Gran Fondo Badlands

Today was my second long bike ride of the 2017 season. The Gran Fondo Badlands is a ride that starts and ends in Drumheller, Alberta. It follows the Red Deer River valley for up to 160 km, riding through the hoodoos. I had toyed with the idea of riding in it for the last two years, but it never seemed to work out. Two years ago, the temperatures were in the mid 30s for the ride, and last year there was a lot of wind. When I signed up this year people warned me that I might not have a lot of fun, but I was looking forward to it anyway. The geography is beautiful.

It started at 7:45 AM, and it is an hour and a half drive from Calgary to Drumheller. So it was an early morning. Huge hugs and kisses to Tammy, who came up with the idea last night of putting on  relaxing music and lighting in the bedroom, which had me off to sleep by 9 o’clock. My internal clock was set a couple of hours ahead, and I woke up without an alarm at 4:30 this morning. With that good start I set out for Drumheller!

The view descending into Drumheller

I managed to meet up with three other guys who I knew would be there: Keith from new Westminster and François and Kieren from the Bow Cyclist Club. I met Keith last year at the Tour de Victoria. We rode together for the whole day. It was a little cloudy to start, but the sun burnt through by the time we crossed on the ferry.


I don’t want to dwell on it, but there was something that happened just before we got to the ferry. When I was coming down the steep hill to the ferry there was a commotion up ahead and there had been a crash. Given the speed that some of the people were going down the hill, I expected the worst and I wasn’t disappointed. There was a very badly injured man down on the road, and we were worried about him all day. When we got back to Drumheller we did hear that he had gone to hospital. I had thought perhaps he might go to the morgue. I might have nightmares for a while about that one.

But the rest of the day was awesome. Some wind did kick up later, but it wasn’t more than 10 or 15 km/h. The sun was bright but it wasn’t too hot. The guys that I was riding with decided to do the full 160 km. I had signed up to do 140 km. We did it in a little over 6 1/2 hours.

We worked well together, which was important when there was a headwind all the way back from the turnaround to Drumheller. Here we are at the turnaround.

Keith, me, Francois and Kieren

We made it back to Drumheller, and had a late lunch of lasagna and quinoa salad. Then it was the hour and a half drive back home to Calgary. That was about the worst part, because I seized up in the car. 🙂

It was a great day.

Here is a link to the results. I am rider #932.

4 thoughts on “Gran Fondo Badlands

  1. Congratulations on your ride, The map thing was really neat. In the picture of the four of you at first glance what’s Kieren doing with a skate board realized it was flag behind him.

  2. I’m so proud of you finishing the extra-long route. Glad you had friends to egg you on and very glad you came back unscathed. 💖

    • Yes, I’m glad too. I know the last words you said as I left were “ride safely”, and I gave a glib “I will”. I know there’s always a non-zero risk of something going wrong on a ride, and I ride much more cautiously than a lot of others. But I can still think of examples where things got dicey and I was glad it ended up alright. I’m not racing for glory or money, I’m out for a long ride.

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