Just before I took off, Shawn noticed that my back tire was half flat, he took a closer look and found a staple in it which he pulled out. a Hissing of air followed as the rest of the tire deflated.It was 8am and I had a long day ahead, so either I changed the tube (slowly cause I’m not particularly quick with these type of things), or Shawn did. Went with Shawn! And he did it in 20 mins! Thanks Shawn 🙂
I took the 97 North out of Vernon and then the 97 A which took me to Armstrong, Enderby and Sicamous. The weather was nice, loved the scenery along route. Beautiful farm land!
About 10kms from Sicamous, my eye caught something on my right and then loud barking, two large black dogs with spikey collars were running in hot pursuit. It was clear they were not friendlies, all teeth and very fast! One of them was just about beside me and I had two choices 1) stop my bicycle take out my bear spray and spray them or 2) pedal as hard as I could to out run them. I just so happened to be going downhill so I chose 2) and pedalled for my life! I was terrified. I managed to get away. Scary.
Finally Sicamous! Stopped here for a wrap and some fries. Shawn had hung around here to make sure I was ok.
Sicamous is where Hwy 1 meets the 97A. I turned right onto Hwy 1. I was happy to see a wider shoulder (though it wasn’t particularly smooth in parts). Still had a ways to go to get to Revelstoke
Came across Hans who was going in the opposite direction to Vancouver. He told me Rogers Pass (coming up the next day for me) was brutal. He had everything on his bicycle (gear etc.) and he’s been going since Washington DC!
Shortly after I met Hans, it started to rain. Not a drizzle either. Imagine riding your bicycle and having someone pour continuous buckets of water on your head for hours. I could have called Shawn to pick me up (and I probably should have), but I told myself it was just rain and I wasn’t going to melt! It was not a fun experience at all riding in that type of rain. People going by in cars were waving or honking. Probably felt sorry for me!
When I got to a bridge over a creek, I noticed there was no bike lane. So I looked behind me – saw no cars for a distance (it was a bendy road so, couldn’t see too far) and started pedalling across, I looked in my mirror and what do I see? A HUGE truck barreling towards me at top speed. I had nowhere to go, I was half way across the bridge. I pedalled as fast as I could. When I got to the other side, I got onto the shoulder and stopped – panting, out of breath. I was terrified. Got to another similar bridge some time later, it happened again! Got caught in the middle of the bridge with a massive truck on my tail. Pedalled for my life once again! It was not a good experience. Basically, these bridges are Russian Roulette for cyclists.
I was so so happy to see the sign that I was in Revelstoke! I was freezing cold, shivering and dripping wet. My shoes were swimming pools. It was 7.30pm. I’d been riding since 8.40am. I’d done 140kms.
The idea of finding a camp site (it was still pouring rain) in the state I was in, did not appeal. Shawn had found an awesome reasonably priced hostel (thank you Shawn!!!)
Tomorrow is another crazy long day (Rogers Pass). The problem is – there are tunnels to go through and from what I read they’re exactly like those bridges I encountered today. When you get to them you’re supposed to look to see if there are cars/trucks coming and pedal hard to get through them before you get taken out! Will have to figure out a game plan to not have to do this. Cycling from Victoria to Calgary should not mean playing Russian Roulette. It’s one thing riding in a bike lane/shoulder and another entirely riding directly in the line of fire. I may ask Shawn to pick me up and drive me through those tunnels. Have to also figure out whether I’m heading to Golden right away or trying to wait out the rain.
Today was by far the most challenging day on my morale than any other.