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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

B.C. Adventure Report- Finally...

Summer time, sum sum summertime
One thing about this summer I can tell you: Avoid being in a cast.
I many aspects this has been a tough summer.

You know about me breaking my toe : well here is the rest of the story:

I joined up with 15 other hearty souls to explore the rail trails in the south western mountains of BC. north of Casltlegar and over to Nelson. The scenery and companionship was awesome. The hills and rail trails were a challenge on my Tour Easy Recumbent. Plus 1/2 way along the first day I had a spill and severely twisted my other ankle and achilles tendon. I rode another 40 km that day up one of the steepest longest climbs in my life. But I did it. I can climb anything it seems after that. 7% grade for 7km. I was unable to ride a total of 1/2 the trip due to the ankle and the toe.

Trip synopsis:
Stayed at the Nakusp Hot springs: was a great soak and the scenery awesome; turns out it was my favorite hot springs of the tour.

Next day we rode the Galena Trail to New Denver down hill from the old mining town of Sandon. It was an awesome morning with the history of the area around you and the tram over the creek made it a great ride on my bent. It was the best trail surface of the week. But ¾ down I took a spill to avoid a log down across the path, twisting my ankle, I could have done with that. Then it was on the road to Slocan on the pavement. I never thought the hill south out of Silverton would end. I geared down and pushed my way up in my granny gear at an average of 5.3 kph. I would not reccommend doing this with a healing broken toe on one
foot and a sprained anke and pulled achilles heel on the other. Once we rested at the summit we pushed on a nice rolling (mostly downhill) ride to Slocan on the highway. A beautiful ride. The next day was the Slocan rail trail. I was very sore but determined to ride. The trail was good except the loose sand near the south end in Little Solcan near Frog mountain. Lots of wild berries to eat and bear poop to dodge. Riding alot besides the river, a great ride. Again down grade with mostly packed sand and gravel.
Last 20k on a rolling up hill ride up the pass creek road then down into Castlegar. That night we stayed at the community college. Nice single dorm rooms but my cel phone died and my ankle really began to ache. Did not ride the C&W trail the next day to Christina Lake. I started out with every one but was not feeling well after 5km of riding, was shaky and nauseous.
Yeah, I Bailed out and got on the Sag Truck. Turned out that it wa a good decision not to ride a recumbent on that trail even with the fat tires I had. The mtn bikers had a tough time and it turned out to take 12 hrs instead of 8! The first 6 hours were okay because they allow quads and they packed and cleared the trail; the last 6 hours no trikes allowed, so it was very large, loose gravel. It made me feel a bit better to not ride that day, but not much.
The others who did it did not enjoy it; but hey, they Did it! I felt a wee bit left out.

Next day we had a lay over around Christina lake, so we did the cafe latte and beach thing.

The next day we drove up to the Nancy Greene summit and rode down into Rossland. 30 k of downhill highway was a nice ride. Yep I felt I could ride downhill most of the day so I jumped on the Te and zipped down. Had a warm wind in my face so I did not get going to fast. I felt my back tire feeling kinda mushy, I stopped and I found that it was flat due to a leak in the rear wheel valve stem and had to blow it up twice in 3km to make it into town. Walked around Rossland to much that night; feet were too sore the next day. So I rode in the Sag wagon the next day hoping to recuperate for the last days ride.

Salmo to Nelson.
Next evening I went to put a tube in my rear tire to get ready for the last days ride but once I got the new tube in and inflated the valve came off. Nobody else had the right sized tube so I was bummed I could not ride the last day. I do not like schrader rubber valve stems any more! It turned out the trail was again fairly rough so the group bailed and rode the highways. They had a great time, even stopping at a lake and swimming for a couple hours, sigh.
After arriving in Nelson we took two days more to get home with stops at Aimsworth and Radium hot springs. It was so nice to rest and soak my legs! I have to admit I was not in great shape and in constant pain for those last few days. I could barely walk down the stairs.

On the way home from Radium I was dropped off in Nordegg to spend the next week camping with my family and friends from Calgary. Alice and I took a morning to ride the David Thomson highway from the crossing to the Davis Thomson Resort. What a gorgeous ride!

I realized on the trip that most long distance riding ability is in your mind and you can do alot more than you think if you just suck it up and push a pedal. With a low enough granny gear riding even at 4kph, you can ride up anything if you want to. I learned to appreciate my Tour Easy even more on this trip. The TE is The Touring bike. When we were on the road it shined. On my other bents I would have walked up the slopes. But it really is not a mountain bike. The main weakness is the lower, rear based center of gravity that throws the back wheel out in loose conditions. For me it’s a great fit. I just gotta get a Rans Dynamik Trail for the off road stuff! (don’t tell my wife!)

I realized that for long, mountainous road tours, a fat man on a recumbent, with too much gear is not the best combo. Its a long, slow, grind that tests ones spirit to the bone! Can I do it YES. Is it enjoyable? Only when the day is over and you are drinking something big and cold reminiscing. Is it worth the effort? OH YEAH!
I hope to do some more tour group rides in the future when I feel better and have lost some more weight. Or Not. What I mean is I am 49yrs old, 310 pounds and more alive now than I was 3 years ago. Sure I was the heaviest person on the trip, BUT I WAS THERE! Will I lose more weight for Next year? I hope so; but even if I don’t I’ll still be on the bike! Riding somewhere. I am fat but fit! (Slimmer would just make it faster and easier) Hmm maybe a Bionx Electric Assist would help mmmm
See ya on the road!


Vik said...

Great report and nice pics Larry. You have a good attitude for bike tours. No matter what tour it is something always goes wrong or tests you and the outcome is almost 100% how you respond to it. Your positive attitude will get you many miles down the road and you'll loads of fun.

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Larry Hager said...

Whitemud crossing, thanks for the note. to keep abreast of what i am up to these days look at my other 2 blogs, godspokeleduc, and renucyle, at Renucycle I post more about recumbents and recumbent trikes, and the Godspoke site is more about the group I ride with and many of our trips here in Western Canada and even our trips to Thailand and New Zealand