It’s 3:54 a.m. and I can’t sleep. Trains run continuously through the night with loud whistles every 10 minutes. The tracks are right behind the campground so it’s really hard to tune them out.
I get thinking about what this trip will be like and how it will compare to previous tours. When I last rode the Rockies, a knee injury (caused by over-training and improper form) forced me to pedal one-legged on all the big climbs.
This time, although my fitness is improved, I’m also ten years older. I’m curious if I’ll notice a difference in my endurance and recovery as a result… or perhaps those two factors will cancel each other out. Time will tell.
What makes this trip so challenging – steep climbs, long days, unpredictable weather – is what also makes it so exciting and memorable. As I learned from the Tour du Canada, the psychological challenge of a ride like this far outweighs the physical.
Fort Langley is a quaint little village that’s full of tourists. Known as the birthplace of British Columbia, turn-of-the-century style storefronts line all the main streets with a definite “old west” vibe.
At 10:30 a.m. I walk to the bike shop to get a safety inspection done, just to make sure I reassembled it correctly.
The rest of the tour participants arrive one by one over the course of the day. There are 20 of us altogether, but only 18 are doing the whole ride. The last two are planning to meet us in Jasper and do only the last section. So far there are 11 men and 7 women.
The orientation session begins at 1 p.m. and we learn all the details about how things will play out. We’ll be pretty much on our own throughout the day. Armed with a route map and a lunch, we set our own schedule and leave camp whenever we like. Breakfast is ready at 7 and dinner is at 6, but other than that the only guideline is to make the most of our days and have as much fun as possible!
The truck that hauls our gear from one campground to the next has a shelving system in the trailer, one per person. I chose the top shelf on the left for easy access to the power outlet.
Mashed potatoes and salad make for a simple and satisfying dinner. A great end to a great day. Tomorrow the real fun begins.