Just like my body; my gear has seen its fair share of bumps and bruises. One of the pannier clips had unfortunately cracked, which is far from ideal as this is what secures it from flopping around as I ride.
In the meantime, until I hit Calgary, some good ol’ duct tape should do the trick.
One thing about cycling the highways is that signs that would normally be taken with a grain of salt while driving, become your livelihood. For example, “Tim Hortons – 15 mins away, take exit 123” can be a 1.5 hour ride.
But a slightly gut-wrenching feeling is seeing a sign like this one, knowing that there will be absolutely nothing to fall back on for a 150km, or 2 day stretch, going into unknown Rockies territory.
This also meant that my reception, which had already been relatively shaky the day leading up to this, was about to completely disappear too.
Nothing but my own mind, legs, bike, and gear to make it sure I came through to that 151st kilometre. A strange feeling.
Another Gruelling Climb
This was another tough one in terms of elevation. Arguably an even tougher challenge than what I’ve seen so far, given that I did not have an elevation map available. In other words, I had no idea what was in store, and how long it would continue to climb for.
Reunion in the Middle of Nowhere
This trip has already had no shortage of strange moments, but this one has certainly got to be up there.
As I continued my ride in the vast open roads, I was soon caught off guard to have an SUV slow down and roll alongside of me.
“Alexis?..” I hear.
I look and truly do not know what’s going on, as my own confusion ensues as I stare at the car full of guys.
“It’s Oscar.” He continues. And proceeded to pull over up ahead.
I could not believe my eyes. This was one of my middle school best friends, who I hadn’t seen in 11 years, after he had moved across the country to Toronto. This was the one time he was back in BC. It was a total surreal moment, and it really added to it that it was really in the middle of nowhere, and that all of his bros were there to witness it. Everyone was in shock.
(Also, wow, Oscar, you’re a giant hahah.)
We planned to catch up in Calgary, and if not, in Toronto!
The last 30km of the day were particularly draining. The inclines only got steeper as the sun light faded away and the temperature decreased quickly to below freezing levels.
I had reached the “Glacier National Park”, and naturally, it was as cold as it sounded. After carrying onto hope for the past 40km that there were two campgrounds in this area (as mentioned by somebody I had met earlier in the day), I was very deflated to find out that both of which were temporarily closed for different reasons.
This was a tough blow, and found myself relying on will power once again.
I made the decision to ride out a bit further and search for spot alongside the highway to set up camp. This is where I crossed the “summit” sign, and realized that it probably could not get colder.
But I did not have the energy to keep going for that night. I found a rest area, and pulled into it immediately. There was a car in the parking lot, with two people sitting with the trunk open, wrapped in their sleeping bags. I gave them a quick wave, and quickly resumed my mission to find a place to set-up my tent before it became totally dark and below freezing.
A nice open patch of grass behind the outhouses. Perfect.
As I completed my setup, one of the strangers from the car approached me, to ask whether I needed anything… water, food.
This was an amazing gesture. I really was exhausted, and while I still had enough food and water to get by, I figured it’d be wise to take her up on her offer, since I didn’t know what was ahead.
We introduced ourselves, they were Katy and Rachel from Golden. I was so tired I introduce myself as “Alex” and not “Alexis”. I accepted water, a banana, a bag of pretzels, and a Babybell. They also very kindly offered me their place to come by and regroup the next day. They returned home.
Knowing I had this place and company to look forward to after these tough conditions was a huge morale lifter.
- Route: Revelstoke, BC —> Glacier, BC
- Distance: 100km
- Elevation Gain: 1,557m