Monday, June 30, 2008

Day 11, June 30th, Cranbrook to Sparwood

We left the campsite later this morning so we could visit the bike shop in town. I finally got my back tire trued. We also picked up a bunch of extra tires because of how fast we’ve been going through them.

Before the visit to the bike shop, I stopped by the ESSO to grab a coffee. When I went to the till, the lady told me not to worry about it because the coffee was on her. I just thought this lady was just incredibly nice, until I went to the rest room in the bike shop. I had chain grease on my face and hadn’t shaved in 11 days. Add having to pay for a $2 coffee with a credit card because my license and debit card fell out of my wallet in Victoria when the leather ripped. I’m pretty sure she thought I was going through a rough time.

Today was around 35 degrees outside. We’ve been going through a heat wave for the last 4 days. The ride was easier with a bit of cloud cover and a headwind. There were limited hills we had to contend with, which was nice. We definitely need the break when we get to Lethbridge. By the time we hit Lethbridge, we will have been going straight for over 1200kms.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Day 10, June 29, Creston to Cranbrook

I awoke today to find my back rim rubbing badly on my brake. Brett and I worked on it for a while and got it to the point that I could ride. My back brakes don’t work that well right now, but I’ll have them fixed while in Lethbridge. Today’s ride was the easiest so far in terms of hills. The terrain was mainly flat, and what hills we did have, we could do at 15k an hour. The sun on the other hand, was hot. I didn’t push myself too hard in the 117k we biked. The temperature was pushing 40 degrees again on the highway, with no wind, tree or cloud cover. Vanessa and I both stopped for water and a breather every 10k or so. We arrived in Cranbrook at 6:30pm, Mountain Time.

Vanessa’s not feeling too well, so we may take a rest day here tomorrow. We’re taking bets on what’s going to happen to me now. Brett’s continuing to stretch and ice his knee. He wont be riding with us until we ride into Lethbridge.

Today we saw the first sign that read Lethbridge in 300kms. It’s going to be nice to be back in the bridge, at least for a day.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Day 9, June 28th, Fruitvale to Creston

We got going at 9:30 this morning. The first 20 kilometers of the ride was fantastic. It was slightly downhill for the most part, with a light headwind. We stopped in Salmo for a coffee and something to eat. It was getting pretty hot by then. We continued on, full of food and caffeine for the Kootenay Summit.

It wasn’t long before we began the assent. I was going through 3 bottles of water an hour-roughly 1.5 litre. The heat was getting intense. There was no wind or shade from the trees. Vanessa’s computer on her bike read +40 degrees on the highway. We took a bit of time out of the sun and sat in the shade. There was a small waterfall that we went under and drenched out clothes in. It was the best feeling that you could have imagined. Something that I wont soon forget. I soaked and old t-shirt and wore it around my neck until the summit. We finally reached the summit, approximately 70k from our last campsite, at 1774 metres.

A sign at the summit read that the next 35k were downhill. I had my brakes on for almost all this time. It was here that I realized my back rim is rubbing on my brakes. I’m going to have to adjust my spokes tomorrow morning.

We arrive in Creston at around 6:30pm. We found a fairly decent campsite. We’ve been really lucky to find campsites considering the long weekend.

Day 8, June 27th, Christina Lake to Fruitvale

We got up fairly early today because of these giant crows that lived in the tree by our tents. Brett decided to take another day off, which is probably a good thing. He is perpetually stretching and icing his knee. Hopefully it pays off. He’s in good spirits considering, which I admire.

The first bit of the ride was fairly easy. Flat, with some down hill sections. We then began the journey to the Nancy Greene submit on Mount Paulson. It was just over 1500 meters in elevation. It was a difficult ride at times, but the weather was perfect. Not too hot or cold.

Vanessa hot a couple flats behind me so I didn’t see the van for awhile. I ended up running out of water, so I stopped at a rest area. There was a water tap with a sign that read “boil before drinking.” Some guy saw me and offered a couple liters of water, which I took gratefully. He was up from Rossland with his son for the day. He knew Jeremy Girard, who is currently the student rep. on the Board of Governors at the U of L. Small world.

It was downhill all the way to Rossland and Trail. We were going as fast as traffic in town. I received the “bird” for the first time in Trail. I politely smiled and waved. After riding for over 6 hours, defending any other gesture I could have made, would have been a difficult task J. At the other side of Trail, we stopped at the Wal-mart and replaced the camping stove. We then began the climb of a large hill that would bring us to Montrose and our destination, Fruitvale.

We ended up in this campsite off the beaten track. They only charged us $12.00 for the night. It looked like it would have been a sweet campsite 15-20 years ago, but was now run down. Actually, it looked like one of those places a group of teens find in movies after they go the wrong way. I’m going to bed early tonight to get a good nights rest before the Kootenay Summit tomorrow.

Day 7, June 26th, Rock Creek to Christina Lake

We got up late to give Brett’s knee a bit more rest. He decided to take the complete day off. We left for Christina Lake around 11am. I had a 5-egg omelet for dinner the previous night. Although filling, it didn’t give me the carbs I needed for the next day. I was flat for the first half of the ride. It didn’t make things better with an 1100m submit. I will be eating a more rice/rice noodles now at night and in the morning

We stopped and had lunch around 2pm in Grand Forks, and booked an appointment for Brett to see a masseuse. He’s going to try his leg tomorrow. If it doesn’t work out, he’ll take two days off. He’s determined to ride into Lethbridge on his own steam. We arrived at Christina Lake at around 6:00pm or so. We found a perfect campsite right by the lake. We talked the guy down to only charging us $30 for the night from $60. The owner couldn’t find the axe to chop wood for our fire, so he literally put 2 litres of gas on it. The look on Alan’s face was priceless. He was basically asking me if this was normal for camping, and if he was going to die.

We’ve decided to go through Trail now instead of Castlegar. We need to stop by the Wal-mart to replace our camp stove. Thanks Joanne for the phone call today. Greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

June 25th, Osoyoos to Grand Forks (sort of)

Today was the infamous Anarchist Mountain. We left the campsite around 9am. The first 15k were completely up hill. We were averaging between 8 and 12kms an hour. The view was spectacular, and with plenty of stops for pictures, it wasn’t that difficult. I drank 3 litres of water, ate 12 Reese Cups, and had 2 energy gels by the time we made it to the summit; roughly 22kms. That’s like going up Whoop-up 14 times! It was a steep ride coming down the other side of the Mountain. At one time, Brett passed me going over 70km/h. I’m definitely a more conservative biker with respects to hills. My top speed today was 55km/h.

We stopped and had lunch at a beautiful park for an hour. I had another flat (5 so far), and dropped behind the others. My chain later came off, and I realized my actual tire was blown. After the ringing stopped in my year from bursting a tire tube with a kink in it, I continued to catch up with Brett and Vanessa. I thought they would be considerably ahead of me, but they weren’t. Brett knee was really acting up. He could hardly walk on it. We decided to spend the night in a little town, whose name escapes me at this moment. We only rode 75k, and we’re 60k short of Grande Forks. Most likely, Brett will ride in the Van the next couple days. He will come back to BC and ride the distance he missed after we’ve completed the trip. This is pretty much the worst thing that could happen to him. We hope his knee improves soon so he can continue on.
We ended up in this great RV campsite. We went for dinner at a small mom and pop restaurant, where it was rather difficult to get them to understand what things I couldn’t eat. Our goal is Cristina Lake tomorrow, but we’re hoping to make it a bit further.

June 23rd, Princeton to Osoyoos

Today began well. We were up at 6:30am and left at 8am. At about 2 k out, Vanessa got a flat. I rode ahead to send Alan back. I continued riding for another 25k until Alan pulled by and told me Vanessa’s tire was blown. I rode back with Alan were we found out the bike shop didn’t have her size. Brett and Vanessa rode the tandom bike until Alan could go to Osoyoos to get another tire. He ended up being awhile because he had to go to the next town. I ended up waiting in a rest area for two hours. I’ve found out the my helmet make a great pillow when on.

After Vanessa had fixed her tire, we were off again. Brett and Vanessa stopped for a sandwich, and I continued on as I had already eaten. The ride was great for the first 80k or so. However, towards Osoyoos, the hills never stopped. I ended up arriving in town about an hour and a half earlier than the others, so I fell asleep at a truck stop. The only thing better than seeing peoples reaction to your attire at an IHOPE, is at a truck stop.

I’m pretty tired from today’s ride, although not sore. Brett’s knee seems to be doing very well. He’s icing it whenever he gets a chance. Tomorrow is Anarchist Mountain. This will be one of the most difficult rides, if not the most difficult of the trip. My GPS says that I’m burning around 5000 calories per ride. We’re eating every chance we can get. My staple during the day is Reese Peanut Butter Cups.

June 22nd, Hope to Princeton

We didn’t get out of Hope until around 11am. This was a bit frustrating because we want to be on the road by 8am most days. As soon as we began the ride it was uphill. We were averaging around 10kms an hour. I lost Brett and Vanessa when they stopped to rest. Reaching the first summit was a relief. It was around a 1200m climb. I ended up being around 10kms ahead of the Brett and Vanessa, so I stopped riding so there wouldn’t be too big of a gap.

The second summit was grueling, but fun. The spread between the three bikers was no more than a kilometer for this leg of the day. I’m definitely going to replace my brakes when we get to Lethbridge. There were times in the day I would have to have them on for up to 5k.

We made it to camp at about 8pm or so. The owner of the campground was friendly and curious about the trip. He has a grandson at the U of L. Our neighbors were also very friendly and they gave us a hammer and a saw for the rest of the trip. The camp stove we bought 2 days earlier was broke, so we used the first pit to cook our meal. Alan was cooking rice in a rice cooker in the washroom for awhile, until we found an outlet outside.

June 21st, Chillawak to Hope

We decided to take another highway North of highway 1 for this leg. It took us an extra 10kms, but it was worth it. The ride was the nicest so far. We had a head wind, hardly any traffic, no flat tires, and surreal scenery. We weren’t going to stay in hope, but Brett spoke broke, and his wheel was a bit bent. We found a great campsite 10 meters from a river.
Today was also the first day the tandem went in the van and Brett rode his bike. His knee held out, which is obviously a good thing. Vanessa should be commended for riding the tandem with Brett since Victoria. We’ll see what happens with the mountains between Hope and Princeton. There are two summits before we reach Princeton. This will be the first set of summits we’ll have to tackle in BC.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Day 2, June 21st

We left Surrey and found an IHOPE. I had 5 eggs and a 3 glasses of OJ. We all wear bike shorts, and the looks that we got were priceless. I doesn’t help that Brett is always stretching his injured leg out! Our goal for today was Chillawack.

It took us awhile to make it to Abbotsford and then Chilliwack. Brett and Vanessa are becoming quit proficient in the riding of the tandem, but we are still going fairly slow. We took the highway 1 until Abbotsford and then got on this sweet bike path until Chilliwack. We got into town at around 9:30pm. After a search for campgrounds, we decided to sleep in the van in a Walmart parking lot. We weren’t the only ones, so it wasn’t a big deal. I had pretty good sleep actually. This trip so far had reinforced my respect for our driver, Allan Hall. He has been very dependable and good humored.

Our goal today is for manning park, past Hope. Brett is riding his own bike today. We hope that everything goes well with that before we start tackling the Mountains of the interior.

Day 1 — Friday, June 20

June 19th-20th

We left Brett’s at about 6pm for Victoria. The Students’ Union Executive came over to wish us well and help us pack before we left. We drove all night and reached the Ferry at 9:00am. The ferry was uneventful except for the obscene amounts of tourists. We freshened up in the ferry, and left for dinner at Ch√Ęteau Victoria around 10:30 am. At this point, most of us hadn’t slept more than 6 hours in 2 nights.

We arrived at the Chateau around 11:30am. We were pretty pumped to see the Alumni in Victoria who were coming out. Approximately 10 Alumni came out to have lunch with us and wish us well. Having those Alumni there definitely gave us the added push needed before we began the trip. We went to Beacon Hill, the mile zero marker, around 2:00pm. We found a place to dip our tires thanks to Kyle Robinson, a current student and resident of Victoria. We took ridiculous amounts of photos in the water and at the zero mile marker sign. We had three Alumni stay with us until we completely got underway, which was very cool and inspriring. We even had an Alumnis ride with us through the city until we were a couple kilometers into the Lockside Trail. She was the first UofL student to receive a Masters in math. Coincidently, she had also been a faculty member of SAIT in the past, and lived in my hometown of Camrose for one year of University. I know Prosser would like that.

It took us a few hours to make it to the Ferry from the mile 0 marker. It was approximately 30 kilometers from the mile zero marker. When we got there, we couldn’t find Allan. It took us around an hour to find him so we could enter the terminal. I thought I’d be a nice guy and ride Brett’s tandem bike onto the Ferry. Bikers have a different location to get onto the ferry, so that’s where I went. The attendant directed me onto the Ferry with explicit instructions to “hurry up.” After about a 30 minute search, I realized my team wasn’t on the Ferry. I had no money, no cell phone, and no pockets. The only thing I had with me was a massive tandem bike and attractive biking attire. After the hour and a half Ferry ride, we landed in Twassan (don’t know the spelling). After having a half hour conversation about the trip with a tour group of elderly people, I phoned my parents collect since I found out you can’t phone cell phones colelct. I told them to phone the group to tell them were I was. I then phoned my parents back, and it was clear that I accidentally caught the early Ferry. The attendant read my ticket wrong. We eventually met up, and it made for an interesting first story of the trip.

We rode our bike until we reached Surrey. It took us awhile to navigate, but we eventually made it to a hotel because it was too late find a campground. The other guys weren’t too keen on the hotel. It was a little sketchy, and you probably could rent it per hour, but I didn’t mind it at all-it was a warm bed. Besides a couple yelling matches outside, a pair in the dumpster, some guy who said he was going to turn the world upside because of something to do with his cat, the night was uneventful. I grew up watching To Serve and Protect, the Canadian knock-off of cops. I knew we were safe in Surrey!☺

June 18th

The day before we left was filled from 6am to 2am the next morning. I moved out of Brett’s house and sold all my stuff to give me motivation to move away for Canada for a few years. Trying to get this and the trip organized has been interesting. I also had my last final Thursday morning. I finally have a degree!