Let me tell you how incredibly crushing those mountains are. They are incredibly crushing. The Hope-Princeton starts with a muscle aching 12km climb up to the Hope Slide. There is no respite from it either. I found that I simply couldn’t keep rding so I would alternate between riding and walking the bike up the hill. Once I crest the climb I coasted down the gentle slope into Sunshine Valley where I saw a black bear. This fellow was a bit close to the road for my comfort so I didn’t stop but he looked up as I passed by to check me out. Probably judging if catching me was worth the effort.
Now I knew from my map that I needed to summit at Allison pass so after the slight loss in altitude I began to climb again. Now this climbing wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t completely blown my legs on the previous hill. I also hadn’t eaten a proper breakfast and for some reason the protein bars just weren’t cutting it. Still, ever hopeful I kept on, looking desperately for that sign that would read “Allison Pass Summit 1342m”. It was a long time coming.
I didn’t reach the summit until 12:30 and after that quickly decended into Manning Park Lodge. By now I had been through most of the park, stopping only to take a picture of the West gate and the summit sign. The cold snowy weather which had been tailing me up the hill was finally catching up so I stopped in the lodge for a burger and some soup. It went a long way to re-charging my batteries. I knew from the lodge that the only camprounds available were at lightning lake and Mule deer Park. I wasn’t about to cycle into lightning lake so I would continue on to the Mule deer park. I made the Park by 2:00pm and with only 69km until Princeton I decided to push on.
Well, unfortunately no one told me there was another summit. Sunday summit to be exact although it wasn’t marked on my map. At 1282m it is nothing to sneer at either. Soon I was struggling again with aching legs, cursing the engineers who made the damn road. While I could see the Similkameen river sliding down the hill next to me, I climbed ever upwards! Why couldn’t the road just follow the river? I cried mournfully.
More alternating between riding and walking got me though that hardship, but not before I promised myself a hotel room if I made it. I decended into Princeton at 6:30 in the evening and the guy at the first hotel sent me to a place farther down the road. Again I lucked out as the second place was half the price and near a Greek restaurant. After a good dinner (Calamari) and a hot bath to sooth my aching legs I went to bed and crashed hard. I was asleep by 9:30 again and woke up only when Zuimei called from Japan!
Average Speed: 18.9km
Top Speed: 66.6km (and I was braking hard)
Total distance: 373km