The campground is awash with pre-rest day excitement this morning. One more ride until we get a full day off in Kamloops. The first week of a tour like this is always the hardest, and having it almost behind us is a big relief.
Since everyone is still sore from yesterday, today’s tailwind is a welcome change. I start out just before 8 a.m. on Highway 5A. The road is flat, the sun is shining and there is very little traffic.
Less than an hour later I pull into the Quilchena Hotel for a break. It’s one of the only places on this road, and it’s marked on the map as a worthwhile stop.
The hotel went up in 1908 when the owners thought the railway would be built close by, but unfortunately that never happened. It closed in 1915 and was reopened by the grandson of the original owner in the late 50’s.
Old photos of cowboys are proudly displayed on the walls, and bullet holes have their place in the saloon with assorted stories to go along with them.
I sign the guestbook and get back on the bike with 78 km still to go. A few minutes later I see Mike, Marshall and Bernice on the side of the road removing extra layers as the temperature starts rising. It feels like it’s going to be a hot day.
I continue on as I watch the numbers on my odometer climb closer and closer to our destination while marveling at the amazing view. After awhile I start getting hungry and tired, so I decide I’ll stop when I reach 60 km, which is only 2 km more.
When I get to that point, I’m in the middle of a fast descent and I don’t want to ruin it by stopping. Ok, 65 it is. I tell myself I’ll stop at that point and take a break.
The trouble is, there’s nowhere to sit and there’s no shade anywhere. Before I know if I’ve gone another 20 km.
Then I hit a steep 4 km climb with just 19 km to go. I never stop on hills – it’s too hard to get going again – so I grind through it with an audience to my right.
I’m quickly approaching the final stretch, a fast descent into Kamloops, and starting to bonk (bike speak for “hitting the wall”) from lack of food and water. Sometimes it’s just easier to eat on the go.
For the next two days we’re staying in a residence at Thompson Rivers University. I love that I get to sleep in a real bed tonight. No bugs, no flashlights, no morning chorus of tent zippers.
Monday morning we begin again.