The climb began as soon as I left Hope. For 60km I ground out five slow hours of hills. There were points where I thought I was going slightly downhill but the bike wouldn’t roll. I stopped to ensure my tires were fully inflated. I stopped to eat. I stopped to eat some more. I felt like I was not moving. Mountains are crazy.
Just as I was starting to feel like I was out of my depth, the midway point of Manning Park nowhere to be seen, I saw a construction sign. “Sure, a few minutes of broken asphalt and I’ll be on my way,” I thought. The flagger told me to take the now-closed middle lane to avoid the one-way traffic. I continued my climb for what felt like an hour. Finally, I saw another flagger. “Long time no see,” he shouts. The construction site moved as I plodded along at a brisk 8 km/h. A few minutes later, I saw another flagger, this one marking the end of the site. Finally, I was free. Pausing a moment to snap a photo of the Allison Pass summit (1,345m), I then began the steep descent to the park’s visitor centre. Finally, a break.
After pausing for water and a snack at the visitor centre it was time to soak in a few more downhill miles. Before I could reach my destination though, another mountain beckoned. This was a much more reasonable climb, taking 45 minutes to ride 300m. Having reached the Sunday Summit, I rode along the ridge with breathtaking views of the valley far below. The highlight was the famous drop into Princeton, where I was able to hit 62 km/h and make up some time as I dropped 281m into town. On the way down I spotted a deer casually grazing by the side of the rode, the first real sign of wildlife (apart from a far-off eagle yesterday) on the trip.
I finally found a spot to tent at the Princeton Castle Resort, where I collapsed from a long day of work.
Today’s distance: 140.1 km
Cumulative distance: 318.9 km
Today’s climb: 2,434 m