Outside of Penticton to Christina Lake
Daily distance: 276 km (171 mi)
Riding Time: ~19h
Total distance: 531.5 km (330 mi)
Standing: 2nd place
I woke up to a strange groaning sound in the woods. To me it sounded like a bear, but I wasn’t sure if that was my imagination. I heard it a few times, sometimes close and sometimes far, as I was getting up so I thought it would be a good time to pack up and go. I was rolling at about 5am. I rode up the hill wondering if I would come upon Lennard in his bivy; no such luck. I found out after the race he rode until about 2 or 3am and was way ahead of me. I stopped in Chute Lake campground for some water and talked to one of the campers about the race. Chute Lake was at the top of the climb and from that point on the grade was pretty gentle all the way to Myra Canyon. The trestle bridges here are amazing. The sun was rising, the weather was good, and my cough wasn’t too bad so I felt really good.
|Myra Canyon Trestles|
The trail descended gradually toward Beaverdell and the temperature started to rise. I started hearing a strange rattling whenever I went over bumps so I stopped to take a look. To my horror, my front wheel was loose on the forks! The only thing keeping it on was the ridge on the fork around the quick release knobs. I was very grateful that it didn’t fly off going at high speed. I was also glad that the repair was quick and easy. I tightened my wheel and rode off down the hill. Beaverdell was a welcome sight. I was hot and thirsty. My voice was all but gone, but I could breathe well and I felt good. I stopped and had a drink and too much ice cream. I’m not sure why, but after that little break, my throat started to close up. I had about 70% of my airway at this point, but was still able to continue with little trouble. I just made sure I was drinking and eating regularly. As long as I drank, I could swallow the food. Candy and sweets were going down the best.
I think it was Rock Creek where there was a little store. I bought some Gatorade and found out from the attendant that Lennard had stopped for about half an hour. It was good news that I was gaining a little bit. I croaked out a goodbye and got back on the road in the 35 degree weather. The next stretch to Midway was hot and out in the open through farmers’ fields. There were a lot of gates that you would have to open and close on the way through. This is where the heat started to get to me a bit. I was feeling run down, I couldn’t breathe well and it was really hot. At one stream, I soaked my shirt to cool off. I stopped in Midway at the nice air-conditioned gas station for a break. My airway loosened up a bit and I could breathe better after some liquids and ice cream. I remembered not to have too much ice cream. After the nice recovery, I was on the bike in the heat again. It was starting to get a bit later in the day and cooling off. My airway was still not fully open, but not too bad so I was enjoying the gradual climb up the rail grade. I came upon the locked gate Lennard talked about at the start. I remembered it was at the llama farm. I didn’t want to climb over so I managed to slide my bike under the gate. On I rode until I came to Grand Forks about nightfall. I stopped at a small gas station to resupply. I tried to cough out some of the stuff in my lungs and had a scary experience. I hacked some stuff out, but in the process, more got lodged in my airway and blocked it. I had to stop the bike and really concentrate on my breathing because there was only about 10-20% of my airway open. I started the process of relaxing my breathing and catching my breath, then coughing to clear my airway. After a few tries, I managed to clear it out to about 60%. Good enough to ride! I vowed to keep the coughing to a minimum at that point. I started climbing as darkness fell. I stopped on the side of the trail at about 11:30pm to set up camp. Once I got some sleep, I would probably feel a bit better. Dion rolled up and startled me a bit. I wasn’t expecting to see another bikepacker. Lennard and I were pulling away from the field a bit at that point and I wasn’t considering a westbound rider. We talked a bit and he carried on down the trail. I ate my supper and after a nice relieving coughing fit, I went to sleep. Sleeping was a bit interrupted as my breathing wasn’t easy and I would wake up coughing, but I did get a few hours of good sleep.