Monday, 10 October 2016

Tour Divide 2016: Day 2

Sparwood, BC to Grave Creek Campground, MT
Daily Mileage: 224.5 km (139.5 mi)
Riding Time: 17 h 23 m
Standing: 19th place 

Day 2 Map

I slept well in the campground and was up around 4:15am or so.  I extracted myself from my bivy and went to the heated bathroom to clean up a bit.  I rinsed out my shorts to get the mud out.   I met a rider from I think Spain.  The ride on the pavement to Corbin was really nice.  It was a really gradual climb that wasn’t really noticeable.  Saw a few riders on the way along with a bloated deer carcass – gross (not the riders but the deer carcass).  Around Corbin Road, the GPS track was a bit deceiving.  It said to veer off over the barricades.  I saw other riders riding down the road to a hairpin corner so I followed them.  The risk of going off route kind of bothered me, but everything worked out in the end.

After Corbin is the infamous trail/river section where the trail alternates between dirt and frigid, shin-deep stream water.  After you freeze your feet off in that section, you ride some fairly gentle gravel road until you hit the climb to Galton Pass.  I met Greg May in this section and we took pictures of each other. 

  Photo Courtesy of Greg May

Greg pushing through the stream

Look out!

There was a spot where some nice people put some water on the trail for the riders so I took some.  I stopped at Butts Cabin and was in awe that the leaders made it there the first night. 

Butts Cabin

Happy to be there!

The Flathead was a nice area.  I was wondering if I would see any bears, but didn’t.  Saw lots of scat though.  I met Corey Godfrey along this section and explained the difference between the different types of poo along the trail.  He said he would be a poo connoisseur by the end of this trip.  I laughed to myself wondering if you had to know how it tasted to be a connoisseur. 

Then there was the connector.  I heard about it and its steepness and was excited to see how hard it was.  It didn’t disappoint.  Slow steep push up the mud.  Lock the brakes, take two steps, push the bike ahead a bit, lock the brakes and repeat. 

The start of the connector

Up to Galton pass was steep, rocky and slow.  I walked my single speed up most of this and found out Greg walked his Salsa Cutthroat up a fair amount of it too.  At the top, I stopped to put on some clothes for the descent.  The downhill was fast!  I did my best to let go of the brakes and make as many fast, easy miles as I could.  It was great seeing the pavement leading up to the border.  Crossing the border was uneventful.  I crossed with Greg May and the guy from Spain.  The Spaniard kept telling me, “You are very fast” since I was on a single speed but I didn’t believe him.  I felt like I was riding slow.  Greg and the Spaniard were held up at the border a bit longer than me since they were international I guess.  Being a Canadian equals easy border crossing.

I ran into Greg and a few other riders at the Subway north of Eureka.  I ate with Greg and we both thought the last section was hard and it had to get easier.  We were wrong. More tough riding all along the route.  I left a bit before Greg, rode through Eureka planning to stop at the Grave Creek campground outside of town.  It was off route a bit…a bit too far for my liking.  I kept doubting myself as I rode further and further away from the route.   I set up camp as it was getting dark.  Greg showed up a bit later.  I was starting to get to sleep and was happy Greg didn’t make conversation and quietly set up his bivy.  Looking back, I should have stayed on route and camped somewhere on the road.  That’s what I did the following days.  Learn as you go.

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