My ride started at 10am, an hour later than I had hoped expecting an eight hour day. Getting my routine down packing up etc took longer than expected. My new mate Paul and I parted ways at the Hope grocery store as I was taking the Crowsnest Hwy and he was heading more north up Hwy 1.
The haul out of Hope almost immediately starts uphill and for about 22km I dug deep and pushed thru 4-7% grades to my rest stop at Sunshine Valley. Along the way I passed the famous Hope Slide, that devastated about 3km of road, killing 4 motorists in 1965. You can see from the photo what remains.
Allison Pass is exactly what I expected, a bitch. 20+km of 5-9%grade of me peddling sometimes only 50m before stoping for 10-30sec, then do it again. Many cyclists walk some of the steeper grades, I managed my system of stoping after no longer than 150m so as not to risk injury.
I saw the last two bears while cycling I ever want to see again. This guy in the pic was grazing on grass, and well away from me…BUT earlier I surprised a large black bear that was 10ft from me, no way for me to see him as the road dropped off on my right but as I passed him he scurried up a tree. I was so close I could hear his claws dig into the tree as he climbed. I will never forget that sound. Needless to say no time was taken for a photo opportunity and my shorts needed cleaning!
After about 7.5hrs from leaving Hope I made it to Allison Summit. I feel so lucky to be able to do this, and everyone’s encouragement definitely helps on the long climbs, but I am speechless to describe the feeling of seeing the summit sign. Snow still on the shoulders of the hwy, your breath visible, and my heart still racing from my bear encounter. I made it.
Arrived at Manning lodge about 630pm, (half hour longer trip than expected) for the night, hotel room as it is going to be below zero tonight and the only campsite open doesn’t have shower facilities. Hot tub, shower then bed…sure to sleep well.