Spring hotel in Banff.
Day 9: 202 km. Yes, that's life: after the rain there comes sunshine. This was a rich day, we can say 'carpe diem' all right. The plan to get to Calgary today was ambitious. The first 14 km back to Lake Louise are fast, even though the cold morning air required several stops to put on more and more clothes items. It was the third time in last two days that Mr. Iik rode through Kicking Horse pass without noticing it: there's no sign of a pass and there really isn't any climbing. After a coffee and a doughnut in L.L. he resumes fast pace on good HWY 1 (not to mention the good wind). He even had a though of taking a hike to Taylor Lake, but a 6.5 km hike one way would just be too much. Half way to Banff he crosses over to Bow valley Parkway which is excellent choice, smooth and peaceful. So peaceful that bears are crossing it regularly, one of them walked over about 100 meters in front of him. The race on HWY 1 was interrupted by a short visit to Banff downtown and a short rain storm that passed in 15 minutes without damage.
As Mr. Iik rides down #1 with a huge wind in his back - we should say he glides, he sails more then cycles, keeping 33 km/h without pedaling - the scenery is gradually changing. The rocky mountains are taking farewell and are replaced by flat prairie scenery. Around Calgary the plain has still some small hills, small undulations but nevertheless it gives a great sensation of immense vastness.

Road through prairies.
Day 10: 203 km. Inspired by yesterday's good winds Mr. Iik attempted to ride to Medicine Hat today. That would make a 300 km day. Up to Brooks it all seemed possible. He arrived at the town around 15:30 making 200 km with good wind, although he had to put in some effort too to keep the average speed at least 25 km/h. In Brooks he went for a lunch and when he came back he faced deep dark clouds coming from the east and the beginning of the storm. He decided to stay in Brooks, he'll have to make the big day another time.

Before the storm.
Day 11: 107 km. Morning is cloudy but without rain. With the usual tailwind the cycling is excellent. And then the rear tyre goes flat! Mr. Iik can't find anything in the tyre that caused the puncture; it seems there was a piece of glass that fell out of it once the puncture occurred. He notices that the rear tyre is badly worn: on few places the thread is totally worn, so the tyre fabric is showing. He replaces the tube and moves on. The darks clouds in distance indicate there are several storms around, but he hopes to dodge them all. Not a chance! Suddenly coming out of nowhere a downpour catches him unprepared. In two hours he comes to Medicine Hat soaked from the rain, from the spray of passing trucks and from his wheels. Maybe an investment in mudguards would solve a couple of problems with rain.

Aha, so it's here where Bill Gates got the inspiration for his Windows!
Day 12: 211 km. Another good day. There has been quite a lot of good days on this tour. Even the rain can't spoil the fun! Yesterday Mr. Iik kept himself busy in his motel room by drying his clothes, cleaning the bike and swapping the front and rear tyre. The front tyre wears several times slower then the rear one, so the badly worn tyre, which is now on the front, will hopefully last untill a big town like Regina or Winnipeg, where it shouldn't be problem to get a new one.
The weather was kind to him today, the tyre not. There was another punture, on the front tyre as expected. He will have to replace it before Regina, otherwise he will soon run out of patches. At the middle of the day Mr. Iik crosses into another province, Saskachewan, and rides untill he finds good camping place in the rest area few kilometers before Swift Current.

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