Chasing goats

Mountain goats hanging around on the closed for traffic Highwood pass
I had a fantastic ride yesterday! I started at 7:30 am from my house and headed west on transcanada hwy to Kananaskis. It was already starting to get a big windy, but the advantage of starting early in the morning and heading west is an escape from the inevitable headwinds that really pick up in intensity in the afternoons.

Once I turned into Highway 40, the mountains provided quite a bit of shelter from the wind. I was making great time and generally feeling good - my right achilles wasn't at all sore, and my feet are getting numb less often now. I am finding that inserting chemical foot warmers into my shoes (even on warm days) really helps keep the blood flowing. I also found that once they start to feel a bit tingly, I can curl my toes down into the shoe to temporarily remove pressure off of the bottom of my foot until the blood flow returns. This usually only takes a minute or two and I can continue to pedal rather than coasting which is what I used to do.

The climb up the pass went well and I met up with a few big horn sheep, gangs of rowdy mountain goats, an Elk and too many white tail deer to count. No bears (that I saw). The Highwood pass is closed to traffic until June 15th to allow animal migration. It is open to bikes, and it's the perfect time of year to cycle the pass because of the wildlife. I ran into a few other cyclists but otherwise it was pretty desolate.

At the top it got cold really fast and started snowing which turned to rain on the way down. The trip down was a blast on the M5 lowracer. I reached a top speed of 80 km / hr.

By the 200 km mark I started to get this really bad headache. It started at the top of the pass but progressively got worse and worse. This is strange because I never get headaches and I've certainly never gotten a headache while training. At first I thought it was because of the altitude, but the throbbing in my head didn't go away. This made that last 100 km pretty rough - every bump on the road was killing me.

At the end of the ride aside from my pounding head, I generally felt ok. My achilles on my left foot was starting to get a bit sore, and my right knee was starting to hurt a bit. I know I will be ready for the 24 hour record attempt when I can do a 300 to 400 km ride without any of these niggling aches and pains at the end.

At 7000 feet, the Highwood pass is the highest paved road in Canada. The total ascent is 9200 feet and 3000 foot climb from my house to the summit.

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4 Responses to “Chasing goats”

  1. # Anonymous Ray Girard

    That is a wonderful shot of the running goats. It looks surreal, like someone PhotoShopped the goats in. What a fine moment that must have been.


  2. # Blogger "the Dude"

    I wonder if you can buy a small bottle of O2, for high passes.

    Article on footwear, effects of wearing bound shoes in the last 40,000 years, on the bones and ligaments. Can you pedal barefoot or almost bare, or do you wear tight-fitting shoes and socks?

    A floating hot tub, you probably won't want to tow it along behind Within, but what a concept, eh? I'd love one for warming up between cold water dives, like a liquid Finnish Sauna.


  3. # Anonymous Dr. Leslie Brown

    What a superb idea to close the road for the animals!

    I don't normally get headaches cycling to 7000ft on this island. Have you considered that it might be caffeine induced? I often get a headache if I don't get a cup of coffee or tea when I'm due for one. hehehe

    Sadly, I'm not in good shape at the moment. I went to climb to Mt Teide and only got half way due to 2 punctures (I only had one CO2 cartride - lesson learned).


  4. # Blogger fhe

    a longshot but your foot warmers could be pooling blood in your legs and, combined with the altitude, cause headaches. Did you feel dizzy?  

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