After a spectacular warm and dry September, the 2020 Coffeeneuring Challenge ushered in the type of fall weather that we are more used to in central Alberta. Cool, cloudy and with the promise of impending snow, makes the rides a little more challenging. But this is a challenge after all – not only finding 7 different coffee spots in 7 weeks, dealing with capricious weather gods and, of course, observing the social restrictions necessitated by the Covid virus. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a cold and snowy winter in this area. I’m just hoping that we can make it past the next 7 weeks before having to get the snow shovels out for good.
A go-to ride for me all summer, whether with a group or on a solo ride. The route out to the army base north of Edmonton covers residential roads, country roads, multi-use trails, a wide-shouldered highway, and a couple of short, but punchy (7%), hills. Always a good workout.
Where: Edmonton Garrison, Namao, Alberta
When: Tuesday, October 13th, 2020
What: Small black coffee and chocolate chip muffin at the Edmonton Garrison Tim Horton’s
Distance: 56.1 km
Ride Link: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/57611960
Weather: A sunny 2°C to start, warming to an overcast 4°C at end
One Good Thing: A rarity in these parts – NO WIND TODAY!! What a treat!
Time out by the Sturgeon River at start of the ride.
The leafy trail, and bare trees, through the woods near the base. We are well into fall.
A socially distant, i.e. outside, coffee and muffin at the local Tim’s.
With the forecast for tomorrow predicting our first snowstorm of the season, I took the opportunity to get my second coffeeneuring ride in while the ground was still dry and ice-free. Cool (-1°C) and windy (30, gusting to 39 kph), I decided that a road ride would be too uncomfortable so I used the hybrid to tour around some favourite trails in St. Albert.
Where: Lois Hole Provincial Park, St. Albert, Alberta
When: Thursday, October 15, 2020
What: A coffeeshop without walls coffee from my thermos on the viewing platform on Big Lake
Distance: 19.8 km
Weather: -1°C to start, +1°C at finish, intermittent sun and windy!
One Good Thing: The new asphalt trail beside Ray Gibbon Drive.
Coffeeshop without walls, i.e. the viewing platform at Big Lake.
The new crushed rock trail in Lois Hole Park which dead ends…
… into this single track through to the Starling subdivision. I do like the single track though.
The new trail (not officially open yet) between Ray Gibbon Drive and the Enjoy Centre. Gotta love fresh asphalt!
We got lucky last week and only received a glancing blow from the storm that hit the cities south and west of Edmonton. So no snow on the trails yet! Today was sub-zero cool again, with a wind, so I decided to stick to treed areas as much as possible. My route took me out to Big Lake again, with a diversion up the Braeside Ravine – a route that I had not yet taken this season. The ducks and geese are now bunching up on the partially frozen Sturgeon River, getting ready to abandon us for warmer climates.
Where: Braeside Ravine and Lois Hole Park, St. Albert, Alberta
When: Monday, October 19, 2020
What: Large Transcend (great local brand) coffee and cranberry muffin; La Crema Caffe, St. Albert
Distance: 18.8 km
Weather: -7°C (19°F) to start, warming to -4°C (25°F) by the time I got home, and a windy 25 kph, gusting to 36.
One Good Thing: Appropriate clothing! Makes rides in cold weather much more pleasant.
The Sturgeon River is starting to ice up. Winter is coming.
The trail in the Braeside Ravine. Most of the leaves are off the bushes and trees so the sightlines are a lot better around corners!
Big Lake, where it flows into the Sturgeon River. Pretty early in the year for the bay to be totally frozen over.
A large Transcend coffee and cranberry muffin for me and a decorative Halloween gourd for everyone else.
After a week of stupidly cold and snowy weather, I was finally able to get out for a shortish ride around town. I planned to just go visit a park a few kilometres away, and complete the visit with a thermos of coffee and a muffin, but it was so pleasant out that I decided to do a little exploring in a new development nearby.
Where: Lacombe Lake Park, St. Albert, Alberta
When: Monday, October 26, 2020
What: Coffee shop-without-walls thermos of coffee, chocolate chip muffin
Distance: 18.9 km
Weather: +1°C, partly cloudy, light wind. Not bad at all!
One Good Thing: Discovering new trails, and a promise of new trails, in a new subdivision currently under development. Finding new trails is always a good thing!
A pretty much frozen over Lacombe Lake.
My coffee and muffin on a memorial bench by the lake.
The deck was wet but the trails were dry and ice-free.
St. Albert Grain Elevator Park on the way to the lake. The elevators are unused for grain now and are open in the summer months as a museum.
The trail through the White Spruce Forest, a local park with the last stand of white spruce in the area.