Archive for May 2010

Going for Gold – week 7   Leave a comment

Sunday May 9th – A 60K ride bike riding in Northeast Edmonton . It was a cool blustery afternoon with threatening skies, some rain, gusty winds.

Stormy sky over Edmonton looking southwest over the Hermitage community

The first 10K on the way to Rundle park was ridden in the rain. I was going to turn around if it didn’t stop by the 10K point, but it did and I continued North. After cycling up through Hermitage I got on to Meridian Street and followed it up until it intersected the Old Fort Road which I then took until it hit Manning freeway. From there I put in a few kilometers heading north on highway 28A . I thought I was doing well until I turned around and had to ride into the wind. It was a struggle  heading home and I probably pushed a but too hard and exhausted myself.

Monday evening May 10th – a 40K ride up Mill Creek ravine, past the velodrome and south into Mill Woods. It was a lot cooler evening than I expected.  I was chilled and very glad I had my windbreaker with me for the return ride. This day’s 40K means I had done 150K over three days. Not bad but in two weeks I will have to be doing double that distance – and in mountain terrain.
Tuesday May 11 this was the organizational meeting for the EBTC Golden Triangle Tour. It was very interesting and a bit intimidating to walk into the meeting room (a few minutes late due to the challenge of finding a place to lock up my bike at the hostel). I wished I knew some of the people there but I’ve been away too long. I was pleasantly surprised by the age of the group – in other words, only a handful I would readily say are much younger than me – lots of gray hair in the crowd.

Wednesday – another rest day just a short 14 K roundtrip to MEC for the EBTC club night. Picked up a few supplies for the Golden Triangle trip including rain boots, extra gloves, safety vest and ???

Thursday May 13th – An evening ride, a pleasant 40K out southwest  to and beyond  Terwilligar.

Saturday May 15 – One week before the trip and my goal was to do a 100 Km in one day not so much for training at this point as to prove to myself that I could do it. It was a beautiful morning except for the smoke in the air from forest/ brush/grass fires northwest of the City.

I started with a 30K trip up  through Rundle and Hermitage parks leaving at 8:45 in the morning and taking about an hour an a half. I stopped briefly in Rundle park to take a few photos of the ponds and the geese.

The second leg of the day began at 11AM and took an hour  40 minutes. This was another 30K journey, this one south through Mill Creek ravine and on to Mill Woods.

At 4:30 in the afternoon I began the third and final leg – a 40K  trip southwest through the river valley to Terwilligar. About 10 K into this ride I was feeling burnt out but after a bit of an energy bar and some water I came around and completed the ride with ease. I arrived home just before 7PM, achieving my goal of a 100K day. Most importantly, although I felt pleasantly tired I did not have any significant pain – my neck was okay, my wrists were fine as were my Achilles tendons  and calf muscles – All very encouraging and filling me with confidence  for being able to complete next weekend’s Golden Triangle.

Week 7 of my Golden Triangle preparation ends with a very pleasing 243K which gives me 828 for the seven weeks. I’d originally penciled in 1000K as my pre-Triangle goal but I will probably come a little short as I will want to taper in the coming week.

Posted May 15, 2010 by Randy Talbot in Cycle Touring, Cycling

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Going for Gold – Week 6   Leave a comment

Yet another cool week with little riding. On Sunday May 2nd I started the week with a 45K ride up through McKinnon ravine and along the top of the river bank then out to the west end through the residential streets.

The week was wiped out for cycling as Tuesday saw 10-15 cm of snow fall and the rest of the week temperatures were well below normal (highs in the low single digits). On top of this my sore right calf muscle was getting worse and I was not able to walk normally and feared I wouldn’t be able to cycle either.
On Saturday May 8th I went out for a 50K ride south through Terwilligar. This ride was a test of my calf muscle. It was okay for cycling as long as I didn’t get out of the saddle to power up hills. Staying in the saddle in a  low gear with minimal ankle action worked well.

So week 6 ends with just 95K of cycling to give a six week total of 585 Km – only three weeks until the start of the Golden Triangle!

Posted May 15, 2010 by Randy Talbot in Cycle Touring

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Going For Gold – Week 5   Leave a comment

Sunday April 25th – a 50K ride up through Rundle Park and Heritage Park then up along Meridian Street until it stops at the Manning Freeway.  The temperature was a cool 9C but with the sun out it was pretty comfortable.

April 30 Feeling discouraged that my injured calf muscle has taken a major turn for the worse today (for no obvious reason). I’m fearing it will prevent me from doing the Golden Triangle bike tour in 3 weeks. I can barely walk but will have to try riding this weekend then make a decision. Considering at an alternate challenge – the Tour de l’Alberta in July and in fact did register for the event. I would like to do the 185K ride but will make the distance decision  closer to the event.

Saturday May 1st – just an easy 20K  ride up River Road and McKinnon , to test and not stress my calf muscle. It seems that as long as I’m not out of the saddle, pushing big gears uphill I think I’ll be able to resume training. Might try for 40 or 50K tomorrow.

I only got 70K of training in this week, with only 4 weeks to go until the Golden Triangle – a bit discouraging.

Posted May 15, 2010 by Randy Talbot in Cycle Touring

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Going For Gold – Week 4   Leave a comment

Sunday April 18
My first ride of the week is on the evening of Wednesday Apr 21  with a 41K journey southwest to Terwilligar Park.

On Friday April 23 I did a 22K  ride on the Rundle park – Grierson loop.  I ddi this ride on my mountain bike ride out to Rundle Park on the northside then back to Grierson along the south side of the river. About half the time I was on the unpaved trails – I wasn’t sure how my new slick tires would be on the dirt & gravel but they were just fine. So now, I’m looking forward to more off-road rides…

Saturday April 24 I was back on the touring bike for a 39 K ride down to Terwilligar Park with a loop around dirt trails in park.  It has been a while since I’ve been in the park. I really enjoyed riding the dirt trails. I saw so many attractive scenes that I would have loved to paint. Might do that but at the least I’ll have to go back on a photo expedition.

I end up this week with 102 kilometers of riding,  for a season (4 week) total of 420K.

Posted May 15, 2010 by Randy Talbot in Cycle Touring

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Going for Gold – Week 3   Leave a comment

Week three of my preparation for the 2010 Golden Triangle tour started off cold.
I got in a decent 20K bike ride on Sunday April 11th on the northside Rundle Park loop. The mid-afternoon weather was sunny but the temperature was just above freezing. My fingers were cool (wearing full gloves of course) and my toes ended up numb.
The well below normal  temperatures ruled out any evening rides this week until I got out on Friday April 16th for a  41K ride up to Hermitage Park and back on the south side of the river to the LRT bridge.
On Saturday April 17  I did a short  but sweet ride of just  20K up McKinnon Ravine and back. It was the first ride of the season on bike #3, my road bike. This is my oldest bike, the one I used for my my first tour in France (the Loire and Normandy). These days its stripped down, with clip-in pedals and 100 psi clinchers – lots of fun for a quick workout!

At the end of week three I have put in 318 Kilometers of  road training.

Posted May 15, 2010 by Randy Talbot in Cycle Touring

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Going for Gold – Week 2   Leave a comment

The second week (April 4th – 10th) of my preparation for the 2010 Golden Triangle tour.
This week started off by installing some new tires on my Proctor touring bike. It was the original tires on the bike that I replaced so that makes them a good 25 years old -the deteriorating sidewalls were my biggest concern. The new tires are Continental Ultra Gators.

On April 4th I did a 50K ride to test out those new tires and also my first ride on my touring bike – the one I intended to use for the Golden Triangle tour. This 50K ride took me to Rundle Park, on north through Heritage Park and back with a visit to the Strathcona Science park. I made a point of stopping to take photos on this ride.

April 5th was a 30K ride that took me south through Mill Creek ravine with a loop in Mill Woods.
On April 7th I did a short run at mid day (notably without pulling a calf muscle) and then a 30K ride on the evening of April 7th gave me a total of 110K for week 2. A spring blizzard on the 8th ruled out any more cycling this 2nd week of Golden Triangle preparation.

Posted May 4, 2010 by Randy Talbot in Cycle Touring

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Going for Gold – Week 1   Leave a comment

There are a few “golden triangles” in the world but for a cyclist in this part of Canada it can mean only one thing. The Golden Triangle is a cycling loop starting at the Castle Mountain junction in Banff National Park and connecting to the towns Radium and Golden in the province of British Columbia. Those three points make the triangle with a little more than 100 Km between each – ideal for a three day cycling tour.

Google map of the Golden Triangle

After my first ride of the year – 20K on March 29, I headed out for another ride on the 31st, just to confirm that the good feelings of my initial outing was not a fluke. It wasn’t – despite winds and a couple of brief snow storms I did 30K and felt good.  I got home and followed up by joining the Edmonton Bicycle and Touring Club (EBTC). My intent was to do a lot more cycling in 2010 and use the club for inspiration and support.

The next day, April Fools’ Day I went a step further by committing to the EBTC’s Golden Triangle Tour, which occurs on the May long weekend (22nd to 24th) – just 7 weeks away. This wasn’t a long time to get my cycling legs back into shape but I was optimistic that I could do it. My initial goal was to get in 1000 Km of training before the trip.

Later that day I headed out west along the bike paths through Edmonton’s river valley – west on River Road, around Hawrelak Park, up Groat Road, down Keillor Road to Ft. Edmonton Park, then back with a side trip up and down McKinnon Ravine. There was still snow lining the sides of Keillor Road but overall the roads were dry.

I finished off that first week with a 30K ride on the 2nd. That gave me a solid 120K for the first week, all on my Kuwahara mountain bike -a good start.

Posted May 4, 2010 by Randy Talbot in Cycle Touring

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2010 A Cyclist Again   Leave a comment

This blog has its origins with the re-birth, my re-commitment to cycling. After a long winter, on  the evening of March 29th 2010,  I hopped on my bike and headed out for my first ride of the year. It was a 20K jaunt on my mountain bike from central Edmonton out to Rundle Park and back. It was a cool evening and it was pretty much dark by the time I got home near 8:30 but I felt great. I felt like me again. I’d discovered something that had been missing.

With  that inspiring first ride I decided this would be the year I’d get back into serious cycling and I would do that by getting back to my roots. In this case those roots include re-joining the Edmonton Bicycle and Touring Club with whom I’d been very involved and had done a lot of touring with in the 1980’s.
After signing up for the club I noticed the upcoming registration for the Golden Triangle Tour and committed to that as a motivating goal. Now the challenge is to get in shape for three consecutive days of at least 100Km in the mountains. Subsequent blogs will update you on my progress.

Zen Cyclist – Welcome   Leave a comment

Welcome to Zen Cyclist, a new blog on This blog is about the world of cycling from the perspective of Randy Talbot, an avid cyclist and cycling advocate.

I am writing this blog, as I return to cycling (in a serious way)  in 2010. I’ve been a cyclist all of my life, but not too actively for the last 15 years. In this blog I intend to look back at some of the great tours in my past and look forward with plans for the future. Expect lots of pictures and stories on this blog. I want to keep it light, fun and inspiring.

The title Zen Cyclist  refers to the meditative state one can achieve while cycling or engaged in cycling-related activities (such as bicycle maintenance).

Posted May 2, 2010 by Randy Talbot in Cycle Touring, Cycling