Since time immemorial, turning on the lights in a pub has signaled the beginning of the end of your night. The room lit up, your thoughts turn to securing that last drink, finding that greasy snack, or making that last-minute connection. For the past couple of years, the arrival of Frozen Thunder at the Canmore Nordic Centre has signaled the imminent end of the bike season. Snow has been creeping ever-lower down the mountains, frost is now ever-present during morning rides. Thoughts now turn to the off-season. Cross-training, hitting the gym, running (blech!), maybe the occasional swim. The off-season is coming. Frozen Thunder is telling you ” You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”
The Montane Traverse is never as easy as I want it to be. Or rather, it’s an easy trail, except when it’s not. The easy parts are pretty easy and the hard parts can actually be kinda hard. The problem is that there’s nothing in between. That and, also, I usually forget about the hard parts until I’m just about to ride them.
Of the two trails that best represent the soul of mountain biking in Canmore, EKG is undoubtedly the most popular. This doesn’t mean that it’s the best trail in the area, although it is pretty decent, but rather that it’s very accessible. And I mean that in every sense of the word. EKG is both easy to get to, and easy to ride. All of this is good, as the trail can be very fun.
There is a strange ritual that’s observed every April in the mountains of Canmore. The months of snow and stationary trainers create an urge, an inexorable drive, that pushes the cyclist to ride. With snow covering the valley until late Spring, there is only one trail* available for those possessed by that powerful call to ride . For almost a month, waves of riders will mechanically pedal up the Smith-Dorrien road, otherwise known as The Gap.
*used in the loosest sense of the word