- Cycle Day 13 122.2 kms. 1278 vertical meters
In the homestretch for a Fernie break. Missed the Balfour Ferry by the time it takes to go into grocery store and buy M&M’s. Made for a late day, arriving into Creston at 5:30 pm. This ride held many memories for us, as we used to do some road riding with friends out here, MANY years ago. Maxy will recall this well.
Today was a stunning warm day and we loved riding along Kootenay Lake. This road has a narrow shoulder, but there was minimal traffic today, so we enjoyed the rolling, winding pavement – until the last 10 kms when an attitude testing hill was thrown in there.
Cycle Day 14 110 kms 905 vertical meters
Knew we were going to be on busy part of Highway 3 today and we were right. All day. We did have a fantastic lunch spot at the Yahk campground.
Cycle Day 15 106 kms 862 vertical meters
338 kms in 3 days is a lot on gravel bikes with gear on mainly off road terrain and we rolled into to Fernie at about 1/2 past dead. But today’s ride was a surprisingly lovely ride and although in our neighbourhood, we have never done the Chief Isador Trail out of Cranbrook. It is outstanding – flat, well gravelled, and off the busy highway!
At Wardner we ducked onto Rosicky Road to Shelbourne Rd – didn’t even know these roads were here, and found a great circle cycling route (for another summer). Enjoyed lunch in a beautiful valley, then stopped just a few kms later for a second lunch at First Perk – “not right” to pass by!
Just after a serendipitous pee break, we were nearly run over by good friends Deborah, Lana and Dean! What a great pick me up (considered it literally for a moment…) as we headed into our last few hours home!!!
Sooooo happy to see the FAR sign at the bottom of the hill, and the climb itself was not as bad as anticipated, still bad. But at the top, there was a crew of friends cheering us on, our home decorated, cards left, and cold beer. What a sweet, and much appreciated gesture, especially the beer. Leg 1 done – we will be doing a lot of nothing for a few days – maybe a hot mustard bath as recommended????
Gear reflections from Gear Guy
We certainly chose the right bikes for our chosen route. The Kona Libre gravel bike is light, durable and great fun on all types of terrain. Tire and rim selection were also right. We were on 650 rims and 50 mm (2 inch) tires. This gave us a good, comfortable and confident ride on mixed terrain while not compromising too much on speed. Our bikes weigh less than 20 lbs and we have about 30 lbs of kit including food and water. We also carry back packs but mainly for hydration.
We did not take out the tent on this leg but it was an essential part of the gear because it gave us confidence to take off road routes. On at least one occasion we were certain we would be staying in the tent at above 3,500 feet and in snow covered terrain. It was cold. And we would have had to tent had the trail not been cleared by trail crews just 3 days before we were on it. “Marital” narrowly avoided.
Another item of essential gear is the InReach Garmin Mini which our friends Jave, Roger and Mike implored that I get. I’m glad I relented as it was a huge confidence item to have on back road routes. And surprisingly simple to operate (for a Garmin). There is a safety switch on the “SOS” button so that Search and Rescue isn’t inadvertently activated. On the one day of riding in which we had heavy, no, a heinous amount of rain, Deb started to ask a few too many questions on how the SOS button worked.
We used the MSR stove a couple of times for soup and tea. Also essential gear. I used the sleeping bag twice. But it was in a hotel. Deb was having hot flashes and insisted on keeping the windows open in below zero temps. Yep, good to have that -10c rated sleeping bag for those emergencies.