|Newsletter - 2007 Archive|
For the Interior 600 this year, we used a modified, reverse direction version of last year's Okanagan Whine Tour, eliminating the scenic, but exhausting Westside Road, and putting the three major climbs of the route into the first half instead of the second half.
After the start in Kamloops, we rode through town, and up the first big climb. I rode with Ken Bonner until almost the top, then he got warmed up and pedaled off into the distance. I thought that would be the last I would see of him, but as I was struggling against the usual Nicola Valley headwind, I caught sight of him again. I decreased the gap to about 1/2 km, but lost him again when I stopped at the Nicola Lake rest area to ....rest.
From the control at Merritt, we went up again. The climb up to Aspen Grove is somewhat tedious, but once at the top, away from the Coquihalla traffic, the road gets fun. It started to rain, but not too hard, and it wasn't cold, so I just enjoyed the long gradual descent into Princeton. At the Princeton control, I was surprised to see Ken's bicycle still there. I helped him eat his bag of chips, then he was ready to leave before I was, and that was the last I saw of him.
The rain continued to Keremeos, but there was a gentle tailwind. As I turned onto Hwy 97 towards Okanagan Falls, I was hit with a massive headwind. I didn't care because I knew that 6 downhill km later, I would have a tailwind. Last year, I talked to people at each of the control locations, to let them know we were coming, and check hours of operation. I forgot that step this year, and Mr. Grumpypants at the Super Save in OK Falls let me know that he wasn't happy about it. I'm not sure what his problem was, because they weren't busy, and I'm quite sure almost all of us bought some food or liquids.
The ride up the East side of Skaha Lake was fun as always, especially with the tailwind. I stopped at Tim Hortons in Summerland for a bowl of chili, and to put on my jacket as it was starting to rain again. Ten km later, it stopped and I was wetter inside the jacket than out, so off it came.The tailwind pushed me all the way to Kelowna, and I achieved my goal of being across the bridge before dark. On the bridge, I caught up with an elderly man on a mtn bike with full panniers, tent, etc, wearing a ball cap, flannel shirt and jeans. Not your average cycling clothing.
Richard's suggestion to use Glenmore was a good one. It added a little climbing, but got us away from the Kelowna traffic. Then came the worst section of the ride - the two lane bit between Winfield and Oyama, dark, with no shoulder. I had a close call when my wheels slipped off the edge. Fortunately, there was another level of paving at that point. If it had been sand, I think I would have crashed. I checked in and had a sandwich at the 7/11 in Vernon, then continued on Hwy 97 to Salmon River Road, still enjoying the tailwind (very rare for this valley).
The control in Salmon Arm was at Tim Hortons, which is open 24 hrs. Unfortunately, it is about 1/2 block from a night club. At 2:00 am it was not a pleasant place to be. Lots of loud people, someone had been sick in the urinal, and I tried not to think about their diminished driving skills. I had a quick sandwich and left. About 10 km out of town someone I hadn't seen in the dark at the edge of the road said "how's it going?", and scared the hell out of me. I regained my composure and continued. So did the tailwind.
About halfway between Chase and Pritchard the rain decided to have one last go at me with everything it had. I was drenched in seconds, but with less than 50 km to go I decided not to stop and put on my jacket unless I got too cold. I was in luck, and it only lasted about 15 minutes. I finished with a tailwind, nice warm sunshine on my back, and knocked almost three hours off my personal best 600 time.
June 11, 2007