Day 3 and 4: Where is Kelowna?

Day 3 and 4: Where is Kelowna?

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. 

Loose gravel on the Kettle Valley Trail
Rough conditions on the Kettle Valley Trail

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. 

Lake Okanagan, seen from Peachland
Lake Okanagan, seen from Peachland

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