Considered one of the more popular rides for cyclists in training, the bike ride from Calgary to Cochrane and back can be anywhere from 40-60k depending on where you start/end. The pièce de résistance for this particular ride is a heart pounding, leg killing 3.5k hill that takes you in and out of the Town of Cochrane.
Personally, I suck on hills and will always look for the easy way to the top (just ask me how to incrementally tackle Home Road in Calgary). There is no easy way to the top of the Cochrane Hill. And, once you’ve gone down, your committed to the ride back up, unless you parked in Cochrane and are ending with a heart stopping downhill (on my uber light Cervelo I found myself getting blown all over the place).
Beyond the benefit of hill training, I didn’t enjoy this ride and will probably never do it again. I found the journey heavily marred by construction, which made the experience not only dangerous but also highly unpredictable.
Instead of working on maintaining a consistent pace, I found myself trying to navigate missing shoulders, disappearing lanes, abandoned construction materials, and traffic. Also, it always amazes me how much garbage and crap people throw onto Alberta’s highways (and often at cyclists).
So, the search for a good long distance (>40k) ride continues.