Day 27 Rimbey to Edmonton AB
Holy Trinity Ukranian Orthodox Church on AB 39
Today's ride was much better than yesterday's ride. The reason: the wind. When I left my room, the wind was blowing at 10 to 15 mph from the southeast. I had two choices of route: head east then north or head north-northwest then east. I picked the latter - choosing pleasure over pain is always easy!
Because there wasn't much open in town, I had my 'breakfast' at a Subway. I had a foot long sub, half of which I carried with me, and coffee. Not an ideal breakfast, but it worked. Then I stopped at the Rimbey market to pick up some supplies for the day, and headed north-northwest on AB 20. I had 45 miles of wind assisted riding to look forward to!
Heading out on AB 20
The shoulder was good to great, the traffic was light, the sun was (mostly) shining, and I had a good tailwind. I rode the 25 miles to Winfield in an hour and a half, then stopped to eat the second half of my sub. Then I rode to Breton and had a real breakfast - pancakes - for lunch. Nice riding, easy riding. It did get a little hillier around Winfield, but not bad.
Parts of 20 had a rougher shoulder, so I rode in the lane
Most of 20 had a nice, smooth, shoulder
In Breton, I rode past the baseball field just as a batter - these were adult teams with men and women players, hit a home run over the fence near me. I almost stopped to field the ball back to the outfielder, but he vaulted over the fence to get it. I was riding on Canada Day weekend so I saw lots of recreational activity.
The end of the tailwinds
When 20 ended at AB 39, my easy riding was over. I had taken me less than 2:45 to ride 45 miles. Then I had to ride 40 miles into a head/cross wind. It wasn't as bad as I expected.
Heading east on AB 39
I could do about 11 mph heading east with no windbreak, 13 mph or so with a windbreak, 15 mph on a section that heads northeast, and 18 mph on a short section heading north. Overall I was averaging a respectable 12.5 or 13 mph, but I did have to work for it. There was a net loss of about 600 feet in altitude which helped.
10 miles from Calmar where I has a second lunch
I really liked the Ukranian Orthodox church on the west side of Calmar. In addition to just looking neat, it illustrates the rich heritage of immigration in this part of the world. Speaking of immigration, I stopped for a big, and good, Chinese meal in Calmar. Then I rode on into Leduc where I phoned Bob (in Edmonton) and got final instructions for finding his house. Bob had volunteered to meet me part way, but the riding really was pretty easy, especially going north from Leduc to Edmonton! I rode the expressway, AB 2, which is like riding a toned down US interstate. I even considered putting an earplug in my left ear, but decided it wasn't necessary. Canadians, even in Alberta, are much more considerate of bicyclists and would usually move away from me as they passed.
Edmonton Skyline riding in on AB 2 just past some construction
I did have to deal with some construction in town, and too many entrances and exits before town, but overall the riding on AB 2 was good and quite fast. I got to Edmonton (95 miles) in about 6:30 riding time and to Bob's house in a little over seven hours of riding. There are merits to riding on the plains when the wind is mostly (60 of the 100 miles today) a tail wind!