Day 10: Revelstoke to Golden 150k

I was convinced this would be one of the tougher days of the trip. Rogers Pass is a fairly large climb straight out of Revelstoke. There are also a number of avalanche tunnels which resources said would be quite scary to cycle through. They spoke of poor lighting, noon existent shoulders, and fast traffic.

While not especially easy, it turned out to be far from the hardest. The worst climb seemed to be the initial climb out of Revelstoke. Eventually I just reached the summit after what appeared to be equal amounts of climbing and descending.

image

As for the tunnels, they weren’t exactly well lit. But there was some lighting in the longer ones as well as ventilation/lighting slots on the side I was riding. They even had reasonably wide shoulders. Traffic wasn’t all that bad either.

image

At the summit it was nice to finally run into some other cyclists, which hadn’t really happened to this point.

I was a bit disappointed that there was another sizeable climb after the summit, but I took it in stride and got to Golden by mid afternoon. I made the mistake of not eating much over the course of the day, and I was really feeling it. Luckily I was able to stay at my uncles house and didn’t have to look for a campsite or set up a tent.

After forcing down a burger and fries I got a chance to hang out with my cousin Thomas. Last time I saw him was about 3 years previous. He’s getting close to finishing high school, has a sweet summer job and seems like an all around kick-ass little dude. I also got a chance to see my stunt Leslie who I hadn’t seen in about 20 years. It’s always a nice treat catching up with family.

My plans in Banff weren’t concrete, but my aunt managed to make a couple of calls and secured a place to stay with a friend of hers. Still hungry from the ride, I ate most of a pizza and went to bed.

Advertisements

Day 9: Revelstoke Rest Day

Despite being a rest day, I ended up doing some manual labor. My sponsor, Revelstoke Snowshoe Company, needed help building a raised firewood pile for the coming season. On the way back down the mountain we stopped to snap a few shots of the impressive view.

image

image

image

After a busy morning we decided to explore the surrounding area scouting out campsites. It seemed my bad luck with flats (5 in 7 days of riding) had rubbed off on Pete and we ended up having to change one of his truck tires. Tired of looking for campgrounds, we crashed in an incredibly buggy backwoods campground.

Day 8: Summit Lake to Revelstoke 119k

We cleared out of camp as quickly as possible this morning since Pete had to be up in Revelstoke for meetings all day. Today would be shorter than most thus far but still reasonably hilly. Ontario style rolling hills.

image

image

Given the short distance of the day, sparse population, and straightforward terrain, the day was relatively uneventful.

A high point came in the form of a ferry ride across Upper Arrow Lake.

image

Upper Arrow Lake

image

image

I'm on a boat!

I entered Revelstoke in the early afternoon, went straight to the nearest restaurant and ordered a huge chocolate shake. Pete was just finishing his work and picked me up. We bought some supplies for the night, a chainsaw for tomorrow, and headed for camp.

We ended up camping in a backwoods campground on Lake Revelstoke, near the remnants of a rave from the night previous. After bathing in the lake, setting up camp, and cooking a huge dinner we hung out with some addled Aussies (stragglers from the rave) we called it a night.

image

image

image

image

image

image

Hehe… Dick cloud…

Day 7: Rossland to Summit Lake Provincial Park 167k

Like many places in BC, Rossland sits on a big hill. This morning i was lucky enough to start the day going down it. The downhill out of Rossland towards Trail is about 10% grade for 10k or so. Previous hills that were comparable I had hit mid day in traffic and were in poor repair. They were scary hills. Rosslands hill turned out to be quite fun. Well paved with no traffic I was able to rocket down at around 75 kph, my fastest speed yet.

image

image

The rest of the morning was spent following a couple of rivers into the Slocan valley. There were done moderate rolling hills but nothing especially challenging so I took the opportunity to ride easy, save my energy, and soak in the beautiful scenery.

For some reason the views were done if my favorite on the trip so far. Maybe because I took more time to look at it. Maybe the big downhill put me in an especially good mood. Maybe it was the Valhalla mountains keeping me company to the west.

As I rode I noticed a number of signs for the Slocan valley rail trail. I was curious to check it out. But, since the road was well paved, and traffic light, I stuck with the road. Eventually I stopped at one of the trail heads for a break and an old Kiwi with cycle touring experience was adamant I would have an easier time on the rail trail.

Between my experience riding on rail trails in Ontario and BC I can safely say they are awful. Sure, they have very easy grades, and are often quite pretty. This one was perfectly in line with both of those principles. They are also generally hard packed gravel. It isn’t the worst to cycle on, but you really can’t pick up much speed on it. They are also terribly patched. When repairs are needed, someone just dumps a bunch of sand on the uneven terrain and levels it out. They can be extremely treacherous. Again though, quite pretty.

image

image

Eventually I made my way up to Slocan and back onto the highway. Along the way to Summit Lake were quite a lot of old mining towns, many of which were now touristy and quaint. Very easy route in terms of acquiring food and water. North of Slocan things got quite a bit hillier right as the day became its hottest.

image

                             No shit.

After dealing with the worst hill of the day I bombed into Silverton and stopped at a cute little cafe for lunch. Food took a little while, but it was tasty and they bulked up my portion to compensate. It all worked out quite nicely as I needed calories and a break.

The rest of the day proceeded uneventfully with gently rolling hills tending upwards. I rolled into our campground thoroughly impressed by its beauty. I asked around for available campgrounds and found one next to a wonderful family who proceeded to inundate me with sodas and snacks when they found out hire far I had come. I’m pretty sure they even waited around to make sure I was OK when Pete was running at tiny but later than I expected (he had stayed to help our hosts in Rossland finish deck building).

image

                         Summit Lake

Eventually Pete came through with a cooler of food and we set up camp and went through out usual routine. Grilled polenta and sausages tonight.

Day 6: Rest Day Rossland

Today was a fairly straightforward rest day. We topped up groceries, bought new inner tubes, and refilled the coolers. Pete noticed my tire had gone flat overnight. My third flat in five days of riding. Every time tiny bits of wire stuck in the tire. No real explanation other than bad luck and road debris. I had decided to attempt the 280k to Revelstoke in two days, so I went to bed early to get an early start. The weather had been over 30 degrees every day and the hours before noon are invaluable on long cycling days.

Day 5: Grand Forks to Rossland 104k

Ultimately I decided to just push through to Rossland. I was still feeling great and if I needed to take two rest days in a row I would be able to there. The day started flat and easy until I hit Christina Lake.

In Christina Lake I stopped and picked up an extra inner tube. I forgot however, to refill my water. It turned out there would be no place to refill water between Christina Lake and Rossland.

Pete said he would meet me at some point during the day with lunch and hydration, but was also staying in Grand Forks to help our host with some chores around the house.

And so I climbed, and climbed, and climbed. And drank, and drank, and drank. Until there was no more water. There weren’t even any mountain streams. Eventually I reached Paulson Bridge, which locals told me was towards the end of the first climb.

image

They weren’t exactly wrong, but I think such thing seem a lot shorter in cars. Eventually Pete whipped past me, found a place to park and gave me a big honking sandwich filled with lamb stew, mashed potatoes, various grilled vegetables, and I think about a dozen other things. More importantly he had water. We parted ways, though only for a moment. Pete and I both like to get shots of summit signs, so he waited around the corner for me.

image

After a big down and another big up I reached Nancy Green summit, where having run out of water again I inquired with a security guard at a construction site. Christy (might have been Chrissy) was kind enough to help me out and we chatted for a moment before I started the descent into Rossland.

image

Apparently I forgot to take a picture of the Nancy Green summit sign. This was the sign at the bottom of the hill, I guess it has two names.

We were staying with a buddy of Pete’s from university and his family. Pete gave a hand building their deck while I wound down. When I recuperated, I gave Pete a hand cooking dinner while everyone else built decks and watched kids. Eventually we kicked back in front of a camp fire with beers and instruments and told bad jokes and sang fragments of songs til we called it a night. Tomorrow would be my first rest day of the trip, and I was looking forward to not doing a whole lot.

Day 4: Osoyoos to Grand Forks approx 125k

I woke up feeling pretty good considering the 10 or so hours I had spent on the road yesterday. We packed up camp quickly to get a start on a day that would include a big climb. As I rode off Pete noticed my tire looked low. This would be my second flat in as many days. In my rush to get the wheel back in I accidentally knocked out one of my disc brake pads and got a crash course in installing them from internet tutorials.

Finally ready to go I headed towards the main event of the day. Climbing anarchist pass. Anarchist pass rises straight out of osoyoos’ eastern edge. About 700m of rise over 20 or so. I decided to take it slow and just grind it out so I would have energy to get through the rest of the day. I took tons of breaks and managed to get my water bottles filled by some RVers at the viewpoint.

image

The worst part of the pass wasn’t even the huge initial climb, but the false summit followed by a small downhill and a gradual climb that led to the actual summit. It was anticlimactically in the middle of a field with no mountain peaks or dramatic valleys in sight.

image

Pete leapfrogged me for the rest of the day, dropping off water and helping me charge up my phone which I had forgotten to plug in the day before. He uses the time waiting for me to work on his business and his rigorous exercise regimen of cooler lifts and log pushups.

We eventually met for lunch in the town of Greenwood which boasted the best tasting water in the world. After lunch I worked my way up the last hills of the day til I reached the wonderful downhill into Grand Forks. Big well paved shoulders and quiet traffic made quick work of the last stretch.

We spent the evening in the home of the mother of a friend of Pete’s. Lazing around in her pool, sipping beers, playing with the 10 or so pets, and demolishing plate after plate of food.

Aside from catching up and introducing me to everyone my main topic of discussion with Pete was whether or not to take a rest day tomorrow or tough out the next days ride and rest in Rossland.