Today was brutal. There’s no other way to put it. The plan was a relatively easy, 120km shot down a mostly flat rail path. At the end would be friends and patio beer on a hot, sunny Okanagan day. A few blog posts confirmed that there were tough sections, but an adjacent road provided a good alternative.
Then reality set in. The rail path was unnavigable. Loose stones of all sizes were the path. Off to the road I went, covering a decent 50km and ~500m climb to Bankeir, the only village (if you can call it that) on the route. I continued along toward Summerland, and then bad turned to worse. A little beyond Bankeir the pavement ended. The highway became a gravel logging road.
Thus began a tough slog through BC, up and down mountain passes. Finally, my bike had had enough. A pinch flat on the rear tire needed mending, at which point I realized my trusty patch kit was down to its last patch. Poor planning. With the tire fixed and inflated as much as my little hand pump could muster I was back on my way. I thought the rail path might be less awful, so watched for the next crossing. When it came, I began the turn onto it. A pile of gravel stopped me, and as I toppled over I could hear a hiss. The tube was done for. Out of patches, out came the spare tube and a co2 bomb.
I fixed the tire and then read the nearby sign. The trestle bridge was out due to flooding. I would have to take the logging road the rest of the way, with no cell service to tell my friends where I was, no tire patches, and no tubes.
The next chunk was what felt like a long climb out of the Kettle Valley. In reality it was a few low hills, but the gravel made it painful. Finally, I reached Summerland and an aggressive 400m descent on pavement! I stopped halfway for a sandwich and to text my friends. It was now 5pm and I still had 50km to go. I decided to press on.
The remainder of the ride was relatively uneventful, save for some poor signage near Kelowna. The views were breathtaking as I traced my way around Lake Okanagan. I rolled in to Kelowna at 8:30 where hot food, cold wine, and a warm shower awaited.
Day 4 was a rest day in Kelowna. I may post a bit about the highlights of that visit in another entry.
Today’s mileage: 142.9 km
Cumulative mileage: 461.8 km
Today’s climbing: 1,519 m