Rest day behind me, it was time to get serious on the road to Banff. Cycling across Canada – always an adventure.
My first day after my Kamloops rest and my first century ride was in the bag – 118 kms to Salmon Arm. Luckily, the day was relatively flat – I knew this wouldn’t last long. I had the first 100 kms by noon making the day a double milestone day! After a solid day in the saddle, it was amazing what excited me – chatting to a stranger while waiting at a construction zone and camp sites with good showers. Love that the stop/go person at most of the construction zones let me go ahead on the bike – sometimes I would have huge stretches of road to myself before the cars would catch up. The ultimate in freedom – clear road ahead, sun in the face and breeze in my helmet!
Day 2 was another milestone day with me racking up 140 kms to Canyon Hot Springs. This was my longest day in the saddle so far, and it did not prove to be so flat with plenty of (killer) hills to climb. It was at one of the lookouts that I met up with Kevin, a pastor from the prairies, also doing the cycling across Canada trek. While I had my bike loaded to the hilt with panniers, he had a neat little set up with a Bob trailer attached to the rear wheel of his bike. He set up was sleek , however he did tell me he had a few issues. There are pros and cons to each, but I was quite happy to stay with the loaded bike. Kevin slowed down and we road together – it was great to have company. His high spirits and good mood helped me and my heavy load over many of the climbs of the day. With nearly 7 hours in the saddle, we pedalled in to Canyon Hot Springs – and as the name suggests, a magnificent hot pool (42C) was waiting – the perfect way to melt the road weary muscles! A night at the campsite adjacent to the pools was in order!
I quietly melted away in the pool, my legs turning to jelly. In not time, it was too hot, and I had to switch to the cooler water. The rest of my day was spent going back and forth – pure heaven! I was convinced this was just what my body needed – after all, tomorrow I had to climb Rogers Pass. I didn’t exactly know what to expect, but people kept telling me about it!!! Funny thing – that night, after cooking in the pools for a few hours, I really knew what a lobster felt like – I lay in my tent, unable to sleep. It felt like I had cooked myself through and through!
On my own again the next morning, it was time to face Rogers Pass. 1330 meters – it was tough, but not nearly as tough as I had expected. As I was nearing the summit, a car slowed and asked if they could take my picture. As long as I didn’t have to stop, I had no problem with it! Face red, and jersey open as far as it could, I pedalled on until I hit the summit. I have to say – the gatorade at the top was probably one of the best of my life! I continued on, destination Golden. I remember little of camping that night – I am sure it was lovely!
After 3 days, covering 380 kms, the shorter ride from Golden to Lake Louise was supposed to be a blissfully short day. Having climbed Rogers Pass, I thought it would be easy – cruise along, cross a time zone and enter Alberta.
Then I met Kicking Horse Pass, named in 1858 for the horse that kicked James Hector. It was a kick in the teeth – why had no one warned me of this one? I had met pure evil! I struggled to get my bike and gear over the pass, each switchback hiding the road and climb ahead. I don’t know how many times I stopped, but it may well have been the toughest climb on my entire trip! The views were without rival but at times it was all I could do to look ahead of me! I gladly stopped to look down the incredible cliffs, catch my breath and let the screaming in my legs stop. Five hours later, I dragged my sore and tired body into the HI Lake Louise Hostel – paradise in paradise!
Time for another stop – 2 nights and plenty to see! After all, the point of cycling across Canada is more than just pedalling – must also see the sights!
On the road to Banff ride stats:
|Start||Stop||Distance (km)||Time Riding|
|Day 6||Kamloops||Salmon Arm||118||5h 31m|
|Day 7||Salmon Arm||Canyon Hot Spring||140||6h 42m|
|Day 8||Canyon Hot Spring||Golden||121||6h 45m|
|Day 9||Golden||Lake Louise||84||4h 58m|