Cycle Trip 2014 – Calgary II (Day 1 – June 20)

Day 1 – June 20, 2014

Day 1 - Hope-Merritt (MAP)

Aaron Tews’ Route for Day 1 of cycle trip to Calgary – June 20 2014

Trip Agenda:

  • Goal: Hope to Merritt
    • Predicted: Highway 5 (Coquihalla) from Hope then Coldwater Road into Merritt (to bypass the additional elevation). Ended up staying on Highway 5 entire way due to warning about riding on Coldwater Road alone on a bike (guy in food truck at Coquihalla Summit).
  • Distance:Day 1 - Hope-Merritt (Elevation)

    • Predicted: ~115kms
    • Actual: 121kms
  • Elevation (Google Maps):

    • 1775m (5824 feet)
  • Time to complete:

    • Predicted: 7 hours 54 minutes
      Day 1 - Max speed of 60kmh
       Day 1 - Coquihalla 6h41m on bikeDay 1 - Avg 17.8 kmh
    • Actual: 6 hours 41 minutes
    • Fastest speed: 60km/hr (into Merritt – YIKES!)
    • Average speed: 17.8km/hour

Packed and ready Day 1 - Loaded CRV Day 1 - Tims in Hope 3I was cycling by 6:30am.  It was cold – about 7 degrees C and lightly raining.  As I began the ride, the true magnitude of my goal and the solitude hit me.  For some reason, I became a little nervous about what I was actually doing.  However, once I started the uphill grind, I settled down.

The day was perfect for the ride.  It alternated between light rain and simply overcast so itDay 1 - Coquihalla Burned out Vehicle Day 1 - Coquihalla 1 Day 1 - Coquihalla 4 Day 1 - Coquihalla 9never got too hot.  Once I
hit the bear snowshed, I knew I was committed.  The incline at this point of the Coquihalla destroys cars (see picture) , but for some reason, I felt really strong and powered all the way up.  At the summit, I overheard someone mention it was 3 degrees C (where the toll both used to be) which would explain why I was so cold.  I spent 30 minutes in the heated rest area warming up, hydrating and snacking.

Found a food truck at another rest stop a little further on and had a PowerAid and cookie for Day 1 - Coquihalla Summit 3 Day 1 - Coquihalla  Snow Shed 4 Day 1 - Coquihalla  Snow Shed 2$8 – but was it good!  It was here the vendor warned me about riding along Coldwater Road alone and on a bike.  I heeded his warning and stayed on Highway 5 all the way into Merritt.  The differences between staying on Highway 5 and Coldwater Road – about 500m in elevation and the traffic!

The push to the summit before Merritt was definitely a mental challenge – every corner lead Day 1 - Coquihalla Long Road Aheadto another incline.  I had forgotten how steep the climb was the last time I drove it in the car. Once I got into a groove, I found I could maintain about 17kms per hour. I even had a few cars and rigs honk their horns in support!  You can see where I was heading in the distance!

It was a relief to hit the summit before Merritt and begin riding downhill for a while.  This Day 1 - Coquihalla Burned out Vehicleturned to a panic as I quickly hit 60 km/h!  It seemed the brakes on my bike were struggling to slow me down.  After about 10 minutes of hard brake use, I pulled over and stopped to give times for the brakes to cool off and have some water.  After about 10 minutes resting, I touched the front brake router and actually burned my fingers.  It was a good thing I pulledDay 1 - Coquihalla Merrit (couldnt stop) over as I’m guessing my brakes were close to failing.  For the rest of the
decent, I took my time keeping the bike at around 30kms / hour.

I decided to check into a hotel for the night as Day 1 - Coquihalla Bike in Roomthe campsites were quite a distance out of town.  It was quiet and clean and by 8:30pm I was out cold!

Next Blog Post:  Cycle Trip 2014 – Calgary II (Day 2)

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