Our first day up Highway 7 to Hope was glorious – a tail wind of about 25k and temperatures in the low 20’s made it heaven. In the evening, the Mayor of Hope came out to provide her support. Mayor Johnson is on the Fraser Health Board, so I was not shy about rationalizing the planned Delta Hospital expansion.
Day two had us climb perhaps the toughest hill of our journey. The climb to the top of the slide out of Hope is tough; however, we were assisted by the same tail wind we had experienced the day before. We arrived in good health and spirits at the lodge in Manning Park and enjoyed a good night’s sleep.
The IRIS Challenge motor home has everything we need for the ride and Dr. Francis Jean, President of IRIS, has biked from Vancouver to Banff/Jasper three times previously, so I have been able to benefit from his experience!
After day two, I was far more relaxed about the ride, and now more excited than anxious. On day three, the tail wind continued through Manning Park and the long ascent of Sunday Summit was hot, but we arrived in one piece. Our ride out of Princeton to Keremeos was blazing, so we stopped at Bromley Rock for a well deserved swim. Our total time on the bikes to this point was 20 hours.
Our day four ride started hot and the temperature continued to rise. By the time we reached Summerland, the temperature was 34 degrees. We must have consumed at least 8 liters of water each! We arrived in Kelowna tired, hot and very hungry, and we were sure that we couldn’t have a more difficult day.
We were wrong. On day five, the temperature was in the high 20’s at 7am, and by they time we left it was already in the low 30’s. By the time we reached Vernon, the temperature was hovering around 38 degrees and we were struggling. We bought bags to fill our water bottles and stopped at every gas station for fresh cold water. We had a refreshing swim at Mara Lake and arrived late into Sicamous at about 7pm.