Opus Ride from Calgary, to Airdrie, to Cross Iron, to Calgary

Very warm weather, 15C today. Was supposed to ride with a buddy out of town but he was ill. Decided to solo ride to Airdrie but took a wrong turn towards Cross Iron Mills. Went down a gravel road beside highway 2 and onto what became 8 Ave into Airdrie. This side detour allowed me to check out a campground near a RV sales lot. Didn’t look like much of a campground. Very little shade if any but lots of grass.

The wind out of the west was challenging but I still managed a decent pace when not on dirt roads. After getting back on the pavement, I turned east towards Airdrie. With the tail wind and downhill grades the Opus hit 63 kph with traffic passing at 80 kph. Today the drivers were behaving themselves which was a good thing at the speed I was going.

Turning north onto Mainstreet via left turn lane, the Opus was hitting about 30 kph without having to work too hard. Not knowing any other way to Cora’s on the four lane street turned out to be a pleasant ride. Eventually I stopped reached Cora’s, had breakfast and managed to check out the map to explore pathways. It was then that I discovered a pathway lead from the parking lot all the way down Mainstreet. Cyclists usually have to figure out routes themselves to avoid traffic as pathways are unmarked and without maps to figure out how to get somewhere.

This was a slower part of the ride in order to keep within the 20 kph speed limits. A few people were out walking with pets and much of the water was still frozen.

Along the pathway I came across some weird looking totem poles where I also took a photo of the frozen lake. As I followed a few diversions to keep along side of Nose Creek I came to the new bridge which was built last year. This was my first trip across.

The maps told me there was a pathway along the main east/west road which goes east a few streets where I headed south onto other pathways and right onto Kingsview Blvd onto Kingsview Rd. This took me straight south beside Highway 2 (where crazy people speed behind the truck scales). However, when I reached the Hwy 566 to Cross Iron Mills I had to walk the bike across another 4 lanes without any intersection nearby. So it took a while waiting for a break in traffic before I could get on the east bound side and bike on the shoulder to first intersection onto the pathway around Cross Iron Mills Mall.

This pathway continues east to Costco and then south, making a square around the mall area. Construction is making a bad mess of the pathway with junk all over the pathway and debris of every kind including holes cut through the pathway and metal rods dumped in intersections by lazy construction crews who don’t keep a safe working environment. So I had to throw stuff off the pathway and that took a while. Even then, all the gravel and dirt on the pathway made for a risky ride, especially on skinny road tires.

Eventually I turned right towards Bass Pro at the mall. The pathway splits, one route heading west and the other heading north along Highway to back around to where I crossed the road.

Last year I slammed the brakes on, stopped on the front wheel less than a foot from a foot deep cut in the pathway which could have caused serious injury plowing into concrete a foot higher than the bottom of the hole. This time however, there was no hole! They moved it! Just kidding. They actually paved over it but it certainly seems as if putting up warning signs or at least heavy plywood over the holes dug is too much effort.

I turned north towards a seating area and had a drink and a Cliff Bar. Beyond that is a bridge and pond. This part of the pathway connects to an old paved road that is now a dead end. You can ride the road and do some speed runs if you like since it is not on the pathway.

After break, I headed back south and turned west on the pathway which goes over Highway 2 with a separated pathway on the bridge. The pathway veers north and then cuts under the sound bound on ramp to Highway 2. I took the descent down to the tunnel under the ramp and realized it was possible to climb up the side onto the ramp and head south on the shoulder of Highway 2. With all the wind today, crawling along on a dirt road and hiking over a fence to get onto Stoney Trail just didn’t make sense after 40 odd kilometers of fighting the wind with a high heart rate.

A few miles south on Highway 2 I took the ramp onto Stoney Trail. Now I was heading directly into the wind but still managing just under 20 kph until beginning the climb. There I finally gave up and went to my lowest gear, chugging along at 12 kph. From there it was a short ride south on the off ramp and a left onto a pathway for my final coffee break.

Being so warm and taking lots of time to slow down when I needed to made it a pleasant ride despite the wind. With wind, it is often either a very fast ride or a very slow ride but more commonly a mixture of both as was the case today.

The Opus is my first serious road bike and I have to say that much of the time I was still doing around 30 kph even in the strong winds because of the drop bars, skinny tires and light weight. Today was more of a go hard when I want to, and go slow when I wanted to, ride. I sure needed to put in some longer miles which had been lacking all winter.

AirdrieLake
Lake in Airdrie still frozen
AirdrieTotem
Mexicon Totem Pole? in Airdrie
AirdrieBridge
Newly built pathway bridge is open!
CrossIronHole
Garbage and hole cut in pathway around Cross Iron Mills Mall. Can’t believe the mess construction crews have made of pathway, signs, gravel, all kinds of rubbish blockiing pathway. At least the huge hole further on was filled in. Almost crashed into a foot deep hole last year. This one is shallow in comparison but still not safe for road bikes.
CrossIronSign
Cross Iron Mills sign. Found a safety cone to lean the Opus Fidelia up against. Very strong winds 35kph gusting to 44. At this point I chose not to route onto a dirt road and took Highway 2 back.

 

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