It was a chilly +2 degrees this morning when we had our pre-sunrise breakfast before heading up to Lake Louise for some group photos; with a long day in front of us, an early start was mandatory.
The always emotional morning ride dedication was done by one of our riders, Lynn Fast, whose teenage daughter lost her battle with cancer in 2009. Briony was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2006 at the age of 15. She underwent 42 days of radiation and chemotherapy at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, in an effort to shrink the tumor, which was inoperable. The aggressive protocol proved too hard on her body, and she was finally taken off treatment. Three months later, she died quietly at home, with her family and puppy with her, Today, we will ride for Briony.
We bundled up for the cold descent towards Banff, stopping a couple of times to take in the incredible views of the surrounding mountains, glacier-fed rivers and lakes.
Although all 15 riders have been riding together these last few days, there are actually two NKCR teams and we will be splitting up at times to allow us to make more community visits. From our morning rest stop in Canmore, my team of 5 riders was shuttled to Kananaskis, where we rode to the top of the Highwood Pass in the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, a lengthy climb of some 900 metres. While the climb was slow and gruelling, the descent was fast and thrilling, as we reached speeds of up to 70 kph.
In order to keep to our schedule, we shuttled to Longview, then rode the remaining 40k to Okotoks for a shower at GoodLife Fitness, one of our corporate sponsors. Our dinner tonight was hosted by a Coast-to-Coast volunteer and cancer survivor.
The final shuttle of the day is to Lethbridge, where we will start our ride tomorrow, leaving the mountains behind and the prairies ahead. Looking forward to another great NKCR day tomorrow!