DAY ONE – CYCLE THE GREAT DIVIDE- BANFF TO ROUND PRAIRIE
So John made it to the starting point this morning evidenced by some great photos shared by Laura. He has covered approx 90k in the past 7hrs and is doing great despite the rough mountainous terrain. His route today took him from Banff, through the National Park, along by Spray Lakes Reservoir, and he is currently on Smith-Dorrien Trail, a very scenic section of Kananaskis, but its dusty gravel road makes for very tough cycling. It travels through the heart of the scenic Smith-Dorrien Valley with the highest points of the trail at Smith-Dorrien Pass, 1.905m (6,250ft) above sea level. He is now heading for the Kananaskis Lakes Trail which runs alongside the beautiful glacier Lower Kananaskis Lake. Hopefully he is getting a chance to take in all this great scenic surroundings before stopping for the night. You’re doing great John, keep up the fantastic work!
DAY TWO – GREAT DIVIDE UPDATE
John is now back on the move this morning having covered a total of 114km yesterday. He was planning to start his cycle at 6.00am (1.00pm our time) and complete 150km per day and it looks like he was bang on time this morning. He is currently cycling on the east side of Elk Lakes Provincial Park, Alberta, located within the western ranges of the southern Rocky Mountains, Elk Lakes Provincial Park is a wilderness park characterized by outstanding sub-alpine landscapes, remnant glaciers, rugged peaks, and productive glacier lakes. 150km today should leave John with about another day before he crosses the US border. Because of the remoteness of this trip John won’t have any network coverage for approx 90% of the journey, but be certain, for the other 10% he will be posting himself and catching up with you all.g sub-alpine landscapes, remnant glaciers, rugged peaks and productive glacier lakes (see pic below). 150km today should leave John with about another day before he crosses the US border. Because of the remoteness of this trip John won’t have any network coverage for approx 90% of the journey, but be certain, that for the other 10% he will be posting himself and catching up with you all. In the meantime you’re stuck with Diane and me and hopefully we’re doing his epic challenge justice with our posts. Thanks for taking the time to read and support him and we hope you will continue to do so for the next 5 weeks or so. We really appreciate it and John does too. It is you who he relies on when the going gets tough and he needs to dig hard. So keep your amazing comments coming He is now heading for the Kananaskis Lakes Trail which runs alongside the beautiful glacier Lower Kananaskis Lake. Hopefully he is getting a chance to take in all this great scenic surroundings before stopping for the night. You’re doing great John!! Keep up the fantastic work.
DAY TWO – CLOSING UPDATE
After 9hrs of cycling so far today John has covered 90km involving some very steep passes, pushing him down to 2mph at times. Word on the street before John started his cycle yesterday was that some passes were still covered in snow so he may well have been walking at times today. With the exception of the Great Basin in Wyoming where it is flat (ish), John will be either gaining elevation or descending, for the entire route. The elevations are lower in Montana – building up to the highest passes in Colorado and then tapering off in New Mexico. However, some of the toughest climbs are in Montana and New Mexico because of the steepness and the poor road quality. So John is currently on a descent and should gain some ground after just finishing a long climb. Elevations at time today reached 7,000ft. Hope he finds a nice soft grassy patch for his ten, he’ll need a good sleep. I’ll let you know in the morning what his final distance covered today.😴💤 Margaret
GREAT DIVIDE CYCLE – MESSAGE FROM JOHN ON DAY TWO
Day three cycle seems to be going well so far. John is 4hrs in and has covered about 45km. Hope it isn’t anything like the last two days…in his own words he described it as brutal and hoped today will be a bit more forgiving. Weather has been very mixed from sunshine to driving rain and biting cold. That climb I mentioned yesterday took him 3hrs to cover 3k and was akin to pushing your bike up the devils ladder of Carrauntoohil loaded with gear. Any of you who have climbed Carrauntoohil will know what John means. It’s hard enough to get yourself up it, let alone pushing a bike. We have posted a video to facebook if you would like to hear what John has to say about Day Two. The link is included at the end of this blog.
DAY THREE – GREAT DIVIDE ROCKY MOUNTAIN CYCLE
Just a quick update to close out today. John is now approx 7.5hrs into today’s cycle and has so far covered nearly 100k. That’s great cycling considering he had some more big climbs today but thankfully he appears to have his mojo back. Looks like he has stopped for a bit of food at the moment and after that he has a big 25km climb ahead. It appears to be on a service road though so the terrain and conditions will be in his favour, considering he did most of his training on service roads in the Slieve Blooms and is well used to them. He is approx 86km from the US border, but it’s probably a big ask to reach that today. You’d never know if John is on form he may well push for that today. Let’s not forget though that while this is a personal challenge for John he is also doing it to raise funds for Laois Hospice. If you would like to sponsor John please go to the Laois Hospice website at www.laoishospice.ie and click the donate button and mention Rocky Mountain Cycle. Thank you all so much for your support and have a good night. Margaret.🚴⛰️🗻🏆💪
DAY FOUR – GREAT DIVIDE ROCKY MOUNTAIN CYCLE
At the end of yesterday John covered approx 140k and called it a day. Looks like he made the right decision as that next ascent seem to take forever. It appeared at stages that there wasn’t a clear path around a river which held him up for a while and there were more sections where he had to walk through. It took him about 4hrs to cover 25k. Thankfully he reached the US border into Montana around 8.00pm (1.00pm his time) passed through US Custom and Border Protection with no problems, and headed off to gain some ground. He is now at 57km and in a little town called Eureka (how appropriate!). He can stock up now with some good food and refreshments for the second leg of today’s cycle. Although he will be crossing over the Rockies in Montana from time to time the terrain seems to be a bit more forgiving than the Canadian Rockies. Hopefully he’ll get some reprieve for the rest of today anyway. Here’s Ted showing his support for John, albeit not very happy about it!
DAY FIVE – GREAT DIVIDE ROCKY MOUNTAIN CYCLE
At last! Looks like Ted was a lucky charm for John today as the terrain of the US Montana Rockies appear more forgiving than its Canadian counterpart and John is eating them from breakfast. He has made tremendous ground today and at 2.30pm (US), (9.30pm Ire time) he has completed 90.5km. The route for the remainder of the day doesn’t look too bad. Although he is cris- crossing over the Rockies a couple of times today there are some nice stretches running alongside the mountain where he is able to pick up a good cycling pace. Unfortunately though the rain has been relentless but it looks like it will clear off tomorrow and Thursday. Due to lack of coverage John hasn’t been able to send any photos yet, but we will post some as soon as we can. As John moves further south the temperatures will start to rise. It’s a cold 13 degrees C today but rising to 18 degrees by the weekend and 27 degrees by next Tuesday, so that should make a nice change for him. In total he has covered 440km in Canada and 158km in Montana with approx 645km left in Montana before he reaches the border of Idaho. Wishing him another good day tomorrow!
DAY SIX – GREAT DIVIDE ROCKY MOUNTAIN CYCLE
Delighted to say that despite all his mishaps John is making good progress today. He has managed to sort out all his bike issues and headed off early. So far at 2.45pm (US) time he has covered a distance of 82k having climbed 5,000ft with a descent decent to what looks like a beautiful lake called Swan Lake. He then has a good stretch skirting along the edge of the Rockies for approx 24k. He’s certainly a man on a mission today. Weather is in his favour too with 0% precipitation and good sunshine. Obviously the higher the altitude the colder it will feel. Delighted that the tables have turned for him, he’s in good spirits and he’s making great progress. We are all very proud of him.
DAY SEVEN – GREAT DIVIDE ROCKY MOUNTAIN CYCLE
When John makes a promise he keeps his word and his last video is no different when he remarked that he would be pushing on in Day Five to cover some lost ground after his bicycle mishaps delayed him, and that’s exactly what he did. He covered 164.5km in approximately 15hrs yesterday reaching elevations of between 3,000 and 5,000ft. He arrived in Holland Lake camp late last night around 10.30pm. He had a later start than normal this morning, but is moving well. He headed off into a patch of undulating hills and climbs upwards to a summit of 6,750ft and has covered around 54km so far in the last 5 hours. Although he still has some hours left in his cycle today, in total he has covered 845km. He’s doing really great and all for Laois Hospice! Please support his fundraising efforts if you can at http://laoishospice.ie/
Thank you all so much for your support.
VIDEO’S FROM THE MAN HIMSELF
Video’s from John of his experience to date is really something truly amazing to watch. You can find them on our facebook page at the link below.
Diane & Margaret.