Monday, July 16, 2012

Support Vehicle in the Rockies- Chase to Canmore

Thursday, July 12

We woke up in Chase, BC and left around 7:15 am. The plan was to bike 50 km to Salmon Arm to get to the bike shop- Skookum Cycle & Ski- before it opened at 9 am. Jordan's bike rack was broken. My bike rack was also close to breaking.   Since Monica & Elaine were carrying our stuff, Jordan was able to bike with a broken rack.

I should back up a bit and give you some background info on Monica & Elaine. Elaine is my aunt (oldest sister on my dad's side of the family).  Monica is the oldest of Elaine's three children and is my cousin. There is an age gap between Monica and I so her three boys are about my age. 

Bike for Bricks team with support crew- Elaine and Monica
Monica and Elaine live in Kaslo, BC. They had invited us to come through Kaslo and stay there, but we had chosen a route that wouldn't take us through Kaslo. Monica and Elaine then offered to support us for three days when we were in BC. This meant Monica driving 5 to 6 hours with her Toyota Rav4 to meet us on Wednesday in Chase. Then following us for three days and then driving home 6 to 7 hours back to Kaslo. Lots of driving.

Ok back to the biking. The bike ride to Salmon Arm was quick. For the first time on our trip we didn't have to carry our heavy panniers thanks to Monica and Elaine carrying our stuff. All we had to carry on our bikes were water and Gatorade.  We estimate the weight we were carrying on the back of our bikes ranged from 50 to 70 lbs.

Vehicle Doug & Lindsay drove.
We arrived at Skookum Cycle & Ski just before 9 am. We decided to go with new racks for all three of our bikes since Jordan and I both had problems with the racks breaking. While we waited for the bike racks to be installed, Monica and Elaine treated us for breakfast at a sit down restaurant. Normally we had been just eating at fast food places so this was a treat. After breakfast we went to Salmon Arm's water front area and had a photo shoot with Doug and Lindsay. Doug and Lindsay also followed us on our bike ride to Revelstoke taking pictures of us.

Once the photo shoot was done we went back to the bike shop to pick up the bikes. My bike's front tire was found to be flat tire so the tube was replaced. We then left Salmon Arm and continued our bike along Highway 1 to Revelstoke. The distance was about 100 km.

Along the way we enjoyed the benefits of being supported by Monica & Elaine. In the back of the Rav4, Monica had bought a large cooler filled with Gatorade, water, power bars and ice. Every 10 km's, Monica would find a place to pull over at the side of the road. Sometimes we would bike on by and other times we would stop and fill up our water bottles and Gatorade. Jordan developed a system of replacing a warm water bottle that he was carrying on his bike with a cool water bottle that was stored in the cooler. On this day, the temperature was hot so we were drinking lots of water and Gatorade. Monica also had wash clothes that were cooled with ice water and she put them on the backs of our necks when we stopped to help cool us down.

At lunch time Monica & Elaine bought us Tim Horton's sandwiches so we could continue biking while they were at Tim's. Once the sandwiches were bought they stopped ahead of us and we stopped to eat the sandwiches on the lawn of a house just off the highway. The whole process saved us lots of time. Normally we have to spend time finding a place to eat or buying groceries for lunch. Also, water and Gatorade were being supplied to us all day so we didn't have to spend time trying to find places to fill up our water.

In the afternoon we continued our bike to Revelstoke. We arrived in Revelstoke around 5 PM. There groceries were bought and it was decided that we would bike an additional 35 to 40 km to get to a campsite. Monica and Elaine would then drive back to Revelstoke to stay in a hotel.

Just after heading out from Revelstoke, I realized my crank shaft- connects your bike pedal to the bike frame- was loose. Tyler and Jordan were with me so Jordan was able to phone Monica to get her to comeback. Monica came back and with a multi-tool Tyler was able to tighten the crank shaft bolt. We continued to bike to the campsite, but my crank shaft continued to not stay tight. This problem would continue the next day.

At the campsite Monica and Elaine warned us about the dangers of bears. We were in bear country and had seen billboards advertising this on our bike ride. Monica and Elaine told us to put in the Rav4 any food we would not eat. We did this, but after they left we realized that we had forgot to give them our granola bars and trail mix. We followed proper bear avoidance protocol by tying the food in a bag on a sign 5 meters in the air and 50 meters from our tent.

We biked on the day about 190 km.

Friday, July 13

Monica and Elaine arrived at 7:30 am from Revelstoke to find us clothed and mostly ready to go. They provide Tim's breakfast sandwiches for breakfast.

About 10 km after leaving the campsite was my crank shaft completely fell off. In the 10 km of biking I did I had tightened the crankshaft bolt a few times only for it to loosen right away. With my crank shaft completely off I realized the bolt was damaged and would not tighten any more. I needed a bike shop. The closest one was back 35 km in Revelstoke. Without support this would mean hitch hiking back to Revelstoke, however, Monica could now drive my bike back to Revelstoke.
Tyler biking in a snow shed along Highway 1.

Monica and I were able to tie my bike with bungee cords to the top of the Rav4.  Monica got bike grease on her shirt for her efforts. Then Monica drove me back to Revelstoke to get my bike fixed. Jordan and Tyler continued on. At this point they were climbing up Rogers Pass. I decided I didn't want to waste time starting from where I had my crank shaft fall off and said I would meet them where ever they happened to be when I returned with my crank shaft fixed.  My bike was fixed at Flowt Bikes and Skis. 

They replaced my one crank shaft. The problem with the crank shaft bolt was when I realized it was loose it already was too late. I was told to tighten all bolts on the bikes every few days. Also, the bike pads were adjusted on the bike. The bike repair took about 30 minutes. In all I missed out on an hour and a half of biking, but I really didn't "miss" biking up Rogers pass. I also enjoyed the time I had riding to and from Revelstoke talking to Monica and Elaine. Good family time. I don't see my relatives on the West Coast all that often.

I met back up with Jordan and Tyler at the summit of Rogers Pass. They had just finished their climb when I arrived. At this point we were 80 km from Golden. Monica had suggested to us that we go whitewater rafting in Golden. We were making good time so we decided to tie up our bikes at the top of Rogers Pass and have Monica drive us to Golden for Whitewater rafting. The problem was along the 80 km drive to Golden there was an hour time change and we would lost an hour. The boat was suppose to leave at 12:30 PM MT and it was 11:45 AM MT when we left. Jordan with his blackberry thought it would take us an hour to get to Golden. Thankfully Tyler was able to get cell phone reception- an issue in the mountains- and was able to call "Wet N Wild Adventuresto let them know we were coming. We arrived about 15 minutes late, but they waited for us.

Whitewater rafting was fun. It was Tyler's first time. Jordan and I had done it before, but not at rapids like the ones at Kicking Horse Pass. The water levels were high from all the rain and the river was moving fast. On a scale of 6, the rapids ranged from a 3 to 4. If you go higher than a 4 you're almost guaranteed to have you're boat flipped. Having a boat flip is a big pain because the river is moving fast and it's tough to collect all the people that fall out of the boats. The water temperatures were cold since the river came from glacier water. That meant we wore sweaters underneath our wet suits to keep warm. It was warm that day so I didn't feel cold out on the boat.

While we were rafting Monica and Elaine did our laundry. We love our support team!

Once rafting was done we stopped at McDonalds then Monica drove us the 80 km back to Rogers Pass. We then biked the 80 km to Golden arriving between 7 and 8 PM. Monica and Elaine booked us rooms in Golden, but we still had a few hours of daylight left. We decided to bike on pass Golden and tie up our bikes where ever decided to stop and have Monica drive us back to Golden.

Just as we started from Golden, we made a wrong turn and Jordan drove his bike over a texas gate. A texas gate is built to keep animals off the highway, but it is bad for bikes. Jordan ended up having to made some adjustments to his bike, but after 15 minutes we were off again. The bike from Golden was steep as were were beginning the ascent of Kicking Horse Pass. We biked for about 20 km before tying up our bikes and heading back to Golden. Back at Golden, Elaine had bought us Chinese food for us to eat. Also, the motel room we were staying in- paid for by Elaine- had three individual beds for us. No sharing beds. We love our support team!!

Distance biked on the day was about 140 km for Tyler and Jordan. 115 km for me.

Saturday, July 14

We woke at 6 am and hit snooze a few times before getting up. Elaine and Monica arrived at 7 am with a McDonalds breakfast that I inhaled.

Stretching near the summit of Kicking Horse Pass.
Monica drove us back to the bikes. We then continued our bike up Kicking Horsepass. The temperature was cooler than the previous days and there was a threat of rain. On our climb up Kicking Horse Pass it only rained a few minutes.

The summit of Kicking Horse Pass and border of Alberta are very close together. We were unable to get a picture of us at either of these locations due to construction and there being no signs as a result.

At Lake Louse
Once in Alberta we were very close to Lake Louise. Lake Louise is actually at a higher elevation than the summit of Kicking Horse Pass. The result was a hard 4 km climb up to Lake Louise, but the lake looked beautiful. We also ate lunch there.

After Lake Louise we took the Highway 1A to Banff. The road was beautiful to bike on with little traffic, trees on both sides of the road and mountains all around you. Tyler and Jordan biked ahead of me and were able to see an elk. Later after stopping for a break to talk to some bikers we saw a black bear near the road. We noticed the bear as a bunch of vehicles had stopped and people were out taking pictures. We stayed across the road to take the pictures, but some people were crossing the road to get a closer look a the black bear. A bit too close if you ask me.

We stopped in Banff at a Boston Pizza and the meal was paid by Monica. We love our support team! Lindsay from Grimsby, Ontario served us and helped us get free drinks and some other discounts for the food. Thanks Lindsay and Boston Pizza!

It was raining once we were done at Boston Pizza. We waited 45 minutes before leaving at 6 PM. We knew at a minimum we wanted to get to Canmore. Canmore was about 25 km from Banff and there was a paved bike path beside the highway that we biked on. Along the way the rain stopped. Tyler and Jordan were feeling good and wanted to push past Canmore. I wasn't feeling as good biking wise, but I agreed we'd reevaluate our options in Canmore. Then shortly after that discussion, Tyler and Jordan had a crash. I didn't see the crash because I was well behind Tyler and Jordan when it happened.

Here's my understanding of how the crash happened. Tyler was in the lead with Jordan close behind him. They approached a sign that warned them to slow down as they approached an incline for which they could not see what was on the other side. They ignored this sign and went over the incline to realize they were facing a sharp turn and they needed to slow down. Tyler slammed on his brakes. The road was wet from the rain. Tyler skidded, lost his balance and fell over on his right side. Tyler skidded on his right side with the bike on top of him. Jordan unable to avoid Tyler drove over Tyler and his bike. Jordan was able to reduce his speed when this happened and was unhurt. Tyler had bruising on his right leg- the side he slide on. He also had a ripe in the shorts. However, he didn't break anything and was just sore.

After the crash and shock had wore off Tyler decided it would be a good idea to stop in Canmore to give his body a rest after the crash. We biked into Canmore and after stopping at three motels/hotels of which two were full we found a hostel to stay at. There we said our good bye to Monica and Elaine and gave our thanks. Without the support we received from them there is no way we would have made it to Canmore. I love my family.

We biked about 155 km on the day.

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