....fancy bikes with flats on the shoulder of the highway. I watched speedsters stop to eat near the Kananskis gate. All those riders will be racing, like riders in pain. Time to go.
Back again is the most scenic road race on earth. Well, in Alberta at least. It's time for the Kananaskis Road Race. This little classic, a favourite from the days of yore, starts where White Avenue in Bragg Creek meets Highway 66 just west of 22. This is on the back way out of Bragg Creek near the Provincial Park and people can park in Bragg Creek, at the school on 22, or at the Provincial Park and enjoy a nice easy warmup out to the meeting spot. Time is the usual 6:30, this Wednesday the 25th.
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While I endeavour to clean up the course where I can and to avoid significant obstacles, there are a couple of sections of this course that require some warning. The first thing to note is that there are three sets of 'Texas Gates' on the roadway in each direction. What are 'Texas Gates' you ask? Somebody somewhere though it would be a grand idea to let cows do what cows do wherever they want in large open areas. We like roads through these large open areas so fences just don't work to keep marauding bovines out of out gardens and china shops. The clever solution (clever being a relative term when you're dealing with Texas) is to lay a bunch of pipes across the roadway with the idea that cattle can't cross. Well they can't, but bikes can. They places a couple of small strips along the direction of travel for things like bikes or snakes or something like that to travel along. We've all ridden over these cursed things and for the most part they provide little obstacle. What I need from the riders is a commitment that you'll ride nice and neutral over them, at a comfortable speed, and you'll wait until everyone is across to open the throttle. Just at the gates, mind you. Open the throttle up the hills all you want, I'll be there to chuckle.
The second thing to note are the hills. While the fun and exciting part is going uphill, all things at some point have to come down. So when the roadway tilts down and you descend, take it easy, spread out, give room and ride safe. While it might look cool to open up a couple of hundred feet on the pack going downhill by the time you the uphill starts again that translates into about four feet.
The final thing to note is the proximity to the special area of the province known as McLean Creek. It's not that kind of 'special', it's the other kind of 'special', the kind with 'special' people. They people have bikes which like yours, have wheels. Many of them might also be armed in a way that Alberto 'El Pistolero' Contador is not. They might however, test cleaner. The course goes through the turnoff area and while we have right of way and all that, just be alert and keep your heads up. We all know what happens when the canoes wreck and the banjos start.
The course is pretty simple. The Cs will ride something like a 38km round trip, turning around at a pullout just up the hill after Elbow Falls. The Bs make the summit and turn around at the pullout there, and the As go to the end of the earth, I mean road and turn around at the entrance to the provincial park. The finish is pretty much back where we started.
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This is a great one to bring a volunteer to as I can certainly think of worse things to do than hang around in the spectacular mountains watching the race. In all, I need at least three to make it go, the plywood guys (I call them 'Texas volunteers') won't cut it this time. See ya then.