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D4-Annual (provided it doesn't dump 10 ft of snow) Highwood Pass Cycling Trip!!

Why is this trip epic? Because its the last weekend before the winter gates open on Highway 40 (and dominion is granted to us cyclists until then)

Topping out nearly in the alpine zone at 2206-m (7238-ft) Highwood Pass, this is the highest public road in Canada.

RSVP's OPEN THURSDAY MAY 1, 2014 at 8am, and not a minute before. 

NOTE: Trip entirely dependent on snow (and whether road has been plowed). If road is not plowed, we do not go.  I will not do the trip after the gate is opened (too much traffic)

GENERAL INFO:  

Careful, there may be skill-testing questions at the end! : ) 

1) WE MEET AT THE TRAILHEAD IN KANANASKIS AND WILL BE LEAVING AT 9:00AM. If you are carpooling, I would suggest leaving Calgary no later than 7:30am. 

2) I am not responsible for arranging transportation. If you RSVP "yes", it is assumed that you have (or are able to arrange) your own transportation.

3) Please indicate in the comments section of the RSVP where you click "YES" if you can transport other bikes. This will let other CORA members know who to contact to arrange transportation.

4) I will be giving priority to members who are able to transport bikes for others. Although I understand some people feel a trip should be on a first-come, first-serve basis, this is my trip to coordinate, and if everyone who signs up does not have transportation....NO ONE goes. e.g. If there is one spot left, I will be giving the spot to whoever can transport others.

5) I intend for this trip to be a leisurely pace and inclusive of all abilities.(i.e. If you want to "Lance Armstrong" this route in record time, this trip will not be a good match for you).

6) We will do a round trip of at least 34km to the pass. We will meet as a group at the pass, have lunch/snacks, and discuss whether we wish to continue on a bit further. Depending on the group, a section of the group may split off do the entire 108km return trip, but this depends on numbers, safety, and transportation. 

7) For those who are willing and able to transport bikes (which is greatly appreciated by those without transportation), I suggest meeting at Shouldice Arena parking lot (or wherever) no later than 7:15am so you have time to pack up bikes and drive out to the trailhead.

EQUIPMENT:

BIKE: I do not expect you to have a fancy $3,000 road bike in order to attend this trip. If you're interested in this trip, anything with 2 wheels will do, but lots of places in Calgary rent road bikes if you want to try one (they're lighter and more energy efficient than a mountain bike).

HELMET is mandatory. I have a fancy new First Aid Kit that hasn't been opened yet, and I would like it to stay that way. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A HELMET, YOU DO NOT GO. 

MISCELLANEOUS: Spare tube for your bike, bike gloves, repair kit, 2-3L of water, rain jacket, camera, sunscreen, sunglasses, 2L+ of water, high energy food

GENERAL TRIP DETAILS:

(courtesy of Kathy and Craig Copeland's book on Premier Road Rides in Calgary)

Round trip: 34 km (21 mi) to Highwood Pass

Cycling time: Three to five hours

Elevation gain: 536 m (1760 ft)

Difficulty: Moderate to challenging

It’s long: 54 km (33.6-mi) form the north gate at King Creek to the south gate at Highwood Junction.

It’s lofty: Topping out nearly in the alpine zone at 2206-m (7238-ft) Highwood Pass, this is the highest public road in Canada.

It’s spectacular, traversing a mountain vastness enshrined within provincial parklands.

The price of admission, however, is steep. The gentle ascent from King Creek slowly builds to a granny-gear chore.

If this were the Tour de France route, the length and grade of the final skyward climb to the pass would earn it a Category 1 rating. The scale ranges from 4 (least challenging) to 1 (most challenging). Only a few pivotal, excruciating climbs earn a rating of “beyond category.”

Moderately strong riders will crest the pass within 1.25 hours. If you’re slower, you’ll simply get to enjoy the scenery longer—a good thing, because on the way back you’ll coast far enough and fast enough to make your eyes water.

Feeling sapped, eager to claim their downhill reward, most people turn around at the pass. Lay off the brakes and you’ll arrive at King Creek in about 45 minutes.

But if you have more time and can endure another ascent similar to the one you just completed, pedal through the pass and swoop into the Highwood River Valley.

Here’s where the atmosphere changes from street fair to backcountry adventure, because you’ll see few other cyclists. It’s like trail riding, only speedier, smoother, easier.

The scenery remains engaging the entire way, and of course your sense of accomplishment increases the farther you go. But the best reason to tag the south gate is simply to take full advantage of the highway closure.

The gates reopen and vehicle traffic resumes June 15.

GETTING THERE: 

From Calgary, drive Highway 1 west. Take the Highway 40 exit and continue south 50 km (31 mi) into Kananaskis Country. Slow down at King Creek Day Use Area (left). Shortly beyond, Kananaskis Lakes Trail (right) departs Highway 40. Just past that intersection is the winter gate halting motorists December 1 through June 15. The elevation here is 1670 m (5480 ft). Park at King Creek, or beside the highway if the gate is closed.


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  • A former member
    A former member

    Cant wait for next year!! Great time.

    1 · June 15, 2014

  • Allan R.

    Thanks to Meghan for setting up this ride. After getting to the top I had to hurry to get back to town for a wedding but I'll be back next year for the full distance and to be more sociable. Awesome day!

    June 15, 2014

  • John M.

    Thanks for Meghan for setting this up.

    1 · June 14, 2014

  • John M.

    Great weather, great company and a blast on the way down. My butt is numb though.

    1 · June 14, 2014

  • VONDA J.

    My stars came up wrong?...It was excellent!

    June 14, 2014

  • Meghan

    Great day out with new friends! Hope everyone enjoyed the fresh air, exercise and amazing mountain views! Thanks to our drivers, and extra props to Trevor for sharing his pump, chain oil, and yummy chips!!!

    June 14, 2014

    • VONDA J.

      Thanks again Megan...a great day!

      1 · June 14, 2014

  • Nadia

    My Bike and I would need a ride please ! I come with Gas money/ Breakfast /Beer compensation ^_^

    June 13, 2014

    • Allan R.

      I'm going to borrow my wife's van so if you can get to Crowfoot c- train stop I can help.

      1 · June 13, 2014

    • Nadia

      Thanks a lot Allan but John kindly offered few hours ago I really appreciate it and i look forward to meet you tomorrow

      June 13, 2014

  • Gillian

    Meghan, my husband was in a car accident tonight. Its 11:00 p.m. And we just got home. I think its too late for me to organise now for this trip. (He is okay, but our vehicle is not) Sorry to bail, im really disappointed, but i'm glad he isnt hurt! Talk about Friday to 13th!

    June 13, 2014

  • John M.

    My passenger backed out so I am willing to drive or car share/pay gas.

    June 12, 2014

    • John M.

      Thank you kindly. I will be there. I will email you my cell # as well.

      June 13, 2014

    • John M.

      Hi Tloughri. I am now going to be picking Nadia up so if we see you at Shouldice at 7am great, but please do not wait around for us. My cell # is[masked]-3739. Happy days!

      June 13, 2014

  • Nadia

    Hey Megan , is there a chance we might get in ? Otherwise would you mind if myself and the people on the wait list organise our own . I have done gate to gate to gate 4 times last year !

    June 12, 2014

    • Meghan

      Hi Nadia, I would suggest to give it 24 hours if you can, as I expect there will be more people dropping off, and you're only second on the waiting list. Otherwise, you are of course more than free to organize your own trip privately outside of CORA.

      1 · June 12, 2014

    • Nadia

      Thanks Meghan

      1 · June 13, 2014

  • Gillian

    So excited i get to go!

    1 · June 13, 2014

  • Gillian

    Oops, had not read your response, Meghan, before I answered Nadia's, I will wait and see what happens too. I just have a mountain bike so wont be there for speed if anyone wants to join me.

    June 12, 2014

    • Meghan

      Hi Gillian, I added you to the trip!
      Although I have a road bike, I am far from a speed demon, so you should not have to worry about keeping up. : )

      June 13, 2014

  • Meghan

    RSVP's have been updated to include the final few who were on the waiting list since. as expected, more people have cancelled. PLEASE update your RSVP ASAP if you will not be attending to avoid being marked a no-show. I will be cycling rain or shine, and look forward to meeting you tomorrow! : )

    June 13, 2014

  • Lisa

    Sorry guys, looks like I'm going to visit my dad this weekend out of town so I can't make it. How you have fun!

    June 12, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm out. There are no more road bikes my size to rent. Have fun, guys!

    June 12, 2014

  • Gillian

    Hi Nadia - im on the wait list too. Pretty sure CORA rules would not allow a "yes" response - but we could certainly just meet there and do our own 'Non-Cora sanctioned' bike ride.

    June 12, 2014

  • Meghan

    Two final-ish notes: 1) As with any mountain trip, there is a chance of rain, so please pack appropriately (e.g. rain jacket). You may also wish to pack a warmer layer to throw on in the event you are stopped for any period of time (e.g. rest break, waiting for driver etc.)

    2) Please meet around my vehicle (grey/beige Nissan Rogue with MEC sticker on the back window) when you arrive so we can do introductions, sign waivers, and plan meetup spots. PLEASE DO NOT START UNTIL YOU HAVE CHECKED IN WITH ME!!!!!! Looking forward to meeting you!! : )

    June 12, 2014

  • Lisa

    Hey guys, I (and my bike) are going to need a ride out to the trailhead as I don't have a car. Pls let me know if you are able to help me out. I live in the Beltline. Thx!

    May 8, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi All,

    As of right now I am taking one passenger (Lisa if you are still interested). I have room for 2 more. Email me and we will all set up a place to meet.

    [masked]

    1 · June 9, 2014

  • Meghan

    Good news everyone! As of this last weekend, the pass was entirely snow-free!! *happy dance*

    Just a few friendly reminders: 1) If you are new to CORA and never hiked with us before, please read the description carefully.We admit paid members and guests only. And there are two options: Either purchasing Annual Membership ($20) which lasts until the next AGM, or Guest's Fee ($5) that is valid for one outing. Payments are done online, the blue link on the left. Must be done on PC/MAC! (not mobile)

    2) Helmets are MANDATORY! If you need one, let us know, as we may have extras we can bring. 3) Please plan to leave Calgary at the appropriate time in order to arrive at trailhead @ 9am, since we will not wait long for stragglers. 4) THANK YOU to the drivers who have offered rides. If you are carpooling, please contribute towards fuel. 5) Please update your RSVP ASAP if you will not be attending, as this allows those who have patiently been waiting for a spot the opportunity to attend.

    June 9, 2014

  • Vanessa

    Not totally sure if i can make it so ill make my spot available for someone on the waitlist -have a blast -catch u all next time :-)

    June 8, 2014

  • Barb

    I can take 2 passengers and two additional bikes if I'm confirmed for the trip.

    1 · June 8, 2014

  • Meghan

    Hey gang, FYI: I'm trying to get a more up-to-date report as we speak, but it appears there may be snow for the last 2km at the pass. As long as it doesn't snow more, we should be good to go!!

    1 · June 2, 2014

  • Lee

    If we have enough people on the wait list can we organize another group going?

    May 16, 2014

    • Meghan

      If another CORA Organizer is able and willing to organize a second trip, for sure.

      May 16, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I will have room for at least one more bike (2 if we break one down) on my rack. Lisa it looks as if you need a ride, anyone else? I am in the Charleswood area.

    1 · May 13, 2014

  • Kayley E.

    Well, I may even rent a road bike...woot!

    1 · May 7, 2014

  • Morgan

    Meghan my answer "yes"...phone didn't let me answer properly on RSVP.

    May 1, 2014

    • Meghan

      Thanks Morgan. You're confirmed!

      1 · May 1, 2014

  • Maria T.

    A road biker enthusiastic
    I ride my bike all year
    I would love to come

    March 22, 2014

  • John M.

    Sounds great! Hope to join you.

    March 5, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Is this best for road bikes only, or would a 29er with road slicks be okay?

    March 4, 2014

    • Meghan

      Hi Michael. It is entirely personal preference. I have had people do the trip with full-on mountain bikes with fat knobby tires. I even had one lady use a folding bike once. As long as you are in decent shape, you will do fine on anything with two wheels.

      March 5, 2014

  • Kayley E.

    Sounds challenging and FUN! I am in.

    1 · March 4, 2014

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