Bikepacking, Canada

Au revoir Colombie Britannique

Was that the last singletrack I got to ride on this adventure? Fully loaded, heading to Alberta I enjoyed that endless mountain bike trail that made me avoid the highway for 25km.

The trail is supposed to start from Fernie, but some work clearing the forest makes it unrideable and I have to backtrack to town. Maybe Fernie doesn’t want me to leave ๐Ÿ™‚ After 15km on the highway the trail could be picked up again and I could start smiling again!

The highway seemed to be the only way to go east from Sparwood, bit it isn’t that busy, the shoulder is wide and the views are amazing.

Now that I am in Alberta it’s time to hunt for gravel and cross my fingers for great coffee shops

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Bikepacking, Canada

Routine

My life is pretty simple right now, I get up, pack the bike, climb a hill for hours, descend a hill for hours, get a coffee or hot chocolate and go to bed ๐Ÿ™‚

There are a few variations to my days. 1 day out of 2 I camp and take more time to settle in, rehydrate food and drink my hot chocolate, then slip into my sleeping bag. When I hotel, I find a good coffee shop and relax, check-in to my room, have an amazing shower and do laundry. I then find a simple place for dinner, then use the WIFI to confirm the next ride, post pictures and write this blog. I also really like having bacon and eggs for breakfast instead of instant oatmeal ๐Ÿ™‚

There are a few reasons why I hotel, safety, comfort, power and laundry. I do not feel safe camping everywhere, I’m a chicken and am afraid of weird dudes. My inflatable mattress is amazing, but my back deserves a real mattress after spending 100km on the bike. My solar panel is very efficient, but not as much as BC hydro. I am testing Icebreaker’s claim to merino’s properties and can wear the same top 2 to 3 times, but not my shorts. BIBS NEED TO BE CLEANED DAILY!

The other daily thing is the amazing views I get when I reach the top. I wish I could show you how magnificent it is. These views, these mountains and trees make me feel like I am so small and insignificant. I can’t transfer that feeling in a picture, you really have to get there and see for yourself.

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Bikepacking, Canada

Mon grand sentier part 3

Kettle Valley Rail Trail โœ… It had it’s ups and downs, but overall an amazing trail.

After the beaten up and unused trail leading up to Summerland, came the very popular, comfort bike ridden, Myra canyon. Probably 200km of almost uninterrupted varied trails followed. Remote enough to test my nerves, but never for too long. Cell service is available on most of the section following Myra canyon and the trail crosses many villages with food and lodging.

It’s funny how gravity works. Rail grade makes it look like I am riding on a flat road and feels like I am a ๐ŸŒ who is never going to make it anywhere. The descents aren’t technical, but fast enough to be fun. The views from the highest point overlooking the Grand Forks valley was breathtaking, I didn’t think I had climbed that much ๐Ÿ™‚

I did end up putting my bear spray away and cranked up the volume of my phone listening to my bad music or an Ebook. No bear sightings, no snake, lots of deers and marmots.

Views are amazing, It’s pretty cool to start one day up in the mountain riding the trestle bridges ending up going through green fields. Everywhere along the trail there are burnt out forests, but also lots of new growth and wildflowers.

I rode through thick forests, farmlands, old mining towns, wood mills. I am amazed by all the different industries that used to thrive along the railway. I am told that the economy is struggling here, the floods and wildfires of the last few years hurt the tourism industry. It is seriously an area worth exploring, so much more to see or to ride!

I found good hydration spots along the way! Surprised I could find good coffee places in Greenwood and Grand Forks.

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Bikepacking, Canada

Mon grand sentier part 2

There is no reason to be scared, or are there? The trail is official, the government advertises it as complete, what am I afraid of? Not afraid, but just on the edge and trying to take good reasonable decisions. I carry way too much food and water, have clothes for all conditions and I packed a safety blanket and first aid kit.

I have already done a few bonus climbs (oups!) taking wrong turns, but nothing too bad. I had to check and recheck Garmin, Google, Trailforks, “the great trait” app a few times and always found my way. The trail is well marked, but the grades and level of difficulty are not that well advertised. I will shorten some planned days to make up for some varying trail conditions and take the time to enjoy them more.

I almost road off the trail into the river today (oups!). I was enjoying the reward of that 70km rail grade climb and going pretty fast downhill when the trail disappeared into the river. Trails have suffered this winter, there are a lot of land slides, rock slides and some flooded area.

I got to log in 2 days in a row of more then 130km on mostly trails with lots of climbing. It’s fun to vary the terrain and difficulty. The shorter more technical days were a different kind of fun and I would go back to redo these trails anytime.

Now that I am sitting in my hotel room and reflecting on the last few days, I realize how lucky I am to get to ride to all these remote places and enjoy all that amazing scenery.

Thank god for hotels and hot tubs! Don’t get me wrong, I like camping, but I love hoteling! After riding 130km of Gravel 2 days in a row, I think I deserve a bit of luxury ๐Ÿ™‚

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Bikepacking, Canada

Mon grand sentier part 1

It’s hard to really know what you are getting into until it’s too late and you find yourself pushing your bike up a greasy hill. It’s fun, soooo much fun! Awesome manicured trails, great climbs fun descends, amazing scenery, but some remote sections between Cultus Lake, Chilliwack lake and Silver lake were so difficult I thought of turning back, worried I wasn’t going to make it.

I told you, boring adventure, no search and rescue this time!

I now use a Garmin Inreach to stay connected and let loved ones know where I am at all times. Since I had no cell signal for 2 days in a remote area where I didn’t cross any humans, I was happy to be able to text my new plans to my partner since I had to shorten my route.

I started with 2 friends, but am now continuing solo. Angela having to get back to her family and Sigita decided to hit the pavement.

Honesty looking forward to the rail trail. I love climbing, but not a fan of hike a ๐Ÿšฒ! My gearing is 40X 11/40, tried and tested ratio on Squamish and Swiss hills. The 18% grade for 12km defeated me โ˜น๏ธ

Back on the trail tomorrow and hopeful it is a bit easier and I can log more km.

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Bikepacking, Canada

Details

I am ready! Honestly I was ready a month ago!

I packed my bags and loaded my bike a few times already. I still don’t have a tire boot, but added an extra folded tire and sealant.

Tomorrow we make our way to Victoria (my partner joining for the first leg), just so I can start at mile 0 Tuesday morning to start that crazy 8000+km adventure.

My bike is so heavy I wish I could take some stuff off it, it is 49lbs fully loaded, even if I am keeping it pretty minimal.

-ultralight camping gear

-dehydrated food

-water and water treatment things

-tools and bike repair stuff

-bear scaring stuff

-essential clothing

-personal hygiรจne things

– important Garmin Edge and Garmin Inreach devices so I do not get lost or do get found

-solar panel and a multitude of charging cables

Sooo excited! But first I need to enjoy one last night in my bed, one last awesome espresso with my Rocket machine and one last tooth cleaning with my electric toothbrush

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Bikepacking, Canada

Choices, choices!

A few months ago I heard Craig Dalton, on the Gravel Ride podcast, say that the best bike for a good gravel event would most likely not be perfect for the entire event. I tend to agree with him!

My adventure isn’t a race, but I still want my bike to be fast. The chosen distance is a bit excessive, so the bike needs to be comfortable, carbon fibre please ๐Ÿ˜ this way I can keep the weight down. I will carry all the gear for my self supported adventure, so lots of mounting points are essentials. I am short, so I need a small frame, but not so small that I cannot use the inside of the main triangle. I want it to be fun on singletrack, but still stable since a fully loaded bike is harder to handle.

I chose to go with the Salsa Warbird on this adventure. It feels as fast as my regular cyclocross bike, but has clearance for wider tires and made to be ridden for more the 45 minutes at a time. It has all the attachments for mounting fork racks, a third bottle mount and a big enough triangle for a good size bag.

It won’t be perfect for all the trails I will ride, ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ is a big country and no bike can be perfect for all the different terrain I will encounter.

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