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Stronger than the Guide Book

June 25, 2019

The guide book I had with me (Canada by Bicycle - Steve Langston) broke the rides up by days - from campsite to campsite for a total of 68 days. Most of the days were in the low 100s in distance and I thought I could probably do more. This day I proved this for myself - opening up the possibility of going at my own pace. I did two guide book days worth of riding in one day for a total ascent of 2158 meters and descent of 1581 meters over 130km.

I left early in the morning around 700 after eating a few Cliff bars (not sponsored I promise) and the climb started almost immediately.

The climb was in the shadow for a long time in the morning and therefore really chilly.

My smallest chainring was quite big so at times I couldn't pedal too fast and ended up sometimes wobbling a little side to side as one does when going up a steep hill. I did not stand on my bike (and rarely did throughout the trip) as I did not want to wear down my bicycle more than necessary - I wanted it to last. The ascents are long in nature but not overly steep. As soon as you get into a rhythm, the uphill stops bothering you as the effort is not that much different compared to pedalling on high gear on flat ground - you're just travelling much much slower.

Looking back after a long climb. The mountains get lighter in colour the further back they are - beautiful!
In between the ascents and descents there are large stretches of flat ground with beautiful scenery and streams
I met the bicyclist near this scenic view who I noticed waking up very early a couple of days ago. Turns out he can't sleep past 4am. He was taking a break and mentioned that he is from Montreal and that this is his fourth bike trip from Vancouver to Montreal with the first one being in the mid eighties. He boasted having no rain days in the previous trips. Later that day, the weather must have ruined his streak, but I will never really know what the clouds did to him.
My first big climb conquered.

After conquering Allison Pass I stopped by the Manning Park Visitor Centre and had some delicious Poutine and pop. This is where the guide book suggested to stop to camp after completing the highest climb of the trip. However, it was noon and way to early to quit. Soon I left the park and decided to recreate a picture I saw in the guide book.

Recreated a picture from my guide book
The ride was very hilly, scenic and beautiful.
My second big climb conquered.

Towards the afternoon the weather changed for the worse and started raining. This was one of the coldest riding days for me and I had to use my wool gloves for the first and last time during my trip. The energy consumption was a record for me that day - I had eaten around 8 Cliff bars. Halfway between Princeton and the end of EC Manning Park I got my first flat of the trip. I fixed and kept biking. On the way to Princeton I saw a black bear by the side of the road as well as cows in a fenced off forest.

I biked to the Princeton Municipal Campground and by the time I got there I was very tired and dirty. At the Princeton grocery store one of the clerks gave me the impression that she thought I was a homeless person. I biked to the campsite but they only accepted cash so I had to bike back to town to get cash. At the campsite I met two bicyclists, a couple, who were very fascinated with my set up and specifically my front rack. One asked me: "Aren't you afraid?". I laughed and said no. We hung out together and shared the chilli cans that I carried all through the mountains. I tried one of the cans and it turned out not to my taste and I gifted them all away. I CARRIED SIX CANS OF CHILLI THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS - I should be smarter about how I carry food. The fellow bicyclists told me that they are biking to Montreal as one of them grew up there there. They currently reside in Germany. At this point I was fascinated how all the bicyclists I have met up to this point were from Montreal. Are Quebecers more adventurous? These bicyclists were better at cooking and carried with them oil and other supplies. Turns out the previous day one of their bike bags was stolen by a bear during the day. They were talking to a family about 100m meters from their bikes when they noticed the bear. They hopelessly watched as a bear and its cub took one of the bags and dragged it into the woods out of sight forever. The bag had a huge amount of cashews... I've had a camping experience near Guelph Ontario during a test bike trip run where I had (what I assume was a raccoon) stalk my tent in circles in the middle of the night while snorting like pig. That experience scared me enough to keep only prepackaged packaged stuff like soup cans, sardine cans, granola bars...