Kurt Williams
Great Divide
Banff, AB

Ajourney never starts from the beginning of a route.  Sometimes and mostoften it's harder getting to the starting line than most of the riding. To give all y'all the real feel of the trip, it is at least fair to brush overour experience getting to the town of Canmore, the place we would start thebicycle tour.

Tomake it very short and more interesting, it took us from 7am to 11pm to finallyland in Canada.  Within that time, I was capable of dragging my bike boxin a way that shaved 5 teeth of my chain-ring completely flat (600 miles laterand I'm still riding it like that), getting no sleep, and eat nothing but soda,chips and pop tarts.  Oh yeah, and Sam forgot his front skewer so wecouldn't ride anywhere.  We slept in the airport, caught a ride with asemi grumpy man to Canmore, and started riding south through the CanadianRockies.

Tobe quite honest, I actually wasn't initially impressed, or wowed like I thoughtI would be.  I think that had a lot to do with previously living in theEastern Sierras, a place known for its dramatic landscape.  Nonethelessthat opinion changed slowly, a little bit everyday as we got deeper into thewilderness.  Wildlife was so abundant; deer, elk, beavers, fish, and yes,bears. Alberta and British Columbia give a real sense of getting out there, youreally are far into the wilderness.  Soon we entered Kananaski lakes park,which for sure, impressed us both, and also at this point we were in ourgroove, and spirits we high.  We were able to take our climbing gear outand get high above the reflecting lakes, but unfortunately a storm came in andwe were forced to retreat back to lower elevation.  The next 100 miles wewere able to find many rivers, 2 grizzly bears, and lot of concrete mud thatcut our drive-train’s life in two.  And just like that the landscapedchange, and low and behold we were 20 miles from the Montana border.

Asecond for reflection... The pace of this western Canadian life style waslovely and slow, people not only were nice but took time to really listen, andit made me realize that people do a lot of talking but aren't genuinelyinterested in each other's lives.  Between the nature we've seen, and thekind people we've met, it feels like we are off to an excellent start. Canada was short and sweet, I really hope I come back to this part soon. Bzzzzzzzz, the freewheel buzzes and we continue to roll onward, with lots oflaughs and smiles on our faces.  I love bike touring.

 

- IMAGES OF THE ROAD -

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Kurt Williams

Gear List

- My Blackburn Gear -

- My Bike Specs -

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Kurt Williams
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? A few years ago I was touring through Central America and through the internet heard about the Great Divide Route. Since then I always wanted to do it, but it wasn’t until I ran across the Blackburn Ranger Program that I started to take it serious. I figured why not apply and see if it was meant to be.
  • Have you traveled by bike in the past? I have, done a few shorter bike tours in Oregon. Then, one trip from Denver back to Portland, OR. My most ambitious trip was a few years ago when I biked from California through Central America to Panama, that was a pretty eye opening trip to see where a bike can take you.
  • What is your goal for the route? To have fun with my buddy Sam!
  • What do you hope to get out of this journey? I hope to successfully bike tour with climbing gear and to use the bicycle as a means to get to climbing locations. A climbing trip completely fueled by bike touring!
  • What’s in my bag 1. Cat food alcohol stove - Always works, fuel is super easy to find in any location.
    2. Giro long sleeve button up shirt - Super excited to have this, I’ve always bike with a casual shirt. Versatile and also makes you not look like a cyclist, which helps you connect with people along the route.
    3. Blackburn Oversized Bottle Cages - Really happy to be using these prototypes! Forget the racks, use these!
    4. Tobacco Pipe - For lookin’ cool.

- Great Divide Milestones -