[ locale string ]
We are showing you the Taiwanese version of our site: would you prefer a different location?
In the early morning hours we head out on the same road to Edmonton. The fog cover that blankets the whole of the countryside is enough to prevent us from seeing anything beyond the occasional cliff peaking out through the mist. Black and blue looking lakes slide out from under the damp covering, as we squint our eyes and search the road and its shoulder for the wildlife that numerous signs tell us are everywhere. The way back, however, is another story entirely. The light of day lifts the clouds and the road to Jasper has become an entirely different experience.
The sunshine is golden as it starts to creep behind the mountains. The windows are open to let in the sweet mountain air and everyone in the van has their faces pressed up to the glass. All the while Alex Stieda, who is sitting up front in the passenger seat, is telling stories. There is a break in the cycling talk as he points out the lake to our right. The shores of the lake run right up to the edge of the road, which makes it hard to see the scene that he is describing. Apparently, some of these lakes empty out in the winter. The glaciers freeze and the flow of water comes to a halt, leaving these full lakes dry and devoid of all water. This fact is compounded by a story of a nearby town (there are towns nearby?) that decided for whatever reason that they no longer wanted the water back in the summer and attempted to plug up the meeting point of glacial run-off and the lake using whatever they had nearby to do it. Mattresses, bed frames, old cars, anything that would, or could, be used was piled into the hole to prevent the lake from filling once again. It didn’t work.
Intermingled with comments about the scenery — ‘the name of the peak jutting out from behind the two in front of us’, ‘how a winter alpine adventure had taken place at the top of that ridge over there’ — our timid bike racing questions start to pop up. Each and every one of them is addressed with the same enthusiasm that he has for our beautiful surrounds. His days with the Junior Track program in Vancouver, all the way up to his professional career with the prestigious 7-11 racing team and his role in helping catapult the team to the biggest bike racing stage of all, the Tour de France. But for now these stories are a little ways off, as we are just starting to get to know our tour guide — Alex Stieda.