On the ski hills, on the bike trails, and thru life in general

Posts tagged ‘Sturgeon County’

Garrison Redux

Otherwise known by our esteemed group of senior skiers cum road riders as “the base ride”.  The base, in this instance, refers to the Edmonton Garrison, the largest army base in Western Canada and located between Namao and Edmonton. It’s only about 15 km as the bicycle rolls from St Albert but we take a somewhat convoluted and variable route to get there and generally squeeze a 50-km loop out of it.  Being extremely civilized bikers, we also stop at the base Tim’s for refreshments. We do the ride about once every week or two with minor changes in routing depending on whether anyone wants to do a 2 km-long, and perilously busy, hill to get there.  When we are preparing for the Tour de l’Alberta, almost everyone does the hill because it is great for training – not too steep (about 5% max) and with a couple of short terraces to give the legs and lungs a short break.  Unfortunately, said hill is on a busy highway, complete with a narrow shoulder and lots of over-wide semis.  Their updraft is sometimes a nice boost in aiding the climb but also a little nerve wracking in their intimacy.  Today, the wind was from the east, i.e. right in our faces going uphill, so we chose the cowards way out and opted for a more protected and less hilly route.

The ride is a great combination of tranquil country roads, smooth meandering multi-use trails, suburban streets and, with the exception of the above noted Hwy 37, a not-too-busy main road with a wide shoulder. We usually crank it up here for the ride back, figuring that if we exhaust ourselves, at least we are close to our starting point and we can collapse unobtrusively in the privacy of our cars/homes.

We usually have from 3 to 12 of us on the ride but only 4 managed to show up today.  Lots of excuses offered by those who didn’t show – sometimes life just gets in the way of having fun – but our group enjoyed a pretty well perfect riding day. Here is the route we took today.

Al, with Dick and Richard behind, on a quiet country road.

Al, with Dick and Richard behind, on a quiet country road.

 

Smooth paved trails in the estates area of Sturgeon County.

Smooth paved trails in the estates area of Sturgeon County.

View of the Sturgeon River valley, and a glimpse of the river, from the top of a rise.

View of the Sturgeon River valley, and a glimpse of the river, from the top of a rise on the trail.

Mike on the trail.

Mike on the trail.

Large expensive houses, perfectly manicured, in the estates area.  I'm sure that the 5-car garage is bigger than my house!

Large expensive houses, perfectly manicured, in the estates area. I’m sure that the 5-car garage is bigger than my house!

 

Not in my price range!

Not in my price range!

Mike, Dick and Richard leaving the estates.

Mike, Dick and Richard leaving the estates.

 

The trail through the country out to the base...

The trail through the country out to the base…

 

...past corn fields...

…past corn fields…

... and wheat fields...

… and wheat fields…

 

... leading to the running/walking/biking/marching/fitness trail beside the base.

… leading to the running/walking/biking/marching/fitness trail beside the base.

Time for a nature break and sugary reward.

Time for a nature break and sugary reward at Tim’s.

 

The wide, clean, smooth trail beside Valour Road. Great for getting some speed up.

The wide, clean, smooth trail beside Valour Road. Great for getting some speed up.

The nice wide shoulder on Sturgeon Road.  Another great place to crank it up.

The nice wide shoulder on Sturgeon Road. Another great place to crank it up.

 

The gazebo at the entrance of St Albert. Almost home after another fine ride with friends!

The gazebo at the entrance of St Albert. Almost home after another fine ride with friends!

Coffeeneuring 1 – The Base Ride, Oct 5

I came across an interesting blog about Coffeeneuring that posed the challenge of cycling to 7 different coffee shops over the next 6 weekends. You can read all the rules on the blog site but I thought that I would give it a try. I may cheat a bit, considering that we may have snow on the ground by Halloween, and so may condense the coffee rides into a shorter time frame. I know, there are more than a few Edmontonians who ride through the winter but I am not one of them.  Call me a wimp or just multifaceted.  Once the snow hits, it’s time to break out the skis.  Anyway, since the group that I cycle with is quite civilized and almost always stops for coffee somewhere along the route, I figured that I would give this a try. I will amend the rules to include mid-week rides where necessary.

First ride of the challenge is our regular road ride from St. Albert out to the army base at Namao and back.  It has a little of everything – multi-use trails, suburban streets, quiet country roads, and a busy highway (but with a good shoulder) with a lovely training hill.  We do a few variations of the route but it generally averages around 50 km.  Click here to view it.  We have probably done the route a dozen times over the summer, with as few as 4 people and as many as 10.  We always stop for coffee at the Tim Horton’s on the base, which is usually around the 35 km mark.  After a relaxing beverage and, perhaps, a fat-filled deep-fried sugary treat, we head back out to complete the loop back to St. Albert. The faster riders in the group generally kick it up for the last few klicks and I’m holding on to the bars too tightly to snap off any photos of that part.

Nice quiet country roads to ride on.

Great multi-use trail beside the Sturgeon River in Sturgeon County.

A refreshing break at Tim’s on the base.

Maybe they will get the hint to buy a bike rack. Till then, we will put the bikes where we can see them.

A woodsy, ergo leafy at this time of year, part of the trail around the base.

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