Well, our luck had to end….we’re sitting in our little tent, huddled in our sleeping bags, listening to the rain beating down outside. We’ve had thunder and lightening and hail and rain and mud to contend with today. But at least we’re going somewhere, rather than going round and round in circles in Fernie! Today was much more like a “proper” TransRockies stage.
The day started with a 3 hour bus ride from Fernie to a field in the middle of nowhere, where we started racing. Today’s stage was a relatively easy 48km, with 1200m of climbing, so in theory a bit of a recovery day after yesterday. I can’t say it was exactly a gentle start, with a 4 or 5km gravel road climb, before your legs had the chance to wake up…not nice. A bit of meandering along gravel road before the only really big climb of the day….when I say “climb”, I mean “walk” pushing a bike. It did go on a bit, and Mark got overtaken by a butterfly, which has to be a first!
After a few false dawns we eventually reached the top, and were greeted by a fantastic, though slightly threatening view.
We rolled into a long, long rolling descent, just as it started to rain, mixed with hail…with thunder and lightening crashing round the mountains above us. (It did make me wonder whether a carbon-framed bike was a sensible thing to be out on in a thunderstorm….).
Eventually, we hit the feed station, and were forced, for the first time in this TransRockies, to put our waterproofs on…boo hiss!!! It rained or hailed pretty hard for the rest of the ride, and the course quickly got pretty muddy in places….the last 3 or 4km descent would have been fantastic in the dry, but I was riding pretty much blind…if I took my glasses off, I got mud in my eyes, if I kept them on, they got so wet and muddy I couldn’t see anyway!!!
After a quick wade through a river (my bike started floating away..a disadvantage of a light bike?!), we hit gravel road, then proper road for a few kms into the campsite. I was pretty cold by now, so Mark washed the bikes (thankyou!) while I rescued our slightly damp bags from the baggage truck. I’m now finally warm again after a great dinner and wrapping myself in my sleeping bag!
I think tomorrow is a circular 60-something km around here..so a big day. On the plus side, we’ve done more days than there are left to do…on the not-so-plus side, we’re only at the halfway point mileage-wise! Friday is the biggest stage of all…75km.
(It’s a bit weird being seemingly in the middle of nowhere with no phone access, but having web-access..even if it is a bit shaky….maybe the rain is disturbing the satellite signal.)