 1 - The warm-up


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We woke up in our warm hotel to about 4 degrees C and a bit of a mixed outlook for the day. This is the
view up to Whisters Mountain (I once got lost there with Eugene Bast) at about 7:30 in the morning.


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After we had a good breakfast (with the crazy hotel lady ADAMANT that we had to give her the coupons),
the next activity was assembling bikes.


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Luca and Steve making adjustments.


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Luca was representing Team Switzerland. He's holding out his hotel key for whatever reason.


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Jeff, Luca, and Natalia hanging out before we head out for our big tour.


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The big man himself - Steve Ranta - getting ready to rock.


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Dan King wound up being my biking buddy for the trip, mostly because he was a hammerhead and I thought
that I had to keep up with him or else.


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4 road bikes and a modified mountain bike started the trip. Look at the ambition and energy
in these mens' faces.


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I wanted to get a photo of us at the actual start of the Icefields Parkway. As we were setting up the
photo, Dan's phone rang and it was his wife. So, he's on the phone for our 'before' photo. Just after
this photo, we started south and ran into a small herd of elk on the side of the highway.


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The view behind me. I think I was trying to take a photo of Jeff.


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There he is. Jeff Sondermeyer of BroMan Expeditions fame.


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I wound up using Dan as a lot of foreground since we were similar pace. As a consequence, Dan gets a
lot of great mountain photos with him in them.


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Natalia had the enviable (not really!) task of driving the support wagon. She'd drive about 10-15 km
up the road and then hang out until the last guy biked by. We'd stop, say hi, take a breather,
and more often than not, Natalia would have the heater on and she'd be watching DVDs. It's a tough
life, really. Just kidding Nati, we couldn't have done this trip without you!


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For most of the first morning, it was pretty low clouds, so we couldn't see too much. However,
the clouds lifted every so often and we'd get a glimpse of what was behind.


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Here is Dan ahead of me again. I'm sure I just let him get ahead so that I could take a photo...
Yeah, that must be it...


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Dan thought our first morning, while cold, was still pretty stellar.


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We took a breather at Athabasca Falls. Of course, this gets the Paul Perrault stamp of approval.


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Dan thought the Falls were pretty awesome.


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I thought a photo with the mountain on the other side of the valley was pretty sweet.

Video of Dan at Athabasca Falls



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Natalia came down and graced us with her presence.


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Nati and I at Athabasca Falls, 27 August, 2010.


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I took this while I was riding. You can actually see the snot dripping off Dan's nose. Does that mean
he's a snot-nosed punk?? :)


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Dan, looking really sullen. He could be a Back Street Boy or something else more modern.


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Dan's bike weighs about as much as my road biking shoe, so naturally, he has an advantage.
We were pretty stoked that the sun came out.


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We decided to have our lunch at Sunwapta Falls junction. It was pretty chilly, so we stopped in at
the restaurant for a little warm-up coffee. Here, Dan finds himself a warm fuzzy friend.


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I thought the strike line of the Endless Chain Ridge was gorgeous. It's very similar to the line
you see along Mount Rundle in Banff. It was pretty much exactly the same orientation too.


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This was my pretty standard view for 3 days. Mountains, highway, and Dan's butt.


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Here is proof that Jeff rode with us a little bit too on the first day.


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Dan had a permanent grin on his face the whole weekend.


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Jeff and Dan thought this definitely "didn't suck".


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The tail end of our 1st day was spent alongside the Sunwapta River, which is really pretty, and
affords some pretty sweet views.


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I think Jeff is saying, "Hey look Dan, it's snow!"


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Jeff and Dan and I pedalled into the Beauty Creek Hostel together, capping our first day at 90km,
and a few vertical metres of elevation gain as well.


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Dan and I in front of the Beauty Creek hostel sign.


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The Beauty Creek hostel was a really great spot, right along the Sunwapta River. We met a pretty
entertaining hostel host, who told us the merits of working at a hostel in the wilderness. He also
told us about the Moose Travel Bus , which consistently
made his days and nights more fun.


Columbia Icefields Tour


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So, since we had so much light left in the day and we had arrived reasonably early, we decided to hit
up the Columbia Icefields for a tour. We saw this guy just hanging out on the side of the highway.
I hoped silently that I wouldn't run into one at full speed on my bike the next day.


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Dan with Mt Athabasca behind him.


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Yes, I am rocking out the fleece pants thank you very much. They were fuzzy and warm. That's Mt
Athabasca behind me.


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Jeff managed to make a giant mess with his Gatorade.

Video of Jeff mopping up his mess



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After fouling the floor, Jeff was a little more reluctant, but Steve, Dan, and Luca had no problem
getting fresh with the local mounted police.


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We rode the bus up to the point where we hopped onto the snowcoach. The boys are wondering around
in between the bus ride and the snow coach ride.


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This is one of the original snowcoaches. More on that later.

Video of going downhill in the snowcoach

The snowcoach was amazing in that it could descend such a steep slope - 32%


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The gravel and sand builds up almost a canyon wall on the side of the toe of the glacier.


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I thought the glacier looked pretty cool on the south side of the Athabasca Glacier.


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Natalia, hanging out on the glacier. The snowcoach drove us up onto the toe and let us wander around.


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Luca Vassalli on the Athabasca Glacier, with the mountains to the east.


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I like this photo of Natalia in front of one of the snowcoach's tires.

Video of Steve trying to "leave his mark" on the Glacier

Since Steve has so much respect for nature (think back to previous Irish escapades...), he took a
leak on the glacier, or tried to.

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This is a great photo of Dan as well.


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The front of our snowcoach.


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Once we got back down to the bus transfer point, we had a few minutes to kill so the boys checked out
the original snowcoach.


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Ok, I lied. This is actually the original snowcoach. The other ones were the 2nd model.


Day 2 - Beauty Creek hostel to Mosquito Creek Hostel


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Steve putting his gloves on for another big day. Day 2 involves one really big pass (Bow Summit).


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Luca with some icefields behind him. I think this is part of the Columbia Icefields.


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Jeff is one of the most consistent power output cyclists I know. He'll just keep on chugging,
while pumping out exactly the same amount of power for 100 years. No wonder Mt Rainier seems
like a walk in the park for him.


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Dan and his boss with some nice mountains behind them.


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Steve and I, Luca and Dan. I think Jeff was miles ahead already.


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Some small falls at Tangle Creek. This is where we had seen the sheep the night before.


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The same photo but in landscape mode. I feel like this isn't excessive since I seldom get photos
of me. Thanks to Dan for these.


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Luca Vassalli and Tangle Creek Falls, 28 August, 2010.


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Jeff and his boss.


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My boss and I, along with the Columbia Icefields. As I write this, I no longer work for Luca,
but these were some of the best times for sure. We'll miss working for you Luca.


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I like this photo since you can see Jeff's yellow jacket as he blasted past these sheep. I
may have ridden a little more conservatively.


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This view right here is the one that I couldn't wait for. Our bikes, huge glaciated peaks, big sky,
and good friends.


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Another shot of Jeff and Dan with the sign letting them know where they are.


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Jeff and Mt Athabaska.


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This was my Facebook profile photo for about 2 months.


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Jeff thought this was pretty cool.


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Here's your panoramic photo Jeff. You can print this and put it in your office.


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Dan and Luca heading out with what I think is Mt Kitchener behind them.


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Natalia in her heated van, with the Columbia Icefields behind her. Not a bad place to hang out.


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Steve Ranta and the Columbia Icefields.


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Steve and I rode together up to Saskatchewan Crossing. Here he is with Mt Athabaska behind him.


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I thought this view was pretty cool.


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I thought Steve's jacket blowing behind him was entertaining.


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I think these are the Ramparts, behind Jeff at Saskatchewan Crossing. This is where we stopped to
have lunch.


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Here is Dan starting to climb into what I think is the most scenic part of this trip.
But maybe that's just because the sun was out.


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Yeah, this definitely beats a day in the office for sure.


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I think this is Chephren Lake, just below Mt Chephren.


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Dan and Natalia at Chephren Lake. The lake was so still, we could see fish jumping.


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Dan and I being pretty gay in our Spandex.


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Dan and I making our way from the Chephren Lake stop.


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How can you tell me this doesn't make you want to bike?


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I think this is Bow Lake.


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Dan King and Bow Lake, Banff National Park, Canadian Rocky Mountains, 28 August, 2010.


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We stayed the night at Mosquito Creek Hostel. Dan thought the sauna at the hostel was pretty awesome.
Day 2 was about 120 km, but a lot of elevation.


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Um, not sure what to say about this Dan.


Day 3 - Mosquito Creek Hostel to Banff


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Since we had had such a big day on day 2, we decided to break the day up and go for a drive up to
Lake Louise to show the guys one of Canada's treasures. The fog was totally in at Moraine Lake
so we couldn't see the Valley of the Ten Peaks. For reference, this is what it looks like
MORAINE LAKE


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Dan and I did the little hike up the rock pile for a better view of the fog.


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The next stop was Lake Louise. Again, the fog was in, but Jeff still got a cool photo.


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Dan, Steve, and Luca at Lake Louise.


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So, we saw a mother and two baby cub grizzly bears on the road to Moraine Lake. However, that was
in the van, and I was still scared. Um, this is a full-size male grizzly AT THE LAKE. Yeah, the
guy in the foreground has NO IDEA.


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Dan is ready for day 3. No problem he says.


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Here's the crew getting ready for another road assault. It's mostly downhill on this day.


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Here is Dan as we're leaving the hostel. Dan two minutes later: "Um, guys, I need to stop.
I forgot my helmet." Nice work Dan.


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We rode the 1A from Lake Louise to Banff rather than the regular highway 1. Here, Luca's hanging
out as we're having a bite of lunch at a picnic spot.


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Here is Dan above the Bow River. I can almost hear him saying, "Are we there yet?"


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Yeah, this guy's got lots more in the tank!


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This might be the best after photo I have.


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Check that, this one's better. We planned the trip around a hot springs tour at the end of the biking.
The Banff Hot Springs worked well for all involved.


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The boys had a chance to do a little shopping on their return day. AND the sun came out!

Thanks for a great trip guys and thanks especially to my amazing wife for being our support vehicle
driver. I think the smell must have been the worst part of this! Return to picture index