Foreword: Looking back, this was probably the toughest day of cycling for the trip – partially because it was one of our first days. The distance was around 120km through some of the steepest roads in Canada. During the winter months, the Coquihalla Highway is one the most hazardous and deadliest roads to drive on in all of North America. It’s so notoriously unforgiving that the reality-show Highway Thru Hell is filmed on this particular stretch of highway. The day saw us climb slow and steady over 1343m or 4406 feet. The climbs were incessant. We ran out of water about half way through, and were likely dehydrated. Fortunately, towards the tail-end of the day I found a trickle of water cascading down some mossy/grassy blades and into a puddle that I desperately collected in my water bottle to drink. It ended up helping some, but at the end of the day we were absolutely exhausted. Any picture you see of me with my arms dangling down, leaning against a city-sign with my head was a very tough day. I consider this a “training day” that got us in shape for the rest of the trip so that the rest of the days weren’t nearly as rough.
The pictures do not do this day justice.
WEDNESDAY, 20 JUNE 2012
Hope to Merritt / Happiness to Frustration
The day started off with a glowing sunrise that energized us. As we cycled the Coquihalla highway, came to an extremely steep hill that climbed one kilometer over six kilometers of cycling. It may not sound bad, but for a cyclist, the slope was huge. We were so high there was still snow on the ground. We assumed there couldn’t be many more hills than the initial huge one, but were very wrong. Most of the day was a literal uphill battle. With such little sleep, it was really rough.
We saw a couple deer today which is cool I guess… I’d much rather have seen a bear or a dragon. We also had a toast to Annie who helped support us by supplying us with protein bars. Thanks Annie, enjoy the pictures!
Now we’re in Merritt and John and I both ate a large pizza each which wasn’t enough food. Fun fact: Merritt has dubbed itself the “County Capital of Canada”. It’s got many murals of famous musical artists including Uncle Sloth and the Machines and some guy I’ve never heard of. Country music is bad.
The quote of the day is, “you guys are crazy!” Which was hollered by a guy in a car as we climbed that steep hill. Maybe it’s not the best quote but it really pumped us up and gave us an extra boost of energy. People are really awesome and supportive and we constantly hear friendly honks and see friendly waves as we cycle through. Let’s see if this kindness holds up in other provinces…