July 24th: After some heavy rain through the night, the skies this morning looked all the more favourable. I was especially keen to find out how the course had faired from the downpours so headed out early to make the most of the soft conditions which would always be knowledge to my advantage come rain on race day.

Despite the rain the course had drained surprisingly well, the rooty technical climbs were a touch more slippery so I spent some time checking out some different lines to see what was and wasn’t rideable. Likewise on the descents, a couple of very sketchy sections were made just that little bit more treacherous with a fresh layer of diesel-like water on them.

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Bikes were working well and it’s amazing the difference a little blue sky and sunshine can make to the legs (and head). I’ve always wondered what the ratio is between good legs and blue sky and now I know. 68+% blue sky = great legs! Ok so it’s not a scientific ratio but I think it’s true nonetheless.

Canmore is certainly starting to buzz with excitement now with the Adrenalin in town, signage is cropping up all over town and bikers from all over the world seem to be descending en-masse for the weekend’s action.

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After this morning’s ride and a spot of lunch it was time to check out some of the superb mountain scenery. With Banff National Park just a few miles down the road it really would have been criminal to be so close to such beauty only to look at it in the glossy Tourist Information booklets. First stop “Lake Minnewanka”. Yep, it’s not a spelling mistake so just for the non-believers there’s photo evidence to prove it. It must be such fun to work in the tourist office with comical names like this on tap. Even with a less than serious name the lake itself really was beautiful.

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With a bear watch count still firmly on zero I wanted to try and rectify this so went scouting in the woods. Unfortunately, I regret to inform, even doing my best ‘gentle Ben’ style call out to nature I still couldn’t seem to attract them. Maybe they could see me but decided a skinny cyclist isn’t worth the effort, I don’t know? I’ll try again tomorrow. This time I’m thinking a steak out. I’d like to do this all night but since Saturday to Sunday is going to be a long hard day the context of this ‘steak out’ is simple. Fresh cooked steak (the size Fred Flintstone was accustomed to chowing down) strapped to the bike or body then a ride through the heart of Canmore Nordic Centre. Steak out by name, steak out by nature. If that doesn’t work I’m going to conclude that grizzlers are a fallacy in these woods.

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All is not lost on the wild life front though. In fact I’m rather pleased with my first sighting. Suicide squirrels! Painfully cute to look at but deadly if caught in the front wheel of a passing mountain bike. It’s amazing how they stand to attention as soon as the camera appears too!

Rolled in to town to check out the local bike shop “Rebound Cycles” (actually wanted to check this out more than Banff National Park, I think that’s saying something about me but I won’t go any further than that) then a quick competitor ‘meet and greet’ in a local bar in town to see (the fear in some of the other competitors’ eyes) more like-minded fruit cakes such as myself! It’s reassuring to be in such great company!

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Cotty’s Bear Watch Report: Still no sightings.

Cotty’s Squirrel Watch Report: Hundreds of the things, they’re b****y everywhere!