Saturday, 26 June 2010

The Yellowhead bites back

24th June: McBride (90km west of) to McBride

Odometer: 90 km, Start: 10.15am, Finish: 4.00pm, Avg: 17.9 km/h,
Weather: Heavy rain showers, Temp: 15-20°C
Bear count: 5, Moose count: 1, Mosquito Bites: 31, Hills walked: 0
Road Conditions: #16, Good surface mostly, 2m shoulder, sometimes rumble strips. Traffic very light. No services. Numerous rolling ascents and descents, max 7%. Ascent: 850m up/750m down.

It rained during the night and was still raining in the morning. I waited quite a while in the tent hoping it would clear. It seemed to and after packing up I was on the road just after 10am. I got an hour before the next heavy shower and then I stayed wet for most of the day.

Foreboding clouds signalling a wet day to come

I had a wildlife mini-bonanza just after leaving my campsite! First I disturbed a moose grazing by the roadside. I’m sure the landscape shook as it took a few startled steps before turning around to look me in the eye. I got a quick snap just before it turned and galloped into the undergrowth. It made an enormous racket as its hooves thudded the ground and it broke through pine saplings as if they were not there. Spectacular.

Bigger than a bear... and more frightening
They were right!

Then I spotted a black bear as I was slowly riding up a hill. (Why does it always happen that way)? It was sniffing around on the bank on the opposite side of the road from me. I decide to get a snap after the bear looked at me with disinterest and carried on with what it was doing.

He wasn't interested in me at all

As I’ve already indicated the rain came down today. It was not that cold, but persistent rain at 900m in forested mountains is never going to be warm, so I caped up and added some cycling longs for the first time. It got a bit miserable, with quite hard steady rain and some intense showering from trucks as they roared past. Even after it had stopped raining, my left side was prone to a soaking from a passing truck or RV until the roads finally dried!

It was quite a bit hillier than yesterday and the Yellowhead Highway was beginning to be flanked by larger 2000m mountains. A number of 5% rises and falls were taken, including a particularly dispiriting 250m drop down to a river crossing and a hard climb back out to exactly the same height! Worse than the hills was the headwind. This steadily increased during the day so that by the time I was approaching McBride, which sits in a long U-shaped valley, it was making my progress taxing to say the least. I resorted to shouting a lot. The Yellowhead bit back hard after yesterday’s relatively benign cycling conditions…

Mountains are getting bigger again

I was glad to reach the sanctuary of McBride after no services en route and decided to call it a day, even though I was hoping to go slightly further. Hopefully the wind will have died down by tomorrow and there’ll be a cafe (or two)…

A welcome sight after a hard ride
Main Street, McBride. (It's not a big town)

1 comment:

Martina said...

Yeah - a real bear!!!! Mx