Monday, December  10, 2018
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The Golden Triangle is a 330+ km cycle loop through the Rockies. This year, the route went from Castle Mountain Junction, in Alberta, to Radium, BC. Then, from Radium, BC to Golden BC, and from there back to Castle Mountain Junction.

I had done this ride with Lorraine two years ago (see here for that trip report) and enjoyed it immensely, and so I wanted to do it again. This time, I managed to drag along Graham and Caroline with me.
The Golden Triangle
Here is a locator map for the Golden Triangle, in case you are not familiar with the general area. The ride goes through three different national parks (Banff, Kootenay, and Yoho). The start of the ride, in Castle Mountain Junction in Banff National Park, is about a little over an hour's drive from Calgary. [enlarge]
Highways of the Golden Triangle
Yellow Highlight = Day 1; Purple Highlight = Day 2; Blue-green highlight = Day 3. The Golden triangle is run clockwise on even-numbered years, and counter-clockwise in odd-numbered years. (although this alternation may be altered in the future).
[enlarge]
If you are non-local, and need to fly to the Golden Triangle from afar, then your best best is through Calgary. You'll also need to get your bike boxed up properly. We went to a local bike shop and procured some surplus bike shipping boxes. Be careful when you pack your bike - cushion all sharp edges that might punch through the box.

We selected Westjet as our carrier, and they charged $30CDN + taxes to transport the bike (one way).
Packing the bikes
In this picture, Graham does some last minute packing of his bike before heading off to the airport. [enlarge]
Our ride out west
We were whisked out west on a brand-new Boeing 737-700 (with Winglet option) run by WestJet. Looks nice with the winglets! [enlarge]
Oversize loading
Here, a baggage operator loads oversize luggage (including our bikes) into the plane. [enlarge]
Heading West
A view out the over the prairies as we wing our way to Calgary. [enlarge]
Caroline had relatives that graciously put us up for the night that we arrived and the night that we left. It is possible to arrive in Calgary on an evening flight and still make it to the ride the next morning. Just expect a short night's sleep! Oh, and by the way, there is no need to bring a stove if you are a coffee addict - on the Golden Triangle your caffeine needs are taken care of!
Graham's Plugs
Graham does not want to be disturbed for his short sleep before we have to get up early and head out to the start of the ride. [enlarge]
The weather forecast for the 3 days of the tour was horrible: there was a heavy snowfall warning for Banff National Park for Saturday, and Sunday and Monday were forecast to be mostly rainy. We half-considered not even bothering to go to the ride. But, just in case, we got up made our way west. The weather was drizzly and turned to ice pellets and snow as we neared the mountains. It was not looking good, but we had to go and have a look, in any case.
Iffy looking weather
Iffy looking weather at the start of the Golden Triangle Ride. [enlarge]
By some incredible luck, soon after the township of Banff the rain and snow stopped and road dried out! amazing - this flew right in the face of the forecast! When we arrived at the gravel pit where the ride starts, it was mostly dry (although still overcast). At this point we were very grateful for this.

Somehow Caroline's registration had not gone through and she was un-registered for the ride! We managed to scrounge up ninety bucks (about half the registration fee), which one of the EVCC officials accepted (and Caroline would pay the balance later).
Castle Mountain Junction
The Gravel Pit at Castle Mountain Junction is where the ride starts. Here, you register, give them your overnight gear, and receive your t-shirt, bag of gorp, and helmet flag. [enlarge]
Prepping the bikes
We get the bikes ready for the ride. So far, it is only overcast here - no snow and no rain... will it hold? [enlarge]
The start of the Golden Triangle
Here we are, starting out on our ride. As you can see, the weather around here does not look _too_ bad. We are hopeful. [enlarge]
Graham on the climb to Vermillion Pass
[enlarge]
The ride started out on semi-damp roads and there was a dusting of snow near Vermillion Pass. Also it was somewhat chilly (single digit temps). But overall pretty reasonable. We figured if we could just get over the pass and down to lower elevations, we'd be even more likely to avoid the bad weather.
courtesy Graham
Climbing to Vermillion Pass
Here, Andrew rides with another rider up the highway to Vermillion pass. The Road is a bit wet and there are a few snowflakes. A light dusting of snow covers the nearby grass. [enlarge]
The first big climb
A shot of Caroline nearing the end of the first big hill, up to Vermillion Pass. [enlarge]
Vermillion Pass
Caroline cycles past Storm Mountain on the way through Vermillion pass, the highest point on the ride at over 5,500 feet. Very soon after this point is the first snack break. The weather, although gray, continues to hold - no rain, no snow. [enlarge]
The first snack break
Here's a view of us pulling into the first snack break, just after Vermillion Pass. [enlarge]
The first snack break was soon upon us. An EVCC GT snack stop is a very nice affair, with lots of goodies including some nice warm beverages (which was very nice on a chilly morning like this one). They even had some hot soup mix (and lots of hot water).
Snack n' Storm
The Snack break with Storm mountain visible in the mist in the background. The hot drinks are popular at this snack stop - it is pretty chilly out. [enlarge]
Well organized EVCC team
The snack breaks are well-organized and have plenty enough for everyone. [enlarge]
Amazing array of goodies
A shot of just a bit of the goodies available to the riders at the snack breaks. [enlarge]
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