Sunday, 30 July 2017

2017 BC Epic 1000: Day 3

Christina Lake to Crawford Creek
Daily distance: 263 km (164 mi)
Riding Time: 19 h
Total distance: 795 km (494 mi)
Standing: 2nd place

My alarm started beeping and I thought, “Great, I got up at 3am as planned”.  I commenced getting ready, had a nice cleansing coughing fit and packed up.  Once I started riding, I realised that I slept through my 3am alarm and got up at my 4am alarm.  Oh well, I probably needed the sleep.  Today was the day with the ferry.  About 225km of riding and the last ferry leaves at 9:40pm… no problem.  The trail was more pleasant rail grade up and over a pass.  The tunnels here were awesome!  Some were really long and dark with water dripping from the ceiling.  I loved it! 

Long, dark, drippy tunnel

On the descent, the trail started to parallel a really big lake.  The views were great!  I was keeping a good pace and was breathing well.  I found the mornings were the best times for breathing well.  Later in the afternoon is when my airway would start to close up. 

View of the lake near Castlegar

I was planning on stopping in Castlegar for some cough medicine.  The trail met up with the highway and I followed it down across a big bridge.  I stopped to see where a store might be and discovered I missed Castlegar.  It was back up the huge hill and off route.  No problem, Trail is only about 40-50km away. Hopefully the trail is as easy going as it was in the morning.  I continued on.  I checked Trackleaders and saw Lennard was about 20-30km ahead.   The best thing for me to do is keep on riding and minimise stopping time.  Hopefully he would stop to take a nap or something.  Haha.  Little I knew the trail to Trail (had to say it) was not easy going. 

The single track was fun, but tough.  Steeper climbs than the rail grade so I was required to push my bike at times.  The trail paralleled the river and went up and down the riverbank.  It even went through the river at times and I had to wade through shin-deep water.  I enjoyed it, but it was slow.  I started doing the math.  It’s 1pm and I have to make the ferry in about 8.5 hours.  I am no longer averaging 20km/hr and I have no idea what the trail is like on the way.  I had better keep going and hope for the best.  On I went, pushing and riding where I could.  The trail would go over loose rock and through thick river bushes.  Again, lots of fun, but the ferry started nagging in my mind.  I resolved to stop fast in Trail and ride without stopping until I got to the ferry.  I had no idea if I had to be early to get on either.  We recently took the ferry from North Vancouver to Nanaimo and had to be there early to get on.  All I could do is ride.  Whatever happens - happens. 

I got into Trail at about 2pm.  I had 7.5 hours to go about 120km.  If the riding is easy, I should be able to cover that in about 6 hours.  If it’s not easy, I would take much longer.  I had better hurry!!  I stopped at Safeway and wandered the aisles looking for supplies.  Gas stations are much easier to resupply in.  More cold drinks, less ground to cover looking for snacks, and more ready-to-eat sandwiches.  The good thing is they had a pharmacy so I was able to get some cough syrup.  I took some, but it didn’t seem to help that much. 

Off I go to catch a ferry!  The road to Salmo was all paved so I made good time.  Hooray!  Since I had no idea what was ahead, I was hoping I could keep a good pace.  On the way to Salmo, the sleep monster hit me and I stopped for a quick nap.  I vowed to never ride drowsy due to safety and the fun factor.  On the Tour Divide, I would try to push through the drowsiness and it was miserable; not to mention unsafe.  I stopped for a quick 10 minute nap and snapped out of the drowsy zone.  The little magenta line on my GPS turned north at Salmo and I was back on gravel rail trail.  Uh oh, slower going.  It was about 5pm now.  4.5 hours until the ferry and about 70-80km to go.  I pushed on up the gravel rail grade.  As I reached the summit, I was riding along a creek and heard some crashing in the bushes.  I looked to my right and saw the square head of a grizzly on the other side of the creek.  I whispered, “Hey bear” (no voice) and kept riding.   I blew my whistle a few times, but I wasn’t too worried since he was on the other side of the creek.  After the summit, I started the descent into Nelson.  It was about 7:30pm and I had about 40km to go.  This was going to be close.  I blasted through town and was happy to see it was pavement all the way to the ferry.  I tucked into the aero bars and went as fast as my single speed could take me.  My throat was getting drier and drier no matter how much water I drank.  I kept rolling and staring at my clock.  The darkness fell and I rolled up to the ferry terminal at 9:32pm.  Eight whole minutes to spare.  I still didn’t know if I was going to get on so I attempted to ask a guy in uniform coming from the boat.  I opened my mouth to ask him what to do and nothing came out.  I had never lost my voice that bad.  I whispered my questions to him and found out the ferry was free and all I had to do was ride my bike on at 9:40.  I made it!!  I even had time to get some drinks and food at the store at the station.  

On the ferry

The ferry ride was about 35min long and I had a chance to use the bathroom and charge my battery pack.  On the other side, I started riding and looking for a place to sleep.  I found a spot in the trees by a creek and go to sleep about 12am. 

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