We awoke this morning to the lovely sound of traffic on the Trans Canada Highway. Luckily we were trying to get out early this morning to beat the heat on the Coquihalla Pass, so getting up early was no issue. On the way out of a breakfast stop at Tim’s we met a guy who is also into Day 3 of his ride across the country, though he’s doing it on a BMX bike with a hefty backpack. Since he was tackling the Coquihalla today as well, we rolled out of town together.
The pace and gradient was too much for him and his single gear after 150m of elevation gain so we pushed on…good luck, Ky, hope you made it through your make-it-or-break-it day.
The Coquihalla Pass turned out to be a real beauty, with sweeping views down the canyon and tons of passing space being left by the cars.
After picking up a few hundred meters of elevation quickly, it levelled off into gentle ramps of 1-3% for 25km. In the last 12km the climb got serious, bumping up to 5-6%. At this point Oliver took over the lead to “give me a break” and pushed on into the distance. The final 6km was the most serious, holding 8-9% steady the whole way. Even the trucks were feeling it as they passed us going only 20-25km/hr (still quicker than our 10-12km/hr, though).
As we crested the Pass we caught up with another cross-country tourer who was pushing his bike up the final pitches. From the Tim’s to the summit rest area we completed the 45km long, 1200m climb in a little over 2 hours. It was enough to give us top-ten finishes on the final 12km, though, we should crack the top 5 on the total climb on Strava (the common segment runs the length of the flat segment on the summit, skipping the summit rest area).
With the majority of the climbing done for the day, we enjoyed 1000m of gradual descending along the highway then along the winding Coldwater backroad into Merritt.
With camping ruled out due to the temperature not dropping below 28C until well into the night, we found ourselves some tasty lunch, ice cream, and a motel (which happened to have a pool…bonus!). Tomorrow we head deeper into the desert, aiming for Kamloops and beyond!
After taking full advantage of the motel breakfast, we had a leisurely roll-out with the intent of making into Kamloops and maybe going a bit farther to camp. Within a few minutes of getting out of town, it came as a delightful surprise that we had a stiff tail/cross wind as we ripped our way along the beautiful Nicola Lake and Stump Lake.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in the interior of BC, but I sure wasn’t expecting such a desert-y environment. It took us a good long while to find a tree for some shade to take a break in.
After crushing the first 53km in a little over an hour and a half, the good fortune continued into the next 30km, until we hit the big climb for the day with almost 3km at 9%. The climb was followed by a massive 500m elevation drop into Kamloops. Man, that is one hilly city.
With the crazy hot summer happening from Vancouver to Winnipeg, we made the call to ship home our cold weather gear, saving nearly a kilo each. We used the time we saved from this crazy wind to have a leisurely coffee at Starbucks.
With severe thunderstorms looming on the forecast for this evening, we set our eyes on Chase 60km up the road and gave chase. Once again the wind came to our rescue, letting us rip along at 37kph. This stretch of backroads is over now as we’ll be following the Trans Canada until Banff now.
We rounded off the night watching the Raps take their first NBA Championship!
Cheers and Ride On!