I use to work in the seismic lines during the winter.
When the job was finished I always looked forward to getting some big miles on the bike. Leighton and I both thought it would be a good idea to ride 200 km on the Icefields Parkway (Hwy93) from Mosquito Creek to Jasper in January.
2012 was the first year we did the ride. I was training for 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. It had snowed on the day we had planned for the epic adventure. The highway was covered with 6 inches of fresh pow for the first 50 km. We trudged through at a snails pace. I though we’d never make it. Luckily a snow plow came and cleared that path for us. We finished the ride in 12 hours that year.
The following year we rode it again. The ride welcomed in the new year and the start of a new season of riding. The roads were in better condition but the temps had dipped to near -30C. Leighton was getting frostbite on his face. Eventually he stopped to put a on a balaclava. I had to run around in circles to stay warm while he struggled to put the extra layer on with ice cold hands.
Our third Icefields Parkway ride was fairly warm, which made it hard as everything got soaked down in the warmer valleys and then we would start to freeze as we crossed the high passes.
The semi-competitive Joe and Jane doesn’t need to do such epic journeys to get ready for a 24 hour event. Alternatively, they should try to get in some 4-6 hr days of steady effort, whether that is xc skiing, snowshoeing, biking etc.
The goal is to get the body into a fat burning mode to help build up endurance. In Canada, we really have to go with whatever the weather throws our way. When it’s nice out, go for it, when it’s freezing cold, it’s best to keep to shorter more efficient workouts such as running or trainer workouts. The body can go 4-5 days without exercise and not lose to much conditioning, after that the fitness really starts to deteriorate. 📷 PC: Nicholas F. Palmieri.
Check out the ride on STRAVA
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