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Chase Kootenay 1000
Once again, we were able to squeeze in an Interior 1000 between the fires and the Covid. To achieve this, a last minute route change was needed, moving the start to Chase and going to Kelowna through Salmon Arm instead of Falkland. That meant adding distance somewhere else, so instead of doing the monster climb east of Castlegar, we went south to Trail, then east through Fruitvale to Salmo. I started in Chase at 05:00 on Friday. Barry and Rick had opted to start in Kelowna, 23 hours earlier.
A little chilly to start- it dropped down to 3.8C on the Garmin at Notch Hill. No smoke, which was a refreshing change. The Okanagan rail trail was beautiful as usual, and not too busy. It's easy to ride, but tiring to try to ride it fast. I found myself fading badly on the climb up Highway 33 out of Kelowna, only about 190 km into the ride. My legs were dead. I was sure I was eating and drinking enough. Too stupid to figure it out, I struggled along, stopping often to regroup. Eventually I phoned Susan from Midway to let her know I was alive. She said "your voice sounds like you're dehydrated". At that point I noticed my helmet straps, coated white with salt. OK. MUCH more water, MUCH more electrolytes. Nearly instant results! The climb over the Eholt was much easier than expected, and I arrived at my first overnight at Grand Forks just before 9:30 PM. Too late for any real food, and the food smells coming from the living area behind the motel office were wonderful> I came very close to asking if they had any leftovers they could sell me. Don't know why I didn't- the worst they could have said was no. I settled for some instant oatmeal, and shower, setting my alarm for 4 AM.
I woke up at 3:30, way too hot to sleep, and had more oatmeal and a leftover cheese sandwich for breakfast. It's so hard to put on warm clothes in a hot motel room, even though you KNOW you're going to need them as soon as you are out the door. The climb up the Paulson is not that hard, but it sure is long. Well over 30 km with no coasting, although sometimes the grade does drop to 1 or 2 percent. It got cold, too, down to +3C for me at the top, but for Barry and Rick it got down below freezing, which resulted in them calling it done at Castlegar. I enjoyed the long gentle descent to Castlegar, stopping at the A&W for my next breakfast. Then south to Trail, on a road I had never been on. Nice, but unexciting. But WOW! I had totally forgotten how much climbing there was coming out of Trail! Eventually it leveled out, and I cruised through Salmo after stopping to restock. Despite the nice gentle grade between Salmo and Nelson, I was fading again. I found a rest area with a nice little waterfall, washed my face with the cold water and had a little lie down on a picnic table. That helped propel me over the top, so I could recover on the long descent into Nelson. I'll admit to being lazy doing the route sheet through Nelson- it would have added a half page of route sheet to detail the maze required, so I simply put "Follow signs to Kaslo" . Probably less confusing anyway. Nelson to Kaslo is amazingly lumpy, considering you are just following Kootenay Lake, but the scenery is so beautiful you really don't notice it. Much. By the time I got to Kaslo I needed food and a rest, but was running late for my motel in Nakusp. There was a food stand- "Chez Serge"- "Rustic" would be a generous description- attached to a gas station, and it was OPEN!!! I phoned the motel and made arrangements for them to leave the room open for me if I was after 11PM, and ordered a burger and fries. Was it really that good, or was I that hungry? Too many fries, so I took leftovers for a bedtime snack, then went to the gas station for liquids. I told the lady where I was going, and assured her I enjoyed riding in the dark and had good lighting. " But don't you worry about bears?" "I try not to think about it" I said. But NOW I'm thinking about it, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! Refueled, I had a very enjoyable, bear-free ride through New Denver to Nakusp, arriving just after 11PM. I set my alarm for 5 this time, and didn't wake up before the alarm.
On the road before 6, I caught the 8:30 ferry, and the only real rain of the ride, for all of 5 minutes. At the Revelstoke A&W, I got a breakfast sandwich to eat there, and two more to take with me. Somehow though, one of the to-go sandwiches did not make it out of the parking lot. I had been dreading the next setion- 16- km of long weekend Highway 1 traffic. But when I phoned Susan, she told me there was an accident, and the Rogers Pass was closed. One persons disaster is another persons blessing, and there was virtually NO traffic until almost Salmon Arm. Oh, and downhill, too. I also didn't complain about the major tailwind I got from Salmon Arm to the top of Jade Mountain, from where I could see the wharf where I needed to finish far below me. Lacking the skills and rock climbing gear to rappel down the short cut, I followed the road down through Chase to finish, and sat on a bench in the nice warm sunshine while I waited for Susan to pick me up. A great way to finish a great weekend!
September 9, 2021