Riding Highwood Pass

Things have been really busy here but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go ride Highwood Pass last Saturday. It was a gorgeous sunny day – perfect for my first road ride of the season – and I was excited to try a ride I hadn’t done.

We left the city around 8:30 but there were already quite a few vehicles parked at the gate when we got there. We unloaded the bikes and I debated a bit about what to wear/pack. I settled on shorts, a long sleeved top and my lined jacket in my bike pack.

We started the ride at the winter gate just past the turn off to Peter Lougheed Park. The ride starts with a climb for the first couple kilometres, followed by a short descent and then basically climbs again until you reach the pass. I peddled along, mostly by myself, just enjoying the scenery and the fact that I was outside on a lovely morning. I stopped not too long into the ride to grab a few shots of the mountains.

The way forward
The way forward
The way back
The way back

After my photo break I kept climbing along. Other than Jon who came back to ride with me now and again, I didn’t see anyone else on my way up. I was thankful for friends who had made us go with a early start – getting to ride a road with no-one else and no cars was great!

Thankful I put all those miles on the trainer this winter
Thankful I put all those miles on the trainer this winter

The last few kilometres up are pretty steep but after only about an hour of riding I was at the pass. There were a few groups up there but it still wasn’t that busy.

Heading up the last climb
Near the top
At the pass
At the pass

Unfortunately it had started to cloud over so I got kind of chilled having my snack and waiting around so by the time we were ready to go down I was freezing. I put my jacket on but cursed my way down the first descent because not only was I freezing, the steepness and length of the hill was really at my comfort limit.

Happily, the rest of the way down is less steep so I was able to relax and enjoy myself. As we dropped lower I warmed up and by the time we were making the climb back up to the cars I could feel my fingers again. It was much busier on the way down – almost a steady stream of bikes climbing up – so I was extra glad we started early.

Our total ride was 21 miles (about 34 km) and took about 2 hours including a break at the top. While I didn’t love the downhill, I certainly will be back next year to see if I can get faster on the climb!

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