Posted by: Silver | May 26, 2011

Sundre to Sylvan Lake

Distance: 103 km
Ascent: 566 m
Cycling time: 6 hours, 56 minutes

You know, I was really looking forward to my cycling days on the prairies: they were going to be flat and they were going to be sunny, ‘cos that’s what the prairies are, right?

Wrong! Well, maybe they are most of the time, but, in keeping with the weird weather that’s been haunting my journey all the way so far, my ride from Sundre to Sylvan Lake was a soggy day of solid rain. After my last day of riding in the rain, you may remember me confirming that, in a choice between rain and wind, I’d take the rain any day. ‘Fortunately’, the weather gods very kindly spared me from having to make the choice this time – and gave me both. It was my first experience of riding with the poncho that I bought after discovering how waterproof my waterproof jacket wasn’t, and I had to stop at least half a dozen times to try different arrangements before I found a way of wearing it that kept it from billowing up into my face all the time. It was also forcefully brought home to me that the fairing really isn’t much help in keeping you dry when you’ve got a side wind blowing the rain straight underneath it; I was somewhat embarrassed to realize that I hadn’t quite fully grasped that one earlier…

But by far the strangest aspect of my day was the number of people who seemed to feel the need to stop and chat with me – in the pouring rain! Normally, I’m always happy to get into conversation with people about what I’m doing, of course, but with the wind and rain chilling my muscles from the instant I stopped pedalling, and my burning desire to just get where I was going as quickly as possible, I have to confess that I was somewhat bewildered, not to say a little irritated, by the constant delays caused by people not wanting to know about SOS Children’s Villages, not wanting to check if I was OK, but simply wanting to share with me their belief that it wasn’t the best day to be cycling. NO, REALLY?!?!

Once again, though, I had the luxury of being able to look forward to a hot bath and a change of clothes at the end of it all, so I was fully recovered in time to entertain a gymnasium full of 12-year-olds for an hour the next day. Ranger, as ever, was indispensable to my survival…

It may have stayed pretty dull for my entire stay in Sylvan Lake, but it was still clear that the town is very neat - and mostly very new! This was the view from my hosts' deck (and no, that's not Sylvan Lake itself...)

Sylvan Lake is primarily a bedroom community and tourist town - complete with entirely unnecessary inland lighthouse that tourists nevertheless seem to love taking photos of (see evidence above)

Boston Pizza were donating $4 from each pizza sold to the Slave Lake rebuilding fund, so my host very kindly took me out to lunch. The pizza was nice, but of course, it was the chocolate I took a photo of...



  1. Just been checking out the Slave Lake fire (re Pizza/cake pic) – 40% of town (7,000 pop) destroyed. No fatalities though? Miraculous, plus well-organised evacuation by the sound of it.

    Ranger is clearly becoming a star (ably assisted by you of course) – there’ll be a rash of them criss-crossing Canada before long. I imagine the interest helps get the SOS message across, especially to youngsters.

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